The Story of Colors / La Historia de los Colores: A Bilingual Folktale from the Jungles of Chiapas (

Subcomandante Marcos

Published by Cinco Puntos Press, 1999
ISBN 10: 0938317458 / ISBN 13: 9780938317456
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Synopsis: This wonderful folktale reveals some of the down-to-earth wisdom of the indigenous peoples of Chiapas. At the same time, it provides us with a fresh perspective on the struggles of the people there. They fight to conserve their culture and a vision of the world which they see as flowering with holiness a holiness that cannot be measured in dollars or defined by politics.

The text for La Historia de los Colores is taken from the communiqué dated October 27, 1994 from Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos to the Mexican People. Originally published in Mexico with illustrations by Domitila Domínguez as La Historia de los Colores © 1996 by Colectivo Callejero, Guadalajara.

Who is Marcos?

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos is the military strategist and spokesperson for the Zapatistas, an indigenous guerrilla movement in Mexico. It is his person, more than any other factor, that has pushed the Zapatista movement and the plight of the indigenous people in Mexico onto the international scene. Marcos continues to be the focus of media attention in Mexico, in the States, and internationally, despite the Mexican government’s attempts to discredit him.

On New Year’s Day, 1994, Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos and the Zapatistas, wearing their trademark ski masks, erupted on the world scene by declaring war on the Mexican government and attacking military installations in San Cristóbal, Chiapas. Since that time, Marcos because of his charm, intelligence and mystique has become a post-modern revolutionary hero. In his communiqués to the Mexican people, he has often related folktales and stories that reflect the culture and wisdom of the indigenous peoples of Chiapas.

But no one seems to know who Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos is. The Mexican Government claims he is Rafael Guillen, but they’re literalists. He says he’s a Mexican like any other, born somewhere between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and between the northern and southern borders. He says he wears a ski mask because he is no longer whoever he was.

From the Publisher: On March 9, 1999, the National Endowment for the Arts, the government's art funding agency informed Cinco Puntos Press that it was revoking funding for a storybook written by Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos of Mexico's Zapatista Army of National Liberation.

Funding had been approved by the NEA in November 1998. After reviewing a copy of the manuscript and a biography of the author, the NEA budgeted $7,500 for the publication of The Story of Colors / La Historia de los Colores: A Bilingual Storybook from the Jungles of Chiapas, whose release date has been moved up to March 18. But after a call from New York Times reporter Julia Preston on March 8, NEA chairman William Ivey personally canceled the part of the grant that supported the publication of this book. Bobby Byrd, co-publisher of Cinco Puntos Press, said, "The reason the NEA canceled the grant is that the New York Times made a phone call and asked some questions. Instead of contacting us and discussing the issue, Bill Ivey withdrew funding for the book. This is a spineless decision made by one person, instead of by a panel of judges as spelled out in the funding package. The NEA is making decisions based on its fears and not standing up for the literature that it is supposed to be nurturing."

La Historia de los Colores was published in 1997 in Mexico by Collectivo Callejera. The text was taken from a communiqu issued by the charismatic rebel leader from the Lacandon Jungle in 1995. The story, a reworking of a Mayan creation myth, treats the subject of diversity and tolerance. The last line of the book reads, "And that was how the macaw took hold of the colors, and so it goes strutting about just in case men and women forget how many colors there are and how many ways of thinking, and that the world will be happy if all the colors and ways of thinking have their place." Cinco Puntos Press bought the North American rights to reprint the illustrations from Collectivo Callejero. Subcomandante Marcos' work is not copyrighted.

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Story of Colors / La Historia de los ...
Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press
Publication Date: 1999
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: New

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