Hi, everyone! My name is Nayeli Gallardo. I was born in the state of Jalisco in Mexico and moved to the U.S. (specifically Greenfield, California) when I was in primary school. I am in my second year at Stanford, studying environmental engineering (and hopefully minoring in history or public policy). I’m passionate about sustainable international development and social and environmental justice—in many forms and around the world. I also love to travel, dance, and learn about other cultures.
For this class, I am going to be studying the leadership strategies of Subcomandante Marcos, who is the main spokesperson of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN in Spanish) in a region of southern Mexico. The EZLN is a rebel group/movement that aims to protest against unjust treatment of indigenous peoples by the Mexican government and to promote indigenous rights and autonomy, environmental protection, women’s rights, and rights of other oppressed minorities. One of the most interesting things that I want to explore about Subcomandante Marcos is that he is actually not indigenous himself, but a member of the middle class. Although much of his identity is unknown and the public does not even know what he looks like because he always covers his face with a ski mask, it is popularly believed that he was a college professor before becoming part of the EZLN.
Through my research, I want to answer questions such as the following: How does he use “ideas as a weapon,” as this phrase appears in many of his campaigns? How did he use cross-cultural rhetoric to become a leader in a community ethnically and socioeconomically different from him? Does the fact that so much of his identity is unknown hurt or benefit his leadership rhetoric and the campaigns/ideals he promotes? How does he use the media and especially the internet to advocate for the rest of the movement despite having few financial resources and being based in such a remote area? How does he use poetry, books, and other written works to promote the Zapatista cause?
Nayeli Gallardo – Stanford University