EZLN: Marcos Interview -4, Aug 27 (English)
Harry M. Cleaver
hmcleave at mundo.eco.utexas.edu
Tue Aug 29 10:50:52 MDT 1995
This posting has been forwarded to you as a service of Accion Zapatista de Austin.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 27 Aug 1995 22:37:54 -0500
From: CECILIA RODRIGUEZ <moonlight at igc.apc.org>
To: Multiple recipients of list <ncdm-usa at mcfeeley.cc.utexas.edu>
Subject: Part 3: Interview with Marcos
-------------- Enclosure number 1 ----------------
La Jornada, August 27 1995
"We are asking people to believe in us, but rather that they do something new, that
they use us"
Carmen Lira, writer, part III, some place in the Lacandon jungle, August
Raul, like a good photographer, was the first to notice it. The only thing that I had
seen on his brown shirt were the ammo belts with their rows of bullets, the standard-
issue bandanna, and a small shield with the national flag on the left side of his
--Did you see the other?--Raul asked me.
--What other?--I asked out loud.
Marcos happened to hear and immediately unbuttoned from the right side of his shirt
a golden shield, and put it in my hands. In fact it was gold, and the shape of the
eagle was very different from that of the modern eagle. I appeared to me to be a
standard shield from the Mexican National Army, like those that only high-ranking
officials receive, such as generals, for example. But the shape of the eagle intrigued
me. If it had belonged to a general, it would have to have been a general from
earlier times, I told myself.
--How did you get this?--I asked him.
--Someone sent it to me....and please excuse me for not telling who it was, but I am
not authorized to do so--he said, making a face that could be seen under the ski-
mask, like those that children make when they are proud that they have a secret.
"Just put--he said to me--that a great Mexican woman gave it to me, a struggler for
her entire life". He then put it back on his impeccable shirt, which gave me such
envy: why did he only appear dirty from his knees to his boots, I asked myself after
the many hours that he had been sitting in front of me. On the other hand, in this
humidity and the other conditions of the place where the interview had been held, I
felt disgusting from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet.
And then this mixture of humor and rebellion that he kept up despite the isolation in
which he was living; as well as having up-to-date information, which allowed him
not only to talk about national questions, but also about the issues of globalization
and its economic project, that is so in vogue... but also about the strategy of this
project with regards to the armed forces of our countries.
I said to Marcos that, just when the transnational financial capital is celebrating its
triumph with a great party, they, the Zapatistas, appear. What type of future then
can the Zapatista project have? --It is the only one with a future--he responded to
me strongly--: the globalization project world-wide is a failure and has only
generated its opposite. Not only have nation states not disappeared, (to be
absorbed into a great global state), as was planned--this is the central thesis of
neoliberalism and its native equivalents like Salinas or Menem--, but rather what it
has done is to further fragment the national states into pieces. As a result, what it is
succeeding in doing is to complicate even more the social problem, the economic
issues, and the problem of global development.
"And now comes the issues about the military: regarding the military, this strategy
continues along the same line: we incorporate one capital, one business: Earth, Inc.,
and this has just one army, one single security force, and one grand military police.
We absorb all the armies, or in other words, a rehearsal of the NATO.
"But what occurs is exactly the opposite: the borders aren't erased, but rather
multiplied, and the armies aren't simply absorbed into one large one, but rather they
are divided into many. There's the example of Yugoslavia, and that of the former
USSR, with the conflict of Chechenia. Military men who once fought together now
fight against one another.
"I believe that what the process of globalization produces--he said with assurance--
is to send the idiots to the dogs, since now they don't have a prisoner, they end up
attacking themselves. And as a necessity the armies are contaminated. Because
the function of an army to ensure the existence of the national State. If this national
state begins to come apart, the army is not subordinate, but rather begins to turn on
--And in the case of the Mexican National Army? The case of Mexico and the
Mexican Army could be even more dramatic still, because in Mexico it is possible to
distinguish various regions completely distinct from one another, like nation states.
In general terms, the North, the Southeast and the Center. This three, at least, have
very different problems. One could talk of even three different countries at the
economic, political, cultural and social levels.
Marcos referred to the nationalist tradition of the Mexican National Army, and
recognized the presence in it of "military men of honor".
"The Mexican army, amongst the armies of Latin America, has always had an
attitude of relative autonomy, with regard to the North American military policy. As a
fact the career military men, those whom we call "military men of honor" are military
men because they believe in the military career, not because they are looking for a
salary. They are or were proud to belong to the armed forces. A group very similar
to the Mexican foreign service and their career diplomats.
"A few were very proud of the progressive and independent line that had been
maintained. But precisely because of this line the Mexican military men have been
a problem for the North American military men, that they are now seeking to resolve
through its project to create a continental military force: the equivalent of NATO, but
in Latin America." --Could the United States or the Pentagon achieve its objective?--
No, I believe that the result that it is going to produce is exactly the opposite, which
is a delicate issue for the Mexican Army: "It was thought that Europe would unite
more, and now it is more divided than in the Second World War. In the plans it was
said: one sole world, one sole leader, one sole boss, the United States of North
America. And now we have a world that is much more divided. There isn't even a
military control over one or the other forces. And they have achieved what no one
believed was possible: export Beirut (export the horror) to other countries:
Yugoslavia, Russia, Europe... and soon others will follow, like Spain, Italy, and other
countries, both developed and underdeveloped. All of this, under the guise or the
argument that it is about inter-ethnic struggles.
"And this--restated Marcos--is the project of the right at the global level: a deferred
crisis, permanent, until the crisis makes itself stable, which is to say that to be in
crisis is to be stable, that you become accustomed to living in crisis. That you
become accustomed to see deaths, assassinations, bombings,
everything...Yugoslavia, but throughout the entire world, in Mexico.
--Why?--I asked, horrified.
--It is like this because the most powerful money is the financial one and it has no
fatherland. To it it does not matter if the states are all one or they split up. It has
nothing to lose, it does not have a factory, a piece of land; it does not have a
business. It has money, and it can move it wherever it wants.
--Why did you mention Mexico? Because in Mexico the governing class, the stock
market and others have been very sensitive to the process of globalization, to the
point of putting it above all values, or supposed ethics or morals, and I don't refer to
ethical values or religious morals, but rather what used to be called a love of one's
country or sense of nation.
"In this I believe that Chomsky is right when he says: the nation states are ending,
the powerful classes or the national government leaders are disappearing; there no
longer is a national political class; there are administrators of businesses with
Marcos became serious, very serious, when he warned: "There the bet will be
whether among the Mexican political class that is in power there are still groups or
factions who still feel what has no explanation or what is felt here in one's chest:
what is nationalism, the love of nationhood, of history, of fatherland...and then they
put themselves on the side of their country." It now was night, and the interview still
had not ended. Our only light came from candles. Raul Ortega could hardly see to
take his last shots, and used the flash. Marcos lit his pipe, keeping the flame of his
match lit, and looking at it for awhile, giving Raul time to take the photo.
--How is Marcos and what is going to happen to him?--I asked him.
Marcos is in perfect health--he said rising from the bench and sticking out his chest,
while letting go with a laugh.
--No, I'm serious. How do you feel? Seriously? Well, I feel very persecuted. They
want to kill me! And knowing that they want to kill you, believe me, is not a very
agreeable feeling, we could say.
"In addition, now with the certitude, that of those from the other side, with whom
previously one could talk with, now you can only expect betrayal.
"All of the military movements that are going on, including the ruses of the
vaccination campaigns, humanitarian aid, have in reality the objective of finding us,
of knowing where we are, in order to be able to carry out military action. Although
according to them--he said shrugging his shoulders--the CIA already knows where I
am and is only waiting for the opportune moment to strike the blow, or in other
words, the surgical operation that for some time they have been preparing.
Marcos, denounced the intervention of the US in Chiapas: "We know that the North
American government is very involved in the assassination project, to the extent that
its satellites are interfering with our communications, and they are passing on the
recordings to the Mexican government, which does not have the technology to
intercept these communications. The North American government does, and is
using it; this we have confirmed. Said in passing, as a greeting to Mr. Clinton...
--You probably feel very much under attack, is that true?--Yes, and look, perhaps it
is for this reason that we have been so clumsy in certain things, like for example, in
the criticism that we made about Aedepech, when they negotiated with Dante
(translated by Cindy Arnold, Center for Democracy, Liberty and Justice)
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