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(en) Irlandesa; Marcos' communiques,Feb 25

From owner-chiapas95-english@eco.utexas.edu (Chiapas95-english)
Date Sun, 27 Feb 2000 08:09:33 -0500

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

Zapatista Army of National Liberation.

February of 2000.


Ladies and gentlemen:

Several letters are off which are not self-explanatory, and which I do not 
think I shall explain here.

Every time Zedillo comes to Chiapas, the army steps up their air and land 
patrols.  That is logical since that gentleman is not, nor will he be, 
welcome in these lands.  On February 20, we had the pleasure of an intensive 
coming and going of planes, helicopters, tanks, trucks and troops, 
throughout the entirety of what the gray whale calf Rabasa calls "the 
conflict zone."  We thought it was another of Zedillo's conjugal visits to 
the Croquetas, but no.  What happened is that day it was Labastida, and not 
Zedillo, who came to repeat the grays which characterize them.

One question:  the mobilization of the federales, is it because they already 
consider Labastida to be their "supreme commander?"  Is it because Labastida 
is the official candidate?  Or is it because the military couldn't find 
anywhere to hide themselves in order to not hear the speeches of a campaign 
that is going like the Mexican Air Force planes over the indigenous 
communities, that is, at ground level?

Vale.  Salud and may that flag always live where the eagle devours the 
neoliberal serpent (Because, if you have forgotten, February 24 is flag day. 
  You are welcome).

>From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.
Mexico,  February 2000.


Zapatista Army of National Liberation.

Letter 6b.

February 21, 2000.

To Don Fernando Beni'tez.
From:  Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.

""Death is called as one, when it arrives, and there is no way for you to 
escape…I had a very strange dream…like devils and animals I had never 
seen…But do not think that was bad…There were iron horses that plowed the 
fields. (…)  Then some large vats, of stone, filled up with water inside 
them, to irrigate an infinity of fields beyond imagining…some vats as large 
as hills, which seemed to me as if they were made for giants to bathe in…And 
I saw that the land was for everyone…and that everyone looked happy…  I said 
to myself:  then, where could I be?  Could this be Mexico?  And it was 
Mexico, it was Mexico, it was Mexico!  It was then that I remembered…"

Screenplay by Jose' Revueltas.

Don Fernando:

It was with bitter sorrow that we learned of your death.  It was just a few 
days ago that I had written you a letter congratulating you on your 
birthday.  January was barely underway when the Sea called my attention to 
the article in the newspaper where they were congratulating you on your  
birthday, and, together, we recalled that letter from your last anniversary. 
  In this one which I am now writing, I could reiterate what those who are 
closest to you (and not so close) should already have told you, but I shall 
not wear out your eyes with things you knew and understood.  Originally 
thought to congratulate you, these lines are also now to wish you a bon 

I hardly dare to remember, to remind you, that my parents taught us to read 
( I am not speaking of literacy, but of reading) with that "always!" of Don 
Jose' Page's Llergo, and, specifically, with that supplement you directed and 
that is called "Culture in Mexico."  There we learned to read Poniatowska, 
Jose' Emilio Pacheco, the philosopher Monsiva'is, and many others.  We learned 
there.  Afterwards, years later, we found your pages of "The Indians in 
Mexico," and your advance through other cultural supplements. I do not know 
if there is still time, but I wanted to tell you "thanks" for having taught 
us to read.  Did you set out once upon a time to teach someone to read?  
Well, so it goes then, sometimes one does things without setting out to do 

Don Fernando, we would like to give you something, something simple but very 
much ours.  We
do not have many things.  Don Fernando.  In fact, we have very little.  The 
only thing we possess in abundance is memory, and, with that, we are sending 
you this gift which has the virtue of not taking up much space in your 
luggage, and it will serve you for laughing about that which some call 

In order to bring you close to ours, this story comes, with which we are 
also trying to remember those who are no longer with us, but who were 
before, and who made it possible for us to be here today.  With that, Don 
Fernando, you are also ours.  Sale and vale:


To Pedro, 6 years later, 26 years later.

I remember that day. The sun did not travel straight, but went sideways.  I 
mean, yes it went from here to there, but it went sideways, just that, 
without climbing up to that which I do not remember right now what it is 
called, but which the sup once told us.  The sun was as if cold.  Well, 
everything was cold that day.  Well, not everything.  We were hot.  As if 
the blood, or whatever we have within our bodies, was with fever.  I do not 
remember about what the sup said, "the zenith," or something like that, or 
when the sun reaches the highest point.  But that day, no.  More as if it 
were going from side to side.  We were moving forward in the same way.  I 
was already dead, lying down, belly up, and I could easily see that the sun 
was not traveling straight, but going from side to side.  That day we were 
all already dead, wherever we advanced.  That is why the sup wrote "we are 
the dead of forever, dying once again, but now in order to live."  When did 
we all actually die?  In truth, I do not remember, but that day in which the 
sun was traveling from side to side, we were all already dead.  All of us, 
because there were women as well.  That day, in the morning, there were 
people running about.  I do not know if it was because the war had begun, or 
because they saw so many dead advancing, walking as always, without face, 
without name.  Well, at first the people were running, then they were no 
longer running.  Then they stopped, and they came close in order to hear 
what we were saying.  What craziness!  If I were alive, I would hardly have 
come close in order to hear what a dead person was saying!  Since one would 
think the dead had nothing to say.  They are dead, after all.  Since it was 
the work of the dead to go around spooking, and not speaking.  I remember 
that in my land it is said that if the dead still walk, it is because they 
have left something undone, and that is why they are not quiet.  So it is 
said in my land.  I believe my land is called Michoaca'n, but I do not really 
remember.  I also do not remember well, but I believe I am called Pedro or 
Manuel or I do not know, I believe that it is not, in fact, important, what 
the dead are called, because they are already dead.  Perhaps when one is 
alive, it is indeed important how one is called, but, once dead, for what?

Good, the fact is that these people, after their running around, were coming 
close in order to see what we, the dead that we were, were saying to them.  
And then, to talk, as we, the dead, do, in fact, talk, chatting as it were, 
without a lot of racket, as if one person were chatting to another and were 
not dead, but alive.  Well, a bit like that.  It had something to do with 
the fact that we were dead and at war.

We had taken the city at dawn.  At noon we were already preparing everything 
to go for another.  I was already lying down at noon, but I clearly saw the 
sun was not traveling straight, and I saw it was cold.  I saw, but I did not 
feel, because the dead do not feel, but they do see.  I saw that it was cold 
because it was as if the sun had gone out.  Very pale, as if it were cold.  
Everyone was going from one side to the other.  Not I, I remained lying 
down, belly up, seeing the sun and trying to remember what the sup said they 
say when the sun is just straight up, when it has already finished climbing 
and it begins letting itself fall to the other side.  As if the sun were 
becoming embarrassed and it goes and hides itself behind that hill.  I did 
not notice then when the sun went to hide itself behind that.  The way I was 
I could not turn my head, I could only look straight up and, without 
turning, at the little that reached from one side and the other.  That is 
why I saw that the sun did not go straight, but it was going from side to 
side, as if embarrassed, as if in fear of climbing up to that which I do not 
remember right now how the sup said it was said, but perhaps I shall 
remember in a while.

Just at that moment I remembered, because the stone cracked a bit and made a 
gash like a knife wound, and then I could see the sky and the sun traveling 
sideways like that once again, like that day.  Nothing else could be seen.  
Lying down as I am, the sky barely reaches. There are not many clouds and 
the sun is as if pale, or becoming cold.  And then I remembered that day 
when the dead who we are began this war in order to speak.  Yes, in order to 
speak.  For what other thing would the dead make war?

I told them the sky could be seen through this gash.  Helicopters and planes 
pass through there.  They come and they go, daily, sometimes until night.  
They do not know it, but I see them, I see them and I watch them.  I also 
laugh.  Yes, because, after all, those planes and helicopters come here 
because they are afraid of us.  Yes, I already know that the dead themselves 
cause fear, but what those planes and helicopters are afraid of is that the 
dead who we are will start walking once more.  And I do not know what the 
fuss is all about, if they can, in fact, do nothing, since we are already 
dead.  They are hardly going to kill us.  Maybe it is because they want to 
know  and to let those in charge know in time.  I do not know.  But I do 
know that fear smells, and the odor of the fear of the powerful is like that 
of a machine, like that of gasoline and oil and metal and dust and noise 
and…and…and of fear.  Yes, fear smells of fear, and those planes and 
helicopters smell of fear.  The air that comes from above smells of fear.  
That from below does not.  The air from below smells nice, as if things were 
changing, as if everything were improving and becoming better.  Hope, that 
is what the air from below smells of.  We are from below.  We, and many like 
us.  Yes, that is it, then:  in this country, the dead smell of hope.

I see and hear all that through the gash.  I think – and my neighbors are in 
agreement (I know so because they have told me so) – that it is not good 
that the sun travels from side to side and that it must be put right.  
Because that traveling sideways like that, all pale and cold making, no.  
Since the work of the sun is to give heat, not to be cold.

And, if you press me, I would even give you a political analysis.  Look, I 
say that this country's problem is that it is has absolute contradictions.  
There, then, a sun that carries cold, and the living people see and let it 
do so as if they were dead, and the criminal is judge, and the victim is in 
jail, and the lying one is the government, and truth is persecuted like 
illness, and students are imprisoned and thieves run loose, and the ignorant 
deliver lectures, and the wise are ignored, and the idle have riches, and 
the one who works has nothing, and the least rules, and the greater obey, 
and the one who has much has more, and the one who has little has nothing, 
and bad is rewarded, and good punished.

And not just that, in addition, here the dead speak and walk and do rare 
things, like setting right a sun that is cold and, just look, it goes from 
side to side, without reaching that point that I do not remember how it is 
called but the sup told us once.  I believe that one day I shall remember.

- -

There, Don Fernando, may you have a very happy birthday and many more.  Love 
from all of us, especially from this anonymous disciple of the window that 
you were and which is culture in Mexico.  Be well and do not forget about 
us. There will always be an opening in our memory for you.

Vale.  Salud and one day things will go straight, the dead will surely set 
them right.

>From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.
Mexico, February of 2000.



Letter 6c.

February of 2000

To: Don Pablo Gonza'lez Casanova
From:  Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.

"I, who have a youth full of voices,
of lightning bolts, of living arteries,
moored to my muscles, alert to how
my blood runs and weeps,
to how my anxieties crowd each other
like bitter seas
or like dense tombs of sleeplessness,
I hear all cries joining together
a forest of close cramped hearts;
I hear what we are still saying today,
all that we shall yet be saying,
point first above our grave throbbing,
from the mouths of the trees, from the mouth of the land."

Jose' Revueltas. Canto Irrevocable.

Don Pablo:

We all send you our greetings.  Not only for your courageous stance 
recently, but also for that.  The firm distance you have taken from the 
violent and authoritarian attitude of those who head the government and the 
UNAM is worth much, especially during these times when consistency is a 
sarcasm and dignity a misunderstanding.

Know that our having been close to you fills us with pride.  Your today is 
but the confirmation of what your life has been.  Even before the time when 
you acted as a member of the National Intermediation Commission, your words 
helped us understand this sorrow we call "Mexico."  Then, in the CONAI, at 
the side of those great men and women who made it up, your commitment to the 
search for a peaceful, just and dignified solution to the war was firm and 
for all times.  I have read here that the former secretary of government and 
current official candidate for president, Francisco Labastida Ochoa, 
complained that the CONAI had been "unconditionally supportive" of one of 
the sides. If the "sides" were war and peace, it is obvious that those who 
made up the CONAI were "unconditionally supportive" of the side of peace.  
Bishop Samuel Ruiz Garci'a, as well as Do~a Concepcio'n Calvillo, widow of 
Nava, the poets Oscar Oliva and Juan Ba~uelos, and you, all strove to 
achieve peace in the Mexican southeast in the only way it is possible to 
achieve it:  with respect, with justice, with dignity, with truth.  It is 
clear that Se~or Labastida will have to confront many Mexicans who, like 
you, "unconditionally support" the side of peaceful solutions and are 
against the use of violence.

Your explicit and forceful condemnation of the use of violence in 
confronting the demands of the UNAM student movement is nothing more than 
the logical consequence of one who is for all times.  We are certain that 
your example will be followed by other intellectuals who, in their own means 
and ways, will let those who use violence as a government argument know that 
they shall not do so with impunity.  And those students who now find 
themselves in jail or persecuted, who are suffering injustice, that they are 
not alone now.  One and another will have to hear the voices and the steps 
which, "from the mouths of the trees, from the mouth of the land," are 
saying and will say:  liberty and dialogue.

Today, despite the electronic media, a wave of popular indignation is being 
raised in order to demand the release of the imprisoned university students 
and the renewal of dialogue.  Headed by courageous parents, this movement 
incorporates the best of the social organizations, of the political parties 
of the left, of artists and intellectuals, of religious men and women, of 
people, of university students. Their common objective, that which unites 
them, is the demand for justice.  And this, justice, cannot be achieved 
while even one university student remains behind bars.  The best of the 
party left have not only understood exactly that, but they have also been 
one of the primary driving forces.

Running counter to this feeling which is translated into mobilization, the 
electronic media become pompous with the funds they receive from political 
parties for their political campaigns, and they believe they have the moral 
authority and legitimacy to turn themselves into – simultaneously – 
prosecutor, judge, jury and executor of everyone who has not paid for 
program time.  You experienced that firsthand, Don Pablo, and millions of 
Mexicans are experiencing it with their own eyes and ears.  At the entrance 
to the 21st century, television is applauding Mexico's current "democratic" 
double image:  a university filled with soldiers and a jail filled with 
students (the intensity of a country's democratic life is measured by the 
number of publicity spots, not by the number of political prisoners).  In 
the country of television, the Magna Carta is not the Constitution, but the 
program guide (which bills the cacophony out on a triple A schedule) and 
there are no IFE directors any more effective than the news directors.

Regardless, beyond the TV movie schedule, the people (who do not count if 
they do not have a publicity advisor and another for marketing) were moved 
to protest, like you, Don Pablo, against repression. As we were able to read 
in the written press, the February 9 march was the largest in recent times.  
The cry was one:  liberty for the political prisoners.  Six years ago, in 
1994 and on January 12, there was a similar great mobilization. As they are 
doing today for the university movement – and yesterday for the zapatista 
uprising – the people are taking to the streets in order to make themselves 

Then, during that January of blood and gunpowder, we had to decide how we 
were going to "read" that great mobilization.  We could have "read" it as a 
demonstration in support of our war, as a backing for the path of armed 
struggle we had chosen.  Or we could have read it as a mobilization, not in 
support  of our method (war), but indeed in support of our demands, and 
which was expressing itself against government repression.

We were isolated, falling back to the mountains, caring for our dead and 
wounded, preparing for the next fight.  In that way, far away, very far away 
and under those conditions, we had to choose.  And we chose to "read" that 
those people who took to the streets were against injustice, against 
authoritarianism, against racism, against war, that they were for dialogue, 
for peace, for justice, for the peaceful solution to our demands.  We read 
that, and that marked our subsequent conduct.

Today the university student movement (and the CGH) are confronting a 
similar situation.  Those who make it up can "read" the February 9 
mobilization as a demonstration of support for the strike, or as a demand 
for justice (releasing the prisoners) and for dialogue.  It is not the same.

Through the "reading" it chooses, the university student movement will have 
to decide its subsequent steps.  They will choose, and they will do so well. 
They are not isolated, and they have the intelligence and the resources to 
achieve a good reading.

We?  As always, Don Pablo:  to all those who make up the university student 
movement, to their fathers and mothers, to their teachers, to those who 
support them and who are close to them, we love them, we admire them, they 
are going to win.

It is for all of this that, today, Don Pablo, we applaud you.  You and all 
those who, like you, have expressed their repudiation of the soldiers 
disguised as police ("paramilitaries" in the strictest sense) entering the 
university campus.

We know that your voice and your step will also be joined with all of us who 
are demanding what is urgent and necessary:  the release of the imprisoned 
university students.

Vale.  Salud and may we never relinquish hope.

>From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.
Mexico,  February of 2000.

PS -  We read here that the student prisoners are asking for books to be 
sent to them.  Send them that one that is entitled "Democracy in Mexico."  
It is as valuable today as yesterday, and it is one of those books that 
produce fertile sorrows.



Letter 6d.

February of 2000.

To:  Rene' Villlanueva
From:  Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

Rene', brother:

We have learned here that you are sick.  In these lands, when one has a 
relative (because you are a relative to all of us, the zapatistas) who is 
sick, it is the custom to foist every possible (and impossible, as well) 
remedy upon him in order to cure him. Since being sick is something common 
and frequent in these mountains, prescriptions come and go on all sides, 
abounding in syrups, tea, potions, pills, vapors and – horror! – injections 
(Lucha, big sister to all of us, has a varied and effective medicinal 
repertoire that would make the pharmaceutical monopolies tremble – you are 
welcome, Lucha, but don't forget to cough up when you patent all that).

As you are our brother, we cannot give you just anything.  Even less if that 
"thing" is an injection, that sophisticated instrument of torture which – 
despite the fact that we are entering the third millennium – has not been 
prohibited by any world organization in existence.  Here, for example, 
Olivio has proposed that a slogan for the march of zapatista women this 
March 8 should be:  "Chocolates yes, injections no!"  I told him it didn't 
rhyme, and he answered me that injections itself doesn't rhyme with 
anything, and, on the other hand, "chocolates" rhymes with "juguetes" [toys] 
(Olivio is going to try to convince the Sea to use his slogan in the 
zapatistas' march).

No, se~or, we cannot give injections.  Certainly not chocolates either.  Not 
just because Olivio has already wolfed them down, but also because they 
would most certainly arrive made into atole.  And so we have consulted in 
our special medical book which is called "Remedies and Recuentos," and we 
found something that, although it will not cure you, is certain not to make 
you worse (which is, during these times of "modern medicine," already an 
advantage):  an embrace!  All of us are sending you an embrace. It can be 
applied as often as you like, but do not abuse it, because it can lead to 
addiction, and there are few embraces like the one we are sending you.

Sale then.  Do not ignore it, take the medicine without making a face, and 
you will get better, because your and Beatriz' absence in "Correo Ilustrado" 
has caused that section's "ratings" to bottom out (I confess, I did a 
verrrrrry scientific survey).

Vale.  Salud and don't forget that embraces should be like gazes: wide and 

>From the Mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.
Mexico,  February of 2000.

This message is forwarded to you by the editors of the Chiapas95
newslists.  To contact the editors write to: <chiapas@eco.utexas.edu>.
To submit material for posting send to: <chiapas-i@eco.utexas.edu>.

From: "irlandesa redux" <irlandesa_irl@hotmail.com>
To: chiapas-i@eco.utexas.edu
Subject: Marcos' communiques 2/25
Date: Sun, 27 Feb 2000 02:13:42 GMT

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
Translated by irlandesa

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