John Ross was dispatched to Latin America in the early 1980s, first as Latin American bureau chief for the Pacific News Service, and then as correspondent for the San Francisco Examiner and other Hearst papers. In 1984-85, Ross was commissioned by PNS to report on guerrilla organizing in Andean regions ranging from Colombia to Chile and wrote some of the first pieces on the Shining Path (“Sendero Luminoso”), the Peruvian Maoists. Ross was returned to Mexico City on the heels of the great September 1985 earthquake, writing extensively on the social impacts of that catastrophe. He has remained in the Mexican capital as correspondent for ten distinct publications, including “Noticias Aliadas”(Lima), “Gemini News Service” (London), “El Universal” and “El Financiero” (Mexico City), “The San Francisco Bay Guardian”, “The Los Angeles Weekly” and “The National Catholic Reporter.”
John Ross was one of the first foreign reporters on the scene during the January 1994 uprising of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation in southeastern Mexico and was subsequently contracted by Common Courage Press to write Rebellion From The Roots: Indian Uprising in Chiapas, a volume which won the 1995 American Book Award and was lauded by reviewers.
Ross also wrote the introduction to Shadows of Tender Fury, the Monthly Review Press volume of translations of the writings of the Zapatistas’ Subcomandante Marcos, and is among the contributors to First World Ha Ha Ha, a City Lights collection of writings on the Zapatista phenomenon.
John Ross was awarded the 2005 Upton Sinclair Award (an “Uppie”) by the San Pedro California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union for his latest cult classic Murdered By Capitalism—A Memoir of 150 Years of Life & Death on the U.S. Left.
You can find an extensive amount of articles that John Ross regularly submits to Counter Punch Newsletter.
Words from the author, John Ross, about Tonatiuh’s People
I wrote this novel for revenge, mostly. Justice demanded it. The novel was begun in 1990 after many months on the road with Cuauhtemoc Cardenas as he pursued the presidency of his country and was ultimately cheated of it. At the time, the Salinas’ gang occupied my vitriol. Tonatiuh’s People has been rewritten several times since to accommodate political realities-the book had an uncanny aptitude for coming true. At each juncture, the text seemed to prophesy what later would be confirmed as fact. To stay ahead of the curve, I was forced to project further and further into the future. Today, the revenge motive is more structural. History has taught me true contempt for the rulers of Mexico-and deepened my faith in its peoples’ ability to make a real revolution.
Fiction as Prophecy
Updated August 2006, Communiqué from Mexico City:
Reporter and poet John Ross wrote his first and only novel, Tonatiuh’s People in anticipation of the election that made Carlos Salinas the president of Mexico. Although it is fiction, his novel foretold many of the events that followed that election. Recent events in Mexico are finding new readers for this fast-paced tragicomedy.
John Ross reports and promotes from the D.F.
“Compañeros – just in from the zocalo, the heart of Mexico City—
Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador has just drawn 2.4 million people to the political heart of the nation (police estimates) – the largest political demonstration in the history of this republic and double what he drew July 16th – he has asked those who came to stay in a permanent assembly until the votes are counted one by one – the encampments will stretch from the Zocalo all the way to Chapultepec park and are already being set up – those of you who have long memories will remember that I once wrote a novel Tonatiuh’s people in which Tonatiuh galvan has the presidency of Mexico stolen from him and then summons a million people the color of the earth to the zocalo to sit in permanent assembly – we are indeed at a historical moment
— in solidarity, John Ross, Mexico City”
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