The consulta, the victories and the questions of the moment

April 1, 1999

To: The Zapatista Brigades, individuals and organizations in solidarity, new and old companeras & companeros.


We responded. Over three million strong, our voice will not be silenced.

Your vision, solidarity, generosity and most importantly, your work, has once again forced the Mexican government to publicly and internationally answer for the violence it calls 'justice', the repression it calls 'democracy', and the war it calls 'liberty'. The small thoughtful acts of organization which have been multiplied millions of times over the past few months, weeks, and days through the International Consulta for the Recognition of Indigenous Rights & Against the War of Extermination have together won a great victory.

Through the commitment of each one of you, through the dozens of Zapatista Brigades and through the NCDM's Coordination, over 30,000 Mexican men and women joined their voice in a practice of popular democracy in the U.S. alone.

In Los Angeles, over twenty Brigades won the participation of over 15, 000 people. Throughout the United States tens of thousands of Mexicans and non-Mexicans supported the Consulta. In Mexico, through over 15,000 voting tables across our land, over 3 MILLION Mexicans voted on March 21, 1999.

But the true victory is not about the quantity of votes. It is about hope. Hope is the reason which motivated these thousands to work hundreds of uncompensated hours under dangerous, difficult conditions. Hope is the weapon which annuls the physical force of the Mexican Army and begins to chart a new course for humanity.

The true victory lies in the individual and collective contributions each of us made towards building a new Mexico and a new World in which civil society exerts its strength in an organized way. The true victory lies in the fact that we are beginning to establish a new way of making politics.

Concretely, the Consulta succeeded in:

* Placing the demands for the constitutional recognition of Indigenous rights at the forefront of the national dialogue in Mexico once again,

* Organizing an international dialogue on Mexican Indigenous rights, the Accords of San Andres Saca'amchen, and the legal Initiative on Indigenous Rights developed by the Mexican congressional Commission on Concordance and Pacification (COCOPA),

* Breaking the military and informational blockade which the PRI-controlled government of Mexico maintains, again

* Organizing the massive and international mobilization of civil society,

* Promoting a new practice of democracy from the ground up in Mexico and internationally.

* Uniting people with different agendas but a common aspiration: the desire to completely alter the paradigm of power which has kept us from establishing a more just society

We believe that allowing the network we strengthened through the Consulta to fade would be a serious error. We would like to continue a dialogue with everyone who participated in the Consulta, in whatever capacity. Yet, we must first ask, IS IT NECESSARY TO CONTINUE TO BUILD UPON THIS WORK? HOW WOULD WE RE-DEFINE AND REGENERATE IT?

The following themes could serve as guides for our dialogue:

1. THE NEED for the organization of a local and national relationship that understands the importance of our voice in the struggle for justice, democracy and liberty in Mexico, while also understanding the demand for struggle here.

2. THE NEED for a process that identifies principles that unite us.

3. THE NEED to develop struggles that engage us as members of a civil society conscious of its role nationally and internationally.

4. THE NEED for the organization of people, a movement, which like the wind, spreads the seeds and pollinates the flowers of struggles locally, nationally and internationally.

5. THE NEED for the organization of a web that binds us to a practice that aspires to reclaim self-governance, in the establishment and defense of social norms and relationships while building an international political norm that demands that those who govern, 'govern by obedience'.

6. THE NEED to ask, dialogue and answer the following question: What is resistance to us?

Our wind, the wind from below, must be what some people call a network - a functional, practical and dynamic relationship of relationships among human beings and organizations capable of protracted and instant organization, dialogue and mobilization. Our wind, the wind from below, must continue to build these relationships, whispering hope to all who will listen, seeking other winds from other struggles and other parts of the world. Our wind, must move through the fields, the cities, the jungles, the mountains, the valleys and the plains, seeking the energies of human hands and hearts struggling to live life with dignity.

The wind from the south blows strong, may our wind find such strength.

To the Mexico page