Mexican rebels: ‘We don’t want tourists’.
Zapatista rebels are threatening to seize a ranch and guest house owned by U.S. citizens and are running tourists out of parts of southern Chiapas state — an unexpected turn for a country whose third-largest income source is tourism.” Seeing this headline [courtesy of dangerousmeta], I wondered at first if the article was referring to the ranch the Harvard University Chiapas Project owned, and maybe still does, in San Cristobal de las Casas, a major tourist destination in the highlands of Chiapas and a gateway to the indigenous territories of the post-Mayan peoples associated with the Zapatista rebel movement. The ranch was used for continuous anthropological research under the direction of Harvard Professor Evon Vogt and others who studied the modern-day Maya. It was an important training site to teach anthropology students fieldwork techniques. As I’ve described here before, I was a member of the Harvard Chiapas Project in the ’70’s and my undergraduate thesis arose from fieldwork I did there.

The ranch threatened by the Zapatistas, however, is an ecotourism resort fifty miles east of San Cristobal. I’ve wondered at times if the Harvard program still exists (Vogt is retired now and has already written a memoir of its efforts) and, if so, if it has been responsive to the indigenous uprising or in its way.