December 2, 2000.
To the people of Mexico:
To the peoples and governments of the world:
In response to the new head of the federal Executive Branch, the EZLN defines its position regarding the possibilities for a peaceful solution to the war.
First. - The EZLN reiterates its willingness to seek, to find and to follow the path of peaceful dialogue and negotiation, in order to reach the end of the war and to begin the building of a just and dignified peace with the Indian peoples of Mexico.
Second. - The objective of dialogue and negotiation is to reach accords and to fulfill them. Dialogue and the securing of accords are only possible if they are built on a foundation of trust and credibility. The parties should demonstrate that they are worthy of trust and that their commitments are credible.
Third. - The EZLN, throughout its seven years of public life (and 17 years of existence), has demonstrated that its word enjoys credibility, we pride ourselves on fulfilling our word. That is confirmed not only by our history, but also by our current willingness for dialogue.
Fourth. - The EZLN demands concrete signals from the federal government that will prove their willingness for dialogue and negotiation, their commitment to reaching accords and fulfilling them, and their firm decision to build peace with the Indian peoples of Mexico.
Fifth. - The signals we are demanding are:
A) - Fulfillment of the San Andre's Accords. Specifically, the transformation into law of the proposal drawn up by the Commission of Concordance and Peace (Cocopa).
B) - The release of all zapatista prisoners in jails in Chiapas and in other states.
C) - Demilitarization. Senor Vicente Fox, during his campaign and throughout the entire period following July 2, 2000, has offered the withdrawal of federal armed forces from zapatista territory and the return of the Army to the positions it occupied prior to the beginning of the war.
Yesterday the Army began a series of movements which reduced the number of search positions (checkpoints). These movements, as far as our information goes, have not changed the number and density of federal troops within the so-called "conflict zone." These movements could be interpreted as a simple propaganda tactic which seeks to present what is simply a reduction of checkpoints as a "withdrawal." But they can also be interpreted as the beginning of a larger demilitarization. The EZLN, making an effort, judges them to be a sign of a willingness for greater commitments.
The EZLN knows that the demand by the national and international public is for the complete withdrawal of the Army, but it believes it is also their duty to offer signals of its willingness for dialogue and a peaceful solution to the conflict.
The various governmental military and police forces are occupying, as of December 1 of this year, 655 geographic locations in Chiapas. Of this total, 259 belong to the federal Army.
The EZLN demands the withdrawal and closing of seven of these 259 positions as a condition for renewing the peace process.
1. - Amador Herna'ndez, in this case, in addition, the expropriation decree issued by Zedillo should be cancelled.
2. - Guadalupe Tepeyac.
3. - Ri'o Euseba (close to the Aguascalientes of La Realidad).
4. - Jolnachoj (close to the Aguascalientes of Oventik).
5. - Roberto Barrios (close to that Aguascalientes).
6. - La Garrucha (close to that Aguascalientes).
7. - Cuxulja' (close to the community of Moise's Gandhi).
This withdrawal should be complete, and it should not be replaced by any other military or police force (whether state or federal). It should not be simulated through geographic removals from the noted places, that is, withdrawing does not mean "moving back a few meters." Any new military or police position, state or federal, will be seen as a mockery and will cancel all the signals.
At the point at which these signals have been fulfilled, the EZLN will deliver to the federal government peace commissioner, and to the public, a letter wherein we will propose the date and agenda for a first direct meeting between the government commissioner and the zapatista leadership.
At this first direct meeting, the zapatista leadership will propose the formal beginning of the dialogue and negotiation for a just and dignified peace in Chiapas between the EZLN and the government of Senor Vicente Fox.
Through the simplicity and feasibility of these demands, the EZLN is giving a clear demonstration of its true willingness to follow to the ultimate consequences, that is, to the end of the war, the path of dialogue and negotiation.
The resumption of dialogue between the federal government and the EZLN is possible. Clear actions on the part of the federal Executive and the EZLN's willingness to dialogue are necessary, but they are not sufficient. The mobilization of national and international civil society is also necessary.
Because of all of this, we are making a special call to all men and women of good will, in Mexico and in the world, to mobilize in demand of the realization of these signals and the resumption of dialogue.
>From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast
By the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee - General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos
Mexico, December of 2000.
Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN ______________________ Translated by irlandesa