HOMAGE TO CHIAPAS
The New Indigenous Struggles in Mexico
Verso Books, London & New York, 2000
288 pages 16 b/w photographs
cloth
1 85984 719 6
US $25 / CAN $35

BILL WEINBERG

"An eye-opening tour of the south-of-the-border front... close-hand reporting from little-visited corners of the country...  A useful, provocative study."
          --Kirkus Reviews

 

"Bill Weinberg slogs through jungles to uncover heroic, insurrectionary hopes radical journalism the way it¹s supposed to be done."
          --Hakim Bey

The new Zapatistas in Chiapas have served as a catalyst for revolutionary indigenous movements across Mexico, pioneering a new model of resistance and posing a powerful threat to the stability of the North American Free Trade Agreement. While the masked Maya rebels of Chiapas have won some international media attention, the local struggles for land and autonomy throughout Mexico¹s Indian and campesino territories remain largely ignored even as new, more radical guerilla movements have emerged in the states of Oaxaca and Guerrero.

In HOMAGE TO CHIAPAS, award-winning journalist Bill Weinberg provides a comprehensive account of the Zapatista rebellion from the uprising of January 1, 1994 to the present day, with numerous first-hand eye-witness accounts. But he also explores the civil campesino struggles unfolding beyond the reach of the international media¹s eye. In the lush fields and wetlands of Tabasco, Maya campesinos and fishermen blockade the oil wells of the state monopoly Pemex in protest of the degradation of their lands and waters. In the central Mexican village of Tepoztlan, plans for a giant GTE computer complex and golf course on communal lands spark a local uprising and seizure of power by Tepozteco Indian councils. From the pine-clad mountains of Oaxaca to the arid canyons of Chihuahua, Indian communities struggle to reclaim their lands from drug cartels and outlaw timber operations. In Guerrero, where campesinos face growing militarization of their lands as mysterious new guerilla groups emerge, Weinberg becomes the first US reporter to contact the Revolutionary Army of the Insurgent People (ERPI), now Mexico¹s second-largest clan-destine armed organization.

HOMAGE TO CHIAPAS traces the current struggles to roots in the pre-Columbian past, and explores how the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) is reinterpreting Emiliano Zapata¹s tradition of resistance for a new Free Trade era. The book analyzes NAFTA¹s impact on Mexico¹s campesinos, dis-sects the new arteries of CIA/Pentagon-directed counter-insurgency in the guise of the War on Drugs, and illustrates how corporate access to oil, timber and other resources propel the US towards an escalated military role in Mexico. Weinberg interviews Subcommander Marcos and other central figures in the drama, and grapples with the Zapatistas¹ challenge to their supporters to carry the struggle throughout Mexico and beyond it¹s borders.

Bill Weinberg is a correspondent for Native Americas, the quarterly journal of Cornell University¹s American Indian Studies Program. He is also a reporter and columnist for High Times, the American counterculture monthly, and a producer on New York¹s listener-supported WBAI Radio.  When he is not on the road in Mexico, he lives in his hometown of New York City.

 


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