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Subcommander Marcos: The Man and the Mask


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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Subcommander Marcos made his debut on the world stage on January 1, 1994, the day the North American Free Trade Agreement took effect. At dawn, from a town-hall balcony he announced that the Zapatista Army of National Liberation had seized several towns in the Mexican state of Chiapas in rebellion against the government; by sunset Marcos was on his way to becoming the most famous guerrilla leader since Che Guevara. Subsequently, through a succession of interviews, communiquandeacute;s, and public spectacles, the Subcommander emerged as a charismatic spokesperson for the indigenous Zapatista uprising and a rallying figure in the international anti-globalization movement.

In this, the first English-language biography of Subcommander Marcos, Nick Henck describes the thought, leadership, and personality of this charismatic rebel spokesperson. He traces Marcosandrsquo;s development from his provincial middle-class upbringing, through his academic career and immersion in the clandestine world of armed guerrillas, to his emergence as the iconic Subcommander. Henck reflects on what motivated an urbane university professor to reject a life of comfort in Mexico City in favor of one of hardship as a guerrilla in the mountainous jungles of Chiapas, and he examines how Marcos became a conduit through which impoverished indigenous Mexicans could communicate with the world.

Henck fully explores both the rebel leaderandrsquo;s renowned media savvy and his equally important flexibility of mind. He shows how Marcosandrsquo;s speeches and extensive writings demonstrate not only the Subcommanderandrsquo;s erudition but also his rejection of Marxist dogmatism. Finally, Henck contextualizes Marcos, locating him firmly within the Latin American guerrilla tradition.


A biography of Mexican guerilla leader (in Chiapas) Subcommander Marcos that synthesizes his life, his career, and his influence. The first such study in English.

About the Author

Nick Henck is Visiting Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law at Keio University in Tokyo.

Table of Contents

Illustrations xi

Acknowledgments xii

Abbreviations and Acronyms xv

Cast of Main Characters xix

Introduction 1

Part I: Rafael

1. Birth and Family 13

2. School Years 20

3. High School College 23

4. UNAM 29

5. The Gradate 42

Part II: Marcos the Guerilla

6. Chiapas 57

7. Guerilla Inception 65

8. The Wilderness Years 76

9. First Contact 82

10. Promotion and Expansion 88

11. A Jungle Wedding 107

12. An Election, Exponential Growth, and a Rift 112

13. Bust and Boom 124

14. Fallout 129

15. From the Peopleandrsquo;s Guerilla to a Guerilla People 133

16. Indigenous Indignation 143

17. An Internal Coup and the Road to War 163

Part III: Marcos the Star Spokesman

18. The Uprising 195

19. andldquo;Waging a Masterful Media Warandrdquo; 213

20. A Cease-Fire 221

21. The Cult of Marcos 226

22. Peace Talks 247

23. Courting Civil Society 253

24. The Elections and Their Aftermath 262

25. Marcos Unmasked and Rafael Revealed 278

26. Nationalizing and Internationalizing the Struggle 301

27. A March and a Massacre 315

28. Speedy Gonzalez Breaks the Silence 321

29. A Consulta, a Story, and a Strike 330

30. A Change of Government 336

31. The Zapatour 342

32. Marcos Today 353

Conclusion 361

Notes 369

Glossary 467

Works Cited 469

Index 487

Product Details

Henck, Nick
Duke University Press
Latin America - Mexico
Ejercito Zapatista de Liberacion Nacional (Me
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
19 photographs, 3 maps
9.13 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Biography » Military
Biography » Political
History and Social Science » Latin America » Mexico
History and Social Science » Military » General History
History and Social Science » World History » General

Subcommander Marcos: The Man and the Mask New Trade Paper
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Product details 528 pages Duke University Press - English 9780822339953 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
A biography of Mexican guerilla leader (in Chiapas) Subcommander Marcos that synthesizes his life, his career, and his influence. The first such study in English.
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