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Message From The Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee - General Command Of The Zapatista Army Of National Liberation In Commemoration Of The Third Anniversary Of The Uprising

To the insurgent troops; To the militias; To the bases of support of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation; To the people of Mexico; To the peoples of the world;

Brothers and Sisters:

This first dawn of the year of 1997 marks the third anniversary of the war of the Zapatista rebels. It has been 1095 days of war against the oblivion with which they want to annihilate us. It has now been three years of resistance for the memory we have given ourselves in order to live. Three years ago the insurgent Zapatistas began a war against oblivion and silence. A war which was and is not for political power but to have respect and to defend the dignity of the men and women who carry in their heart the blood of the first inhabitants of the land, who carry on their lips the truth of the oldest wisemen, who go upon the path of the peace of dignity of all true men and women. In these three years the Power has not ceased in its persecution of us and it tries to forget us. In order to stop us, make us surrender, and annihilate us, the Power uses all its Force, many and large are its machines of war which fill our land and our skies, many and large are the deaths with which the Power attacks our lives. Here we are. We are still here. We have not been silent. We will not surrender. In order to defeat us, the Power buys words and consciences. The Power said it wanted peace, yet behind its promise came treachery and death. To our truth, the Power puts up the lie. Against our memory, it launches oblivion. We are here. We continue to be here. We have not forgotten, we will not surrender. Our war was and is so that memory may recover its place in history. There will not be peace as long as oblivion remains our only future. Our war was and is so that dignity be respected by all. There will not be peace as long as disdain for all who are different remains the only possible relationship. Our war was and is so that the truth of all who are different may be heard and understood, so that all the worlds may have a place in the world. There will not be peace as long as the lie is the only word to be heard, as long as intolerance and cynicism remain the only banners. We the Zapatistas speak for ourselves, and we also carry the word of all our dead who died in silence. We speak for them, in our words speak all the dead, the silent ones of forever. We will resist until until the words of the forgotten begin to walk. We will struggle until the silence of the silent ones speaks. We will die until the dead live. These three years of war whose anniversary we mark today have been such because the Power has no other word but lies. If this fourth year is to be of war or of peace will depend on if the Supreme Power accepts history or not, and whether or not it recognizes that those who are different deserve a place for their word and for their step. This fourth year will be, as all those which have preceded it and all those still to come, of... Living for our homeland or dying for liberty!

Democracy! Liberty! Justice!

For the Clandestine Indigenous Revolutionary Committee-General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

Mountains of the Mexican Southeast Mexico, January of 1997 - Thirteenth year of the struggle and fourth year of the war against oblivion and lies.

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Communique Of The Clandestine Indigenous Revolutionary Committee - General Command Of The Zapatista Army Of National Liberation

January 1, 1997

To the people of Mexico: To the peoples and governments of the world:

Brothers and Sisters:

With regards to the proposals about Constitutional reforms on indigenous matters presented by the Cocopa to the federal government and the EZLN, the Clandestine Indigenous Revolutionary Committee-General Command of the EZLN declares:

First. That on the 19th day of December of 1996 a sub-commission of the Cocopa presented itself in the community of La Realidad in the Lacandon jungle to meet with a delegation of the CCRI-CG of the EZLN. In this meeting, the Cocopa gave the EZLN a document with "observations" made by the federal government about the proposal elaborated by the legislative entity (Cocopa) regarding constitutional reforms on indigenous matters.

Second. The Cocopa recognized that it was unaware of the content and ramifications of these "observations", and that more time was needed to analyze them. The response of Mr. Ernesto Zedillo to the Cocopa was neither a "yes" or a "no", as the Cocopa, the EZLN and public opinion had been expecting. However, as a sign of disposition and of good will, the EZLN responded that, along with its team of advisors and the National Indigenous Congress, it would also analyze the document sent by the Federal Government to the Cocopa.

Third. The EZLN and the Cocopa agreed to hold a new tripartite meeting (Cocopa-EZLN-Conai) in order to establish their positions on the 11th and 12th days of January, 1997 in the community of La Realidad.

Fourth. The EZLN would like to make it clear that at no time have the negotiations been re-opened regarding the agreements of San Andres on indigenous rights and culture, nor on the Cocopa initiative which reflects the agreements of San Andres signed by the federal government and the EZLN 11 months ago regarding indigenous matters.

Fifth. The EZLN, from the beginning of the discussions on indigenous issues, has convoked important national sectors, specialists and the best of the independent national indigenous movement to struggle for a new relationship between the indigenous peoples and the Mexican nation. The Zapatista banner of "everything for everyone, nothing for us" is a reality, and that is why the EZLN calls upon the National Indigenous Congress and its team of advisors to an important work session that will take place in the coming days. At that time, the EZLN will make known its decision regarding this issue, and the Cocopa has given its word to do the same. The EZLN is not alone in this struggle, nor will it be alone in its response.

Democracy! Liberty! Justice!

For the Clandestine Indigenous Revolutionary Committee - General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

Mountains of the Mexican Southeast Mexico, January 1997 - Thirteenth year of the struggle and fourth year of the war against oblivion and lies.

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Communique Of The Clandestine Indigenous Revolutionary Committee - General Command Of The Zapatista Army Of National Liberation

To the People of Mexico: To the Peoples and Governments of the World:

Brothers and Sisters:

On December 19th, 1996, legislators of the Cocopa gave a document to the CCRI-CG of the EZLN which contained, according to what they told us, the response of the Federal Executive to the constitutional reform initiative on indigenous matters, presented by the Cocopa to the two sides based on the San Andres Accords. The Cocopa asked the EZLN to maintain confidentiality regarding the contents of the document while consulting with advisors and specialists, and a tripartite meeting between the EZLN, Cocopa, and Conai was set up so that both the Cocopa and the EZLN could make known their appraisal of the Federal Executive's document. Having passed the agreed-upon period of confidentiality, the EZLN makes public the counter-proposal sent by Mr. Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon, called Proposal of the Government for Constitutional Reforms Regarding the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and, at the same time, makes known its evaluation of this document.

First. Mr. Zedillo's document represents a resounding "no" to the proposal made by the Cocopa, it ignores the San Andres accords signed by its delegation in February of 1996, it attempts to renegotiate from scratch all of the first round on "Indigenous Rights and Culture", and it ratifies the lack of seriousness and the irresponsibility of the federal government in the search for a peaceful solution to the just demands of the EZLN.

Second. The peace dialogue and process of negotiations only make sense if the accords that are reached are then fulfilled. Mr. Zedillo refuses to fulfill that which has been signed by his representatives in San Andres. This is unacceptable; today it is a disregard of the acquired commitments regarding indigenous rights, tomorrow it will be the non-completion of the ever-more-distant peace agreements. This situation reveals that there is no real will for dialogue and peace on the part of the federal government, and shows that they are trying to administer the conflict in a bellicose fashion rather than give it a definitive solution by peaceful means. Today, the will for war of Mr. Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon remains clear.

Third. The words of Mr. Zedillo, expressed in Guatemala on the occasion of the signing of peace between the URNG and the government, are a sign that his foreign discourse contradicts his national actions. There is no real will in power in Mexico for "(...) valuing the arms of politics instead of the arms of confrontation, dialogue instead of intolerance, and accords above exclusion". (Ernesto Zedillo. Guatemala, December 29th, 1996.)

Fourth. Since its birth, the EZLN acquired a commitment with the indigenous peoples of Mexico. The indigenous blood spilled in the combats of 1994, the death suffered in these three years of armed resistance, and the pain of thousands of besieged and persecuted families in the mountains of the Mexican southeast, make sense and are based in reason, because they happened so as to fulfill the desire for "everything for everyone, nothing for us". Today, we reiterate the fundamental importance the EZLN places on indigenous rights and culture, and on a national law which recognizes them.

Fifth. The government document titled "Proposal of the Government for Constitutional Reforms Regarding the Rights of Indigenous Peoples" is a vile and shameless mockery of the struggle of the indigenous peoples of Mexico, of the will for dialogue of the EZLN, of the efforts of the Cocopa to strengthen the path of negotiation, and of the hopes of national and international civil society to find a firm and rapid path to peace with justice and dignity for the original inhabitants of the Mexican lands.

Sixth. The counterproposal of the federal government puts the entire peace process in Mexico at risk, it fundamentally questions the possibility of a peaceful and rapid solution to the conflict, and it once again spreads the shadows of war over the indigenous peoples of Mexico.

Seventh. For all the above, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, a primarily indigenous rebel organization risen up in arms for democracy, liberty, and justice for the Mexican people, declares:

That it completely rejects the government's proposal of constitutional reforms, for signifying a nonfulfillment of the San Andres Accords; for being a mockery of the national and international demand for a just and dignified peace; and for not satisfying the indigenous demands for a new relationship with the Mexican nation.

That the EZLN reiterates that it accepts the document elaborated by the organism of the federal Legislative Power, the Cocopa, as the legal initiative which fulfills the San Andres Accords signed by the EZLN and the federal government in February of 1996.

That it hopes that the Commission of Harmony and Pacification honors its decision (made public during the first days of December, 1996) to defend and carry forward its own proposal, without accepting modifications from either of the parts, and demanding that the Federal Executive fulfill its word pledged in the accords of San Andres. We expect a dignified and valient attitude from the legislators of the Cocopa faced with this mockery by the Executive Power. The independence and autonomy of the Legislative Power and of the political parties are once again at stake.

That the EZLN will not make any other decision until knowing the public response of the Cocopa.

That we call upon national and international civil society to mobilize itself in order to demand that the government honor its word and stop playing with war against the people of Mexico.

Democracy! Liberty! Justice!

>From the mountains of the Mexican southeast.

Clandestine Indigenous Revolutionary Committee - General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

Mexico, January of 1997

------------------------- Diffusion : European Counter Network ECN - Paris e-mail: ecn@altern.org http://www.anet.fr/~aris/

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