We cannot allow the use of force to be the method for confronting social demands

February 2, 2000.

To the people of Mexico:
To the peoples and governments of the world:

Brothers and sisters:

Today, February 2, 2000, in the early hours of the morning, and through a radio broadcast, we have learned of a new attack by the federal government's paramilitary armed forces against university students, this time at the National Preparatory School 3, Mexico City.

Concerning this incident, the EZLN has this to say:

First. Since his arrival at the UNAM rectory, Senor Ramo'n de la Fuente has carried out the mission entrusted to him by Senor Ernesto Zedillo's government: feigning an opening to dialogue while the repressive strike is being planned against the student movement which, by demanding a public and free education, is keeping the highest university on strike.

Second. After pretending to dialogue with the General Strike Council and reaching agreements with its representatives, Senor de la Fuente refused to recognize what had been agreed to, and he called for the carrying out of a plebiscite which had been prepared by the Department of Government in order to spearhead the justification - before the public - of the use of force in solving the student strike (as was demonstrated by the magazine Proceso).

Third. Taking advantage of the good faith of many university students who want an end to the conflict and the solution of the just demands of the student movement Senor de la Fuente rigged the plebiscite so that by expressing their support for the satisfaction of the demands, and, therefore, for the end of the conflict - the use of public force would be supported against the students.

Fourth. Despite the immense and costly campaign in the electronic media, the majority of the student community did not turn up for the rectory's plebiscite. As some PRD affiliated university students had warned in a timely manner, the rector's plebiscite would be used as an argument for repression (if it were to be rejected by the CDH). According to noted members of the university community (who not only cannot be accused of being ultras, but who have been steadfast in their criticisms of the CGH), the plebiscite was carried out with an artificially inflated register, and the results that were released by the press were rigged, and they are not in any way truthful.

Fifth. Despite the fact that barely a little more than one third of the university community came out for the rectory's proposal, the electronic media manipulated it that "the great majority of the university students" had demanded the unconditional end of the movement.

Sixth. With the cosmetics of the big media and without university legitimacy Senor de la Fuente gave an ultimatum to the striking students: the unconditional return of the facilities. The CGH rejected this position.

Seventh. With the previous achieved, officials called on the university students who did not agree with the strike to retake the facilities. In the days subsequent to the carrying out of the plebiscite, there were frequent flagrant acts of provocation carried out by officials, especially those of the Law Faculty, the CCH Naucalpan and Preparatory 6 (as reported by the newspapers La Jornada and Milenio Diario). The objective was, and is, clear: confront university students against university students.

Eighth. But, contrary to the plans of the authorities, the majority of the university community is not in favor of solutions of force, and they are in favor of dialogue and the agreements. In the majority of the schools and faculties where it was possible to hold assemblies, the strikers and anti-strikers dialogued with respect and tolerance, and they were reaching accords. The rector's strategy confronted a new failure: the university students, in meetings and dialogue, recognized each other as such; they recognized the justice of the movement's demands, and they were seeking creative and intelligent solutions in order to end the strike.

The assemblies by the schools and faculties were breathing life into the movement, and, most importantly, they were giving it new direction. The solution was in sight. Still against sectarian positions, the student university movement base understood that the assemblies did not mean defeat, but rather the opportunity for dialogue to replace the exchange of epithets.

Ninth. Senor de la Fuente's failure caused the federal government to hasten the strike that had been prepared: through the publication of an ad signed by some of the most powerful men of money, the media and the high clergy, the fascist right was given the false legitimacy of order imposed by brute force.

Tenth. The dirty work was entrusted to the one who commands a paramilitary group formed by the current PRI candidate for the Presidency of the Republic, Senor Francisco Labastida Ochoa. He is a military man by the name of Wilfredo Robledo, head of the self-styled "Federal Preventive Police." Desirous of concealing their complicities and failures in the face of organized crime (especially in the face of drug trafficking), Senor Robledo planned, in great detail, the attack against university facilities.

Tenth, first. Once again there were critical voices from some PRD activists and PRD candidates for the President of the Republic and for the Mexico City government (in contrast with the positions of some of the party's national and local leaders), who warned that the federal government responding to the call by the right had opted to divest itself of all political cover and had been left with the club as the government's argument. Lacking legitimacy, the federal government and those accompanying them in their military campaign (the electronic media, the high clergy, the men of money and the intellectuals of the right) for "the recovery of the university facilities," are hiding behind the legal fallacy called the "rule of law." "Rule of law" is the way in which crimes of state are covered up.

Tenth second. It is increasingly clear that, within the university community and in the progressive forces, the dilemma of the "closed or open university" is false. All university students, and all of we Mexicans, want UNAM to be doing its work of teaching, research and culture. The university student movement has been clear in its desire that the conflict end and that the university return to work as normal, in accordance with its nature. The dilemma that poses that the problem will be resolved with the university closed or open is false. That is not now the fundamental question, and even less so when there are 251 political prisoners. Now the dilemma is in whether the just student demands are resolved through using dialogue or by resorting to violence.

Tenth third. In the face of the UNAM conflict, the right has demonstrated stupidity, historical blindness and authoritarianism. It has organized itself and it has confronted it with its only argument: violence. The most reactionary part of the country has come out against dialogue and for violence against those who disagree with their political, economic and social program. According to this view, every attempt to democratize, every demand for justice, every struggle for liberty, are: "minor incidents of history," whose fates should be jail, the grave or oblivion. In the country of the right, all political exercises - even that which is done within their rules - is converted into a theatre of shadows.

Tenth fourth. In the face of the fascist actions of the right, left and progressive forces in the country should find the points of agreement in response to the just demand for public and free education. Above the false dilemma that "supporting the movement's demands is the equivalent of supporting the so-called ultras, and criticizing the CGH's methods is putting oneself on the side of the neoliberal higher education program" is opposing the political work that has no arguments other than violence, persecution and imprisonment.

Tenth fifth. The federal government and the right, with their position on the UNAM conflict, have managed to define the problem in its true dimension: repression as the only and supreme exercise of politics. Today, like yesterday, social fighters are characterized as "terrorists" by the "rule of law." The same as the indigenous, campesinos, debtors, teachers, colonos, honest religious persons and opposition party activists, all fighters for social rights the young UNAM students are treated as criminals of the worst sort.

Tenth sixth. The premeditated federal government attack against the students should not be allowed to go unpunished. Today it is not important whether one is, or is not, in agreement with the students' demands, whether one is, or is not, in agreement with their methods, whether one is, or is not, in agreement with the General Strike Council, whether one is, or is not, in agreement with the strike. What is important today is that we cannot allow the use of force to be the method for confronting social demands.

Progressive and forces of the left are for dialogue, regardless of their different views concerning power or concerning the methods of struggle.

The end of the policy being announced by Zedillo's today is the promise of a nightmare for all Mexicans in Francisco Labastida's tomorrow.

The election period, the supposed panacea of democracy, is being begun with 251 political and young student prisoners, many of them minors.

Tenth seventh. For all of this, the EZLN calls on all left and progressive forces, on honest opposition political parties, on all Mexican men and women independently of our position on the UNAM conflict to speak out for an end to fascism, for the release of the 251 student political prisoners, for dialogue that reaches accords, and for the carrying out of those accords.

Tenth eighth. Today it is not just the future of the UNAM and the student movement that is at stake. What is at stake is the future of a country that is in dispute between those who want to run it at the point of a bayonet, and those who want it free, democratic and just.


By the General Command of the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.

Subcomandante insurgente Marcos.

Mexico, February of 2000.

Communique' of the General Command of the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee of the EZLN. Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN ______________________ Translated by irlandesa

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