People: Mexico's 'disgusting' uprising

THE enigmatic Sub-comandante Marcos, a leader of the Zapatista rebels in southern Mexico, has contributed to his popularity by using biting wit and direct language in a nation accustomed to dry political rhetoric. But Latin America's first post- Communist revolutionary folk-hero has been annoyed by the crass commercialisation of his image.

Manufacturers have produced dolls, T-shirts and even condoms bearing the likeness of the ski-masked guerrilla. 'Uprising' condoms carry Sub-comandante Marcos's image and the slogan: 'Recommended by me.' The rebel leader said he finds them 'disgusting'.

(Photograph omitted)

Nelson Mandela is a man in a hurry. To live life in the fast lane with the African National Congress leader you need a very speedy car and strong nerves. As he campaigns for votes in the April elections in South Africa, Mr Mandela's roadshow hits speeds of up to 112mph. At times, journalists' cars race three and four abreast behind the lead vehicles.

''We have to drive fast . . . for safety,' said one of the drivers worried about attacks by right-wingers. But the bone-rattling rides cannot be doing the 75-year-old Mr Mandela much good.

IN PARIS, the election of an editor for Le Monde, usually an occasion for epic in-fighting, appears to be proceeding with a whimper rather than a bang. Jean-Marie Colombani, a deputy editor on the paper, looks set to become editor. Mr Colombani, the sole candidate, won 65 per cent of the vote when the 228 journalists voted on Sunday. For final approval he has to muster 75 per cent when other voters - administrative staff and reader-shareholders - join in the poll.

THE FIJIAN leader, Sitiveni Rabuka, is already where he wants to be. The devout Methodist and two-time coup leader was sworn in for a second term as prime minister today. Mr Rabuka thanked the 200 people gathered at his home for their support and read from the Bible, which he often carries in his shirt pocket.

THE FORMER UN secretary- general Javier Perez de Cuellar could yet become president of his native land. Despite public denials, Mr Perez de Cuellar may be in the frame when nominations close for the Peruvian presidential race early next year.

Mr Perez de Cuellar, 70, says he is too old to enter the fray. But his supporters reckon he is the only figure with sufficient clout to take on the incumbent, Alberto Fujimori. Their arguments are backed by the latest opinion poll, which shows Mr Perez de Cuellar leading Mr Fujimori by 41 per cent to 40.

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