RealNews

Mexico's Zapatista rebels search for a cause

Once the darlings of the anti-globalization movement, Mexico’s Zapatistas increasingly look like rebels without a cause two years after Congress rejected their demands for improved native Indian rights. The group raised eyebrows abroad on February 28 when its supporters seized a ranch in Chiapas state popular with eco-tourists as part of a Zapatista campaign of forced land distribution. The ranch’s owners, a middle-aged couple from Idaho who used to be Peace Corps volunteers, are just the kind of people who are sympathetic to the Zapatistas’ fight for social justice. They were on good terms with many of the locals. “Young kids I’ve known for six years are actually participating in taking my ranch. It’s just really heartbreaking,” said co-owner Glenn Wersch. Zapatista supporters claiming ancestral rights to the land now occupy the ranch and an adjacent hotel, listed in the Lonely Planet guidebook as one of Mexico’s top 10 places to stay. Apart from the ranch incident, the most notable Zapatista initiative in almost two years was an attempt by elusive leader Subcomandante Marcos to mediate in Spain’s Basque problem which was ridiculed by both sides in that conflict. Analysts say the foray into Spanish politics was a mistake. Full Story

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