Note: I am kindly requesting that the snipers, paid for by the local National Action Party Deputy, not shoot until I am done speaking, because we are very interested in having the good people of Morelos hear what we have to say to them.
Once I'm done attending to the good people, then we will be able to attend to those who, like you, are prospering from the just struggles of the people of Morelos.
And now, since I'm cadging favors, I'm, asking you, once and for all, not to aim at my face, because you'll ruin my ski-mask and it takes a lot of work to fix it.
Indigenous and Campesino Brothers and Sisters of Morelos:
Morelos Brothers and Sisters:
Brothers and Sisters of Civil Society:
People of Cuernavaca:
It is an honor for this delegation to be able to set foot on these lands of history and dignity. We have come because we have been entrusted with bringing you a letter sent to you by my General Emiliano Zapata, General in Chief of the Liberation Army of the South and Supreme Commander of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.
I'm going to read something to you:
"Someplace in Mexico. Headquarters of the Liberation Army of the South. March of 2001.
People of Morelos:
Please excuse me if I have been absent from our beloved state for some time. The injustices which we experienced in Morelos when we rose up in arms continue, and they are being repeated throughout the country.
During my long trip through the Republic, I made an extended stopover in the mountains of the Mexican Southeast. And it is there that I met some brothers and sisters, indigenous like us, campesinos like us, and Mexicans like us. These brothers and sisters were very eager to struggle for their rights, and they formed an army which they called "Zapatista," in honor of your humble servant, and they named it "of National Liberation," as a sign of their aspiration that all Mexicans would finally have what we deserve, need and demand: liberty, democracy and justice.
During the time I have been with them, I have related to them how we organize ourselves in Morelos in order to struggle for our rights, about our indignation when someone is mistreated or humiliated, about the support we always lend those in need, and about our history. I recounted to them, for example, how I escaped from the betrayal of Chinameca, and I left to travel across the country in order to see that our ideals were fulfilled. Knowing as I did that it would not be easy, and that it would take some time, I set about the task of seeking out those who would be able to take up our flags once again, and not let them go out of fear or for a few coins.
And I tell you that I had met many throughout Mexico, and there, in the mountains of the Mexican Southeast, those who call themselves "Zapatistas," a little for them and a little for me, and I saw that these muchachos and muchachas are not going to surrender, and neither are they going to lose. And they are not going to do so because I have taught them everything that we -who have Morelos as birthplace and destiny - know.
I was living with them in a village called Guadalupe Tepeyac in exile. Hundreds of Tojolobal indigenous, men, women, children and old ones, are struggling to make ends meet there. They are all zapatistas, and they are there because their town is being occupied by federal army troops whose commander in chief is Vicente Fox.
These people from the EZLN want peace, and they are willing to engage in dialogue. But they cannot engage in dialogue if there are prisoners, if the federales expel people from their homes and occupy their towns, if what is agreed to is not carried out. It seems to me that they are right and they must be supported.
I see that this Fox wants to do the same thing that Madero did. After the dictatorship he wanted everything to stay the same, for nothing to change.
Madero did not understand that the people had indeed changed, and they were not willing to let everything stay the same. The same thing is happening with Fox.
Right, but these zapatistas have turned out to be good at learning. Although, even so, they are a bit crazy because they think about everything, even things I didn't tell them, because you are equally crazy. The proof is that you've helped them with everything. Right, but don't think they frighten me. The person has not yet been born who can frighten Emiliano Zapata. And I remember well how Madero was strutting about as to how he had brought down the PRI - excuse me, Di'az - and going on about business excellence and I don't know what else - then we created the Plan of Ayala. And then Se~or Madero called us crazy. And so it is, those of us who do not go along with the lies and half-measures, and who demand our rights, are called crazy. And they called me that.
"I, since I am not a politician, do not understand those half victories, those victories in which the ones defeated are the ones who wonÖI am determined to fight, with everything and against all, without any support other than the trust, affection and help of my people..." And I remember that I wrote these same words to Gildardo Maga~a on December 6, 1911.
And it so happens that these crazy zapatistas have proposed mobilizing the entire country in order to secure the constitutional recognition of indigenous rights and culture. And I think that such a high ideal is just and it is necessary. That our Indian peoples cannot continue living and dying as they did when Porfirio Di'az was badly governing these lands. But I think the flag is too large for these muchachitos, and they need a lot of help in order to be able to raise it quite high, which is how flags should be.
I am writing to you, therefore, so that you will lend a hand to these good people. They are very willing to learn from us, the people of Morelos. And so I am asking all of you to teach these zapatistas about our capacity for indignation, for organization and for struggle. They do not need to learn honor. They are honorable, that is why they rose up. But it will do them no harm to meet the other faces dressed by honor.
Fine, and so I am entrusting you. Take care of them. You have already seen that there are still many sons of bitches who want to treat the people badly. Accompany them in their enterprise, which is the same one which the Liberation Army of the South fought for.
I'll be waiting for all of you there, in Milpa Alta and Xochimilco, so we can enter into Mexico City together on March 11.
Emiliano Zapata Salazar. General in Chief of the Liberation Army of the South. Supreme Commander of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.
P.S. - This little guy they call "The Sup" told me to ask you to listen to him, he has something to tell you. Listen, but don't pay much attention to his jokes, because they're very bad. No wonder some people want to execute him and others want to attack him with snipers."
And so this is what my General Emiliano Zapata entrusted me to bring you. He is in good health. He is going to come to Milpa Alta and Xochimilco when we make our entrance into Mexico City, and he is going to accompany us for as long as necessary, until we achieve what we are all proposing, nothing other than:
>From Cuernavaca, Morelos.
Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee
- General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.
Mexico, March of 2001.
P.S. - I just remembered that I asked my General Zapata to allow me to tell you something. Here it goes: Viva Zapata cabrones!
Another P.S. - To the young people of Morelos. Don't tell me you're going to stay here? Let's go to Mexico City! There is another university in this march. The registration fee is here, in the heart, and, once one graduates, one's sights are raised, and they will never, never again, be lowered.
Those who aren't afraid, come on and sign up.
Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN ______________________ Translated by irlandesa