On November 20, 21 and 22, the civil society-EZLN encuentro was carried out in the city of San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas. During the encuentro, the participants (more than 3 thousand men, women, children and old ones) dialogued and presented their different proposals for the carrying out of the national consultation for respect for the rights of the Indian peoples and for the end to the war of extermination, which was called for in the Fifth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona.
As a result of that dialogue, and fulfilling the mandate received by the plenary of the encuentro, the EZLN presents the following announcement, in accordance with the following considerations:
First. Considering that peace with democracy, liberty, justice and dignity is the right of all Mexican men and women.
Second. Considering that this peace is only possible with the recognition of the rights of the indigenous peoples and by putting an end to the war of extermination which the government is carrying out against them.
Third. Considering that this peace will not be born out of violent confrontation, but through the open, inclusive, wide, intelligent and imaginative dialogue with all of Mexican society.
Fourth. Considering that a new form of doing politics is necessary, which is built with everyone, by everyone and for everyone, making it possible for Mexican men and women - without regard to their color, religion, language, culture. social position, sexual preference or political conviction - to have their voices heard and to have their force felt in the great national decisions.
Fifth. Considering that in Mexico the popular consultation has precedents rich in experiences and lessons, and it is the right of all Mexicans to participate freely and voluntarily in various consultation processes for the purpose of demanding solutions to all the problems which affect the country.
Sixth. Considering that the consultation for the recognition of the rights of the Indian peoples, and for the end to the war of extermination, is part of the great mobilization process of the people of Mexico in their struggle for democracy, liberty and justice:
We call for the Consultation for the Recognition of the Rights of the Indian Peoples and for the End to the War of Extermination based on the following:
1. The process of preparation, publicizing and carrying out of the consultation will be a broad, open and inclusive mobilization.
2. The specific characteristics of the municipalities, regions and states of the country shall be recognized, as shall be the specific forms of political participation of the Indian peoples, and the rights of Mexican men and women abroad.
3. All Mexican men and women over the age of 12 may participate, without regard to their office, social position, color, religious belief, political affiliation, sexual preference, language or culture, within the Mexican Republic, as well as outside the country.
4. The consultation for the recognition of the rights of the Indian peoples and for the end to the war of extermination will be carried out on SUNDAY, MARCH 21, 1999, simultaneously all across the country and in those places in the rest of the world where Mexicans decide to organize themsleves and to participate.
5. The consultation will use the method of voting by ballot in the urban and rural areas, and of uses and customs in the indigenous and rural areas of the country which decide to do so.
6. The questions which shall be consulted upon are the following:
Question 1. Do you agree that the indigenous peoples, in all their strength and richness, should be included in the national project and take an active part in the building of the new Mexico?
Question 2. Do you agree that indigenous rights should be recognized in the Mexican constitution in accordance with the San Andres Accords and with the corresponding proposal by the Commission of Concordance and Peace of the Congress of the Union?
Question 3. Do you agree that we should achieve true peace through the path of dialogue, demilitarizing the country, with the return of the soldiers to their barracks, as established by the Constitution and the laws?
Question 4. Do you agree that the people should organize themselves and demand that the government "govern obeying" in all aspects of national life?
These questions may be answered with a yes, no or I don't know.
7. The consultation will have several stages of mobilization:
First. Promotion and publicizing.
Second. Regional organization.
Third. Carrying out of the consultation.
Fourth: The dissemination of the results.
Fifth. Delivery of the results to the Congress of the Union.
8. Beginning with the publication of this announcement, the first stage of the consultation shall begin, promotion and publicizing. For that, we call on all Mexican men and women to form their Brigade for Promotion and Publicizing of the Consultation.
If you are a Mexican, indigenous, campesino, worker, neighbor, housewife, employee, unemployed, handicapped, artist, barzonista, intellectual, scientist, religious, artisan, businessperson, lesbian, homosexual, HIV-positive, social or political organization activist, tradesperson, student, teacher, unionist, member of a non-governmental organization, environmentalist, boy, girl, young person, old person, man or woman, individually or with other persons - form your Brigade of Promotion and Publicizing for the Consultation.
There are no limitations as to the number in a brigade, it can include just one person or millions.
There are no limitations on the area in which your brigade may work, it can be from your house or throughout the entire galaxy.
There are no limitations on the ideas and resources which you can use in order to do your promotion and publicity work, it can be from a pen to a space satellite, from a whistle to a mega-concert, from graffiti in a bathroom to a Teleton, from a leaflet to a show.
Motivate and promote your political or social organization into being part of the work of the consultation. Form, for this first stage, brigades of publicity and accredit them.
If you do not belong to any organization, it does not matter, form your brigade by yourself, or with some friends, and accredit it.
All brigades should accredit themselves directly with the EZLN or through the Contact Office for the Consultation.
With your brigade, you can do your work for promoting and publicizing the consultation in your home, in your street, in your barrio, in your neighborhood, in your school, in your union, in your cooperative, in your community, in your factory, in your mobile, in your social organization, in your political organization, in your non-governmental organization, in your municipality, in your state, in the country in which you find yourself.
When you have a brigade, if you wish (it is not obligatory), you can coordinate with other brigades and organize yourselves for your promotional and publicity work according to your means, interests and ingenuity.
9. The second stage will be regional organization, that is, organization in barrios, municipalities, regions and states for the carrying out of the consultation (bulletins, assemblies, ballot boxes, technical aspects of the consultation, etc.), and for for the meetings and public activities which the zapatista delegates will be carrying out in your municipality. The date and the manner in which this second stage shall begin will be announced at the appropriate time.
10. In order to serve as a bridge between the EZLN and national civil society for everything concerning the consultation, the Contact Office for the Consultation has been formed, headed by the social activist, Rosario Ibarra de Piedra. This office is the only - and it is exclusively for this purpose - bridge between the EZLN and civil society regarding the consultation. It has no responsibilities for organization or decision-making of any kind.
11. The EZLN is the sole Organizing Committee.
12. The information for the Contact Office for the Consultation is: Avenida Ignacio Allende No. 22-A, San Antonio barrio (between Alvaro Obregon and Hermanos Dominguez), CP 29250, San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico. Telephone and fax: (967) 8-10-13 and (967) 8-21-59.
Form your brigade for publicity and accredit it now! The mobilization for the consultation has now begun! Yesss!
>From the mountains of the Mexican southeast
By the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee
- General Command Zapatista Army of Naitonal Liberation
Subcomandante insurgente Marcos
Mexico, December 11, 1998
Originally Published in Spanish by the EZLN