To the People of Mexico:
To the Peoples and Governments of the World:
Brothers and Sisters:
Today, during the morning, the federal Army withdrew from the position which it had been maintaining in the community of Amador Herna'ndez since August of 1999. On the same day, Senor Vicente Fox announced the abolition of the expropriation decree, declared by Zedillo's government, which stripped the indigenous of Amador Herna'ndez of their lands in order to build a military base there.
Since the first day that the federal soldiers illegally and illegitimately occupied indigenous lands in Amador Herna'ndez, zapatista support bases from there and from neighboring towns have been maintaining a sit-in in front of the military camp, demanding their withdrawal.
Zapatista men, women, children and old ones protested every day, never abandoning their demands. Without regard to the cold, the heat, hunger, illness and exhaustion, the zapatistas confronted federal authoritarianism with no arms other than their dignity, their rebellion, their ingenuity and their creativity. Thinking that the zapatistas would end up growing tired of protesting, resign themselves to seeing their lands occupied and return to their houses, the soldiers used all the resources they had in order to discourage the protest. It was in vain. Every morning they found out that the zapatistas were still there.
It was here, in Amador Herna'ndez, where the zapatista air force saw its first action. In order to counter the deafening noise with which the soldiers tried to silence their protests, the zapatistas "bombarded" the federal barracks with hundreds of little airplanes.
The zapatista support bases demonstrated their ingenuity and creativity in peaceful resistance in other ways as well. Dozens of men and women from Mexico and from the world accompanied them in their resistance for various time periods.
Without any motivation other than that of demonstrating their dissent against an injustice, people mobilized, from various parts of Mexico and the world, in support of the demand for the withdrawal of the federal army from the invaded lands. Along with the zapatista indigenous, these persons shared hunger, the cold or heat, sleeplessness and exhaustion, but also conviction for a just cause.
Now that the soldiers have today finally withdrawn from that position, we should recognize those zapatista indigenous men and women who stayed firm and dignified, as well as those who accompanied them personally, or with mobilizations in this peaceful resistance, for more than a year.
The victory represented by the army's withdrawal from this place belongs to the zapatista indigenous and to national and international civil society, who never left them by themselves.
In another matter, this withdrawal from one of the seven positions, demanded by the EZLN, is a good signal, and a first and important step on the path to the renewal of dialogue. Still remaining are the other 6 positions, the release of the prisoners and the constitutional recognition of indigenous rights and culture.
Vicente Fox's government has nothing to fear. As persons close to them, and who know us, will most certainly tell them, we zapatistas do keep our word. If the three signals which were demanded are carried out, there will be dialogue. The EZLN will respond in kind to a serious and real willingness for dialogue and peace.
Finally, we are calling on national and international civil society to mobilize and, as the military withdrawal from Amador Herna'ndez was achieved, to achieve the other 6 positions, the release of the zapatista prisoners and the constitutional recognition of indigenous rights and culture.
>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.
December of 2000.
Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN _______________________ Translated by irlandesa