Or, more appropriately, Patricio Murphy Ruiz - tour guide extraordinare. We met Patrick our first day in San Cristobal when he took us on a city walking tour. Yes, he gave us facts and figures but more then that, he gave us the background on what the people really think..............what the Zapatista movement was really about......what is really happening in Chiapas and many more insights. It was fascinating, to say the least! When the tour was over we asked him if we wanted him for other tours would he be available and he said yes. He was with us for trips to Chamula, Zincantan, and for those who went to Palenque. He was the most knowledgeable guide I have ever met.
Patrick was with the Zapatistas but left "the movement" about four years ago when his life was threatened. He had nothing good to say about what either Fox or Calderon's administration has done for the people of Chiapas. He also had nothing good to say about NAFTA which surprised me because I think NAFTA has done more for Mexico in the last 15 years then any other single thing. More is exported out of Mexico to the US then is brought into Mexico.........well, that's another blog, isn't it?
So Patrick's story is that he was born in Chiapas to a Mexican mother and an Irish father from Chicago. Patrick grew up in Chiapas and then graduated from Berkley in anthropology. Sub-Comandante Marcos, I was told by someone in our group, graduated from Yale. According to Patrick many of the men in the movement were very well educated but took their orders from "the people" of the area because they could articulate the needs of the people to the government. That is why Marcos was called Sub-Comandante because he was NOT in charge, but the people were. The many stories Patrick shared with us were eye-opening and great explanations for the reasons and methods of the Zapatistas. It truly made sense to all of us. That too would need to be another blog..............People in Chiapas are very proud of the "revolution" of 1994. Now they try to work within the system.
Thanks to Patrick, Chiapas was very personal and not just facts and figures. Mil gracias Senor Patricio!