Closing words at EZLN - Cocopa - Conai meeting


Words of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation at the end of the first Tripartite meeting of EZLN - Cocopa - Conai in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas

October 23, 1996

We want to begin this final act of the Tripartite meeting EZLN-Cocopa-Conai with acknowledgements which closed quarters and security issues have denied us.

We want to thank those men and women of the Mexican Red Cross for their presence in the peace cordon which cared for our delegation during these days, and the help given to the International Red Cross in the transportation of our indigenous leaders.

We want to thank the men, women, children and old people of civil society for their patience, their commitment and the silent sacrifice of the long hours of day and night, in order to seal the peace cordon which protects and sustains us.

We especially thank the young people of the security team, whose dedication is a sample of the desire for peace which exists in the young people of Mexico.

We also want to thank the gentlemen of the bank police, regardless of whether or not they have been paid for the extra hours promised by the government, they fulfilled their duty with discretion and respect. Perhaps when and if the mayor is finished staging robberies in order to hide his own fraud and that of his predecessor, they can receive fair payment for the only dignified task they have carried out as policemen, that of securing the peace which we hereby seek.

We want to thank the journalists, who in spite of, the rumors, misinterpretations, snubs and long waits, have persevered in their task of informing Mexico and the world about what occurs here, in spite of suspicion and jealousies. We reiterate our recognition to your contribution to peace and our confidence that the restlessness which drives you to seek out the news and make it known, will be far superior to the other temptations which power offers you.

During these seven days we have sustained long meetings with the legislators of the Commission for Concordance and Pacification (COCOPA) and with the members of the National Commission of Intermediation (CONAI) presided by Bishop Samuel Ruiz garcia. More than meetings, these encounters were intense session of work.

Far from the logic of the parts which seek to defeat and surrender, the mediation and intervention managed to, together with the EZLN, open a complicated path towards an unknown peace.

Far from the bureaucrats of war who hide their cowardice behind hysterical screams and threats, the Cocopa and the Conai and Zapatista delgation were able to construct a climate of trust which is necessary to discover a new peace which is inclusive and which is not possible by the annohilation of a movement ready to do anything, as long as it is accompanied by dignity.

About the results of the meetings between Cocopa and the EZLN, and the Conai and the EZLN, the legislators will inform; and I will not advance what they will soon say.

But my fellow indigenous leaders have asked me to salute the initiative, respect and seriousness which the two commmissions, the National Intermediation and the Concordance and Pacification, have demonstrated during this encounter. We Zapatistas salute this because the gray and stubborn little men who at this moment lament this news, have demonstrated no initiative, respect or seriousness in our regard; to them, peace equals unemployment and the loss of junkets and commissions. For them war is business and political ladder.

They lose nothing in a war, because it is others who fight and others who die.

They gain nothing with peace, because peace allows all to see the mediocrity of their stature.

That is why, through my voice, the Zapatistas salute the work developed in these days by the legislators of the Commission for Concordance and Pacification. From them at all times we have received a serious and respectful approach, something very difficult to find in Mexican politicians.

In the midst of a political system where efficiency is unforgivable and only procrastination and stupidity are applauded, the Cocopa has opted for intelligence, that which provokes jealousy and resentment and is distant from spectacle.

The barriers, traps and obstacles which the Cocopa has now overcome are not the last of their kind. We expect that it is also not the last of their creativity, firmness and decisiveness which they demonstrated.

We hope that the same intelligence which has allowed them to resolve the complicated political equation which lives among them, will also find the answer for the simple addition which unites peace with justice and dignity, a nation with its original peoples, and democracy with liberty.

Through my voice speaks as well the quiet and efficient work of the National Commission of Intermediation. We especially salute the noble attitude of its president, Bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia who, in spite of threats, persecution, slander and insults, perseveres in opening paths of peace which we would have chose before had they existed.

Though he is the unwilling and obsessive nightmare of the power which badly governs this country, Mister Samuel Ruiz has learned to walk amidst the intrigues and the traps which intend to eliminate him and follow the path which, long before January 1 of 94, he walked through example; the path of peaceful struggle for justice in this life.

The paradoxes which mark our history as a nation reproduce themselves in the life of this man whose greatest defect is to say the truth, regardless of whether it pleases the powerful.

He who was directly responsible for the rise of our Army and the war which continues today, rests placidly amidst the green of Dublin or any other part of the world where his dollars buy him the appreciation he does not have in his own land. The thief and the criminal is not persecuted.

The one who has done everything possible to avoid war and to add justice and liberty to peace, is considered the major enemy of a clumsy regime, filled with fear and rancor. The just one is fenced in.

Those who want the war ask for the head of Samuel Ruiz Garcia. Those who want peace will have to learn there will be none without him.

The achievements of these days have two values. One is that they allow us to advance with concrete agreements towards the renewal of the Dialogue at San Andres. The other is that they plant the basis of a more rapid solution, which is serious and profound to the conflict.

Today we can say that we are a little closer to San Andres, and paradoxically, further from the reneal of the dialogue. We are nearer to peace.

We hope that those who govern with the only argument of force understand that they can accomplish the same, and even more, with reason.

In the name of my fellow members of the Indigenous Clandestine Revolutionary Committee-General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation we respectfully ask the Commission of Concordance and Pacification and the National Commission of Intermediation to inform, respectively, about achievements during this Tripartite meeting of the EZLN-Cocopa-Conai.

That is all. Thank you.

by the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee
-General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos
Mexico. October 1996


There were five conditions the Zapatistas had placed for the renewal of the dialogue. They were;

1. The immediate liberation of all the alleged Zapatistas now in prison and of new prisoners recently arrested in northern Chiapas.

2. A negotiating team with decision making power and the political will to negotiate as well as respect for the Zapatista delegation.

3. The installation of a Verification and Implementation Commission and the implementation of the first agreements made in the table of "Indigenous Rights and Culture"

4. Serious proposals for the next topic of the dialogue "democracy and Justice".

5. An end to the climate of military and police persecution against the indigenous people of Chiapas, including the disappearance of paramilitary groups.

Only one of them, number three, the installation of a Verification and Implementation Commission was agreed upon. The Commission will consist of eight members per party, three from the EZLN and three from the government. The remaining five of each delegation will be invited guests of the two parties. The EZLN, the Cocopa, and the Conai will meet again on November 6th in another attempt to renew the dialogue at San Andres.


Translated by: Cecilia Rodriguez, National Center for Democracy, Liberty and Justice.

To the Mexico page