John Ross

JOUR­NAL­IST, AC­TIVIST

The Washington Post Sunday - - LOCAL OPINIONS -

John Ross, 72, a U.S. poet, author, jour­nal­ist and po­lit­i­cal ac­tivist who lived in Mex­ico and wrote ex­ten­sively on its left­ist po­lit­i­cal move­ments, died of liver can­cer Jan. 17 in Tz­intzuntzan, in the western state of Mi­choa­can.

Mr. Ross was the author of sev­eral books, in­clud­ing a gritty por­trait of Mex­ico City, where he had spent al­most all of his time since 1985.

Mr. Ross, a New York na­tive, was one of the early draft re­sisters dur­ing the Viet­nam War, and in early 2003 he trav­eled to Iraq, hop­ing to serve as a “ hu­man shield” to help pro­tect Iraqi civil­ians be­fore the U.S.-led in­va­sion. The vol­un­teers were forced out of the coun­try be­cause they were crit­i­cal of the Iraqi govern­ment’s choice of sites to pro­tect.

Over the years, Mr. Ross wrote ar­ti­cles for San Fran­cisco news­pa­pers, Counter Punch, Pa­cific News Ser­vice and the Mex­ico City daily La Jor­nada.

His sto­ries re­flected his in­ter­est in rebel move­ments such as the Za­p­atis­tas in south­ern Chi­a­pas state, who staged a brief armed up­ris­ing in 1994 for greater In­dian rights. He was one of the first jour­nal­ists to re­port on the Za­p­atis­tas and wrote ex­ten­sively on the move­ment, in­clud­ing the book “Re­bel­lion From the Roots: Za­p­atista Up­ris­ing in Chi­a­pas.”

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