Words of the EZLN in Toluca, State of Mexico

March 5, 2001

Brothers and Sisters of Toluca:
Brothers and Sisters of the State of Mexico:

We would like to direct a few special words to those who are living and struggling and dying in the cities: workers, employees, teachers, students, neighbors, young persons, the unemployed, market tenants, street vendors, drivers, haulers, housewives, boys, girls, women, men, old ones.

We would like to give our affectionate regards to all Mexicans, except, obviously, to those who fatten themselves with the blood of those of below.

For those who are above, oppressing those of below, we bring no greetings, only our contempt.

Mexican Brothers and Sisters:

You and we have identical sorrows.

You and we are made the butt of jokes.

They mock us for our color, because we are dark, because we are of the color of the earth.

They mock us for how we talk, because our indigenous mothers and fathers are in our blood and in our language.

They mock us for how we entertain ourselves, because our ancestors are in our dances and songs.

But they mainly mock us for being poor.

They mock us and exploit us and suppress us and deceive us and humiliate us.

They suppress you and us if we protest about the violation of our rights.

Because in this country the only right those of us who are poor have is to be poor.

All the rest is denied us.

A dignified home is denied us. For the rich, good construction materials and large gardens. For us, cardboard and garbage.

The possession of the land is denied us. For the rich, the best lands, credit, technology, markets. For us, a pile of rocks and barely the land we have under our fingernails.

Work and a fair salary are denied us. For the rich, great profits. For us, unemployment or a few coins. We spend long hours looking for employment and we do not find it, and if we try to find a way to make a little something to sell, the police, the government and their paper and corruption come down on us, and the little we've been able to obtain goes into the official's wallet.

We spend long hours in the factory, behind the counter, the steering wheel and the plough, on the tractor, in the home, in school, in the hospital, in the government office, on the street, at the stoplight, in the shop, in the large or mid-size or small shop, in every corner of the State of Mexico. Long hours and barely a few coins, which disappear before we've been able to take care of our and our family's food, our shelter, our health, our education.

And the next day history repeats itself.

Health is denied us. For the rich, large modern hospitals, knowledgeable doctors, trained nurses, the newest medicines. For us, neither hospitals, nor doctors nor nurses nor medicine.

Food is denied us. For the rich, nutritious food and scientific diets. For us, junk food and a forced perpetual diet.

Education is denied us. For the rich, great schools, modern educational techniques, scientific laboratories, specialized teachers, pompous titles. For us, half-destroyed schools, poorly paid teachers, torn and lying books, titles from "leftover" academies.

Justice is denied us. For the rich, judges and police at their service, pardon purchased with a few bills.

For us, persecution, jail, disappearance, death.

And peace is denied us.

For the rich, peace is made through concerts with special effects and much publicity and in primetime and with greetings from the government.

For us, the dark corner, the threatened march, in the time slot when the television is turned off.

They wanted to buy peace with money, and now they're realizing that it was badly employed money, that the product they acquired is nowhere to be seen, that it is one more fraud like the many their companies make.

They are only just starting to realize that the peace with justice and dignity, where you and I exist without fear, the only peace possible, does not have a price.

It cannot be purchased with money, even though it be a lot, nor with threats and blows.

It is secured by fighting with truth and without deceit.

Because it so happens that the peace concert of above is over with now, and those from below are not.

It so happens that the little spotlights have already been put out, and we have not.

It so happens that the applause has ended now, and we have not.

It so happens that the program and the commercials have finished now, and we continue.

It so happens that those lies are gone now, and we are here.

Brothers and Sisters:

We just read a little while ago the statements by some of the great gentlemen of money in Mexico.

They are afraid of the March for Indigenous Dignity.

They are afraid of the march of the color of the earth.

They are afraid of our word.

They are afraid because they say the poor are going to rise up in our path, and they are going to address all their grievances.

They are afraid because they realize that the living conditions of the majority of Mexicans - and not just of the indigenous - are very bad, and that this could provoke a rebellion.

They are afraid, they say, because it could exacerbate the class struggle.

But I thought there wasn't supposed to be any class struggle anymore.

Don't they criticize the left because it didn't understand that the Berlin Wall has already fallen?

Does it mean that the country's great and powerful are still living in the 60's and 70's?

Why are they using a language and assuming an attitude that does not correspond to the world they are selling in their propaganda?

Why are they so afraid of a peaceful, unarmed march, of marginalized indigenous who are not asking for the fall of the government, or for the factories to be expropriated, or for the banks to be nationalized, or for businesses to hand over power to the workers, or for the federal army to surrender, or for Fox to have government policies?

Because the only thing we are asking for through this march is for them to recognize us as indigenous and as Mexicans.

It is the hysteria of the right that is turning this mobilization into a revolution.

And that is why they are scampering to leave the country or sealing themselves up in their fortresses.

Because of that: because they are afraid of the color of the earth.

Then stop your hysterical little shouts.

Understand once and for all that the country has changed now, and that it will not be going back to what it was before.

That it is a new Mexico, and that we want a dignified place for the indigenous in this new Mexico.

Everywhere that we have passed through, we have been welcomed and lent support by those people who are the Mexico of below, by those who are the Mexico in the middle, and by not a few of those who are the Mexico of above.

And all of them have made it clear that they support the constitutional recognition of indigenous rights and culture. Nothing more, but nothing less either.

And so we are telling the powerful of the country to calm down, to listen attentively, to study, to make an effort to think with their heads and not with their wallets or credit cards.

If they want a modern left, learn to be a modern right.

It has been a long time since those who struggle together have called each other "comrades," now they call each other "brothers and sisters."

There is a cure for this trembling. Tell Se~or Fox to fulfill the three signals. That way dialogue can be renewed, and the door to peace will not be one of lies nor of fear.

Tell him to learn to govern with the people, and not instead of them.

Brothers and Sisters:

Yes, it is true that the earth can be felt trembling.

But it is not out of fear.

It is because we, the indigenous, are walking. We who are the color of the earth. And it is law that it trembles so when we walk.


>From Toluca, State of Mexico.

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

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN ______________________ Translated by irlandesa

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