Diary of a Guerrilla

Diary of a Guerrilla

Diary of a Guerrilla

Diary of a Guerrilla

Synopsis

""A roadblock, " the driver said, making a gesture that showed that he felt it was a waste of time. "From time to time they're here, part of something called the Condor Plan, or so the newspapers say. They're looking for drugs.""--BOOK JACKET. "I felt fear in the pit of my stomach. I inhaled deeply, exhaling with an open mouth, quietly. I took Magdalena's hand. She didn't seem nervous." "I didn't have any guns with me, but in my bag were propaganda leaflets and books. I was sure that they'd ask questions about them - and just how far they'd question me, I didn't know. I thought about what they might do to Magdalena." "The soldiers went to the back of our pickup. The campesinos were showing them what they carried. An officer came up to the window of the pickup, telling the driver to step out. He did. His movement gave me a couple of moments alone with Magdalena." ""Don't come with me, " I whispered to her. "Tell them that you're with the driver." Then I glanced at her; she understood my plan."

Excerpt

Today’s headlines from Mexico are often about the actions and pronouncements of guerrillas. the Zapatista movement in Chiapas and its spokesman, Subcomandante Marcos, are known around the globe. Less heralded but subject to increasing mention is the shadowy Ejército Popular Revolucionario, or People’s Revolutionary Army, which has pockets of support among peasants in several of Mexico’s central and southern states. When the leaders of the Ejército Popular declared that their forebears included Florencio Medrano Mederos, reporters on both sides of the Mexican-American border asked, “Who was he?”

During the late 1970s, the states of Morelos, Guerrero, Oaxaca, and Veracruz were the scene of an ill-fated insurgency, led by Medrano, aka “Tío” (Uncle), aka “El Güero” (the Blonde). During that era—prior to the guerrilla outbreaks in Central America—both the Mexican and the American press stood in awe of Mexico’s government and leaders. Medrano’s movement was clandestine, with no secure turf, as in today’s Chiapas; covering it was dangerous. For these reasons, the trajectory of Medrano’s movement was the subject of only a half-dozen journalistic reports. Texas Monthly and Mother Jones published articles, nbc filmed a land seizure, and Mexico City’s daily Excelsior ran a feature story with photographs—and ultimately a notice reporting Medrano’s demise.

Ramón “Tianguis” Pérez was a courier and agitator in Medrano’s ranks. His first published work, Diary of an Undocumented Immigrant, tells about the life that he led for several years after the failure of the guerrilla uprising. the present work is the story of his youth in Medrano’s shadow, but it is more than that: It is a guide to the causes of today’s rebellions in Mexico, and a picture of life within them.

The chief issue of the guerrilla movement in Medrano’s day, as Pérez explains, was the ownership of land. Mexican law at the time guaranteed the integrity of ejidos comunales—farms and other tracts of land owned, not by individuals, but collectively, by the residents of vil-

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