Not much is known about the private life of Subcomandante Marcos. As the leading spokesperson and one of the leaders of the indigenous armed revolutionary group, Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), he conceals his identity behind a balaclava for obvious security, as well as socio-political reasons. Although, conflicting sources have at times identified him as a disenchanted government official, a college or university professor, or a Jesuit priest , a general consensus in the literature points to the possibility that he is formally educated (with a Masters in Philosophy) and that he has worked as a professor at the Autonomous University of Mexico. In an interview with Gabriel García Márquez, Marcos acknowledges his urban, middle-class, and literary upbringing.
He reveals that both of his parents were teachers who taught him to become “conscious of language—not as a way of communicating, but of constructing something” . Indeed, most of his readers, along with Márquez, recognize that Marcos writes in a style that reveals an erudite familiarity with many literary genres.
In 1995 the Mexican government attempted to reveal Subcomandante Marcos’ identity by identifying him as Rafael Sebastián Guillén Vicente, a Mexican national from Tampico, Tamaulipas. Marcos and the EZLN denied this. In reponse Zapatista sympathisers across Mexico claimed “Todos Somos Marcos” (We Are All Marcos) . Such protests attest to the metapersona status that Marcos represents.
Subcomandante Marcos acknowledges that he is not indigenous, even though he is the highest military authority of an indigenous revolutionary group. Nevertheless, those in his ranks regard him as “‘a man of struggle, even if he is mestizo’ [read: of ‘mixed’ European and Indigenous heritage] . ” In short, Marcos’ biography, interesting as it may be, is irrelevant to the struggle at hand. As Marcos himself remarks: “At stake is what Subcomandante Marcos is, not who he was” .
By Subcomandante Marcos