Response to government proposal on San Andres reforms

To the people of Mexico:
To the peoples and governments of the world;

Brothers and sisters;

On December 19th 1996, legislators from the COCOPA gave a document to the CCRI-CG of the EZLN which contained, we were told the answer of the Executive branch to the constitutional reform initiative on indigenous issues. These reforms, based upon the San Andres agreements, had been presented by the COCOPA to the different parties. The COCOPA asked the EZLN to keep the document confidential while advisors and specialists were consulted, and a three-party meeting was arranged [EZLN, COCOPA, and the CONAI] during which the COCOPA as well as the EZLN would make public their evaluation of the document from the Executive branch.

The deadline for confidentiality has passed. The EZLN now makes public the counterproposal made by Mr. Ernesto Zedillo Ponce De Leon called "Government proposal for constitutional reforms in reference to the rights of indigenous people" and at the same time, makes known its response and evaluation of the document.

Mister Zedillo's document is a resounding "no" to the proposal by Cocopa. It does not recognize the agreements of San Andres which were signed by its delegation on February of 1996. It attempts to re-negotiate everything developed by the first working group on "indigenous Rights and Culture". It ratifies the lack of seriousness and irresponsibility of the federal government in regards to a peaceful resolution to the demands of the EZLN.

The process of dialogue and negotiation makes sense only if agreements are made. Mister Zedillo refuses to comply with the agreements signed in San Andres by his representatives. This is unacceptable. Today he refuses to acknowledge the commitments made in regards to indigenous rights, tomorrow he will do the same with the ever-more distant peace accords.

This situation reveals no genuine will for a dialogue or for peace on behalf of the federal government. It reveals the continued administration of the belligerent conflict, instead of a definitive solution through peaceful means. Today it is clear that Mr. Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon's will is for war.

|The words of Mister Zedillo, expressed in Guatemala on the occasion of the peace accord between the URNG and the government are evidence that his speeches on foreign soil contradict his national actions. Within the power in Mexico there is no real disposition to "value the arms of politics instead of the arms of confrontation, dialogue instead of intolerance, agreement above exclusion". Ernesto Zedillo. Guatemala, December 29, 1996.

Since its founding, the EZLN has a commitment with the indigenous people of Mexico. The indigenous blood spilled in combat in 1994, the deaths which have occurred in these three years of armed resistance and the pain of thousands of persecuted and besieged families in the mountains of the Mexican southeast have a basis and reason because they exist in an effort to achieve that aspiration of "everything for everyone, nothing for us". Today we repeat that a national law which recognizes indigenous rights and culture has a fundamental importance for the EZLN.

The government document called the "Government proposal for constitutional reforms in reference to the rights of indigenous people" is an infamous and bald-faced mockery of the struggle of the Indian people of Mexico, of the EZLN's will for dialogue, of the efforts of the Cocopa to fortify the possibility of negotiation and of the hopes of national and international civil society to find a quick and sure path to a peace with justice and dignity for the original inhabitants of Mexican lands.

The government's counterproposal throws the entire peace process into crisis. It fundamentally questions the possibilities of a quick and peaceful solution for the conflict and it once again extends the shadows of war over the Indian peoples of Mexico.

Give the above, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation a primarily indigenous rebel organization, up in arms for democracy, liberty and justice for all Mexicans , declares the following:

That it completely rejects the government proposal for constitutional reforms because they represent a lack of compliance with the agreements of San Andres, because they are a mockery to the national and international demand for a peace with justice and dignity, and because they do not fulfill the indigenous demands for a new relationship with the Mexican nation.

The EZLN repeats that it accepts the document written by the representative of the legislative branch, Cocopa, as the initiative of law which complies with all the agreements of San Andres signed by the EZLN and the federal government in February of 1996.

We will wait for the Commission of Concordance and Pacification to honor its decision (made public during the first days of December of 1996) to defend and carry out its own proposal, without accepting modifications of any kind from the parties involved and demanding of the Federal Executive compliance with its word within the agreements of San Andres. From the legislators of the Cocopa we expect a brave and dignified approach in response to this mockery by the Executive Branch. The independence and autonomy of the Legislative Branch and of the political parties are at stake.

The EZLN will make no other decision until it knows the public response of the COCOPA. We call upon national and international civil society to mobilize in order to demand that the government keep its word and stop playing with the possibility of war against the people of Mexico.


From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

Translated by Cecilia Rodriguez; EZLN representative, USA.
  Mexico, January of 1997

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