People in the most unexpected places are participating

March 17, 1999.

To National and International Civil Society:

Brothers and sisters:

Since I've been into soccer lately, I'd forgotten to talk to you about how the International Consulta and the International Action for the Excluded of the World are going.

It now turns out that there are people in the most unexpected places who are interested in participating, so that they may have their voices heard. They are, for example, in Jordan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, the Canaries, Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Zambia and the Fiji Islands. But not just there, there are also brigades in Scotland, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Cuba, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Paraguay, the United States, Canada, Japan, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, the State of Spain, France, Holland, England, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.

In Jakarta, which is an island of Java, in Indonesia, more than 2 dozen people, including Munir, Tatma and Dwi, signed a manifesto in support of the Consulta. And in the Sanin region (which means, they tell me, "the shadow of the mountains"), in Japan, they registered "The Ninjas" brigade, and they invited us to visit them, because the children there want to meet us (they think we are Mexican Ninjas!). In Chile, very close to the South Pole, the "Sherlock" brigade honours their name and solves mysteries in order to spread the Consulta. In Belgium, the "Manuel Alvarez Bravo" brigade is explaining the importance of the San Andres Accords. In Nicaragua, they are rising up from the rubble left by Hurricane Mitch, and they are preparing for the Consulta and the action for the excluded.

In Germany, the "Zapata Lebt Noch" brigade was created (which means, they say, "Zapata Lives"). Also in Germany, "The Incomplete Dadaists" are joining forces with an old dog from Paraguay and are preparing a 7 hour vigil on the Consulta, on the night of March 20. In Catalonia - which could well be an Autonomous Municipality of Chiapas (given the number of zapatistas there), except that it's in the State of Spain - and more precisely, in Vic, the capital of Osana - they have prepared a huge book with information on the Consulta. In Montreal, Canda, the Acteal brigade was giving out information on the Consulta outside a show with the tigers of the North. In Toronto, also in Canada, they sent their wishes on the departure of the zapatista delegates.

And in Norway, "La Cucaracha" brigade advises us that they can coordinate with all of those further north of Uruapan, yes, Michoacan!. In Strasbourg, France, there's a brigade called "CIA," that, most certainly, is not the gringo CIA, but the "Cercle de Idealistes Associes" (something like "Society of Associate Idealists"). In Barcelona, there's a brigade called "El Quijote Aguamielero," and in Rio Cuarto, Cordoba, Argentina, another that's called "La Mera Petatera."

In Albequerque, New Mexico, USA, the Navajo/Dineh, Apache, Paiute, Lakota, Jemez, Cherokee, Pawnee, Comanche, Tewa, Tiwa, Towa, Acoma, Zuni, Hopi, Sac and Fox nations claimed their right to participate in the Consulta in accordance with the Mexican Constitution of 1821, and they formed the "First Nations North and South" brigade.

There are also brigades proliferating in the United States, promoted by the Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan (MECHA), the National Campaign for the Absentee Vote 2000, the Bi-national Oaxacan Indigenous Front, the Democratic Platform, Mexican Brotherhood and many others. For example, the ALAS brigade, in Glendale, California, has mounted a photographic exhibit; in Denver, Colorado, a woman demands that we register her husband (done, Madame); in New York, the AZUL brigade is covering the Bronx, Harlem, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island and New Jersey.

In Sacramento, California, there is a radio program where they are explaining what's going on here, and, so, we send our greetings from here to the radio listeners of "Tiro Directo" in Sacramento, and we invite them to participate in the Consulta, which is for the recognition of the rights of the Indian peoples, that is, of the peoples who gave life and culture to many of those who are listening to that program. In Storrs, Connecticut, "El Solitario" brigade has only one member, but it is as if it were 1111. In New York, "La Realidad" brigade demonstrates that it's a small world, and we may go wherever we wish. The "Villista Anti-Imperialist Remember Columbus" brigade is in San Diego, and ... needs no comment.

But the most significant thing in the last few days has been the formation of the Pro Derechos de La Raza - San Diego brigade, which has let us know that the Project of Chicano Mexican Prisoners is carrying out the Consulta in various jails in the United States, where there are thousands of Mexican men and women in prison. The Brigade does not have any money, and so they could only send 500 ballots to the main jails in the US. And from here we say to them: "No le aunque, raza! A darle ese!"

Continuing with this, we are letting you know that all the National Coordinators who have requested their registration with the Contact Office have been accredited. Ideas for the vote counting and for the sending of the results? Here's one for you: the brigades and coordinators send the Consulta results by email, and then, later, by regular mail, the actual ballots. I'm just saying it's an idea, but there can be others, and, I suppose better ones. Mutatis mudandi, which would be something like "a Consulta where many Consultas fit." No?

But you'll see that not everything is Consulta and brigades. They are also preparing, and preparing well, various acts for the International Action for the Excluded of the World. According to what they are telling us, there are activities planned now in: France, Germany, England, Puerto Rico, Canada, Nicaragua, Argentina, Denmark, the Iberian Peninsula and the Canary Islands. In Nicaragua they are planning a carnaval meeting for the afternoon of the 21st. In Catalonia, Valencia and Zaragoza they are each planning fiestas of the imagination; in the Canary islands, they are holding a meeting in Guayadeque (Grand Canary Island). In Denmark, in Copenhagen, the Mexico Gruppen and Tinku have already prepared various activities.

In Argentina, in Bariloche, Bahia Blanca, Arequito, Chabas, San Jose de la Esquina, Buenos Aires and Rosario, they are linking the action of the 21st with the day of MEMORY, March 24, in which the Argentine fighters join together to march and to demand that the memory live. They wrote to us and warned us: "The explosion is coming!" How? Well, with posters, music, murals, radio transmissions, videos, seminars, batucada (Leon Gieco, they say, goes there), dance, in sum, dignity in many forms and colors.

These good persons (because they are good and they are persons) have committed themselves so much to the Consulta that they have taken upon themselves the task of seeking out Mexican men and women all over Argentina. And each one who finds one makes a fiesta whose noise can be heard even here. Just today, the Internet came out with some news that was going from one end to the other of that heroic network of the cyber-excluded. The reason? The net in Argentina had found, in a tiny village of less than 5000 residents...a Mexican! Fiesta! But, in addition, this Mexican woman was very interested in participating in the Consulta. Double fiesta! Things like this are what those from above will never understand: why so much fiesta and excitement when someone meets the other guy (other woman, in this case).

There are many other activities, and all of them good. We congratulate all of them, and we wish them our best (which, nonetheless, will always be but little, compared to what they deserve). As soon as we get more information, we'll be sending it to you.

That's how we are, then. As the date draws closer, the initiatives are increasing. And, with them, all of those who embrace the world from all the forgotten corners of the planet, and who, embracing, will meet each other.

Vale. Salud and may the fiesta of finding the other never be over.

>From the mountains of the Mexican southeast.
Subcomandante insurgente Marcos.
Mexico, March of 1999

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN _________________________ Translated by irlandesa   Date: Friday, March 19, 1999 00:19:35 -0600 From: CONTACT OFFICE FOR THE CONSULTA

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