[floridaleft] EZLN letter to Presidente Fox (fwd)
hoov at SPAMfreenet.tlh.fl.us
Wed Dec 6 16:58:49 MST 2000
forwarded by Michael Hoover
A Letter to President Vicente Fox
by Subcomandante Marcos
December 2, 2000
(translated by Justin Podur)
Zapatista Army of National Liberation.
December 2, 2000.
Senor Vicente Fox.
Los Pinos, Mexico, D.F.
Six years ago we wrote a letter to Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon, your
predecessor. Now that you are the new head of the federal executive it's my
duty to inform you that as of today you have inherited a war in the south
east of mexico: a war declared on the first of January 1994 by the Zapatista
Army of National Liberation against the federal government, demanding
democracy, liberty, and justice for all Mexicans.
From the beginning of our uprising we faced the federal government in
conformity with the laws of war and the rules of military honor. Since then,
the army has attacked us without any regard for military honor and in
violation of international treaties. More than 70 thousand federal troops
(including around 20 thousand "counterinsurgency specialists") have besieged
and persecuted the Zapatistas for two thousand five hundred twenty five days
(counting today). Two thousand of those days the army has been in violation
of the Law of Dialogue, Negotation and Dignified Peace in Chiapas, expounded
by the Congress of the Union on March 10, 1995.
During these six years of war the Zapatistas have resisted and we have faced
two federal executives (self-titled "presidents"), two secretaries of
National Defense, six secretaries of Government, five commissions of
"peace", five "governors" of Chiapas and a multitude of mid-level
functionaries. All of them are now gone. Some are being investigated for
their links with organized crime, others are in exile or on their way to
exile, and some others are unemployed.
During these six years the Zapatistas have insisted, time and again, on the
path of dialogue. We have done so because we have made a promise to the
civil society to keep our arms silent and to try for a peaceful solution.
Now that you have assumed the title of the head of the federal executive, you
should know that, in addition to inheriting a war in the south east of
Mexico, you inherit the opportunity to choose how to confront it.
During your campaign and since the second of July, you, senor Fox, have said
time and again that you are going to choose dialogue to confront our demands.
Zedillo said the same in the months preceding his accession to power and he,
nonetheless, two months later ordered a tremendous military offensive against
You will understand then, that a lack of confidence in everything that is
government, independently of the political party in power, has been impressed
on our thinking and our actions.
If to our understandable lack of confidence before the words of those in
power we add the accumulated contradictions and frivolities that you and
those who accompany you have spoken without a careful look here, well then
it's my duty as well to inform you that with the Zapatistas (and I believe to
more than just the Zapatistas) you have zero credibility and confidence.
We cannot confide in someone who has shown the superficiality and ignorance
to claim that the demands of indigenous people will be resolved with
televisions and shopping.
We cannot give credit to someone who is willing to "forget" (because that is
what "amnesty" means) the hundreds of crimes committed by the paramilitaries
and the patrons who grant them immunity.
We cannot give our confidence to someone, who, with all the short-sightedness
of management logic, has as a plan of government converting the indigenous
people into mini-micro-business people or in employees of businesses in this
six-year presidency. At the end of the day, this plan is nothing more than
an attempt to continue the ethnocide which, under different modalities, has
been the mexican reality under neoliberalism.
It is well that you know that none of this is going to happen on Zapatista
territory. Your idea that "an indigenous person will disappear and a
businessperson will be born" will not be allowed on our lands. Here, and
beneath many another mexican sky, to be indigenous means more than blood or
origin, but also a way of seeing life, death, culture, land, history, tomorrow.
Those who have tried to eliminate us with guns have failed. Those who try to
eliminate us by converting us into businesspeople will fail as well.
Understand that I have said that with the Zapatistas you have zero
credibility and confidence. This means that you do not have to overcome
anything negative yet (because it is fair to say that you have not attacked
us yet). You can therefore make those who have bet that you will repeat the
nightmare that the PRI was for all Mexicans, especially the Zapatistas,
correct. You can also, starting from this zero, begin to construct with
deeds what all governments require in their work: credibility and confidence.
The demilitarization that you have announced (although you have changed it
from time to time, from "total retirement", to "repositionment", to
"reaccomodation" which are not the same thing, something you, your soldiers,
and we all know) is a start, not sufficient, but necessary, yes.
Not only in Chiapas, but more so here than anywhere, you can make correct
those who want you to fail or those who give you the benefit of the doubt or
even those whose hopes reside with you.
Senor Fox: unlike your predecessor Zedillo (who came to power with the
support of that corrupt monster which is the state party system) you came to
your position because of the repulsion cultivated by the PRI in the
population. You know this well, senor Fox: you won the election, but you did
not defeat the PRI. That was done by the citizens. And not just those who
voted against the state party, but those of older generations who in one form
or another, resisted and fought the culture of authoritarianism, impunity,
and crime that the PRI governments constructed over 71 years.
Although there is a radical difference in the way you came to power, your
political, social, and economic project is the same as the one we have
suffered in previous presidencies. A project for the country which means the
destruction of Mexico as a nation and its transformation into a department
store, something like a megastore that sells human beings and natural
resources at the prices dictated by the world market. The privatization of
electricity, petroleum and education, and of the IVA which claims to provide
medicine and food, are just a small part of the greater "readjustment" plan
which the neoliberals have for Mexicans.
Not just that. With you we see a regression to moralistic positions whose
origin is in intolerance and authoritarianism. Not for nothing did the
religious right open up an offensive of persecution and destruction beginning
on July 2. The brunt of this offensive has been suffered by women (raped or
not), youth, visual and performing artists, gays and lesbians. Together with
the old and retired, together with the disabled, together with the indigenous
and together with about 70 million poor Mexicans, these groups are called
"minorities". In "your" Mexico, senor Fox, these "minorities" are
We will oppose that Mexico and we will do so in a radical way.
You can worry or not that a group of Mexicans, mainly indigenous, are not in
agreement with the corporate plan or with the belligerance of the right. But
don't forget that if the PRI lost power it is because the majority of
Mexicans rebelled and threw it out.
That rebellion is not over.
You and your team, since July 2nd, have done nothing but insist that the
citizenry return to conformity and immobility. But it's not going to be that
way. Your neoliberal project will face the resistance of millions.
A number of members of your cabinet have claimed that the EZLN must
understand that the country has changed, that the Zapatistas have no choice
but to accept it, take off the ski masks, and fill out their credit
applications to have a little shop, buy a television and pay the payments on
a little car.
They are wrong. We fight for change, but to us change means democracy,
liberty, and justice. The failure of the PRI was a necessary condition for
change in this country, but not sufficient. There is much still to do, and
you and your cabinet know this. There is still much missing, and this is the
most important thing, millions of Mexicans know this.
For example, the indigenous people are missing. Their rights and culture are
unrecognized in the constitution and believe me, none of them have to do with
business promotion. The demilitarization and deparamilitarization are
missing. Freedom for political prisoners is missing. The reconstruction and
defense of the national sovereignty are missing. An economic program that
satisfies the needs of the most poor is missing. The chance for citizens to
participate is missing. Honesty in government is missing. And peace, peace
is also missing.
Senor Fox: for more than six months your predecessor Zedillo claimed he
wanted dialogue and made war on us. He chose confrontation and lost. Now
you have the chance to choose.
If you choose the path of dialogue, sincerely, seriously, and respectfully,
just show us that with deeds. You can rest assured that you will receive a
positive response from us. That way we can reinitiate dialogue and, soon,
begin to construct a real peace.
In the public communication we've sent you, the EZLN has made known a series
of minimal signals by the federal executive. If you provide these,
everything will be ready to return to dialogue.
What's at stake here is not whether or not we will oppose what you represent
or what you mean to this country. In that there can be no doubt: we are
against you. What is at stake is whether that opposition will express itself
through civil, peaceful channels, or whether we will have to continue our
armed uprising with our faces covered until we find what we are looking for,
which is nothing more, senor Fox, than democracy, liberty, and justice for
Vale. Salud and I hope it's true that in Mexico and in Chiapas there will be
a new dawn.
From the mountains of southeastern mexico, for the CCRI-EZLN
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos
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