nobody at REPLAY.COM
Mon Apr 22 03:24:53 MDT 1996
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Accion Zapatista de Austin.
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Date: Mon, 8 Apr 1996 09:55:53 -0500
From: Malicia <malicia at phillyiww.org>
To: hmcleave at mundo.eco.utexas.edu
Subject: Marcos' Speech to Encuentro
La Jornada, April 6, 1996
MESSAGE OF THE EZLN DURING THE INAUGURATION
CEREMONY OF THE
AMERICAN PREPARATORY MEETING FOR THE
FOR HUMANITY AND AGAINST NEOLIBERALISM
THE REALITY, America. April 4th, 1996
A journalist and video producer who had covered the Zapatista
rebellion since January of 1994, Javier Elorriaga Berdegue, came to
see me one day as a volunteer seeking a political and peaceful solution
to the conflict. I listened to him. He gave me all the arguments in favor
of peace and those against the war. At that time he seemed to be one
of those men who believes in what he says, one of those who is
accountable to his ideas. I told him we would lose nothing by trying.
On September 16, 1994, the anniversary of Mexican independence, he
arrived with the first of many letters from Mister Ernesto Zedillo
Ponce de Leon. After the 1st of December of 1994, Javier came and
went with messages from then Governance Secretary, Esteban
Moctezuma Barragan. His role as a messenger of peace went on for 6
months. The last time I saw him was on February 8th of 1995. I told
him I saw no sign of any willingness to dialogue on behalf of the
government. He insisted on seeking a new encounter for peace. As he
was leaving the Lacandon Jungle during the morning of February 9th,
1995, Javier Elorriaga was detained and accused of "terrorism". The
government began an offensive against the indigenous communities of
the Lacandon Jungle and it detained dozens of Mexicans in different
parts of the country. It accused them of "terrorism" and exhibited as
proof a "terrible" arsenal: paper bombs and some old guns. While the
government congratulated itself in the press because they had
supposedly recuperated the "sovereignty of the nation", in the
Lacandon Jungle Swiss airplanes bombed the surrounding
communities, Northamerican helicopters machine gunned the
mountains, French tanks of war occupied the houses of the indigenous
people who fled to the jungle, Spanish policemen interrogated the
suspects, and the Northamerican military advisors reviewed with great
care an artifact that perhaps had a dangerous military intention. The
artifact traveled all the way to the Pentagon and was examined with
the best and most modern military technology. After a few days, the
experts handed over their report to Washington and from there it was
turned over to the offices of the Mexican military, the political police
and the Presidential residence. The report said that everything seemed
to indicate that the artifact in question, had been snatched from the
forces of the transgressors of the law, it had all the appearance of..a
toy car made of plastic and metal. The report said that they had also
found a tiny inscription made with a black pen which said: "This car
belongs to Heriberto.."
420 days have passed since then. Mister Zedillo sits in the
presidential chair, Heriberto lives in the mountains, the army lives in
Heriberto's house, and Javier Elorriaga and another 17 Mexicans are
still in jail accused of "terrorism". One of the 17, Joel Martinez has
developed respiratory problems caused by the torture to which he was
subjected. His serious condition has sent him to the hospital. Now they
have chains on his hands and feet, as though he were a rabid animal,
as though dignity could be chained.
Today 420 days after the facts have defined the true terrorist, we
want to dedicate the following words,
To Javier Elorriaga Berdegu and,
to all the prisoners accused of being
In the definition of your future,
Much more is defined
than can be contained by your jailers.
Through my voice speaks the voice of the Zapatista Army of National
Brothers and sisters of America:
Welcome to THE REALITY. We extend special thanks to the men,
women children and elderly of THE REALITY, because it is they who
have given us permission and have supported us in order to hold this
preparatory meeting in their community. I want to ask all who are
present, to salute our indigenous brothers and sisters of THE
Welcome to the brothers and sisters of the Canadian delegation, of
the delegation from the United States of America, Mexico, Guatemala,
Costa Rica, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Chile,
Uruguay and Argentina. Welcome to the observers who attend from
France, Germany and Spain.
Welcome to the Mexican brothers and sisters of the Organizing
Commission. Our acknowledgement and salute for the effort which
today is realized.
We want to thank all of you who have accepted our invitation to this
preparatory meeting for your effort in traveling from your countries to
the Lacandon Jungle.
Headquarters of the transgressors of the law and dignified corner of
America, the Lacandon Jungle has been visited by different
representatives of the governments of your countries. The bombing
planes, and artillery helicopters, war tanks, surveillance satellites,
military advisors, and agents, some secret and some not so secret of
all the spy agencies of various countries have visited us. All of these
visitors had a common goal; assassination and theft. Different
governments of the world have allied themselves with the Mexican
government in order to combat us. The most modern and sophisticated
technology of war is launched against weapons of wood, torn feet and
the ancestral thought of the Zapatistas who declare without shame or
fear that the place of knowledge, the source of the word and the truth
is in the heart. Modern death versus ancestral life. Neoliberalism
against neozapatismo. Why do they fear us? Why so much death for
those so small and so few? Because we have challenged them, and the
worst thing about a challenge is that it tends to become an example.
On April 3, 1911, those citizens of America with the names of
Ricardo and Enrique Flores Magon wrote: "Brothers and sisters,
think well, continue to advance and to labor, without losing time, else
your help may be too late. Try to understand the danger which we
have had to confront from all the governments of the world, those who
see in this Mexican movement the appearance of a social revolution,
the only thing feared by the powerful of the world."
Today, 85 years later, history repeats itself. Death which once visited
us dressed only as sickness and misery, now appears to us dressed in
an olive-green uniform, decked out in lead and war machinery. All of
these things announce destruction. A true multinational force pursues
us and tries to destroy our example. The powerful of the world are
disturbed by our existence and they honor us with their threat. They
accurately perceive the Zapatista challenge as a global challenge. We
never thought this possible, much less did we seek it. But since we
have been placed in this role, we will be as disturbing as possible as
long as it is possible.
A global system has made the crime called government in Mexico
possible. A national system makes it possible for crime to rule in
Chiapas. Fighting in the mountains of the Mexican Southeast we fight
for Mexico, for humanity and against neoliberalism. That is why the
global Power persecutes us, that is why they jail us, assassinate us and
want to destroy us.
After the visit of these precursors of death, it is an honor for us to
receive a visit from all of you, those who struggle for life, those who
struggle for humanity in the American continent.
We are sure that your trip to THE REALITY has not been easy. THE
REALITY has never been easy, but it's worth arriving here. The trip to
REALITY is a journey to pain, but also to hope.
Diverse thoughts arising from the different nations of America are
found today in THE REALITY. You find yourself gathered here today,
not because of your nationality or your color, your gender, your
culture or your language. Only one thing has gathered you here today,
the struggle, the struggle for humanity and against neoliberalism.
80 years ago in 1916, General Emiliano Zapata dreamed that life
and the thought could be free if a new reality could be constructed.
The Power dreamed then of its destruction.
Today, on the desks of the great generals of Mexico and the United
States, there are different plans, complicated military operations, 77
varieties of murder plots, one for each year which has passed since the
assassination of Emiliano Zapata. And all these plans have the
objective of destruction of REALITY.
Why? Because they have discovered that human beings live in
REALITY, in other words dignity and the Power cannot tolerate
This is the enemy which confronts us, which persecutes us, which
assassinates us, which jails us, which rapes us, which humiliates us. A
Power which seeks the absurd destruction of REALITY.
This is what they propose...They, those in whom the Power
concentrates crime and wealth, and converts them into siamese twins
in order to procure the latter with the former. Those who monopolize
tomorrow in the Power and declare it exclusive of all those who do
not become accomplices or victims. Those who forget, that when
Power accumulates power it also accumulates fear.
They want to destroy REALITY because in THE REALITY today
there are human beings and the mere existence of human beings is a
challenge which may become an example.
We, those who feed our hearts and our word with the bitter bread of
hope. We, those who see in the past a lesson and not a nuisance, those
who turn to yesterday in order to learn and not to regret. We, those
who see a future as something constructed on today, those who aspire
to a tomorrow with everyone. We, those who balance fear against
shame, prudence with valor, and indifference with memory. We, those
human beings who exist and thus challenge the Power. We who want
to transform REALITY, convert it into something better, something
new, something good.
This is the nature of THE DISPUTE FOR REALITY. On one side
are those who would destroy it, and on the other are those who would
They fight for the absurdity of denial through amnesia, destruction
We fight for the absurdity of constructing the new through the
strength of history, creativity and life.
This is the dilemma which we come to ponder and begin to decide,
the dilemma of REALITY. This is the fundamental and definitive theme
for humanity and against neoliberalism. THE REALITY: the dilemma
of its transformation or its destruction.
In order to resolve this dilemma we must confront a powerful enemy,
the Power which comes dressed as Neoliberalism. Its crimes go
beyond borders, they represent the globalization of hopelessness.
Neoliberalism offers a new global doctrine; surrender and
indifference as the only forms of inclusion, death and amnesia as the
only future for the excluded, e.g., for the majority.
Stupidity and arrogance are made governments in the nations of the
world. Crime and impunity exist as the primordial law. Theft and
corruption are the major industry. Assassination is the fountain of
legitimacy. The lie is the supreme god. Prison and a tomb are for
those who refuse to be accomplices. The international of death. The
war for eternity. This is neoliberalism.
But its power is also derived from our shortcomings. To the vacuum
of alternative proposals from us, they offer the continuity of the
We must go beyond the laments and propose new paths.
We did not invite you so you could add up your complaints. We did
not call you here to give voice to our misfortune. We did not call you
here to give a new dimension to our nightmare.
We called you here in order to multiply aspirations. We called you
here to subtract penalties. We called you here to give a continental
dimension to hope.
May the grotesque and terrible image of the enemy which confronts
us, not dim the mirror we need in order to see our own path. May
procrastination and whim not hide from us the daily crime of a global
system which pulverizes history, nations and individuals.
May we not offer a different nightmare of a different species. May
the location of the ever-more political geometry which multiplies
mainstreams and extremes to infinity, not represent impunity for
errors or solace for the dogmas of our thoughts.
We are not gathered here today in order to change the world. We are
here today with a more modest proposal. The one which proposes to
make a new world,
Continent of legends, America is a piece of land which has
appointments with all the races of the world.
People without land, in other words, people without a home, the
immigrant in America dreams he can work and live in peace and
dignity on any floor, regardless of the border above or below. The
immigrant does not find work or life in American lands, only war and
humiliation is found in those lands for those who steal nothing and
give everything. The immigrant of American is a stranger of America.
He becomes one, not just when he crosses an international border and
enters a xenophobic nightmare, but upon trespassing, if only
momentarily, one of those multiple borders of culture, politics, races,
religions, sexualities which pulverize the skies of America and make it
so that collective thought does not include more than one. The
immigrant of America is a solitary figure made up of millions
searching. The immigrant of America is the eternal struggle, the
Among many, this legend becomes a ballad and survives the lack of
books, press, television and radio. The ballad of Gregorio Cortez,
persecuted by the "rinches"(Texas Rangers) but never captured, is the
legend of history persecuted by abandonment, history forever escaping
and made collective memory. The legend arrives in THE REALITY and
represents there all the immigrants who have ever ventured onto
American lands and attempted to become part of a new culture
without losing its own.
Like the legend, the Powerful persecutes the immigrants because
they continue to be what they are, because they attempt to construct
something new but different, something which does not destroy the
past or the present and which can have a secure place in
Northamerican future, a future of dignity, a future which does not
have the bars of a jail or the stone of a tomb on the horizon. Like the
ballad of Gregorio Cortez, the American immigrant escapes forever
and continues to construct the collective memory which the Power
insists upon destroying in all America especially in...
A country which synthesizes like no other the great contradictions
which compress the American continent. A nation built by the labor of
immigrants from all over the world, the United States of America rises
up as a symbol of power and modernity. The arrogance of the Power
and its foreign policy which prefers to keep its headquarters in the
lands of Northamerica, has won global contempt and this, in turn,
often contaminates the noble people of North America. But the
arrogance of the Power is possible only at a high cost for the people
of the United States of America. This is so not only for the so-called
Latino, African, Asian and indigenous minorities, but is so as well for
those who are white, a crisis elevated to a global economic system,
neoliberalism collects a high quota of pain in the lands north of the
Rio Bravo. In the United States 5.7% of its economically active
population is unemployed, while in Canada the rate is 9.5% according
to statistics of the Organization for Cooperation and Economic
The people of the United States of America, that complex amalgam
of British, Irish, Spanish, Mexican, European, African, Asian, Latin
American and Indigenous is American always. The people of the
United States of America, the people who are forgotten when the time
for solidarity arrives, the people who are remembered when the time
for grievances arrives. The people of the United States of America, the
people who, in spite of their government, know how to turn their gaze
downward and find there, not a victim, but a brother.
Not as victims, or as taskmasters, but as what we are, as brothers we
salute today the people of the United States of America, who are
represented here with dignity in THE REALITY.
Brothers and Sisters of America;
Here, today, in THE REALITY, we must give a place to memory, to
history, to that mirror which reminds us of what we were, which
demonstrates to us what we are and which promises us what we can
Today, 30 years ago, in 1966, after having been nowhere, a man
prepared memory and hope so that life could return to America.
Ramon was his name of war at that time. In one of the many corners of
THE REALITY of America, this man remembered and in his memories
renewed those of all men and women who lived and died for the life of
America. His name and his memory were buried by the gravediggers
of history. For some his first name was Ernesto and his last name was
Guevara de la Serna. For us his name was CHE.
In Punto del Este he denounces the politics of the Power which, from
the offices of the World Bank, proposes the construction of latrines as
a solution to the grave conditions of misery lived by the countries of
America. Even then the poverty of America had developed in the same
proportion as its wealth had been pillaged by the rich of forever. The
"latrine-ocracy" has evolved only by name. In one of the countries of
America it took on the paradoxical name of "Solidarity". Nevertheless,
in spite of the nominal reflections, the basic functions of "latrine-
ocracy" remains the same: today, like yesterday, the poor can still
remain at the bottom of the latrine, and the rich can sit on it.
His criticism of the forms in which Power is exercised did not
translate into the justification of his own shortcomings as he had taken
it or in an apology for having taken it. Criticizing forms which apply
the same logic to any exertion of power which is merely cosmetized
with a new name, he wrote in 1964: "I do not pretend to have finished
this theme much less to have established a papal amen in regards to
these and other contradictions. Unfortunately, in the eyes of the
majority of our peoples and in my own, there are more apologies for
the ways in which power is exerted than scientific analises of these
Citizen of the world, Che remembers what we have known since
Spartacus and which we sometimes forget: humanity finds in the
struggle against injustice a step which elevates it, which makes it
better, which converts it into something more human.
Some time afterward, memory and hope took his hand in order to
write his farewell letter: "One day we spent asking everyone who
should be notified in case of death and the real possibility of that fact
hit all of us. Later we knew it was true, that in a revolution there is
victory or death (if the revolution is real). (...) Other lands of the earth
claim the sum of my modest efforts" So Che continued his path.
In his farewells instead of saying "see you soon," Che would sign off
with "Forever Until Victory" as though this were the same as "see you
30 years later, during one of those dawns in which the moon
recovers pieces of light which it grabs from the monthly bite of time
and a comet disguised as a light carries out a useless vigil at the
beginning of the night, I have looked for some text upon which to base
the inauguration words of this meeting.
I have looked through the works of Pablo Neruda and Julio
Cortazar, Walt Whitman and Juan Rulfo. But it was pointless. Once
and again the image of Che dreaming in the school of La Higuera
reclaimed its place in my hands. From Bolivia the half-closed eyes
and the ironic smile which spoke of what was and promised what
would be arrived.
Have I said "dreaming"? Should I have said "dead"? For some he
died, for others he slept. Who was wrong?
30 years ago Che prepared the transformation of the American
REALITY and the Power prepared its destruction. 29 years ago, the
Power told us that history had ended in the canyon of El Yuro. They
said the possibility of a different REALITY, a better one, had been
destroyed, they said that rebellion had ended.
Has it ended?
A quick review of the press of these days can help us to respond:
In the last days of March different demonstrations against the actual
political economy of privatization which rule in all the continent are
reported. Neoliberalism encounters resistance ad rebellion. There are
millions who do not seem to know that history and with it, rebellion
On the 28th of March the international news agencies of AFP
(France Presse), DPA (Deutsche Presse Agentur, Alemania), EFE
(Spanish news agency), and ANSA , informed us that in La Paz,
Cochabamba and Santa Cruz in Bolivia, thousands of people had
demonstrated in demand of salary increases and against the project of
privatization of the Fiscal Oil Deposits of Bolivia. In Cochabamba the
police detained 250 hunger strikers, the majority of them elderly, who
protested for the same reason. Old rebels. Long live America!
That same day, but in Paraguay, the workers began a general strike
in demand of a salary increase of 31% and called for a referendum
about privatization. The democratization of decisions opposes the
imposition of economic measures...and measures which impact
education as well... In these days more than 5000 Brazilian students
suffer repression by the police when they protest the educational
policies of president Fernando Henrique Cardoso.
In Chile, thousands of farmers blocked the highways of the southern
part of the country, protesting their imminent entry into the Southern
Common European Market (Mercosur), an event which would mean
the unemployment of more than 800,000 farmers. The severe economic
adjustment which approaches in Venezuela, now motivates a populist
"housewives" movement and a growing social discontent. Economic
globalization, that modern crime finds resistance among the clients to
whom it sells death.
Hundreds of ambulatory salespeople confront the Peruvian police
when they attempt to expel them from the historic center of Lima.
More than 20 people were wounded. In order not to become criminals
some of the poor of America make a stab at mini-micro-business. It is
futile, for neoliberalism all income which does not come from theft
and displacement is "illegal". In America, the innocent fill the jails
and the guilty, the seats of government.
Anti-riot police forces repressed thousands of Costa Ricans in the
city of Santa Ana against the establishment of a garbage dump. More
than a thousand tons of the daily garbage of neoliberalism are
dumped upon the people of Costa Rica, but they will not continue to
do so without consequences.
The womb of America protests as well. At the same time as a sales
tax was announced, a tremor of 5.7 on the Richter scale shook the city
of Quito, Ecuador.
All this in a mere two days. 30 years later. Has rebellion come to an
30 years ago Che dreamed and repeated the dream of a
transformative reality, a new one, a better one. The dream of
rebellion. That dream traverses time and the mountains and is
repeated anew, the same but different, in the mountains of the
Mexican Southeast. The dream which gathers us today is a rupture
and a continuation of the dream of Che Guevara, as well as the dream
which was a rupture and a continuation of that other sleepless
dreamer named Simon Boliver and Manuelita Saenz. In 1826, Simon
Bolivar and Manuelita Saenz dreamt the desire of a united America.
The history sold by the Power teaches us that the fertile insomnia
which liberated Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia was
truncated by the borders which fragmented the Bolivian dream. Was it
truncated? In 1826, Bolivar convened the first hemispheric conference
of America, The Congress of Panama. Today 170 years later in the
American REALITY, the postponed dream of Bolivar is renewed.
Crystal and mirror, the dream of a better America comes to rest in
the best place for dreaming, in THE REALITY.
And the intellectual authors of delirium who convene us, the lunatics
who dared to dream this desire before us were : Manuelita Saenz,
Simon Bolivar, Ricardo and Enrique Flores Magon, Emiliano Zapata
and Ernesto CHE Guevara.
180 years, 85 years, 80 years, 30 years later, we are and we are not
We are the end, the continuation and the beginning.
We are the mirror which is a crystal which is a mirror which is a
We are rebellion.
We are the stubborn history which is repeated in order not to repeat
itself, the looking back in order to walk forward
We are the maximum challenge to neoliberalism, the most beautiful
absurdity, the most irreverent delirium, the most humane insanity.
We are human beings making what should be made in REALITY, in
other words dreaming.
It occurs to me now that the most important thing to be dreamt in
THE REALITY is to know that what ends, is what continues, and above
all what begins...
180 years after the sleeplessness of Bolivar and Manuelita Saenz, 85
years after the prophesy of the Flores Magon, 80 years after the
dream of Emiliano Zapata, 30 years after the dream of Che dreaming
the sleeplessness of all honest and true Americans, today the 4th of
April of 1996 in the American REALITY, in the name of the Zapatista
Army of National Liberation I formally declare and inaugurate the
preparatory American meeting for the Intercontinental Encounter for
Humanity and Against Neoliberalism, time now being 10:33 p.m.
Brothers and sisters of America;
The great global power has not yet found the weapon capable of
destroying dreams. As long as it does not find it, we will continue to
dream, in other words, we will continue to triumph...
Welcome, brothers and sisters of America. Here in THE REALITY we
end, we continue, we begin..the dream. And this is our dream..
FOR ALL THE AMERICAS!
>From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast,
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos
The American REALITY, April of 1996
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