Subcomandante Marcos in 2014
Subcomandante Marcos in 2014

MEXICO CITY — Will the mask come off? A Mexican judge has ruled that sedition and terrorism charges have expired against 13 rebels of the Zapatista Liberation Army (EZLN), including those filed against the group's masked enigmatic former leader, Subcomandante Marcos, La Jornada and other media reported.

The EZLN rose in revolt in 1994 to defend indigenous people in the southern state of Chiapas against a range of government rights abuses, and soon, the group became an admired force in Mexico and beyond, representing a leftist, non-violent, anti-capitalist lifestyle.

Having survived the state's initial bid to crush their revolt, the Zapatistas have in recent years become less focused on guerrilla tactics and more involved in civilian protests, which has bolstered their popularity in Mexico. They have never espoused the brutality of other major rebel armies in Latin America, such as communist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Forced into hiding since the 1990s, former EZLN leader Marcos decided to cover his face with a black balaclava, a move that quickly turned him into an iconic — even fashionable — figure, not unlike Argentinian revolutionary Che Guevara. The pipe-smoking Marcos always gave interviews masked, though he may have revealed his face once to CNN correspondent Carmen Arístegui.

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Marcos in 1996 — Photo: Jose Villa

He systematically denied the identities state officials attributed to him, likely in a bid to strip him of his mystique; members of the family alleged to be his corroborated the denials, but in any case, confusion and mystery were part of the game, as they so often are in Mexico.

In 2014, after stepping down as head of the EZLN, Marcos declared his persona "dead" and said he was henceforth to be called Galeano, after an EZLN activist murdered by an armed gang. In theory, his retirement from the limelight means that Marcos (or Galeano) can now walk, shop and cycle as publicly as he pleases. Whether such newly gained freedom would risk losing his iconic status remains to be seen.

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Geopolitics

Why Ghosts Of Hitler Keep Appearing In Colombia

Colombia's police chiefs must be dismally ignorant if they think it was "instructive" to expose young cadets bereft of historical education to Nazi symbols.

Nazi symbols were displayed in public at the Tuluá Police Academy

Reinaldo Spitaletta

-OpEd-

BOGOTÁ — Adolf Hitler was seen in 1954, wandering around the chilly town of Tunja, northeast of the Colombian capital. The führer was, they said, all cloaked up like a peasant — they even took a picture of him. Later, he was spotted nearby at the baths in the spa town of Paipa, no doubt there for his fragile health.

A former president and notorious arch-conservative of 20th century Colombian politics, Laureano Gómez used to pay him homage. A fascist at heart, Gómez had to submit to the United States as the victor of World War II. He wasn't the only fascist sympathizer in Colombia then. Other conservatives, writers and intellectuals were fascinated by Nazism.

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