It has been two years...

Mexico, December 7, 1996

For: Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon
Los Pinos, Mexico, D.F.

Mister Zedillo,

It has been two years since 1994 when I wrote you a letter where I welcomed you to the nightmare. Time has proven my reasoning correct and a series of circumstances have "democratized" the nightmare until it has become a reality for millions of Mexicans. The obstinacy of continuing an absurd and criminal economic model, in addition to the closure of spaces of political participation for all citizens, have not only left unresolved the nightmare suffered by indigenous people but have also generalized poverty, delinquency, and authoritarianism. Today there are more and more poor Mexicans, and there are less but more rich Mexicans. Poor in democracy and justice, the majority of Mexicans must choose between desperation and hopelessness. But this is not why I am writing to you. I am writing in order to respond to the message sent through the legislators of the Commission for Concordance and Pacification which you sent today.

We know you will receive many criticisms for having sent us a personal message. Many will tell you that, as head of the federal Executive branch, there is no reason why you should personally communicate with an organization of rebel citizens. We refrain from criticizing it, and we also acknowledge it. We salute the fact that the message you sent was not a threat or a message of war, but an acknowledgment of the transcendental significance of the constitutional reforms implied in the resolution of indigenous issues. We acknowledge your need to take it under advisement in order to secure it. You have asked us to understand the nature of your doubts and fears, and to understand your need for time in order to clarify the ones and dissipate the others. Our indigenous leaders agree to wait for that period in order that the results be better and firmer.

I am sure that you understand that we distrust this new delay in the peace process. We do so not only because your delegates always accuse us of drawing out the negotiations and delaying the implementation of agreements. We do so above all, because we remember February 9th of 1995. Days before, a message from you had arrived in the hands of the then Secretary of the Interior, ratifying your will for peace. But it was the prelude for the military and police offensive against us.

In response to our distrust, the legislators of Cocopa have insisted that you are committed to avoiding any military or police offensive against us and to continue on the path of dialogue. Is this so, Mister Zedillo? The legislators say you cannot imagine federal soldiers persecuting and killing indigenous people. Well then, that question should be asked of the indigenous of northern Chiapas. If this is so, this protects 99% of the EZLN and we understand that the other one per cent of us who are not indigenous, including myself, should rinse out our ski-masks.

Another fear we harbor, unfounded surely, is that the time period will be used in order to launch a media campaign against the agreements of San Andres. Already the stupidity has occurred to someone to call the constitutional reforms elaborated by the Cocopa tantamount to "balkanizing" the sovereignty of the nation, that they grant "jurisdiction" to the indigenous, etcetera. You have sufficient money to purchase in cash, and not in small payments, intellect, voices and pens to lie to the Nation. Will you do this, Mister Zedillo?

You are correct in pointing out that the constitutional reforms in indigenous rights are fundamental ones and mark the future of this nation. Go ahead, take it under advisement. Do not fear taking the historic step which we all await and which will give great importance to the peace process in Mexico.

I believe that now it is clear that your men deceive you. They "disorient" you, as we say over here. During the entire process of the dialogue and negotiation, you have not had a real vision of what was happening. They have sought at all times to benefit themselves by manipulating the conflict, drawing it out, throwing it into crisis, deforming it. Yesterday they lied about the role of the Conai and today they will attempt to slander the Cocopa. They do not care if the peace process fails or if they provoke the beginning of the war. They are betting they can take your place in that residence of Los Pinos. Today they provoked a new crisis, which was harmful to the Cocopa, entity to which you have given your trust , and they gained a new delay in the arrival of peace. Mister Zedillo, who is to blame for this crisis and these obstacles? What will you do so that these men are accountable?

We want to believe that your personal message, sent through the Cocopa, is also a message that you are willing to take directly into your hands the solution to the war in the Mexican southeast. If this is so, it would be best. Your men do not want to resolve the conflict, they want to "administer" it in their own benefit and this will not allow rapid and firm advances.

In regards to the constitutional reforms presented by the Cocopa, I only remind you that this initiative is based on that which your government and our EZLN signed as agreements. They do not represent our position, but they also do not represent that of the government. They synthesize reforms which your representatives and ours signed as commitments. Upon accepting Cocopa's initiative, we will honor our word. Will you do the same, Mister Zedillo?

In regards to these constitutional reforms we have nothing more to add. The negotiations table is mounted on top of the blood of our dead. Their death won us the right to speak and to be listened to. Instead of saying only our word, we summoned some of the best men and women of this country, well-versed on the theme of "Indigenous Rights and Culture". Participants included lucid thinkers, great indigenous leaders, renowned jurists, writers, painters, musicians, poets, specialists in each of the topics, a rainbow of thinking in all. I know that you are not familiar with the results of so much knowledge and creativity, but you may review the materials and learn that they very valuable.

The result was not a victor, but a fortune of creation, to which, and I mention it in passing, the government representatives contributed little or nothing. All the arguments are there and there is no point in repeating them.

We have no more to give. In this process there is reason, history and dignity. All we can add is more blood. We still have a great deal of life to give. We are willing to give up the blood of thousands of men and women so that the Mexican nation can understand that it cannot be unconstitutional in regards to the debt it owes its indigenous people. The nation must recognize them in its supreme law, and give them the rightful place they deserve next to all other Mexicans.

Is more blood necessary, Mister Zedillo?

Vale. Health and may reason and history be the advisors and not arrogance and ignorance.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

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

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