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(en) Mexico, Chiapas, A Message from Marcos - Five Decisions of Good Government

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Fri, 27 Aug 2004 12:21:12 +0200 (CEST)


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During the first year of the Good Government Juntas, some
internal accords were formalized, which were adopted some time
ago now, and new decisions were defined. They have to do with
conservation of the forests, drug trafficking, trafficking in the
undocumented, the movement of vehicles in the regions and
state elections for municipal presidents and the state Congress.
1. Concerning the Conservation of Forests
I am transcribing verbatim one of the laws which is in force in
the Good Government Juntas. The wording varies from one
region to the other, but the essence is the same:

Law Concerning the Care of Trees, or the Care of Nature

By accordance of the Corazn del Arco Iris Good Government
Junta this law is valid in the territories of the Rebel Autonomous
Municipalities without special treatment for anyone; the law is
for the protection of the forests because the forests draw the
water, the oxygen, because it is our life, and it is also the
protector of forest animals; for that reason we should all
understand that it is important to care for our forests in all the
territories of the Autonomous Municipalities.

As the Good Government Junta, we are proposing that each
municipality create a nursery in order to help carry out this law.

1. Trees shall only be cut for domestic needs, not for selling.

2. We have the duty to care for and to conserve the forests, and
we also have the right to use trees for domestic purposes with a
permit from the autonomous authorities.

3. For each tree which is cut down, it is the duty of the person
who felled it to plant two saplings and to care for them.

4. Each autonomous territory shall issue sanctions according to
its regulations.

5. Each instance of unauthorized felling shall be sanctioned by
the planting of 20 saplings.

6. All permits shall be issued by the land and territory committee.

There is an accord in which, when there is space for
reforestation, each municipality shall do so. The trees which are
to be reforested are those trees which are needed in the
community. The spaces to be considered for planting are those
areas which are good for family excursions, such as riverbanks.

For example, in the 17 de Noviembre Autonomous Municipality,
we have 4 reforested centers, with a total of 2000 cedar plants. In
addition, the PRIs continue to secure permits for up to 10
contract years, even though we have attempted to suspend them.
We are aware that they use these as a means of provocation.

2. Concerning the Planting, Trafficking, Marketing and
Consumption of Drugs

Even though the law dates back from prior to the beginning of
the war, the Good Government Junta has formalized the
prohibition against drug trafficking. Here is an example:

"The Good Government Junta in zapatista territory still
completely prohibits the cultivation, trafficking and consumption
of drugs, those who do so shall be expelled by zapatista laws.
Zapatista support bases who plant these narcotics shall be
rejected by the organization and the community where that
person resides. The same shall apply to those who consume.

"If a parcel is found which has been planted, those plants will be
burned and destroyed. The person who has done the planting
shall be responsible for the costs of the destruction, such as the
cost of the gasoline to burn them, and he shall be expelled from
the organization. The person who is consuming shall be
punished with ten days of work and six months out of the
organization. By accord of the Good Government Junta, each
municipality in its territory shall make a survey every year in
order to be certain that there are no people who are engaged in
this illicit work."

3. Concerning the Movement of Vehicles in the Regions of the
Good Government Juntas

Vehicles traveling through the region shall be registered with the
Good Government Juntas. This measure is to prevent trafficking
in persons, narcotics, weapons and lumber. With that control,
the Good Government Junta can detect a vehicle engaged in
criminal activities, investigate it and, if there is a crime and if the
person is a zapatista, punish him according to our laws. If he is
not a zapatista, he will be reported to the official authorities.

The zapatista vehicle registration has also allowed transportation
routes to be arranged so that the people will have transportation
service all day and so that there are not any conflicts among the
different trucking organizations.

In order to prevent the zapatista regions from becoming
sanctuaries for stolen and illegally imported automobiles, the
registrations granted by the JBG will only be given to those who
have their regularized, official papers. In other words, in order to
have the vehicle registration from the JBG, it is necessary to
have license plates and registration. The driver must also have
his driving license.

4. Concerning Trafficking in the Undocumented

A few months ago the following began to circulate in the Good
Government Juntas and the Autonomous Councils:

There has been an increase of late in the number of
undocumented persons who are being driven by the so-called
polleros on their way to the United States. These polleros are
persons who are engaged in the trafficking of persons, who
charge them a lot of money in exchange for promising to take
them to find work in the United States.

In the great majority of cases, the polleros deceive the men and
women from Mexico and from other parts of America, and they
leave them abandoned inside the hiding places in the vehicles or
in the deserts, and these men and women (and sometimes
children) then die in a horrific manner.

It is also known that the polleros have agreements with federal
officials of the Mexican government, who are part of the
business. The men and women who come from other countries
in search of passage to the United States in order to work are, in
the immense majority, poor and humble people, and their rights
and dignity are being violated by the polleros and by officials from
Mexico and the United States.

That is why the decision has been made to declare the trafficking
in persons, national or foreign, through zapatista territory, to be a
serious crime. This should be made known to all authorities so
that they will keep a watch out to see that this is complied with
and that those members of the EZLN who participate in, help or
protect those who are engaged in the trafficking of persons shall
be punished and, in a serious case, be expelled from our
organization.

The security committees of the CCRI and the Good Government
Juntas shall make sure that no zapatista support base,
responsable, committee or autonomous authority commits, helps
or protects this crime of trafficking in persons, because it is a
crime against humanity.

All those trafficking in persons (or polleros) who are discovered
and detained in zapatista territory shall be obligated to return any
monies to the affected persons and, after being warned, and if
they repeat their crime, they shall be turned over to the proper
authorities in order to be punished according to the laws of
Mexico.

All persons, nationals and foreigners, who are clandestinely
transported shall be freed and helped by whatever means possible
(medical attention, temporary lodging and food) and counseled to
not allow themselves to be deceived.

All human beings, regardless of their nationality, have free
movement through zapatista territory, but they should be subject
to the laws of the Good Government Junta, the Autonomous
Municipalities and the indigenous communities.

The Good Government Juntas and the Rebel Zapatista
Autonomous Municipalities shall inform the zapatista support
base compaeros and compaeras and members of other
organizations living in zapatista territories, of these
recommendations, with the understanding that any zapatista who
commits this crime shall not be recognized as a compaero.

The results? Here are some examples:

From the Morelia Good Government Junta:

"Regarding the undocumented, for example: in the Ernesto Che
municipality, they detained a pollero on their territory, they
incarcerated him for two days and they warned him that next
time the punishment would be greater, and the undocumented
persons were given shelter, food, and they were warned about the
risks of the journey, and they were allowed to leave. There was
one case where a compaero sold pozol at a high price. These
compaeros who committed this mistake were punished."

From La Garrucha:

"Those polleros who are caught deceiving these undocumented
people shall be detained and made to return their money. The
sale of food, water and lodging to undocumented persons is
completely prohibited in zapatista territory. They are poor like us,
and it is our duty to give them water, food and lodging, not to sell
it to them. In the event that a pollero is detained for a second
time, he shall be turned over to the officials of the bad
government."

From La Realidad:

"The JBG speaks directly to undocumented Central Americans
and Latin Americans, explaining who they are. They explain
how the JBG is the result of the EZLN's struggle. As civil
authorities and EZLN support bases. They explain the seven
principles of governing obeying and about autonomy. They
explain that they are autonomous authorities and that they are
struggling against neoliberalism, the Plan Puebla-Panama,
etcetera. They counsel them not to abandon their land, that it
safer to work their own piece of land, that it is better to struggle
for democracy, liberty and justice in their own countries, that
their American dream is not safe, because many people have
died along the way, that there are no problems with us, and they
may travel freely because we are the same as them, that we shall
not allow them to be robbed of a lot of money for their trip
because that is how people in the business of the undocumented
have gotten rich. We give them food, drinks, biscuits. That is
when the undocumented begin to gain confidence, they begin
talking about their lives, they say that some of them have listened
to Radio Insurgente in their countries. They are grateful. All the
money carried by those polleros who are able to be identified is
divided up in equal parts among all the Central American
undocumented, warning the polleros that the next time they are
caught they shall be punished.

"On another occasion, when a group of Central Americans who
were traveling on foot were spoken to, and the pollero was
discovered, who said he was of Guatemalan nationality and that
he was taking Hondurans, Guatemalans and Salvadorans, and
that he had charged 1500 pesos to each of the 27 Central
Americans, he was searched and an amount of 31,905 pesos,
700 quetzales and 31 dollars was found, the money was taken
away from him and divided equally among the undocumented.
At the present time a trafficker in national migrants is being
detained, serving a punishment of 6 months, after a warning had
been given to him."

5. Concerning the Chiapas State Elections of October 3, 2004.

In July of this year delegates from the State Electoral
Commission of Chiapas presented themselves at the different
Good Government Juntas in order to reach an agreement that
would allow the IEE's work. This was the response they received:

To the State Electoral Commission of Chiapas, Mexico,

Executive Secretary,

Tuxtla Gutirrez, Chiapas, Mexico.

Presente.

Ladies and gentlemen:

We are writing in order to inform you of the following:

1. We received your kind letter dated July 14, 2004 which spoke
to us with respect in order to request help from this Good
Government Junta in order to facilitate the work of the State
Electoral Commission on zapatista lands.

2. As you are aware, we do not believe that elections are a true
path for the interests of the people, but we are aware that there
are people who still believe in that as a path for resolving the
problems of the Mexican people. The political parties are held in
great disrepute because they only look out for their own interests,
and not for those of the majority, but there may still exist persons
who yet believe that there is some honesty in those of above.

3. Our work as a Good Government Junta is to see that
everyone's thoughts and ways are respected in zapatista
territories, regardless of whether the people are zapatista or
non-zapatista, and also if they are anti-zapatistas. Because we do
not want to forcefully make everyone zapatistas, but for everyone
to be how they want to be, but respecting and being respected in
their different ways and thoughts.

4. Because of this we are stating clearly that you will not have
any problems in carrying out your work in the communities
which are part of the Autonomous Municipalities that belong to
this Good Government Junta, and they are (list of Autonomous
Municipalities). We only ask that, as we respect those who want
to vote, you will respect those who do not wish to do so and not
force anyone to do what they do not want to do.

5. Therefore, you now have the guarantee to do your work in the
lands which correspond to our Good Government Junta, and we
will see that there are no problems, obviously always respecting
the will of the communities.

In the days prior to the election of October 3, 2004 and on that
day, the State Electoral Commission of Chiapas will be able to
carry out their work without any obstacles on the part of the
zapatista communities which are part of our Good Government
Junta.

6. We would also like to tell you that, in the list of communities
which you sent us in your kind letter, there are some which do
not belong to our Good Government Junta, but to (name of
another JBG), and we therefore recommend that you also
address the brothers and sisters of that Good Government Junta
in order to obtain their permission. We are certain that they will
respond in the same kind and respectful manner that we are
doing.

7. As can be seen, when there is mutual respect on both sides,
then there is good understanding. We, the zapatistas, do not wish
to impose anything, we only want to be respected and for there to
be good accord among those who differ.

We appreciate the tone of your letter and we greet you in kind.

Sincerely,

(Signatures of the members of the Good Government Junta in
question)



From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos
Mexico, August of 2004. 20 and 10.

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
************************************
Translated by irlandesa


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