March 12, 2000,
To the PRIs of the Taniperla Community.
To PRI Authorities and Paramilitaries.
Sisters and brothers:
We are not sending you words of greeting, we are speaking to you in order to once again say YA BASTA!, to stop causing problems and looking for a confrontation with the support bases of that community. Stop playing the bad government's game, stop being used by the federal army, by Albores and Zedillo, they do not want your well-being. If they are giving you crumbs today, it is in order to uselessly try to end our just struggle. The crumbs they are giving you as aid today are not intended to take you out of poverty. One of the reasons and examples of this is the gravel you are taking out, so that the bad government can build highways and some indigenous homes, without anyone's permission, not the land owner's or the ejidal assembly's.
You are doing those things, those acts of giving away the town's riches, acts of provocation and harassment, because you feel strong next to the soldiers and public security police, which are, in fact, the only thing the bad government wants to send. They do so thinking that we zapatistas no longer have any strength, they think they finished this Autonomous and Rebel Municipality off on April 11. They are doing so because they have deceived you so that you will not look into your hearts, so that you can no longer look at the reality of your poverty.
We are telling you that "you are very wrong." In the first place, we have not responded against you with force because we do not fall into the government's traps. We know very well that you, similarly impoverished and exploited indigenous and campesinos, are also being deceived today. You are not our enemy. Our enemy is the bad government who helps those who are exploiting, deceiving and enriching themselves with our wealth, suffering and work. In the second place, we are not afraid of the army and public security police who are beside you. We demonstrated that in '94, and we are demonstrating it today with our dignified resistance. Nor are we afraid of the weapons and training they have given some of you in order to form a paramilitary group. If we do not respond with force to the army and to the police, it is because we are following the will of civil society in seeking a dignified and peaceful solution to the conflict. It is not out of fear of the soldiers, it is out of respect for society, out of respect for you and out of respect for our commitment of making a struggle that seeks rights and dignity for all Mexican men and women.
Those soldiers in front of you are defending an unjust, arbitrary and criminal cause. Those soldiers know the same thing we know, that they are not here to help the people or to bring a better standard of living. Those soldiers are there so that the bad government's war will have a road from which to attack the communities who do not surrender. We know very well that the highways the government has built have not brought one single benefit to the indigenous. Doctors have not come in on the highways, nor have hospitals been built, nor do teachers come, nor are schools made, nor do materials arrive to improve the homes of the indigenous, nor does the price of the products the campesinos sell improve, nor is the merchandise less expensive that the indigenous must buy. Through Zedillo's highways war tanks have come, and cannons, soldiers, prostitution, venereal diseases, alcoholism, rapes of indigenous women and girls, death and misery. Every highway that the government has built has demonstrated that it has no benefit, other than for those who are enriching themselves at our cost or for those who come to kill us, to imprison us and to humiliate us.
Ask yourself truly, and look into your hearts fearlessly, and you will se how the soldiers have used your daughters and wives. Let them tell you how they are used by the soldiers, how they now have venereal diseases that came along with the prostitutes who service the soldiers. Look at how the little you earn is spent in alcohol and prostitutes, how robberies and killings have increased, how fear and anxiety came by the hand of the Army, the public security police, their lies, shameful houses and highways. Ask yourself truly, honestly, and see if you ever had any problems with the zapatistas, and you will see that we always respected you, that we never forced you to stop being PRIs or to join the war. Ask the women and they will tell you that, when there was no army other then the EZLN, there was not so much drunkenness, or crimes, or prostitution, or sadness, or anxiety, or fear.
We want highways that bring hospitals schools, dignified housing, decent food, better prices for the products of the countryside, improvements to the land, recognition of the democracy we indigenous practice.
We want our gravel and the riches that are in the chiapaneco soil to be for the benefit of all Mexicans, and not to be put at the service of the war and the lie, not sold to foreign money. We want the riches to be for the independence and sovereignty of Mexico, and not so the great powerful ones can order us about like slaves and steal everything from us.
When the highways bring peace and not soldiers and war tanks and alcoholism and prostitution and misery and illnesses and fear, - then we zapatistas shall be the first in the work to build them. We shall be the first to lend our hands, gravel, lands, work and organization, in order to move towards the true development of our indigenous peoples and of the entire nation.
But, as long as our resources serve to increase oppression, misery and death among the indigenous communities, the zapatistas shall oppose them, we shall resist. Even though we suffer in resistance, even though they attack us, even though they imprison us, even though they kill us, even though they tell lies about us, we will not permit the government's actions, which only provoke death and misery, abandonment and fear.
And, if we do so, it is not for us, we do so for millions of Mexican men and women who are poor like us. They deserve the natural riches to be for their benefit, and not for the gang of thieves who are in the government, for them to deceive us or so that they can advance their armies into our canadas and communities.
See, then, how you have no true reasons, how you have fallen into the bad government's game. See how they are stealing the resources which are not even yours, see how they do not even put them at your service, but rather at the service of the bad government and its army, they do not even serve for you.
They do the same with housing. They show us a house of bad materials, and we see our homes of sticks and guano roof, of dirt floors, and we see the other made of laminate and cement floors. But, take care, disease enters as well into that house, nor does it have water, nor enough room for the family to live in dignity. It only serves as deception, in order to put you against your indigenous brothers and sisters. Look well, and realize, throw a rock at its roof to see if it can withstand it, wait a few years and see if its walls do not fall apart, look and see if it has enough space for the family to not live crammed together (crowded), look at it and see if, along with your house, better prices for coffee and livestock arrive, and you will see that a soldier comes with his weapon in order to deceive your daughters. Look at it and see if a doctor comes, and you will see a prostitute and a brothel arrives. Perhaps today you see our houses as being more run down, and you believe that the government carries out, but our house is more honorable, because it is not the product of theft and violence, with its dirt floor and guano roof it is more honorable, because it is the fruit of our own labor and will. In that house there is truth, resistance and struggle to truly improve things one day. Your house of bad materials has lies in its laminate roof and violence and indigenous blood in its cement floor. Your highways and streets with stolen gravel are paths for the death and destruction of our peoples.
We do not want that deception and we do not want you to continue provoking and stealing for that. They say we have no strength, but this true word is part of our strength.
You become very upset if we resist and do not, for example, pay for our lights, and you are furiously going to take out the pipes and you yell with rage and raise false charges in order to persecute and imprison us. You furiously hack the coffee plantations with machetes and steal chain saws and horses. Full of lies, it becomes easy for you to come in and take out gravel from lands that are not yours, to refuse to recognize the ejidal assembly and to deliver the gravel into the hands of the government as a gift. Full of fury and courage, you have threatened to rape our women, as the soldiers do yours.
We are telling you YA BASTA!, do not be deceived by yourselves. We are not deceived, nor are we afraid of you. We are not afraid of the federal army. If you wish, send them this letter. Indeed, do so, since they know we are speaking the truth. They certainly are not going to tell you, they will continue deceiving you. We are telling them that this Autonomous Municipality continues existing and working. They were not able to destroy it and they shall not be able to destroy it. If you continue provoking, you will see our strength. Not that of violence, you shall see the strength of organization, you shall see the strength of truth and work, and you will be nothing in the face of that strength. If you wish to see truth and reason, look and live peacefully and with respect. If you wish to continue being deceived and provoking, you know, we will have to respond as we have said.
Ricardo Flores Mago'n Autonomous Council in Rebellion
Originally published in Spanish by Enlace Civil A.C. firstname.lastname@example.org ________________________ Translated by irlandesa Date: Wednesday, March 22, 2000