To the People of Mexico:
To the Peoples and Governments of the World:
Brothers and Sisters:
Today, January 12, 2001, we zapatistas are demonstrating in this city of San Cristo'bal de Las Casas, Chiapas.
Tzotziles, Tzeltales, Choles, Tojolabales, Zoques, Mames and mestizos, all zapatistas, have come down from different parts of the mountains of the Mexican Southeast in order to come to this city and to say our word.
For seven years, we have been fighting openly for respect for the Indian peoples of Mexico.
For seven years, we have been holding the dignity of the Mexican indigenous very high.
For seven years, we have been demanding that those governing recognize the rights and culture of those who have given history and honor to our patria, which is Mexico.
For seven years, we have been besieged, persecuted, vilified, imprisoned, tortured, assassinated.
With bullets or with lies, or with both, they have wanted to do away with us and to silence us.
And we, for seven years, have insisted on the path of dialogue with everyone in order to reach peace.
Now that a new century and a new millennium are beginning, we are insisting on the path of dialogue in order to end the war.
During these seven years which have gone by, those who were the government used dialogue in order to conceal the war they were waging against us.
Today we do not want lies.
We do not want deceit.
We want the dialogue to be real, so that the peace will be real as well.
Today we know there is a new government.
But our distrust is not new.
It comes from a long time ago.
From many years.
From entire centuries.
But we shall not shut ourselves away in it forever.
That is why we have pointed out the key for unlocking the door of our distrust.
That key is made with the release of all the zapatista prisoners, the army's withdrawal from the seven positions, and the constitutional recognition of indigenous rights and culture.
Today, we now have 17 zapatistas released from jails in Chiapas.
But there are still more than 80 who are imprisoned in Chiapas, Tabasco and Quere'taro.
Today, the federal Army has left three positions.
But four others remain.
Today, the constitutional recognition of indigenous rights and culture has still not been ratified .
There is progress. Yes.
But it would appear that they are trying to present these small advances deceptively.
As if everything were already finished.
As if dialogue and peace were right here, very close.
As if they wanted to resolve the distrust which government statements had cultivated through just a few actions and many more statements.
National and international civil society want there to be dialogue in Chiapas and for peace to arrive.
The Mexican government must respond to that.
Or do they only want the radio, television and newspapers to say that the government wants peace and that the zapatistas do not want it?
If the government truly wants peace, they only have to give us 3 signals.
Everyone can tell them that they are small.
That the government is not losing anything.
That the zapatistas do indeed keep their word, and they will not ask for anything else in order to sit down to dialogue.
But, if the government does indeed only want the media to say and to shout that it does want peace, and we do not, because we are intransigent, because we want all or nothing and other nonsense, then the government may, perhaps, be able to fill the people with noise.
The government has the money and the power to make much noise about peace and to allow the noise of war to not be heard.
But there will be no dialogue in that way, and peace will not arrive.
For weeks, months, perhaps years, the voices of the government will be heard very loudly.
But there will be no peaceful solution.
In the end, the government will only have spent much money in making the people believe it wanted peace.
But it will not have peace.
And it is going to see that, in the end, the people are going to say that what they wanted was peace.
And not a publicity campaign.
Brothers and Sisters:
Today we wish to make a special commemoration.
Seven years ago, the other uprising took place.
The uprising of hundreds of thousands of Mexicans of all colors, of all sizes, of all sexes, of all social classes and throughout the entire country.
Along with them, there also rose up good persons from other countries, who are far away in distance, but very close in dignity.
That other uprising, the one by civil society, was, and is, a great lesson for us, the zapatistas, and for our country's history.
They were, and are, many.
Workers and campesinos.
Indigenous from the North and from the South, from the East and from the West.
Students and teachers.
Housewives and neighbors.
Religious men and women.
Intellectuals and artists.
Employees and drivers.
Small shopkeepers and business owners.
Market tenants and persons who are well-off.
Homosexuals and lesbians.
Doctors and nurses.
Fishermen and street vendors.
Businesspersons and the unemployed.
All the faces and names which the people have.
Everyone put silence aside and made their voices heard.
They spoke with strong and clear voice.
Their word brought a message of justice, of respect, of liberty, of democracy.
All of those names named the peace which we all want and need and deserve.
It was not the government which began speaking of peace.
Nor were we zapatistas the first.
It was all of those men, women, children and old ones who, in Mexico and in the world, began demanding that the war be stopped, and that it be words of reason which led the way.
It has been seven years since we zapatistas heard that voice, and we listened to it well.
We curbed our weapons and we began building a bridge with words.
They were not, nor are they, new words.
They are the same words which have been being repeated since man has been man on the earth.
They are the same words which are said in every corner of the five continents.
They are the same words which all men and women say.
These words are democracy, liberty and justice.
And we wish to recognize all those men and women who refused to conform and who spoke these words.
To those who have lived and died them every day since humanity began walking this world.
Brothers and Sisters:
For having given us this opportunity to say and live these words.
For having listened to us.
For having opened the path of dialogue and having closed the path of war.
For having accompanied us.
For all of this and more, we are today giving our regards to national and international civil society.
We are sending our regards today to those who have been the best teachers to us, the zapatistas.
To the men, women, children and old ones who, in Mexico and all throughout the world, are repeating, over and over, so that no one forgets them, so that everyone will raise them up, the words of democracy, liberty and justice.
And we especially want to greet those who, today, as they did seven years ago, are mobilizing in Mexico and in other parts of the world.
Salud, brothers and sisters!
Viva civil society!
Viva the Indian peoples!
>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, January of 2001.
Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN _______________________ Translated by irlandesa