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  • Subcomandante Marcos of the EZLN in Chiapas in 1996.

    Subcomandante Marcos of the EZLN in Chiapas in 1996. | Photo: Creative Commons

Published 24 February 2016

Subcomandante Marcos has faced charges for terrorism and illegal firearms possession since 1995, one year after the Zapatistas declared war on Mexico.

The iconic leader of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, subcomandante Marcos, is no longer wanted for any crimes after a Mexican federal judge announced Tuesday that the 1995 order for his arrest had expired.

Subcomandante Marcos, now known as Subcomandante Galeano, has faced charges for terrorism, sedition, and possession of firearms used by the Mexican military, among other crimes, but prosecution period for those charges have expired.

Arrest warrants for 10 other EZLN members have also expired, authorities announced Tuesday.

IN DEPTH: Zapatista Road to Resistance

The EZLN declared war against the Mexican state on January 1, 1994, launching the Indigenous movement in Mexico’s southern state of Chiapas into the international spotlight as an example for autonomous social movements around the globe.

Over two decades after the masked Indigenous army emerged from the Lacandon jungle and announced its resistance to Mexico and to the world, the Zapatista struggle continues on the path of self-determination and new alternatives to global capitalism.

On May 24, 2014, in a statement on the EZLN website, the rebel leader announced, “Marcos, the character is no longer necessary … His character was created and now his creators, the Zapatistas, are destroying him.”

Galeano went on to say that Marcos, the character, had appropriated the attention of the movement, and that the move to “kill” him was not due to illness, death or internal purge of the group.

“I declare that the one known as Insurgent Subcomandante Marcos no longer exists,” he said. “The voice of the Zapatista National Liberation Army will no longer come from my voice.”

Contrary to what many analysts previously believed, Marcos did not announce he would step down as EZLN's leader.

“In the end, those who understand will know that there is no departure of what was never here, nor death for someone who never lived,” he said, signing off as “Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano.”

The name Galeano is a reference to Jose Luis Solís López “Galeano,” a teacher and EZLN leader killed in May 2, 2014 by a paramilitary group.

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