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(en) Mexico, Chiapas, Four Fallacies about the Good Government Juntas

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sat, 28 Aug 2004 08:48:06 +0200 (CEST)

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Fallacy: deception, fraud or lie with which one attempts to harm someone)
There have been, and there are, others, but there were four
primary fallacies brandished by intellectuals of the right, judges,
legislators and officials in order to oppose the San Andrés
Accords, the Cocopa legislative proposal and the putting into
practice of those accords by the zapatista indigenous
communities with the creation of the caracoles and the Good
Government Juntas in August of 2003.
Like latter day fortune-tellers, at that time they predicted the
disintegration of the Mexican State, the creation of a State within
another State "for" Marcos (that was the title of an August 2003
edition of the newspaper owned by Ahumada, paradoxically
called El Independiente), an increase in inter-community
conflicts and the violation of individual human rights through the
exercise of collective rights.

According to this, the EZLN was preparing a political-military
offensive, which included an attack on the federal army barracks
located in the San Andrés municipal seat and other similar
nonsense. They grew alarmed, the Army, the Air Force, the
Navy and the PFP were alerted, weapons were readied, as were
arrest warrants, police operations, money for buying silence and
words. They made statements which they contradicted moments
later, and then they contradicted themselves again (regardless of
what might be said of anyone else, the champion was, and is,
Santiago Creel). They hysterically exchanged rumors disguised
as intelligence reports and intelligence reports disguised as
rumors. During that period, the Mexican Southeast was just a
few words away from once again turning into (as in 1994, as in
1995, as in 1998) a scene of combat.

But there was someone, from above but from outside, who said
no, that it was a political initiative, not a military one, and it was
nothing other than putting into practice what the federal
government and the EZLN had agreed to in February of 1996,
but 7 years later.

Someone else recommended letting them do it, waiting for the
failure and preparing the "I told you so" along with the military
advance by the federal Army on zapatista positions.

What I'm recounting actually took place at the meetings of
Vicente Fox' cabinet in the months of July and August a year

As is obvious, they decided to wait for us to fail. And, as always
when they make a political or military calculation about us, they

Not only did we not fail: in addition to significantly improving the
living conditions of the indigenous peoples, we now have
practical arguments which can serve as contrast in order to refute
the fallacies that formed the basis for the rejection of the Cocopa
Disintegration of the State?

A few years ago, a member of the Supreme Court of Justice of
the Nation, that body which hands out impunity to the powerful
(but written in legal terms), argued its position against the
constitutional recognition of indigenous rights in this manner:
"The Mexican State will break apart, there will be many
countries in one land and there will be individual laws
everywhere. In summary, the country will be balkanized."

One might think he was referring to drug trafficking and its ties
to officials and judges, but no, he was speaking of the advisability
of recognizing the existence of the Mexican Indian peoples, that
is, of recognizing their collective rights.

With the creation of the caracoles and the Good Government
Juntas, the zapatistas decided to put the San Andrés Accords
into practice and to demonstrate, in action, that we wanted to be
part of Mexico (of which we were not a part without ceasing to
be what we are).

One year from the creation of the caracoles and juntas, the
country is indeed disintegrating, but not because of indigenous
autonomy. It is because of a real internal war, through the
ruthless destruction of its foundations: sovereignty over natural
resources, social policies and the national economy. These three
bases &endash; the ones which, among others, were destroyed
in the secessionist and imperial wars &endash; are now being
dynamited by the three federal branches.

Sovereignty over oil and the creation of energy, to give one
example, is one of the objectives of the constitutional reforms
which are pending in Congress. Social policy (or the State of
Social Well-being) has become something laughable: the
agencies in charge of this arena are nothing but institutions of
charity and handouts, and the victories of the workers are being
tossed out through secret pacts accompanied by strident media
campaigns (the IMSS case, to cite a recent one). The national
economy ceased being one some time ago, and it turned into the
"chagarrización" of survival. The national productive capacity is
a pile of industrial scrap and nostalgia, business is monopolized
by large transnational companies, the banks are saturated with
foreign capital and the ups and downs of financial speculation are
driven by global, not national, variables.

Translating: fewer, and more precarious, jobs; more
unemployment and underemployment; high prices; low salaries;
what we can produce is bring imported; production is for a global
market - of which we are just a macroeconomic variable
&endash; and not for domestic consumption. Poverty now
affects not just workers, but also small and mid-size
businesspeople, and the Mexican rich are now fewer in number
but richer.

In sum, the federal government has relinquished its duties, and
the national State is staggering, bludgeoned by those from above,
not by those from below.

There is a term for changes as profound as the ones which our
country is suffering, when they are done from above and in
disregard of any manner of consensus or consultation with those
of below: it is called counterrevolution.

The only thing left to do will be to re-found the nation. With a
new social pact, a new Constitution, a new political class and a
new way of doing politics. In sum, there will need to be a
program of struggle, built from below, based on the real national
agenda, not on the one being promoted by politicians and the

On our side, nothing that has been done, as will be seen here and
in a subsequent part, by the Good Government Juntas and by the
Rebel Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities, has contributed to
the disintegration of the national State.
A State Within Another State?

He who governs well should govern for all, not just for those who
sympathize with him or who are in his organization, nor just for
those are of his same race, culture, color or language.

In the zapatista conception, the struggle for inclusion of one is
not the struggle for the exclusion of the other. If the existence of
the mestizos should not entail the disappearance of the
indigenous, our recognition as what we are does not entail the
negation of those who are not like us. And that is valid for the
indigenous and for the zapatista.

The Good Government Juntas are proof that zapatismo does not
try to dominate nor homogenize - under their ideas and in their
way - the world in which we live.

The JBGs were created in order to attend to everyone, to
zapatistas, to non-zapatistas and even to anti-zapatistas. They
were created in order to mediate between the authorities and the
citizens, and between authorities and different areas and
hierarchies. They have done so, and they will continue to do so.
A year ago, on the occasion of the birth of the caracoles and
juntas, Comandante David offered respect to those who would
respect us. We are fulfilling that pledge.

And so the Good Government Juntas maintain respectful contact
with different social organizations, with many of the official
municipal governments with which the autonomies share land,
and, in some cases, with the state government.
Recommendations are exchanged, and they seek to resolve
problems through dialogue.

Unlike the federal government, whose "commissioner" is
devoted to doing the ridiculous while in charge of the treasury
and to issuing press bulletins, the state government preferred not
to engage in a media campaign (as regards zapatismo), and opted
to give signals and to wait patiently. Knowing that zapatismo's
sights are not local, but federal, the government of Chiapas chose
to not be part of the problem and to try and be part of the

While some artful dodgers con Don Luis H. Alvarez, convincing
him that they have contact with the EZLN, taking money from
him and carrying him from one place to the next with the
promise that he's going to see "that one" (Marcos), and he tries
unsuccessfully to build a PAN "campesino force" by handing out
building materials and solar cells, the state government has a real
line of communication with the zapatista communities.

On this point, we are not opposed to the Fox government's
paying the salary of the self-styled "peace commissioner", but we
think they should redefine his work: instead of paying him to
seek dialogue with the zapatistas (something which he doesn't
do), they should pay him for covering the expenses of

The Good Government Juntas have mediated, along with the
state government of Chiapas, in the cases of individuals who
were kidnapped by the CIOAC in Las Margaritas, in part of the
indemnification of those who were attacked in Zinacantán, in
the indemnification of campesinos affected by the stretch of a
highway in the Tzeltal selva region, in the problem of the
"bicycle taxis" on the Chiapas coast, and perhaps in another
which escapes my memory right now. When you consult the
individual reports of each Junta, you will see all of that, because
nothing is hidden. Overall, there has been a continuous attempt
to avoid confrontations among the indigenous.

Currently communications are being maintained concerning the
cases of the recent assassination of a support base compañero
in Polhó and of the rape of an 11 year old girl in Chilón.

Respecting is recognizing, and the Good Government Juntas
recognize the existence and jurisdiction of the state government
and of official municipalities and, in the majority of cases, of
official municipal authorities, and the state government
recognizes the existence and jurisdiction of the JBGs. The Good
Government Juntas similarly recognize the existence and
legitimacy of other organizations. They respect, and they demand

It is only in that way, by respecting, that accords can be made
and carried out.

It took a while, but now non-zapatista and anti-zapatista persons
and organizations know that they can go to the JBGs in order to
deal with any kind of problem, that they will not be detained (the
JBGs are bodies of dialogue, not of punishment), that their case
will be assessed and that justice will be done. If someone wants
punishment for something, they go to an official municipality or
to an autonomía, but if someone wants resolution through
dialogue and accord, they go to the Good Government Junta.
More Conflicts?

The JBGs' actions are already beginning to produce effects in the
Autonomous Municipalities and in the official ones. There is less
recourse to the use of force or to the exchange of hostages for
social problems among groups, communities and organizations,
and an ever increasing use of dialogue. In this way it has become
evident that many cases are not confrontations between
organizations, but individual problems which are presented as
organizational ones.

The most important thing we have is our word. That is what the
moral authority has been built upon, the authority of a movement
which seeks, not without setbacks, a new way of doing politics.
Previously it had been taken as a given that any attack which
occurred had a political origin, the denuncia was issued and
demonstrations were held. Now there is first an investigation to
see if something was caused for political reasons or if it was a
criminal act.

In order to accomplish this, the JBGs maintain a channel of
communication, through the Department of Indian Peoples, with
the government of the state of Chiapas. When an attack takes
place against zapatistas, and there is no contact with the
aggressors in order to determine the reason for the problem and
to try to reach an agreement through dialogue, the Good
Government Juntas advise the autonomous authority to open an
investigation. At the same time, they turn the facts of the case
over to state officials. They do not resort to denuncias,
demonstrations or reprisals as long as no clarification of the
matter has been determined.

If the matter is not political, and it's criminal, they wait a
reasonable amount of time for state justice to take action. If they
do not, then zapatista justice goes into action.

In those cases which have been presented thus far, the justice
system of the government of Chiapas has been notable for its
slowness and inefficiency. It would appear that the Chiapas
judicial apparatus is only expeditious when it is punishing the
political enemies of the state government. In the case of the
Zinacantán officials, whose crime was flagrant and
documented, the state government limited itself to helping with
the indemnification of the aggrieved. As far as determining who
was responsible for the attack and prosecuting them legally, there
has been nothing up to now. And in the case of Chilón, where
an 11 year old girl was raped in the context of a confrontation
between zapatistas and non-zapatistas, the differences over the
origins of the confrontation have been sorted out, all the
information on the rapists have already been handed over
(including the medical analysis which confirmed the rape of the
girl) to the proper authoritiesÉand nothing (at least as of the
day I'm writing this). The rapists are still free, despite the fact
that they do not have the support of the organization to which
they belong (which distanced itself from the incident).

Nonetheless, it must be said that the most important attacks
suffered by the zapatistas this year have not come from the
federal Army, nor from the state Public Security police
(concerning the paramilitaries, the possible political causes in the
case of a compañero assassinated in Polhó are currently being

Paradoxically, the most serous problems and attacks which have
occurred this year have been with organizations and governments
affiliated with the PRD: the official CIOAC of Las Margaritas
region and the official municipal president's office of
Zinacantán (of the PRD). In both cases, zapatistas have
suffered attacks. In Las Margaritas, compañeros were
kidnapped, and in Zinacantán they attacked a peaceful
demonstration with firearms.

The official CIOAC of Las Margaritas region (I make the
distinction because there have been understandings and mutual
respect with the CIOAC in other municipalities) only wants to
maintain its corrupt status within the municipality and have its
leaders continue to be supported by the official authorities.

In Zinacantán, the PRD government planned and executed an
ambush which left several zapatistas with gunshot wounds.
Plunged into the "video crisis," the national PRD maintained a
complicit silence, and it only just began a process for removing
the municipal president from the PRD. In select PRD circles it is
said that that was the price the zapatistas paid for not supporting
their party in the elections. That is the platform that they will be
promoting nationally in 2006? Beatings and bullets for those who
don't unconditionally support the PRD? It's a question.

With other organizations with whom there have been, and are,
contentions - and with whom things had been previously
resolved through the logic of "there's a problem, I'll grab one of
yours, you grab one of mine, we'll exchange them, and the
problem will stay the same" (or "get a lot of people together, I'll
get some others, we'll beat each other up and then the problem
will stay the same") - they are now seeking to talk, to learn about
both sides' versions, to reach an agreement. Like that, without
confrontations or kidnappings. Problems have been resolved in
this manner with organizations such as the ORCAO,
ARIC-Independent, ARIC-PRI, the CNC, and many others
which are present in the lands where the JBGs operate and
where their influence extends.

Unlike in previous years, conflicts between communities and
between organizations in the lands of the Good Government
Juntas have diminished, and the crime rate and impunity have
been reduced. Crimes are resolved, not just punished. If you do
not believe me, consult newspaper records, in the courts, in the
public ministries, in the jails, in the hospitals, in the cemeteries.
Compare the before and after and come to your own conclusions.
Justice A La Mode?

Good government does not seek to grant impunity to those who
sympathize with it, nor is it made for punishing those with
conflicting ideas and positions. In other words, it should not act
like the federal government, which gives impunity to criminals
because they're from PAN (Estrada Cajigal, for example) or
because the PRI made a deal (Luis Echeverría, for example),
and attempt to punish one of their adversaries (López Obrador)
and leave him out of 2006.

The laws which are in force in the Rebel Zapatista Autonomous
Municipalities are not in contradiction with the elements of
justice which govern the state and federal systems, but in many
cases they complete them.

I said that good government is not for granting impunity to their
own and punishing the others.

As an example, and in illustration, I have a copy of the official
letter issued by the Autonomous Municipal Court of San Juan de
La Libertad, Chiapas, dated August 19, 2004, directed to the
constitutional government of the state of Chiapas and with a copy
to the municipal president of Chalchihuitlán and to the
municipal court of Chalchihuitlán. The text serves as argument
(I have respected the original writing):

"C. Fulano, EZLN support base, 17 years old, from Jolik'alum,
municipality of Chalchihuitlán, Chiapas, was brought before the
authorities of these autonomous bodies and before the authorities
of the municipal court on August 14 of this year by the local
authorities of that community, who, having committed a
common crime on August 13 of this year, when C. Zutano of the
National Action Party (PAN), having left his house in order to
make some purchases at the market in Jolitontic, and upon his
return, as he was walking along the path, met this young man
Fulano hidden in the scrub, armed with a single shot 22 caliber
rifle who attempted to fire upon C. Zutano from a distance of 5
meters, but the weapon was no longer of any use.

"Now appearing before the autonomous municipal judges, the
young man Fulano stated that the complainant himself, C.
Zutano, had caused the beginning of this provocation when he
had cut down 300 high quality coffee plants belonging to the
young man Fulano, and for that reason this young man had been
angry for a year. The autonomous judges characterize what C.
Fulano has committed as a serious crime under revolutionary
zapatista order and discipline. On this matter we confirm his
immediate detention, for which there exist facts which prove the
elements that make up this type of crime. However, at the
moment of detention of the guilty party, the complainant, C.
Zutano, left, escaping from the municipal judges, refusing to
testify as to the beginnings of this matter, as if he were the one
guilty of this incident. The autonomous authorities are able to
resolve any kind of issue or common crime. At this time, C.
Fulano is punished by deprivation of liberty (É) C. Fulano's
weapon is in the hands of the autonomous authorities of San
Juan de la Libertad. The weapon is in bad condition since it does
not function reliably, and it will be destroyed."

Collective Rights Versus Individual Rights?

I imagine that there are, or will be, legal studies which
demonstrate that there is no contradiction between the
recognition of the two. We are speaking now about what we see
in reality and about what we are practicing, and we are open for
anyone to come and corroborate whether the exercise of our
rights as Indian peoples are violating any individual right.

Collective rights (like the decision as to the use and enjoyment of
natural resources) are not only not in contradiction of individual
rights, but they allow them to be extended to everyone, not just
to a few. As will be seen in the part about the advances that have
been made, there has been no increase in the violation of
individual human rights in zapatista territory. What has indeed
increased are better living conditions. The right to life is being
respected, as is the right to religion, to party affiliation, to liberty,
to the presumption of innocence, to demonstrating, to dissent, to
being different, to the free choice of maternity.

This year, instead of involving ourselves in a discussion of legal
terms, we zapatistas have chosen to demonstrate in reality that
the flag of the recognition of the rights of the Indian peoples,
raised by the Mexican indigenous and many others along with
them, does not entail any of the dangers which were argued
against them.

The disintegration of the Mexican nation is not evolving on
zapatista lands. On the contrary, what is being created here is a
chance for its reconstruction.

(To be continuedÉ)

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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