To the people of the city of Mexico

September 12, 1997.

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

Today, September 12 of 1997, in the month of the nation, one thousand one hundred and eleven indigenous Zapatistas and thousands of indigenous people from all over the country have arrived to the front of the great palace of the federal government to say our word.

We arrive all the way from the mountains of the Mexican Southeast to here.
We are men, women and children.
We represent the one thousand 111 indigenous communities which form the base of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.
We have come to the city of Mexico and the first thing we want to do is to salute its inhabitants.
We salute the city of Mexico which belongs to the people.
We salute the city which works and struggles to be better.
We salute the city which could and knew how to rebel against the bad government.
We salute the city which defeated the state-party and opened hope for a peaceful , profound and true change.
We want to salute the people of the capitol.

Not those who are criminals and government.
Not the powerful who humiliate and make this city into a hell.

We want to salute the rebels, the ones who do not conform, the ones who fight back, who demand, who do not keep quiet, who listen.

We salute those who make this city a space for rebel dignity.

We salute all the men and women who made it possible for us, who are barely a handful of indigenous people who live in a corner of the country, to come all the way here to say our word.

And this is our first word upon our arrival in the city of Mexico;

Health to all of you brothers and sisters of the capitol!

We have been able to come here thanks to many individual and collective efforts.
Some of those who are responsible for these efforts are here with us today.
Others could not be here in person.
But we are here in their place and thanks to them.
Thousands and thousands of volunteers in all the country have extended their hand so that we could come all the way here.
To all of them we want to say thank you.
All of you are those who allow this nation to still have hope and to have pride and honor in being called a Mexican.
We have come all the way here and we did not arrive alone.
With us, at our side, come thousands of indigenous people from many parts of Mexico.
Our voice and theirs is the same voice which claims justice, demands liberty and democracy.

The brothers and sisters of the National Indigenous Congress march together with the Zapatistas.

We have walked together with a single banner.
The banner which demands that there no longer be a Mexico without us. Mexican men and women:
We have come here to demand that Mister Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon keep his word.
We demand he fulfill what he signed at the negotiating table in February of 1996.
We demand he pull back his soldiers from the indigenous communities of all of Mexico.
If he is not going to keep his promise, then we say he should speak clearly to the people of Mexico.
No more deception by speaking of peace.

We are not willing to be belittled.
We are not willing to be deceived.
We are not willing to return to the corner of abandonment and misery without hope.

If Zedillo is a man of his word, let him fulfill it and let the law recognize our rights as Indian peoples.
If Zedillo cannot keep his word, let him make war on us and fill with bullets what he cannot fill with reason.

If he is not going to make war, then he should take his soldiers out of our communities.
Those soldiers are far from their families, their mothers, their wives, their children.
Why does he keep them here if all they do is bring in prostitutes, alcohol and drugs to our communities.
|While the federal soldiers persecute those of us who are Mexican, the great rulers our selling our nation to foreign capital.
|National armies should defend the people and not help the sale of our national sovereignty.

If Zedillo wants peace, let him keep his word given to the Indian peoples and take his soldiers back into their barracks.
If he wants the war, we Zapatistas know how to fight with honor and bravery, because we have a very powerful weapon which the government DOES NOT have.

That weapon is called dignity.

With this weapon no one and nothing can defeat us.
|They can kill us or jail us.
But they will never defeat us.
They will never get our surrender.

Mexican men and women:

On our side is the Mexico of Miguel Hidalgo, of Jose Maria Morelos, of Francisco Javier Mina, of Leona Vicario, of icente Guerrero.

On our side are the heroes, the ones who gave birth to this nation, the ones who defended it against invaders and who today fight at our side to construct a Mexico with democracy, liberty and justice for everyone.

A Mexico for the workers and farmers.
A Mexico for the indigenous people.
A Mexico for the unemployed.
A Mexico for the squatters.
A Mexico for the housewives.
A Mexico for the professionals.
A Mexico for the teachers.
A Mexico for the students.
A Mexico for the youth.
A Mexico for the women.
A Mexico for the children.
A Mexico for the elderly.
A Mexico for all the Mexican men and women regardless of their sexual preference.
A Mexico for all the poor of the country, because the poor is the majority of Mexicans due to the acts of the rulers and the powerful.
A Mexico for all the Mexicos.

That is why we ask all the people of Mexico to support us in this cry for justice.

Because our struggle belongs to everyone.

That is why we cry "For everyone everything. Nothing for us".
That is why we shout there must be government by obedience.
That is why we want a peace with justice and dignity for all Mexicans.
That is why we come to demand that Mister Zedillo keep is word and take his soldiers back into the barracks.
That is why we come to remind the nation that we are indigenous, that we are rebels, that we have dignity, that we will continue to struggle, that we will not surrender.
That is why we shout always, even when we are silent, that we will win for everyone democray, liberty and justice which all Mexicans need and deserve.

Death to the Bad Government!

Long live the National Heroes!
Long live Mexico!
Long live the Zapatista Army of National Liberation!


From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast

for the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee
General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos
Mexico, September of 1997

Translated by: Cecilia Rodriguez, NCDLJ

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