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Zapatista Subcomandante Marcos Coverage Begins

Let's Get The Other Journalism On The Road!


December 27, 2005
From Somewhere in the Lacandon Jungle, Chiapas, Mexico

Preparations for Narco News Full “Swarm” Coverage of the first legs of the historic six-month voyage of Zapatista Subcomandante Marcos to every corner of Mexico are gearing up. You can read all about it at the special page we’ve created for it:

http://www.narconews.com/otroperiodismo/

The journey begins on Sunday, January 1, and I’m going to share a little bit more with you here about what to expect when the rebel roller coaster ride begins.

Thanks to each of you who already made a donation in the past two weeks we are halfway toward the estimated budget that will be needed to move a mobile team of Authentic Journalists – video, radio, photo, written word, investigation, the works – from Chiapas to the Yucatán peninsula during the first 16 days of the journey.

The goal is not merely to cover Marcos – known as “Delegate Zero” – and his travels, but also to undertake the more daunting task of interviewing “the simple and humble people who struggle” that await his visit across the Yucatán Peninsula in the ten days prior to his January 9 arrival there.

I’ll introduce you, in a moment, to your (every day growing larger team of) journalists on the ground, and give you a preview of what we hope to accomplish during these historic days, but first – because I know that not all of you need “the pitch” to contribute some portion of your holiday booty or hard-earned bread – here’s the short version:

Please make a donation today to The Fund for Authentic Journalism to make this news coverage possible (the journalists are all volunteering our labor, but there are also gas, food, lodging, transport costs and other expenses inherent in moving a large news team across hill and dale). You can make that donation right now online at this link:

http://www.authenticjournalism.org/

Or you can send your contribution – checks made out to The Fund for Authentic Journalism, please - through the mail to:

The Fund for Authentic Journalism
P.O. Box 241
Natick, MA 01760
United States of America

Now, here’s a sneak preview of what will occur beginning on Sunday.

The Zapatista spokesman will begin his journey in the jungle outpost of La Garrucha and head toward San Cristóbal de Las Casas (the former colonial capital of Chiapas) where a massive march will welcome and accompany him.

On the ground there in Chiapas will be a team of journalists headed by Concepción Villafuerte, editor of La Foja Coleta and former co-editor, with her late husband Amado Avendaño Figueroa, of the historic newspaper El Tiempo (which has a special edition – the first since don Amado’s April 2004 passing – coming out this week to begin the reporting and also announce our own efforts). Working with doña Conchita on the Chiapas coverage – you’ll be reading it via Narco News - will be the Italian journalist Giovanni Proiettis (who has reported on the Zapatista struggle since the first days of the rebellion in January 1994 for the Italian daily Il Manifiesto among other publications), Gerardo Osuna, and our journalism brigade’s general coordinator Mercedes Osuna (who, for so many years when she was director of Enlace Civil, guided the work of thousands of national and international observers and journalists on Zapatista lands), plus others whom you will meet through our pages in the coming days. (If you are going to be in San Cristóbal this week, please stop by and see Mercedes – telephone 967 678 36 98 or email oshalcon@gmail.com to learn more about our efforts and find a way to participate.)

Meanwhile, the mobile road team will descend upon Yucatán in advance of the delegate’s visit: Joining me there will be documentary director Greg Berger (producer of the Gringoton and Atenco documentaries at www.salonchingon.com ), cinematographer Sarahy Flores, documentary producer Barrett Hawes (all three of them are co-producers of “Chew On This: For Us Coca Is Life,” the documentary produced in Bolivia during the 2004 School of Authentic Journalism), plus ace radio reporters Quetzal Belmont and Karla Aguilar (also 2004 graduates of the j-school), journalist Ana Laura Hernández (some of you may remember the international newspaper “Love and Rage” that she co-edited). A few days later, Teo Ballvé (also a 2004 graduate) will arrive to lend his hand on deck with the coverage. And of course our 2001 co-defendant Mario Menéndez and his team at the region’s largest daily newspaper, Por Esto!, has offered us a helping hand across the peninsula to bring you the news in your language. (Other old friends and colleagues are trying to clear their calendars to join in this effort, too: stay tuned.)

There, over the following ten days, we will go out and interview the “simple and humble people who struggle” from Mérida to Chichen Itza to Cancún to Chetumal and all places in between, and who await Delegate Zero’s arrival there on January 9.

And from January 9 to 15, we’ll crisscross the peninsula a second time to report on the news from that unprecedented visit.

During this time we’ll be filing written reports, Internet radio reports, “Newsreel” style short video reports, longer outtakes of interviews, photographs, and whatever else is necessary to aid you in being there from wherever you are on this earth.

Speaking of which: No matter where you are, you can participate in our Full Coverage via The Narcosphere by monitoring the reports in other media, bringing our (and all the readers’) attention to other accurate news coverage, correcting and criticizing the simulators and adding your own observations and commentary (much as occurred last June during the events that felled a president in Bolivia, or in August of 2004 when The Narcosphere caught and exposed false reports in other media about the Venezuela referendum). And if you are skilled in translation to or from Spanish, English, Portuguese, French, Italian or German, we also need more hands on deck to assure that our reporting reaches readers in each of those tongues.

For me, it is a pleasure to go back on the road again doing this worthwhile work of Authentic Journalism with such talented and dedicated colleagues, and the support of the international network we’ve all constructed together. But this boat doesn’t sail without the wind you put behind it, and so I appeal to you once more to dig as deeply as you can to keep our journalists healthy and mobile during the news that is about to happen. And, again, I stress that this is an independent effort in the “Other Journalism” and represents no other organization than those of us Other Journalists going out to do this work.

Again, you can make your contribution via the Internet at this page:

http://www.authenticjournalism.org/

Or you can send your contribution to:

The Fund for Authentic Journalism
P.O. Box 241
Natick, MA 01760
United States of America

Thanks again. Immediate history is upon us. Let’s join forces like we have before to break the information blockade and make sure that the people know the true story.

Salud y abrazo,

Al Giordano
Correspondent
Coordinator, Road Team, The Amado Avendaño Figueroa Brigade http://www.narconews.com/otroperiodismo/

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