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organizer Margarito Ruiz, an ANIPA founder, who critiques the EZLN willingness to cede Chiapas petroleum wealth to the federal government. “If we do not have a way of financing the autonomous areas, they are a fiction,” offers Jenaro Dominguez, director of the National Coordinating Body of the Despite their differences, all sides concur that Indian nations are endowed with territory as defined by Resolution 169 of the International Labor Organization, a document that has become the legal benchmark for indigenous people’s rights, and was approved by the Mexican Congress a decade ago. For many years, one PRI government after another claimed ownership of Mexico’s Indians, swapping funds and services provided by such agencies as the Public Education Secretariat, the Agrarian ministries, and for allegiance. Despite PresidentVicente Fox’s selection of a Nahua Indian to head the INI, the demise of the institute was overwhelmingly demanded at Nurio. Fox has also appointed an an Otomi Indian businesswoman to foment private enterprise in communally-run indigenous zones. The PRI continues to lay claim to Mexico’s Indians and retains strong influence in many regions through the National Campesino Confederation rural bosses. In the July 2000 presidential elections, the PRI, as usual, captured more than 50 percent of the national Indian vote. On the other hand, Fox’s conservative, middle-class, and overwhelmingly white. National Indian constituency among Mayans in the state ofYucatan. Both the PAN and the PRI vehemently reject the EZLN’s pretensions to represent the Indian peoples, accusing the Zapatistas of being manipulated by white radicals who have bamboozled them into demanding an ill-conceived autonomy that will destabilize Mexico. Accusations that white radicals are behind the EZLN were recently given a healthy boost. At a tumultuous San Cristobal de las Casas bon voyage party on the eve of the Zapatistas’ departure from Chiapas, Subcomandante MarCos designated Fernando Yanez, AKA “Comandante German,” as the EZLN’s liaison to Congress. A chubby, pale-faced architect from Monterrey, Yanez was once . charged by Zedillo with being the EZLN’s supreme commander and was briefly taken into custody for guns and drug possession in December 1995, in an apparent effort to torpedo government-rebel negotiations;he was quickly released. Until the march began last month, the EZLN repeatedly denied knowing of his existence. German’s sudden resurrection in the Zapatista pantheon raises legitimate questions about who actually pulls the strings. Throughout the comandantes’ 15-day, 3000-kilometer journey,Yanez appeared on stage with the EZLN’s general command, hovering like a white ghost behind Marcos, who is non-Indian, when the Subcomandante speaks of the long march as being one of “those who are the color of the earth.” The CNI’s third national comingtogether demonstrated a maturing and increasingly independent organization-3,300 delegates from 27 states and 42 Indian nations attended, along with 6,000 observers \(only 250 of the CNI’s determination to establish indigenous autonomy may exceed that of the EZLN. Some delegates even argue that the Indian peoples should ignore the proposed federal legislation the Zapatistas seek. “We are already autonomous. We do not need the permission of the political parties to legitimize this,” declared Zapotec delegate and CNI founding member Carlos Manso. The final declaration of the Nurio conclave called for a “peaceful national insurrec tion” to achieve autonomy, but Purepecha spokesman Abelardo Torres did not dis count violent retaliation in the event of a Congressional “no” vote. The CNI’s call for peaceful revolt acquired additional weight because it was pronounced on a stage shared by leaders of Ecuador’s rapidly radicalizing Indian movement, who, along with the Zapatistas, have been in the vanguard of resistance to the globalization of indigenous America. The blossoming of self-declared autonomous zones across the landscape could significantly broaden the battlefront for the Fox administration and guarantee six more years of conflict with Mexico’s embattled native peOpies. Not a mile from the Nurio gathering, freshly painted wall writings in the hamlet of Ahuiran championed the the EZLN’s most serious rival on the armed left. As they moved through a region where at least four armed groups are thought to be operating, the Zapatista general command called for a united front of all guerrilla formations in support of Indian rights legislation that would make autonomy a reality. John Ross’s latest book is The War Against Oblivion: Zapatista Chronicles 1994-2000. tiF Marcia Perskie