Indigenous Brothers and Sisters of Morelos:
Brothers and Sisters of Cuautla:
We would like to thank you for receiving us under these skies which witnessed the uprising by General Emiliano Zapata.
On these lands a cry was born which shook the entire country in the beginning of the 20th century: "Land and Liberty!"
Now, almost 90 years later, this demand has still not been met. In addition, the countryside does not produce enough for Mexicans. The Salinas counter-reforms to Article 27 of the Constitution did not being the prosperity and progress which they had said they would. The only thing they brought were poverty and a new armed uprising, that of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.
They are trying to blame the crisis which the Mexican countryside is going through on the campesino, on the small and mid-size business owner, on the ejiditario, on the comunero, on the indigenous.
Instead of taking effective measures to rescue the land, those who govern are performing a juggling act so that the powerful will be able to keep it.
It is affecting poor campesinos, agricultural workers, small and mid-size business owners and, above all, the indigenous communities.
Instead of using the wealth to help poor campesinos and small business owners so they can make their lands produce, the one who is the government plans to use the money in order to help those who want to turn the Mexican countryside into a plateau full of gasoline stations, shopping centers and plastic entertainment.
The Porfirio landowner of yesterday has been replaced by the banker today.
Ejiditarios, comuneros and indigenous communities find ourselves impotent, reaping nothing but poverty and misery from our lands. We have the worst lands, we have no credits or technical infrastructure.
We are the same as we were during the Porfirio period, but now we don't even have company stores.
But poverty in the countryside is no longer exclusive to the ejiditarios and comuneros.
Now the small and mid-size business owners have been added to the misery. They have been plundered by the banks and have lost their machinery, their harvests and their personal belongings, in addition to being jailed.
The Mexican countryside's most dangerous enemy is not the land invasions, but the bankers.
The one provoking destabilization in rural Mexico is not agrarian reform advocates, but the usurious banks.
The zapatista cry of "Land and Liberty" is being raised today by rural workers, by campesinos without land, by impoverished ejiditarios, by dislocated comuneros, by small and mid-size business owners, and by those who have never been able to attain anything other than insults, contempt, deceit and sorrow: the Mexican indigenous.
The neoliberal reforms to Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution did not bring security to small and mid-size property. They did not promote investment in the countryside. They did not improve the lives of ejiditarios and comuneros. The anti-zapatista reforms to Article 27 were so that powerful bankers would have legal protection for their thefts and dislocations.
The bankers are not interested in whether or not the land produces. They have no interest in working it or planting it or harvesting food from it.
They are interested in it in order to sell it, in order to speculate with it, in order to destroy it, trying to extract what it conceals in its bosom: oil, uranium and other minerals. In order to exploit what gives life: wood and water, and in order to build and run entertainment centers where the campesinos and indigenous are the clowns.
They are wrong, those of above, if they think we are going to remain with our arms crossed while the law and the thief join up together and, together, destroy the land which is mother.
The problem of the Mexican countryside can be resolved through the participation of everyone who lives in the countryside and who makes it produce with honesty, nobility and reason.
The fight which is being led today by the Indian peoples is also an agrarian reform fight of interest to poor campesinos, to comuneros, to agricultural workers, but also to small and mid-size business owners.
The rebuilding of the Mexican countryside will only be possible if the cry of "Land and Liberty!" is once more made reality.
And, in order to make it reality, what is necessary is the unity of indigenous, comuneros, campesinos without land, ejiditarios, small and mid-size business owners.
If we remain separate, we shall lose what little we have left. If we unite, we shall be able to defend what we have and to recover what belongs to us.
The constitutional recognition of indigenous rights and culture will lay the foundation for being able to rebuild the Mexican countryside, which has suffered the worst of all catastrophes: neoliberalism.
Brothers and Sisters:
We who are the color of the earth, we are string in the bow of history.
At times slack, we are the bowstring which guards and waits.
At times drawn, we are the bowstring that shall let fly the arrow we are.
The hour to be drawn has come, but with everyone.
Only thus will our desire be able to reach far, to there, to the morning.
Down with usury and crime!
Viva forever Emiliano Zapata!
>From Cuautla, Morelos.
Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee
- General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.
Mexico, March of 2001.
P.S. - Here, in Cuautla, Morelos, we are launching the fourth message to Mexico City:
"We shall, then, walk the same path of history, but we shall not repeat it. We are from before, but we are new."
Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN ____________________ Translated by irlandesa