EZLN Confirms Contact With Legislators

Originally published in Spanish by La Jornada
Translated by irlandesa

EZLN Confirms Contact With Legislators

Jesu's Rami'rez Cuevas, correspondent.
Ixmiquilpan, Hidalgo.
February 28.

The EZLN formally announced the beginning of contacts with federal legislators.

During the reception event in Pachuca, Subcomandante Marcos reported that Fernando Ya~ez has already been in contact with Jose' Narro, Jaime Marti'nez Veloz, Miguel Bortolini and Genoveva Domi'nguez.

In Actopan, Marcos said: "There is a major fight going on right now and a dispute over this dove (the one of peace). Fox's government wants to turn it into an advertising logo. He's going to buy a product that doesn't serve. The dove we want is the one which flies." Later he said: "You choose the kind of peace there should be in this country. That is the dilemma: an advertising dove, or one which flies and doesn't leave anyone underneath anyone else."

On the fourth day of the March for Indigenous Dignity, there were four events. In the city of Tlaxcala, during the first event, the EZLN spokesperson expressed his appreciation for being received on "these rebel lands." He said the Puebla-Panama Plan being promoted by Vicente Fox's government, is going to have to have a name change. "It will have to be called the Guatemala-Panama Plan, because there's not going to be anything from Chiapas to Puebla." The people laughed at the warning.

There Comandanta Fidelia spoke of the reality of chiapaneca indigenous women: "We are members of the EZLN because we are tired of so much poverty, of so much humiliation, of so much exploitation."

Comandante Mister also spoke, eloquently: "Se~or Fox wants to continue the game of previous governments, he wants to continue gaining time, like Salinas and Zedillo, he wants to tire us out, to wear us down, but he won't achieve it." He asked the crowd to join in with the demand for the fulfillment of the three signals which the EZLN is demanding of the federal government.

In Pachuca, thousands were gathered in front of the Hidalgo Theater. Comandante David warned: "Without the fulfillment of these signals, it will not be possible to reinitiate dialogue, and we will be very far from a peace with justice and dignity."

We Don't Want a Simulated Peace: Marcos

"Since we entered your state," Marcos said, in his improvised speech in this city, once a mining jewel, "we have found your support. You have told us you support us. Right now I'm looking at a placard here that says 'Marcos, if you really love our indigenous brothers, sign peace'."

The EZLN's military chief responded: "The brothers of Acteal had signed peace with the paramilitary groups two weeks before December 22, 1997, After having signed that peace, 45 men, women and children were just praying, and they shot them in the head. I ask the people of Hidalgo if this is the peace they want. We want peace, but the real one, and we are going to build it. Just a minute ago one of the people, a little girl, said: 'In your hands, Marcos, is the future of peace'."

In Actopan, ~ah~u indigenous had a massive reception. The master of ceremonies presented the EZLN as "the ones who have given us an example of struggle. The hour has come for building an alternative social force in order to achieve democracy, peace and justice." Comandante Omar repeated the objectives of the journey, and he invited those present "to walk together until we reach the finishing line. Together, zapatistas and civil society, we will be able to demonstrate that we can make a culture of respect."

In Tepatepec, at the very entrance to the Valley of Mezquital, one of the most impoverished regions of the country, ~ah~u indigenous were gathered, along with students from the Mexe Normal School and teachers from the area.
There, the mother of Erika Zamora spoke. Zamora is a prisoner in Puente Grande, accused of belonging to the ERPI following the killings at El Charco.

Comandantes Moise's and Eduardo explained the reasons for their trip to Mexico City. Subcomandante Marcos made a short and revealing presentation in this place which is characterized by its social organization and its opposition to the government: "We are always turning around to look at the people in other places. Sometimes when we turn around they are with us, and sometimes they are very far ahead, like you, and we ask them to wait for us."

Marcos ended by sending a message to the Normal School students of this municipality: "Continue with your education. The word allows lights to be found which the day does not have, and shadows not contemplated by the night. That is what they are afraid of, and that is what we have in order to be equal."

Not Even the Storm Could Stop Them

In Ixmiquilpan, a climactic moment occurred. The event, with dances and ~ah~u music, had barely begun when it began raining torrentially. Subcomandante Marcos asked the thousands who had packed the plaza to take shelter until the rain let up, but the public responded "No!."

Comandante Zebedeo spoke: "No one can stop this march, even though this storm is trying to make us suspend this civic festival."

Comandante David, next to speak, said: "We have arrived in your lands, and we are determined to undertake this March of Indigenous Dignity for right, for liberty, for justice, for respect, for autonomy, for the land which is our mother, since we have not as yet had those sacred rights. All of this will be possible only when indigenous rights and culture are constitutionally recognized."

The rain grew more intense, but the crowd remained there, waiting for Marcos' appearance.

"Good evening everyone," he said, and the skies fell in. The communique' that he had in his hands was dripping water, but the Sub was not perturbed.
The crowd shouted.

"If they have informed me correctly, Ixmiquilpan means the place of barren clouds. No longer, it seems. Something has changed today." Someone tried to cover him from the rain, but he refused: "No, if they're going to get wet, I'm going to get wet." An ovation broke out.

The document was impossible to read, and so he began making up jokes: "Since we came into Emiliano Zapata until now it's been a few days since we've bathed, and we've finally gotten around to it (laughter). If anyone has any soap, they can toss it up here. This ink is quite good, it won't come off."

Eloquence Under the Rain

Marcos began a monologue-speech which revealed his improvisational abilities and his eloquence. Here are a few examples:

"We want to make a difference, taking advantage of our being in Ixmiquilpan, to distinguish three things: what their democracy is, those who are above, and what democracy is for us. For them democracy has to do with a calendar. On such an hour, on such a day, an election."

"We are all citizens, and we can all have opinions, but the rest of the time our word doesn't count for anything. The rest of the time a group of professional politicians makes decisions for us, without asking us if we're in agreement, without taking into account whether it can do us damage or be to our benefit. And that is the democracy they're making so much of. It's necessary, yes, but it's not enough. Here is where we're proposing our democracy, where the people participate all the time, where they never stop keeping watch over that government so that it doesn't become corrupt. So that it doesn't betray, exactly how it happens in our indigenous communities, where we know that there the one who governs, governs obeying, and if it goes too far, then out, why not?"

"There's another difference between their liberty and ours. For them, liberty is the liberty to buy or sell. For us, the ones who have it hard, what can we buy or sell? The only thing we can sell is our blood, our hands, and even so, we have to sell them very cheaply. That's not the liberty we want. Not the liberty that tells us that someone can put up a little shop whenever they want. Not the liberty to but whatever we want. In short, it's not neoliberalism that we want."

"The liberty we want is ours. It's the liberty to be able to decide and to choose, being well informed. To be able to decide and choose who governs us. And to be able to decide and choose what government policies we accept and which we reject. To be able to decide and choose how we're going to be governed, how we're going to organize ourselves, which work is most important. To be able to decide and choose, for example, to listen to what a group of masked persons, transgressors of the law, have come from the Selva Lacandona to say…"

"Now I'm going to be quiet, because the more I talk the more it rains…"

The people, who were still standing in spite of the hail which was falling, responded: "Duro, duro, duro!" The skies thundered, and lightning flashed.

Then, impelled by the people, the Subcomandante continued: "There's a difference between their justice and our justice. Their justice is a prostitute, and a badly paid one at that. Look at how many bankers there are in jail, how many industrialists, how many landowners, how many property owners…No, Se~or, the jails are full of the poor, of indigenous, of workers, of employees. That's their justice, the justice of those of above has a price, and it has to be paid for. And not paying for it is a crime."

"Our justice is from each according to his work. The one who works more, can get more. It's more important in justice what the entire collective does, not the individual. Justice is when there is an offense done, when a crime is committed, like we say, he has to pay for it then, and not necessarily like their justice says. In short, our justice, the justice of the indigenous, is much more progressive than theirs."

At the end, Marcos said the zapatistas had brought a gift to the Valley of Mezquital, and he continued joking despite the storm.

"I'm bringing a gift to the Valley of Mezquital. We brought you the rain. No, that's not true. We looked in our backpacks, we looked in our rucksacks, and we didn't find anything worthy enough for you. We brought you some questions. Okay, the first: Is the EZLN the vanguard of the Mexican indigenous movement? "Yes!!" chanted the audience. "Wrong," Marcos responded. "The vanguard of the national indigenous movement is made up of the indigenous peoples of all Mexico."

"The second question: Are you happy to be here with the EZLN?" Everyone answered yes.

"Are we wet? No, not that. Are we happy that we met each other?" "Yes," they seconded.

"Should the EZLN surrender?" "No," the crowd answered.

"Is the EZLN going to sell out?" "No."

"We know in the EZLN that we are not alone. Yes, we know we're not alone," Marcos said, in closing.

Conflict in Chiapas: Understanding the Modern Mayan World
by Worth H. Weller, Ben Weller (Photographer), Julia Weller (Photographer)
$16.95, Paperback, March 1, 2000
Rebellion in Chiapas : An Historical Reader
by John Womack (Editor)
$14.36, Paperback , March 1999
Voices from Exile : Violence and Survival in Modern Maya History
by Victor Montejo
$18.17, Hardcover, October 1999
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