"We are inviting you to say your word, whether you want to live as
we are, or if you want justice, peace and that there be no more war.
We will accept everything you say to us, but we do not want a justice
like that which Zedillo speaks of, of lies, because everyday there
are helicopters and soldiers in our communities. We want peace, not
- An elderly indigenous, in a blue skimask, while connecting in Mexico City to a bus to Chihuahua
"We also want to explain that the life of people in the country is
different from the life of people in the city. The EZLN exists
because it respects everyone's customs...Our ideology says there is a
world where there is no justice, and another, better world, where
everyone has heart. The EZLN wants to be a bridge between those
- Delegate from municipality of Altamirano
"It is the same [the conditions of life in Chiapas and in Mexico City], there are campesinos who are the same as we are, we see that there is poverty, there are houses in horrible condition. Before, I thought there were decent houses in the capital, that they lacked for nothing, but being here I am shocked to see that the people are the same as we are, but it is because of the government...
"What we are hoping from the Consulta is that the people of Mexico will participate, that they will say whether they are in agreement. We believe the Consulta is necessary in order to demonstrate to the government that we, as zapatistas, respect the people of Mexico. It is very important for us because many people, nationally and internationally, have liked the zapatista struggle, and they will see that our struggle is just...
"We want to be Mexicans, but indigenous Mexicans, whose rights are respected; we want the government to respect us, but as indigenous, as Mexicans in truth. As indigenous, we have the capacity to organize ourselves, to govern...
"We are going to respect the people of Mexico, and the government
is going to see that we respect them..."
"If you think of yourself more than of others, you will cut
yourself off. If you think of others more than yourself, you will
disintegrate. If you think of yourself as much as the others, you
- Leonardo, translating for Amalia
"We do not make war...We want to live like everyone wants to live. We want to be Mexican,s as everyone wants to be: a patria where we all fit, where we will all truly be Mexicans, but recognized, and not forgotten..."
"Only by governing, obeying and listening to the people from below will we be able to have a better country, and it is what we are all seeking...
"We ask that you make good laws for the thousands of indigenous
who come from our villages to the Federal District, because they come
to this great city in search of work. There are indigenous companeros
all over Mexico, and that is why the law we are seeking is a law that
recognizes the rights of all the indigenous peoples of the country,
and not just those from one state..."
|- Regina [speaking to Mexico City legislators]
"We work with these hands, and we have had pain for a long time,
sorrow. That is why it is necessary to consult with you as to what is
going to happen, not just with our future, but with everyone's. We
are subjugated by an army that insults us and treats us badly. That
- Ilse del Carmen
"The same way they are understanding us, we zapatistas are understanding them...
"We did not come for them to help us, we do not want support in
order to abe able to sit in the presidential chair. We came to ask
for their opinion, to listen. And we see that they are understanding
us, because we have the same suffering. We want to see if you also
want to be recognized as Mexican indigenous..."
- Leonardo [17 years old, who came with his 13 year old sister, Lizet]
"We came to Guadalajara to join together with you. We delegates are joining with you, the men and the women, not counting the children, our children, who are in all of your arms. Thank you. We thank you, our Jalisco brothers, for the few days we will be passing here, which will be great days, because they are going to move consciences...
"We came here to tell you: We want peace, but not the peace that a
repressive, violent, dictator government offers. Not the peace
Zedillo promotes. We want a peace with justice and dignity. Know
this: we are men of peace. We are men, women, choldren, old ones of
peace. With these words I will say farewell..."
"We know we must go everywhere, that we cannot live without knowing. That is why we came to ask you, to see if you are in agreement with the Consulta we came here to promote. We want to know if what we are experiencing in Chiapas is the same as here. We want to see if what we are doing is important..."
"...We did not come to promote any armed action, but rather the
citizens participation and dialogue, for a peaceful solution to the
conflict ... despite the growing military presence and the
continuation of the helicopter overflights."
"Some of the ones who are not indigenous understand. Others say we
came armed in order to start a fight. Then I explained to them, no,
no way is it a fight. On the other hand, I believe the ones who are
indigenous have been understanding us from the beginning. We are
similar because of the hardships that we suffer, now we realize
"If the people accept what we are proposing, the government will have to accept it...
"We are hoping to achieve the participation of the people of Mexico, let them decide if what we are proposing is good, because the Zapatista Army of National Liberation does not want to impose any government, whether it is PRD or PAN, or whatever, but that the people should decide...
"We are seeking dialogue, without arms, because we are right...
"We are not refusing to dialogue, and that is why we accepted the
Cocopa's proposal, despite the fact that it didn't include all the
"No, we no longer feel they are exploiting us [men], because our companeros let us have a place...
"We have the right to speak, to participate and to struggle. We
can do it, and we ARE doing it..."
"We [men and women] have the same spirit, the same heart; they
[women] can be an authority, they have the ability and they can
participate, if we were to prohibit them, we would be losing an
"We are with you in the fight against privatization of the electric industry. There, in Chiapas, where there are large plants, and 60% of the energy consumed in the country is produced, we have communities without light, lit by candles, and so the government's plans affect all of us...
"Workers, indigenous, and the citizens who want to join the
struggle, are going to support us, what you tell us we are going to
do; we should join together to tell the government 'ya basta'..."
"We have now come to invite all of you to demand that the government carry out the San Andres Accords and legislate on indigenous rights...
"This can be an example of the mobilization of the people, so that
the government will do what the people want..."
"He [Zedillo] is a President who is not at all concerned about the
indigenous, about their people; he is only concerned about his own
situation, he is only concerned about the business groups. He has no
concern for improving the country, for taking it forward. In his
speeches, Zedillo - from what we can manage to hear on our radios -
...says that Mexico is developed, that there is progress. Which? It
does not exist, and that is why the 5 thousand zapatistas are
inviting the people to go to our communities and see that we are
living in terrible conditions.."
"We want a new Mexico, with democracy, liberty and justice. We do
not want what the government does: the lies, the deceit and to not be
respected as indigenous..."
"We came here in order to continue resisting...a Consulta for peace, not for war..."
"There, in the Selva Lacandona, our communities are suffering; what is on television is not true, they do not give us the freedom to go out to work, the Army comes in in trucks and frightens the people..
"We are fed up, we do not want them to buy us with a kilo of
maseca or a liter of oil, but to carry out the accords: we want
peace. Perhaps the government will hear us with more force with this
- An elderly indigenous woman in a black skimask
"Subcomandante Marcos represents us in everything, but he obeys
what the people tell him. He is the military chief, but the people
are his chief. Without him, we also have the word, and we will
continue the struggle for justice..."
"We do not want repression any longer, we no longer want
assassinations, we no longer want death..."
"It is not the moment for weeping. Today, more than ever, we should follow the heroic example of our fighters. We should join together in one single struggle which shall unite us...
"It is time to not give the government permission to continue the
exploitation. Ya basta. This Consulta is not just about Chiapas or
the EZLN. We are doing it for everyone, especially for the young
people, who are the men of the future..."
"Our blood continues to surface on these Mexican lands. We are right in our demand for there to be peace in our Indian lands. We do not need the federal Army in order to govern ourselves with reason and dignity...
"...[recalling the moment] when Zapata spoke with us, making the
powerful tremble. Democracy is our reason. Justice, our life."
Marcos: When they do not wear the masks, the government does not recognize them, and that is why it was necessary to cover their faces.
Roger: "It is our uniform. The government wanted it like that, that we would keep our faces hidden, because they didn't want to pay any attention to us, they didn't want to listen to us.They only listened to us when we covered our faces. That is why."
Marcos and Alexander: "The government has also been using a mask of lies for many years, and then we covered our faces out of shame for what they had done to the country, and we will not take them off until the government takes off theirs...When it recognizes us, we will look at them face to face..."
All the words appeared in La Jornada, between March 16 and March 23, 1999. _____________________ Translated by irlandesa