In a Mexico ‘Tired of Violence,’ Zapatista Rebels Venture Into Politics
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« on: August 27, 2017, 04:10:43 pm »

The Zapatistas, the most powerful political rebels in Mexico in nearly 100 years, are renouncing armed revolution, after decades of opposing the government, for a simple reason: Mexico is so riddled with violence, they say, that the country cannot handle any more of it.

The decision is a searing commentary on the state of Mexico today, analysts say. The rebels have not reached a peace deal with the government, nor won their longstanding push for indigenous rights. But killings in Mexico are rising so quickly that even a movement rooted in armed struggle feels compelled to back away from violence.

“This shows the extent to which Mexicans are tired of violence,” said Jesús Silva-Herzog, a political-science professor at the School of Government at Tecnológico de Monterrey. “Political radicalism today has to be pacifist because the public, social and economic life in Mexico has been stained with blood for far too long.”

Subcommander Marcos, the rebel leader who became a global phenomenon in 1994 when the Zapatistas stormed into towns in the state of Chiapas, stood on stage for a brief moment a few months ago, hidden behind a throng of fighters, youngsters with piercings and indigenous followers in hand-stitched blouses.

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After a few rounds of applause, photographs and revolutionary chants, he quietly walked off the stage, a stark departure from the fiery speeches on inequality and armed revolution that once drew him international attention and willing recruits.
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