Regarding the consultation on the recognition of the rights of the Indian peoples


November 20, 2998.

Brothers and sisters:

We want to give you our word concerning the consultation for the Cocopa's proposal for the indigenous law.

We want you to learn of our thoughts, so that you will know how we see the consultation.

In our Fifth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona, we call on all the people of Mexico to mobilize themselves for the recognition of the rights of the Indian peoples and against the war of extermination of the Mexican government.

We do not call for only one act.

We do not call for the carrying out of one action, nothing more.

We call for a mobilization.

And that is primary, because we think that the consultation should be a great mobilization of the mexicans, part of the national movement for the recognition of indigenous rights and against the war.

And so we think that everything that is done should be a mobilization in itself, and should be part of the mobilization which the Fifth Declaration calls for.

And we see, for example, that the preparation of this meeting of civil society and the EZLN was a mobilization, because many forces had to be moved to achieve everything that was needed, to spread word of the meeting, to care for for the security for all of us, to organize the working tables, for the food, for the rest, so that we could speak to each other and listen to each other.

And we also see that this meeting is a mobilization because people from various parts of Mexico have come to be present, and many others are waiting to see what is said here and what is agreed here.

Then, we tell you that we think the next step is another mobilization all over the country to prepare the consultation, and then another mobilization to carry out the consultation, and then another to let everyone know the results, and then another mobilization so that those results will be heard and attended to by the Congress of the Union.

That is why we say to you that we should always take into account, in the agreements which we all reach on the consultation, that there is a mobilization, not to think about just one way of spreading the word of the consultation, or in only one way of doing it, nor just one act of letting the results be known, or for the Congress attending to it.

We ask that you think at all times of a mobilization of the greatest number of persons, in all parts of the country, and even of Mexicans abroad, and of many forms of participation.

In our agreements on the consultation we must bear in mind that all of those who want to, can participate, and not just some.

We must bear in mind that all Mexicans can participate, without any importance as to where they live or work. That Mexicans who live and work in the city and in the country, in our country or in other countries, can participate.

That the indigenous can participate, the workers, the campesinos, the employed, the neighbors, the students, the teachers, the unemployed, the drivers, the prisoners, the homosexuals, the lesbians, the retired persons and pensioners, the handicapped, the children, the old ones, the banda, the Mexicans who live abroad, the religious, the businesspersons, the artists and intellectuals, the workers in service to the State, the deputies and senators, the members of the Cocopa; all Mexicans, without regard to their age, their sex, their color, their culture, their political position, their religious creed, their social position, their name, their face or their size.

In our agreements on the consultation, we must bear in mind that everyone can participate in the way in which they want and at the level at which they want.

We should not say that there is only one way of participating, but rather many ways.

If someone wishes to participate with an opinion or with money, or with a song or with a poem, or with a sketch or with a march, or with an assembly or with a polling booth, or with a vehicle or with a hand, or with a smile or with a joke, or with a small amount of time or with much time, or with much work or with little work.

We think that if we make an agreement which is very wide, open and inclusive, then many people are going to participate, are going to be mobilized.

And they are going to be mobilized because they are going to agree with being taken into account, in having their opinion asked for.

And we also want from the consultation, or, that it be, part of the efforts of all of those who are concerned with making another kind of politics, where what the people say is taken into account, and what the people think, feel and say should be the direction which is followed.

We think that the people of Mexico have good thoughts, that they know the struggle for indigenous rights is good, and they know that the war against the Indians is bad, and they are going to want to give their opinion on this subject.

But not just because they are concerned for what is happening with the indigenous, but also because the people want to be listened to and to struggle to be listened to, and this should be an opportunity for our people to speak and to be heard, and we have to find the method and the form so that our people have the method and the form of making themselves heard and of having the weight of their thoughts felt.

That is why we say that the consultation is part of the struggle of the Mexican people for democracy.

Because it is a way for the people to let the leaders know how they feel and what they want.

And we also say that the consultation is part of the struggle of the Mexican people for justice.

Because the demands of the Indian peoples are demanded by Mexicans, and they are just, as the demands are just of the workers and the campesinos, of the neighbors and the housewives, of the students and the teachers, of the young people and the women, of the children and the old ones, of all Mexicans.

And we also say that the consultation is part of the struggle of the Mexican people for liberty, because a people who cannot make themselves heard is an enslaved people. Because speaking and listening with the heart and the head is what makes us human. And no man or woman is born to be a slave.

Then, we want to say that we think the consultation should be:

1. Broad, open and inclusive, in the participation of the people, in the method and form of the consultation, in the levels and forms of participation, of promotion, of organization and of its carrying out.

2. The consultation should be understood as part of the struggle of the Mexican people for democracy, liberty and justice, and that is how it should be explained, publicized, promoted and carried out.

3. We should all understand the consultation as part of the search for a new way of doing politics, and that is how we should think of it, agree to it, plan for it and carry it out.

Brothers and sisters of civil society:

We want to tell you here that we now have five thousand zapatista delegates in order to cover the entire national territory. We have two thousand 500 companeras and two thousand 500 companeros prepared to go out and publicize and carry out the consultation. One zapatista man and one zapatista woman for each of all the municipalities in the country. They are all prepared to risk their lives, their freedom, their goods, in order to carry the message of the consultation to all sides. They are prepared to withstand hunger and illness, to go on horseback or by burro, or in trains or buses, or by car or by plane, or by boat or by helicopter, or by bicycle or by foot, and to reach all the municipalities, no matter how far away or how long it takes them to get there.

And we also tell you that these five thousand delegates are not going to go to the municipalities to speak or to meet with just one particular political or belief group, but rather they are going to meet with and speak to all those who want to participate in the consultation, without regard to their color, their party, their size, their language, their sex, their religion or their age.

And that is our main presentation to this table on the consultation:

Five thousand zapatista delegates in order to promote and to carry out the consultation, two thousand 500 are men and two thousand 500 are women.

The mobilization for the consultation has already begun, and there are five thousand zapatistas preparing themselves to cover the entire national territory.

That is all our word, brothers and sisters of civil society.

Democracy!
Liberty!
Justice!

Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee
- General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation

Mexico, November of 1998.


ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN SPANISH IN MEXICO
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TRANSLATED FROM THE SPANISH BY irlandesa FOR THE EZLN
AND NUEVO AMANECER PRESS
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