Brothers and sisters:
Please accept our most sincere best wishes from the zapatistas. In the name of the entire EZLN, we are sending our greetings to the upcoming National Encuentro, on June 9 and 10, 2000, in the Zo'calo of Mexico City.
It is with enthusiasm and hope that we have read that those who are convoking and organizing this Encuentro represent a rainbow of the best of this country. Honesty and nobility are the common denominator of those who, today - in the midst of the election campaign - are turning to look at that land at war which is the Mexican southeast. Not in spite of the elections - but precisely because of them - you are kindly reminding Mexican society and the political class that there can be no democracy while there is war, and that democracy is only possible when there is peace with dignity.
The government's war against the Indian peoples continues its course in our lands, even though it is being concealed by the election campaign. The machinery of the Mexican state is being mobilized in Chiapas in a two-fold sense. On the one hand, in order to try and assure the imposition of the new se~or of war, Francisco Labastida Ochoa. And, on the other, to leave everything ready for a police-military action of great magnitude against the EZLN. In high government circles there is talk of an agreement among the se~ores Labastida and Zedillo. In case the PRI is able to achieve its objective of imposing six more years of nightmares for Mexicans - in exchange for covering the back of the one who is serving in Los Pinos today - the official candidate has received guarantees that he will not be "inheriting" the Chiapas conflict. That is why there are plans being made for the "definitive" (a word which is much loved by Zedillo) government offensive to be launched after the July 2 election, and prior to the new "president's" taking office, if the PRI manages to remain in power. However, in the face of the possibility of defeat, the possibility is being contemplated within the PRI that that offensive could take place before the elections, in hopes that that might rebuild Labastida's catastrophic campaign.
Because of that, because we are waiting for a government attack, it will be impossible for any of the EZLN's leaders to be present in Oventic on June 11. Consequently, in accordance with zapatista protocol, the Encuentro closing will not be able to be held on that day and in that place (which, as we learned from the press, was the organizers' intention). However, in the same place and on the same date, zapatista support bases will be attending the concert being given by the singer Oscar Cha'vez, and to which we are inviting all of you.
Despite the fact that we will not be able to be present at your important encuentro, we want to tell you that, for us, your determination and concern are a hope. We, as we have already told you many times, want peace, but with justice and dignity. The bad government refuses it to us, and that is why we are in resistance. And so we shall continue.
We do not believe in the bad government. From it, we have received only lies, betrayal and death. We believe, on the other hand, in people like you. We believe in thousands of men, women, children and old ones (some of whom will be attending your Encuentro) who have listened to us with nobility, and who have spoken to us with honesty. From you we have learned of the importance and significance of a dignified and just peace, without any more destruction or hate. Because of your efforts, and those of tens of thousands like you, this peace that we are demanding, which we need and which we deserve, shall be possible.
Your work is of such importance to us, that we want to ask you to give us a place for our word. Zapatista peoples from different areas have prepared a report-denuncia on the militarization and its consequences in the communities. Grouped into different Aguascalientes, the zapatista peoples will make a brief summary of what they are experiencing and suffering every day and at all hours: the military boot. We want to ask you to allow us to bring these words of our peoples. If you let us know publicly where and how, we will bring to our testimony in a timely manner.
There are many things left to tell you, we hope there will be time and a way to do so. Whatever may happen, we want to repeat to you that our communities will always be open to receiving you, to accompanying you, and that we do not forget, nor shall we forget, that you have always had an attentive ear for us, as well as a word of support and hope.
Salud, then, to the National Civil Society Encuentro For Peace and Against Militarization in Mexico. Salud to our brothers and sisters.
We wish you much success at the Encuentro, and do not forget that on June 11, 2000, in the Aguascalientes of Oventic, Oscar Cha'vez and the zapatistas will be singing. Because the morning is also made with music.
>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, June of 2000.
Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN _______________________ Translated by irlandesa