Rebels try to advance via Internet
Tuesday 07 March 1995
The information-age rebels, led by the ski-masked Subcommandante Marcos (whose real name is Rafael Sebastian Guillen) are being assisted by human rights activists and supporters in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas who use the Internet to spread the Zapatista message around the world.
Computer links and satellite television have enabled the Chiapas rebels to marshall international opinion and to spotlight human rights abuses by the Mexican army.
Marcos, the Mexican rebel leader, carries a laptop computer in a backpack and plugs the machine into the cigarette lighter socket of a pick-up truck before tapping out his now famous communiqus. Copied on to floppy disks the statements are taken by courier to supporters who transmit them by telephone to computer bulletin boards.
"What governments should really fear," the rebel spokesman said recently, "is a communications expert."
As a leader of an army of poorly equipped campesinos hiding in jungle redoubts, Marcos has recognised that information transmitted through cyberspace is more powerful than the rebels' Second World War-era guns.
When the Mexican police raided Zapatista safehouses in the southern state of Veracruz recently, it was reported that they captured more computer disks than bullets. And when Mexico's President Ernesto Zedillo launched a military offensive aimed at capturing Marcos, an "urgent action" alert went out to sympathisers worldwide. It included the direct fax number to the president and the interior minister. As a result of the campaign the president's fax machine either burnt out or was switched off according to Mariclaire Acosta, head of a Mexican human rights group.
During their retreat the Zapatistas handed an international public relations beating to the government by sending a communiqu on to the net claiming that the army was "killing children, beating and raping women...and bombing us".
Harry Cleaver, of the University of Texas at Austin, is a key link in the rebels' information chain. Last year he used hundreds of people linked via the Internet to organise the translation of the book Zapatistas! Documents of the New Mexican Revolution in only three weeks.
- 1 Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe Ned Stark's son may have a twin sister
- 2 Artist takes LSD, draws herself over different stages of the 9-hour trip to show its effects
- 4 iPhone 6s camera: features to include 4K video camera and flash for selfies
- 5 A pint of water every day is the key to losing weight, scientists say
Miley Cyrus address Robin Thicke VMA controversy: ‘He wanted me as naked as possible, but I got the heat because I’m a woman’
Most expensive city to live in for expatriates: Luanda, Angola takes number one spot with Hong Kong and Zurich in top three
If Surrey were Syria: Social experiment shows what it's like to live under siege
Irish tourist filmed fighting with shopkeepers in Turkey says they 'messed with the wrong man'
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal get peerages
Dresden riots: Protesters in Germany attack refugee buses shouting 'foreigners out'
France train shooting: US soldiers speak of the moment they stopped gunman and 'beat him until he was unconscious'
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
£9464 - £12995 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The successful applicant will ne...
£26000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Product Development departm...
£19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This hull based charity providing except...
£9464 - £10396 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The successful applicant will ne...