(eng) Statement On Zapatista Front Of National Liberation

Arm The Spirit (ats@locust.cic.net)
Sun, 22 Sep 1996 18:50:00 +0200

Press Statement Of The Special Commision For The Promotion Of The
Zapatista Front Of National Liberation

Mexico City - September 4, 1996

The political orientation which those in power are seeking to
impose on the whole of the nation is dragging us into an acute
intensification of the social and political crises in which we are
living. The "virtual country", which was outlined a few days ago by
Ernesto Zedillo, exists only in the minds of the technocrats who,
from the heights of power, test and play with the future of the
Mexican people. Thus, our country is caught in a debate between the
arrogance and pride of a political elite, and the desperation of
millions of common citizens tired of living in an anti-democracy
enforced by the terrorism of the State.
On February 9, 1995, Mr. Ernesto Zedillo unleashed a campaign
against the EZLN and the civilian population, with the objective of
physically annihilating the Zapatistas' military command. The
prudence of the EZLN avoided an outright confrontation that would
have resulted in ominous consequences for the future of our
country. Immediately, Mexican civil society mobilized across the
nation, managing to frustrate the government's intentions in the
same fashion as they had previously stopped the war in January of
1994. The peace talks of San Miguel, and later those of San Andres,
were an achievement of Mexican civil society. The government knew,
as did the EZLN, that the majority of Mexicans were in favor of a
political solution to the national conflict for which the Zapatista
uprising was the catalyst - a political solution in which peace
with justice and dignity would be made a reality. In that sense,
Mexican civil society insisted upon a dialogue which would fulfill
those just demands hoisted by zapatismo since January 1st, 1994 -
a truthful and substantial dialogue, one which would result in the
creation of another Mexico and a new form of understanding and
"doing" politics.
The result, following 18 months of "dialogue", has been a
mockery of these expectations. The proposals agreed upon by the
government and the EZLN for the first set of peace talks on
"Indigenous Rights and Culture" six months ago have had no concrete
results to date; they continue to exist as pieces of paper, nothing
more. Even worse, the government decided to convert the second set
of talks, on "Democracy and Justice", into a pantomime, boycotting
them from the very beginning, and doing what they are accustomed to
doing with the Mexican populace: not hearing, not seeing, not
talking; only mocking.
Concurrently with this process of "dialogue", the
militarization of Chiapas became more entrenched and asphyxiating
for the indigenous communities. Almost immediately following the
initiation of the "dialogue", as well as during its development, a
series of military and police actions were carried out which not
only signified "mini-crises" for the talks at San Andres, but above
all put the lives of citizens at stake. The EZLN continually
informed the people of Mexico, as well as their governmental
counterpart, about what this kind of dynamic signified;
nevertheless, their warnings continued unheeded. At the same time,
from the heights of power came the ongoing tactic of presenting to
the media a panorama seen through rose-colored glasses, announcing
that "The two sides have agreed upon 80% of the issues". With this
measure they sought to insure that civil society would gradually
lose interest in what was being discussed in the peace talks. They
dreamed of an EZLN surrounded militarily, asphyxiated by hunger,
tricked by the debates, isolated by civil society, and mocked in
their demands. The indigenous communities of the highlands and the
jungle of Chiapas, the true and only leadership of the EZLN, thus
decided to say, once again, ENOUGH!, and they ordered their
delegates to stop attending a "dialogue" which has been
de-naturalized by the zedillistas in the government.
Mexican civil society must look at itself in the mirror, and
find that part of itself which is the indigenous communities of
Chiapas. We say as much because we understand that the pantomime of
dialogue, which was a product of the actions of the government
delegation, signifies first and foremost a mockery of that
authentic, promotional civil society, the original proponent of
dialogue and of a political solution to the conflict. We must not
forget that this was perfectly understood by the EZLN, which opened
the dialogue to a great number of advisors and invited guests,
leaving in their hands the fundamental aspects of the construction
of a new alternative for the Nation.
All of us in Mexico have been tricked and mocked by
zedillismo, and it is they who are responsible for turning the
dialogue into a dead-end alley, once again placing the country on
the brink of civil war.
Once again, it will depend on civil society to force a true
political solution out of the government's prepotency. The
conditions which the EZLN has set out for a resumption of peace
talks are minimal and justifiable: freedom for all the
presumed-zapatista political prisoners arrested in February of
1995, as well as those members of the support base of the EZLN
detained recently in the north of Chiapas; the appointment of a
governmental negotiating team with decision-making capability,
political will, and without a racist ideology; the installation of
an Implementation and Verification Commission and a fulfillment of
the agreements reached in the first round of talks on "Indigenous
Rights and Culture"; serious and concrete proposals for the talks
on "Democracy and Justice", with a commitment to seek agreements
which will have positive repercussions for the transition to
democracy; and an end to the climate of military and/or police
harassment against the indigenous communities, as well as the
disappearance of guardias blancas. Perhaps it would be helpful to
add something else: that the plenary sessions of the peace talks be
transmitted to the entire Nation by television, or at least a
summary balance of the participation in each session by the
respective sides. The Dialogue of San Andres is ours, and we cannot
allow the disappearance of truthful information about its
development to continue.
The Special Commission for the Promotion of the FZLN will
continue its work to move forward in the construction of a new type
of political force in the country. Our work will continue to be
open and public. We don't ask anything of the government, only that
our rights as Mexican citizens be respected. Within a few days we
will begin a national tour, pass through the military roadblocks
openly stating who we are, and we will talk with our companeros
across the country in order to strengthen our autonomous work. We
will organize a vast national campaign so as to achieve the
reinitiation of a true political dialogue. We will act as one more
participant in the mobilizations of civil society.
For the immediate future, together with a series of political
and social forces, NGOs, and individual citizens, we are calling
for the organization of an event under the theme: "One Minute for
a Just and Dignified Dialogue in Chiapas", to be held on Friday,
September 6th, 1996, at 6 p.m. Additionally, we are promoting a
similar campaign at the international level; at the very least, the
Mexican embassies and consulates should have plenty of work
responding to the petitions of thousands of citizens from around
the world who, following the Intercontinental Encounter, came
together to form a worldwide network of mutual support.

Special Commission for the Promotion of the Zapatista Front of
National Liberation

For more information and updated news about the Zapatista Front and
the crisis in Mexico, please consult the official web sites of the
Special Commission for the Promotion of the FZLN, in Spanish:

..and in English: http://www.peak.org/~joshua/fzln/

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