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Marcos, Subcomandante (b. ?)

Raina Zimmering


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Subcommander Marcos is the spokesman and commander of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN). He is also a representative of the Indigenous Clandestine Revolutionary Committee – General Headquarters (CCRI-CG) of the Zapatistas. In public he always appears with a mask to avoid identification, a pipe, an old kerchief, and two watches. All these symbols refer to the EZLN and the uprising on January 1, 1994 for democratization, liberty, and equality against hundreds of years of oppression of indigenous people as well as against the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The mask symbolizes indigenous people made invisible by repression. In keeping with the mask, Marcos's very identity is shrouded in mystery. The name Marcos is a pseudonym and is the name of a friend killed during a confrontation with the Mexican army. According to official governmental sources, Subcomandante Marcos's real name is Rafael Sebastián Guillén Vicente, and he comes from the city of Tampico in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. Sebastián Guillén was born in Mexico to Spanish immigrants. He was exposed to liberation theology while a student at the Jesuit high school, Instituto Cultural, in Tampico. He graduated from Metropolitan Autonomous University (UAM) and received a master's degree in philosophy at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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