OVENTIC, Mexico, July 2 - The sign on the road outside this Zapatista town says "Closed for Red Alert," and the normally bustling cluster of shops, schools, a shoe factory and a health clinic is quiet. The masked rebels who usually oversee Oventic have been called to a meeting in the jungles of southern Mexico.
In Mexico City and in Chiapas, many people wonder why Subcommander Marcos has declared a "red alert" in Zapatista-run centers like Oventic.
After years of relative calm, the uneasy peace between the government and the Zapatistas has been shaken in recent days as the rebel leaders have put their forces on high alert, shut down the five governing centers they established in Chiapas in 2003 and issued a flurry of communiqués calling for a nationwide leftist political movement.
Here in the southern state of Chiapas, and in Mexico City, the question is: what is Subcommander Marcos up to?