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From: Michael Eisenscher <>
Subject: Zapatista Statement on Chiapas Crisis
Followup-To: alt.activism.d
Date: 21 Jan 1998 21:08:09 GMT

Date: Fri, 16 Jan 1998 13:34:32 -0800 (PST)
From: National Commission for Democracy in Mexico
Subject: New EZLN Communique 1/14/98 Sender:

Zapatista Army of National Liberation
January 14, 1998

To the National Commission of Intermediation
San Cristobal de Las Casas,
Chiapas, Mexico
Ladies and gentlemen members of Conai:

We have become aware of the document called "For a strategy for peace with democracy" which you addressed to the branches of the government, the EZLN, to Civil Society and to the peoples of the world, dated January 11, 1998.

In the part which you direct to the EZLN, you demand that we continue to act within the parameters of the law of March 11, 1995 sustaining our will for dialogue and negotiation; that we continue to struggle politically; that we deepen our efforts for dialogue with other communities and indigenous and non-indigenous organizations in Chiapas; and that we increase the dialogue with organizations which belong to civil society and political society.

Since January 12 of 1994 (and not since the encounter of San Miguel in April of 1995 as you point out in your letter) the EZLN has insisted once and again on a path for dialogue towards a peaceful solution to the war. Our civil initiatives have not been few or small. They have been accompanied by the best of national and international civil society in order to construct conditions for a peace with justice and dignity. Examples of these peaceful initiatives include the dialogue at the Cathedral and the National Democratic Convention in 1994; the dialogue of San Andres and the National and International consultation for peace in 1995; the call to organize the FZLN, the celebration of the National Indigenous Forum, the signature of the first agreements with the federal government (which have yet to be fulfilled, the First Continental Encounter, the National Forum for the Jreform of the State, the First Intercontinental Encounter for Humanity and against Neoliberalism, the tri-partite meetings of Cocopa-EZLN-Conai in 1996; and the march on Mexico City by the 1,111 in 1997.

The government response to our apparent will for dialogue and negotiation has been the lack of fulfillment of the first signed agreements, the activation of paramilitary groups, the assassination of our support bases, the persecution of our leaders, the attack of the federal soldiers against the communities, and the saturation of the military in all the territory of Chiapas (in spite of the intended pretense to minimize the geography of this injustice with the label of "conflict zone.)

But the government says it is false that they play at peace while making war. The government ordered the assassination of 45 indigenous people at Acteal as a departure point for an offensive against us.

Through the information in the press and the confessions of some of the accused, it is evident that the massacre was planned with anticipation and full knowledge and direction from the authorities. A few days ago, Public Security Police were detained by the Immigration Service and not by the one who is supposedlly applying the "regulations applied to weapons and explosives.", as they were transporting weapons coming from Guatemala. The recipients? The paramilitaries.

But the government says it is false that they play at peace while making war.

At the same time we learned of your letter, we received confirmation of the assassination of our companera Guadalupe Mendez Lopez, in an attack by the Public Security police of the state of Chiapas against a peaceful demonstration at the municipal head of Ocosingo on January 12th.

As a response to the great mobilizations for peace with justice and dignity which occurred in several cities in Mexico and in the world, the police forces of the government shot at a civil demonstration of indigenous.

But the government says it is false that they play at peace while making war.

In the community of La Realidad, for example the federal Army doubles the number of artilleries vehicles, of military patrols. Four times a day, up to 38 motorized united "travel" through the Tojolabal community. Military airplanes carry out daily and nightly flights at different times. By day they carry out maneuvers used in aerial combat for the bombing and strafing of fixed positions. Perhaps they rehearse the future.

But the government says it is false that they play at peace while making war.

The federal government, verbally and by actions of its Secretary of Justice, defines the "new" strategy for Chiapas: the replacement of mediators, the persecution and isolation of the Zapatistas, and large amounts of money to pretend to construct the peace while feeding the war.

The "strategy" is absurd: Mister Rabasa is named "coordinator of the dilaogue" (not of the "government" but of the "dialogue". Dialogue with whom? Where is the other part of the dialogue which together with the government, names him "coordinator"? Where is the place for the mediation? For the Cocopa? Mister Rabasa hurries to declare that his objective is not a dialogue with the EZLN but something broader, a "Copernican revolution". Surely he refers to a dialogue with organizations other than the EZLN at many "little tables" (as they have tried before ) to distract public opinion and tranquilize the European Union.

The new "governmental strategy" is a dialogue without the other part, without mediation, accompaniment, it is a monologue. The fact that Rabasa Gamboa was named merits a title of "coordinator of the government monologue about Chiapas"

But the government says it is false that they play at peace while making war.

By the time this letter reaches its destination, our companeros and companeras of the support bases will have already buried Guadalupe Mendez Lopez in the Zapatista mountains. Guadalupe died fighting through political means and the response she received was a 5.56 calibre bullet in her "left frontal" abdomen.

But the government says it is false that they play at peace while making war.

When this letter arrives in your hands, the federal government will have given away more declarations of "peace'', it will make an accounting of its intermediaries with the "actors in the conflict" and will beg to be believed when it says that the only thing which is happening in Chiapas is a conflict "among the poor" and will continue to bet that the "bitter drinks" of Acteal and Ocosingo will be digested (and forgotten) by public opinion. And the Army will continue to pursue us and provoke confrontations.

But the government says it is false that they play at peace while making war.

What effort for dialogue with indigenous and non-indigenous organizations, with civil or political society can we deepen or increase when they hunt us down like animals, with hunting dogs and all the technological paraphernalia of death?

But the government says it is false that they play at peace while making war.

Come and speak with the soldiers (silence will be the likely response to the questions about persecution), talk with the police ("Any son of a whore who throws a rock at me will get a bullet" they will answer with anger. Speak to them about dialogue, about respect, about the law, about human rights. "I am only following orders they will always answer. Whose orders are they? We know what the orders are. ("Find them and wipe them out") but we do not know where the orders come from.

But the government says it is false that they play at peace while making war.

The Army searches diligently for an encounter with our forces, this can be proven by the nature of their movements, their approach and their distribution. Do they do this while following "orders"? If so, then where is the government's will for dialogue? Are they acting on their own? If so, then who is really governing this country?

But the government says it is false that they play at peace while making war.

What law should we obey if the one who advocates it does not do so, and the Executive Branch breaks it according to its interest and convenience?

But the government says it is false that they play at peace while making war.

The federal government is not willing to negotiate with truth and responsibility. It desires, and seeks desperately, a breathing space in the actual crisis. All its efforts point in that direction. It is not peace it seeks, it is time. To play at a possible solution to the conflict is its objective. Afterwards, when the waters turn its way, it will insist once again on the blows and threats for surrender.

But the government says it is false that they play at peace while making war.

That man does not want peace. Now he is bolder, he has erased that word in his speech from his discourse in regards to Chiapas and us. Perhaps it is better that way. That way there is no deception. We are not willing to surrender nor to tolerate blows with impunity.

All our actual effort is directed at resisting the harassment and to avoid following into the continual and more definitive belligerent provocations of the government.

How long must we wait?

This is the question drawn by the blood of Acteal.
This is the question which we ask in front of the tomb of Guadalupe.
This is the question for all of you, for all of them, for everyone.
Vale. Health and remember that peace must have justice and dignity, otherwise it is just a silent war.

From the mountains of the Mexican southeast.
For the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee
Zapatista Army of National Liberation
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos
Mexico, January of 1998

Translated by: Cecilia Rodriguez, NCDLJ


ITEM: U.S. military aid to the Mexican government has continued to escalate (in the name of fighting drugs). Mexican military officers continue to be trained at the infamous School of the Americas - the same U.S. military installation where the butchers of Guatemala, Nicarague, El Salvador, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil learned their "craft." This is done in the name of the people of the U.S.

The border of Vietnam may be in fact the Rio Grande and the horror that we visited upon SE Asia may be replayed on our doorstep - up front, close in, and very personal. Let's not wait for it to come to our living rooms on the evening news. It continues to be our responsibility to stop it!


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