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mediate escalation, not only in bankruptcies and unemployment, but also in protests and violent crime. During 1995, with the inauguration of low-intensity warfare, the Mexican Army militarized the states of Chiapas, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Tabasco, and others. The government has nothing to offer the poor as with the exception of military hardware, often supplied by the U.S. it has so few resources itself. As in many other countries throughout the world where the economy has crashed, police and military control have become the government’s only response to poverty and protests. All of this U.S. involvement in Mexico, from indirect miliary intervention to the economic dominance codified by NAFTA, has been justified as steps in the development of “free markets” and “free trade.” But Ross sees free trade as containing its own internal contradictions. “Free trade,” he explains, “is a formula for aggrandizement imposed upon the weak by the strong….” This sort of “free trade” between a rich company and a poor one, between a rich country and a poor one inevitably favors the rich. And what do foreign corporations want out of this NAFTA deal? All of Mexico. As Salinas’ opponent, Cuauhtemoc Cardenas \(now labor, cheap energy, raw materials and lax environmental enforcement should not be a basis of partnership.” He is echoed by Jorge Castafieda \(Mexico’s op-ed mouthpiece to the danger of annexation: “In the case of two nations so disparate in size and power and wealth, the weight of economic superiority can be crushing and can lead to a significant loss of sovereignty and cultural identity.” Yet this lopsided “partnership” is precisely what NAFTA is all about. Ross puts it more succinctly: [NAFTA] only codified a silent integration of the two economies…the sanctification of an unholy union, one in which the North American gorilla would dictate the terms of the marital contract to the thin Mexican burro. If one needed proof of the true meaning of free trade, one item is sufficient: as a pre-condition for Mexico’s signing on to NAFTA, President George Bush forced President Salinas to eliminate the ejido, the communally-owned lands set aside under Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution. Why? Because under those ejidal lands are massive oil and gas reserves which the transnational corporations want to get their hands on, without any interference from Indians growing corn on the topsoil. The 1994 crash of Mexico’s stock market was so severe that even Michel Camdesus, president of the International Monetary Fund, labeled it “the first major crisis of our New World of globalized market economies.” In times of crisis, blame the victim. When “the house of cards had THE ZAPATISTA STRUGGLE IS ALSO A STRUGGLE, IN THE LONG TERM, FOR THE NATION AND AGAINST THE COR-PORATE ANNEXATION OF MEXICO. collapsed [in December 1994] and Mexico was once again spinning into an abyss,” the rich investors from the North badly needed a scapegoat. Predictably, they blamed the Zapatistas for their troubles or rather, they blamed the Mexican government for its failure to act with sufficient repression. Thus, in mid-January 1995, the Chase Manhattan Bank mandated “the elimination of the Zapatistas.” \(“While Chiapas, in our opinion, does not pose a fundamental threat to Mexican stability,” wrote Riordan Roett of Chase’s Emerging Markets Group in an analysis of the Zedillo regime, “it is perceived to be so by many in the investment community. The government will need to eliminate the Zapatistas to demonstrate its effective control of the national territory and of security policy.” Chase Manhattan Bank’s “Mexico Political UpBut as it happens, Zedillo’s attempt at unmasking Subcomandante Marcos has thus far backfired, instead fostering “a new slogan of defiance, now scrawled on walls across the land: Todos Somos Marcos’ struggle is not just for indigenous rights in Chiapas, or against the PRI dictatorship. It is also a struggle, in the long term, for the nation and against the corporate annexation of Mexico. Ross concludes his fascinating history of Mexico by contrasting two historical metaphors: the first he calls “the curse of Malinchismo” and the second, “patriotic re sistance to economic annexation.” “La Ma linche” was Cortez’ Indian concubine, who is said to have admired what was foreign over what was native Mexican; the master Mexican muralist Orozco depicted her as a temptress, a Mexican Eve, a whore. Her curse is thus seen as a form of Mexican self loathing, born from complicity in the rape and violence against Mexico by foreigners. Defenders of Malinche respond that her submission to Cortez was a necessary strat egy, designed to free her people from Aztec domination. Perhaps so. But if the metaphor persists, who might be the “Mal inche” who can free Mexico today from its economic annexation by U.S. corporations, and how might her “submission” succeed against such economic domination? Ross suggests that there is an alternative metaphor, and it is provided by the Zapatista call to reaffirm the patria and to recover the Mexican patrimony. The rebellion in Chiapas has not only rekindled the spirit of Mexico’s Revolution, it has offered an alternative to Malinchismo the sacrificial resistance of the Mayan Indians in Chiapas, who demand democracy, freedom, and justice for everyone. The promise of NAFTA was Malinchismo’s modern moment. When that promise spectacularly failed, in the crash of 1994, the marginalized and impoverished poor, inspired by the suffering, honesty, and vision of the original Zapatistas, discovered an alternative to La Malinche, one which affirms cultural creativity, indigenous dignity, and national pride, by saying “No!” to NAFTA. John Ross writes poignantly about his own awakening to the Zapatista rebellion, and how he has been “shifting from one battleground to another as this coming-together of resistance struggles around the country solidifies, deepens.” Ross compares several coyunturas in past and present times in Morelos and Tabasco, Guerrero and Oaxaca. They all meet in the Mexican jungles of the past and future, and merge with those struggling globally for worldwide justice. For what is happening in Mexico is merely a template of the corporate blueprint to conquer the whole world, the attempt to eliminate all popular resistance to MARCH 27, 1998 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 21