The Government is trying to avoid implementing San Andres

Dec '96

To the international public opinion
To the international press and media

As you may remember, the first agreements between the EZLN and the Mexican government were signed last February as part of the dialogue process for peace with justice and dignity.

As a part of these accords, both sides were commited to promote legal reforms and changes to the Mexican constitution, which would be channelled through Congress to guarantee the basic rights of Mexican indigenous population.

The Zapatista position that led to the agreement of San Andres was built through the active participation of both the National Indian Movement and intellectuals, specialists and relevant figures of civil society. Contents and decisions were reached by consensus; thus, the Zapatista's position in the dialogue is a legitimate expression of the ideas, feelings and views of the indigenous peoples of Mexico. During the last twelve days we have worked on the translation of the agreements into legal reforms and constitutional changes needed by the indigenous people. This work has been done by delegates of the National Indian Peoples' Congress -a legitimate and representative national organization of the indigenous peoples' movement-, and the EZLN's group of advisors on the subject, all of them members of civil society.

Throughout this process, the chambers of Congress in Mexico have been acting as part of the mediation between the EZLN and the government through the Peace and Concord Commision (COCOPA). Agreement was reached with this mediator on both the contents of the projected reforms to the law and constitution, and on the procedures for the negotiation at this stage of the peace process.

As was the agreement, COCOPA prepared a document based on the documents created by both sides. This document, it was agreed, should have been either accepted or rejected by each side.

Apparently, now the government is trying to put aside some of the contents of the agreements reached with COCOPA, both in the contents of the reform and the process of dialogue itself. The EZLN has accepted the COCOPA document, while the government has neither accepted nor rejected, but aims to change its contents, with modifications that contradict the original contents of the accord signed on February last. It has also been delaying its response, holding up the whole process.

The EZLN has decided to withdraw most of its delegation from San Cristobal and have them retreat to their mountain positions, leaving just the Subcomandante Marcos to wait for the solution of the COCOPA initiative. This is both a matter of principle and of security for the delegation in view of the political aspects of the government's delay.

The core of the proposal launched by the EZLN is to promote democratic spaces of decision, to clarify any negotiation carried out, either with the government or civil society, to make it transparent and democratic. This is the core of a true Reform of the State

Should the EZLN agree to modify the law initiative in agreement with the government`s precisions, restart a negotiation, or lower the profile of the Constitutional Reform Proposal it would signify a severe loss in credibility since the EZLN has committed itself to the latter. At the same time, the signals received from the government spread doubts about the political will to truly guarantee the safety of the EZLN at the time when this organization decides to change over to civil life.

Another sign of this lack of guarantee for the EZLN is the constant presence of razing flights from military aircraft over San Cristobal. This translates into a tense and anguished environment for the negotiation process. If the government does not approve the proposed Constitutional reforms, the very possibility of reaching peace in the country is almost definitely cancelled. For the Indian Peoples'movement, this would be a sign that there is no option for a legal and peaceful path towards democracy, recognition of their rights and very existence, and a new relation with the State and the rest of the country. Other political organizations would also enforce violent ways of pursuing their demands. We have reached a deadline for peace in Mexico.

Comision Internacional FZLN
Comision Enlace Congreso Nacional Indigena

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