An Evening with Subcomandante Marcos

Subcomandante Marcos, the Zapatista rebel leader, at a press conference, Mexico City, October 1st 2007

It was rather an unlikely setting for a press conference with one of the world’s most famous rebel leaders, Subcomandante Marcos of the Zapatista National Liberation Army(EZLN). Mexico City’s Casa Lamm, a cultural centre and converted mansion in the Roma neighbourhood is the kind of place you expect to see expats and well-off Mexican families breakfasting, not Mexico’s guerilla army making its latest political statement.

Arriving on time to a room packed with journalists, activists, fans and onlookers of all ages, Sub Marcos or Delegado Cero (Delegate Zero) as he now prefers to be known – took his seat at the end of a long table, replete with microphones and tall glasses of water, preceded by other members of the EZLN, including Comandante Miriam and Comandante Zebedeo. Continue reading

World Press Photo exhibition opens in Mexico City

The World Press Photo Exhibition opened in Mexico City, September 28th 2007

The World Press Photo awards exhibition opened in Mexico City’s beautiful Franz Meyer museum last night in collaboration with Mexico’s National Commission of Human Rights.

The event was attended by hundreds, and features 200 photographs representing the best in press photography of last year. Images in the show range from photographs of conflict zones to wildlife.

A 76 year old Clint Eastwood gazes out of one of the black and white images in the exhibition. The spot news winner shows a man in Lagos, Nigeria walking through a gas factory blow apart by an explosion and was taken by Akintunde Akinleye, the first Nigerian photographer to win a World Press Photo award. Continue reading

Dr Simi sparks YouTube Craze

Dr. Simi is the mascot for chain of discount pharmacist shops here in Mexico, but he’s a lot more than that. Based roughly on the founder of Farmacias Similares founder Victor Gonzales, the marketing strategy has developed a cult following. Continue reading

Too Much Violence in Contemporary Photography, says Magnum member

There is too much of an emphasis on documenting violence in contemporary press photography, and photojournalists should document other, non-violent stories in the world, according to Rene Burri.

Reni Burri opening his photo exhibiton, Mexico CitySpeaking at the opening of his photo exhibition ‘Un Mundo’ (a world) in Mexico City’s Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso, Swiss-born Burri told NewCorrespondent that he deplores the focus on violence in much of today’s press.

“What I deplore is this kind of focusing on violence and almost
pornographic views on what’s going on. There’s a big wide world out
there which is fantastic to record. There’s still a lot of work to do.”

Photo of a photo by Rene Burri, MagnumBurri, who has photographed legends such as Che Guevara, Winston Churchill, Maria Callas, Pablo Picasso and Fidel Castro, advised budding photographers to stick their noses into places which weren’t drenched with blood.

“It’s said that I never took a picture of dead soldiers or people. I found in difficult moments that I couldn’t take pictures and was more interested socially and economically before and after. I made some pictures….some of them survived and they also sent a message about the horror and terrible things but I don’t think that every time we have to go and put our hands into blood and at the moment it’s almost unbearable.

“I think at the moment it’s almost unbearable – I think terrible things always happen in the world but I would encourage people to go and poke their nose into things whether in Iraq or in a village somewhere and do some humanistic stories that will in some of your children or future generations–give us some idea of what the world looked like, not only the miserable bombed up fascist things we’ve gone through.”

Burri’s work – from Argentina to Zurich – is an awesome journey through some of the most important events in the world’s the last six decades. He started working for Magnum, one of the world’s most respected photojournalism agencies, very near the start of his career in the 1950s after impressing the agency’s founders with his pictures of deaf and mute children in a Zurich school. Since then he has filed for Life, The New York Times and The Sunday Times, to name just very few.

The exhibition at Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso features work of his from all over the world, and includes shots of Picasso, Guevara and Maria Callas.

Burri laughed at some of his missed opportunities over the years during the talk at the museum that accompanied the opening of the exhibition.

Photo of a photo by Rene Burri, Magnum“There was one time when I was alone in New York on the Upper East Side,” he says.

“I saw on the sidewalk there was a lady coming towards me. She wore dark glasses and I had my Leica in my hand. It was Greta Garbo, the film star. I was there with my camera and she deployed such energy and passed me with such a big smile – but I didn’t take the picture, missing my chance to become paparazzi.”

Mexico City’s Military March, Independence Weekend

Mexico City's Military March, Independence Day 2007

Mexico City’s Independence Celebrations Pass Peacefully

Mexico celebrated the anniversary of its independence this weekend. It was the first time that Felipe Calderon, the country’s current president, oversaw the celebrations since he took office in December last year following controversial elections.

Observers said that the military presence surrounding the annual event was much higher than past years, and the volume of the music being played by the enormous speakers around the square was painful to the ears.

Despite this, the occasion passed peacefully.

Supporters of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador were out in force in the Zocalo during the day, and staged a rally opposite the Palacio Nacional in the evening. At 10pm, Obrador’s supporters voted to leave the Zocalo and not attend Calderon’s traditional ‘El Grito’ at 11pm in protest at what they insist were fraudulent elections last year.

Mexico City's Zocalo, September 15th 2007

But by 11pm the Zocalo was full again. Thousands turned up to hear Calderon pay tribute to the country’s heroes and cry ‘Viva Mexico!’ three times. ‘El Grito’ was followed by an impressive firework display that enthralled the crowd for 20 minutes, after which they peacefully dispersed.

The following Sunday, Mexico’s military marched through the city’s main avenues in all its splendor, watched on and applauded by the city’s inhabitants.

Mexico City's Military March, Independence Day 2007

Watch extracts of the military march here:

NewCorrespondent on the BBC

Lucha Libre School. Photo Courtesy of Luz Montero, at

Mexican Youngsters Wrestle with Fame