Adiós Marcos: A Fond Farewell to the Subcommander Who Simply Ceased to Exist


  • Nicholas Henck Keio University (Tokyo)


Subcommander / subcomandante Marcos, EZLN, Zapatistas, indigenous peoples, mestizaje, neoliberalism, rule of law, Zapata


In light of the recent announcement by Subcommander Marcos that he has ceased to exist, the following paper surveys the achievements of el subcomandante. It begins by focusing on how Marcos was able to garner national and international support for the Zapatista movement, which helped it not only to survive but flourish. The paper next emphasizes how Marcos managed to bring into dialogue the two estranged entities of urban mestizo, and rural indigenous, Mexico, before contextualizing the Subcommander by briefly comparing him to certain of Mexico’s post-68 generation and fixing him within a wider tradition of Latin American pensadores. There follows a systematic survey of the subcommander’s attacks on the ideological lynchpins of the Mexican State’s legitimacy: its policies of mestizaje and neoliberal economic reform, and its appeals to modernity, to being the legitimate and sole heir to the Mexican Revolution, and to the rule of law. The paper subsequently moves on to assesses Marcos’ literary achievements and contributions, before ending by looking at his global impact and placing him within a pantheon that includes Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi.

Author Biography

Nicholas Henck, Keio University (Tokyo)

Nicholas (Nick) Henck es profesor asociado en la Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Keio (Tokio). Obtuvo su doctorado en Historia en la Universidad de Oxford. Es autor del libro Subcommander Marcos: The Man and the Mask (Duke University Press, 2007) y de diversos artículos en revistas especializadas internacionales.



How to Cite

Henck, N. (2015). Adiós Marcos: A Fond Farewell to the Subcommander Who Simply Ceased to Exist. A Contracorriente: Una Revista De Estudios Latinoamericanos, 12(2), 401–421. Retrieved from



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