Jungle meeting plans to topple government

A SO-CALLED National Democratic Convention, organised in Mexico's lush Lacandona jungle by a guerrilla leader, subcomandante Marcos, ended with a call for a national campaign of civil resistance against the 65- year-old rule of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

A tropical rainstorm on Tuesday washed out the assembly of 5,000 worker, peasant, student and Indian groups, as well as writers and intellectuals, that was held in a jungle clearing. Earlier, Mr Marcos called on Mexicans to fight without arms to change the system. The 'civil resistance' campaign could include a general strike, power cuts and other disruptive acts.

Retaining his black balaclava after the delegates shouted 'no' when he asked whether he should remove it, the man who led the January revolt in the south-eastern state of Chiapas said the guerrillas would remain on the sidelines for the time being. 'It's not the hour of arms. We shall step aside but we shall not go away,' he said.

The convention set up a 100- member commission, headed by a left-wing politician, Rosario Ibarra and including the writer, Elena Poniatowski. It was entrusted with organising peaceful anti-PRI protests and with pressing for the convention's main goal. This is to set up a transitional government, to lead Mexico from what is effectively a one-party system, and a constituent assembly to rewrite the 1917 constitution.

Mrs Ibarra has led a long campaign of mothers whose left-wing sons or daughters disappeared in the Seventies. She believes her teenage son was murdered by the authorities. Before the downpour brought down a giant tarpaulin roof and ended the proceedings, the delegates sang the national anthem and Mr Marcos handed Mrs Ibarra a Mexican flag.

The convention seems aimed at mobilising support against the PRI before the 21 August presidential and legislative elections. But it did not come out in favour of the opposition candidates.

Mr Marcos, a charismatic non- Indian, whose Zapatista National Liberation Army mainly comprises Mayan Indians, implied his men would fight again if the election results are considered fraudulent and the PRI continue to govern. 'We are ready to shed more blood and face more death if that is the price of achieving democratic change in Mexico,' he said. In a speech as poetic as it was political, He described the amphitheatre, hacked out by his men from the jungle, as 'a Noah's ark, a tower of Babel, a pirate ship.'

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager

£17000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This children's clothing compan...

Recruitment Genius: Experienced Carpenter / Joiner

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading manufacturer...

Recruitment Genius: Cabinet Maker / Joiner

£22000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This bespoke furniture and inte...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic and Motion Designer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Do you get a buzz from thinking up new ideas a...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones