Words of the EZLN in Iguala, Guerrero


March 7, 2001

Indigenous Brothers and Sisters of Guerrero:
Brothers and Sisters of Guerrero:
People of Iguala:

It is an honor for us to be under the skies of the rebel and honorable state of Guerrero.

Those who live here carry on their shoulders the prestige of a history of struggle which goes back many yesterdays and which carries on even today.

We, the zapatistas, know that Guerrero, throughout its history, has given the country great social fighters.

The lights of Lucio Caba~as Barrientos and of Genaro Va'zquez Rojas are not the only ones which Guerrero has given to the contemporary Mexican firmament.

And not just in armed rebellions, but also in civil and peaceful struggle, in the sciences and arts, and, above all, in the anonymous battle of those who are the people of Guerrero.

Guerrero, the state which takes its name from the insurgent hero of Mexican independence, the one who said what is now the zapatista slogan: "Live for the patria or die for liberty."

Guerrero, the state which also takes its name from its vocation for struggle.

Guerrero, the state in which the national drama is synthesized: concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, scandalous social imbalance, lavish buildings next to neighborhoods of cardboard, drug trafficking, government corruption, indigenous and campesino population, high levels of marginalization and poverty, peaceful mobilizations, repression of all kind, armed rebellion, repression of all kind.

The last three characteristics, repression-armed rebellion-repression, seem to be the government's sole policy viewpoint.

Forgetting, with premeditation, the previous steps on the ladder of destabilization, the government sets its policies by trying to break the circle, forgetting that it is a spiral.

If the reaction to repression is armed struggle, those in the government think that what has to be done is to increase the level of repression, to the point of stifling the possibility of armed rebellion.

But it is in vain, for each disappeared, for each political prisoner, for each assassinated person, more people join in, and fewer, much fewer, desist.

Social conflicts are not a circle, and neither can they be broken.

Social conflicts are a spiral.

And spirals, as everyone knows, disappear when they are stopped first, and then when one goes to their causes in order to eliminate them.

Stopping the spiral of social conflicts means opting for the path of dialogue in order to resolve them peacefully, the product of joint accords which are carried out.

Eradicating the spiral of social conflicts means going to their origins: an economic policy which breeds, instead of development, social discontent, death and frustration. Political behaviors which keep the door open to caciquismo, to corruption and to two-faced language and intentions, riveted, in addition, by policies which limit the citizen to an electoral calendar.

As long as government policies continue to conceptualize social conflicts within the inefficient theory of "vicious circles," which are broken by the repressive power of the state, the problems will never be resolved, and politics in Mexico will continue to be the "art" of simulation and postponement.

Brothers and Sisters:

This is the state of Guerrero.

Synthesis of the national drama.

The killings at Aguas Blancas and El Charco are just examples of what we are talking about.

They leapt into national consciousness because of their outrageous and blatant nature.

There are, however, an infinity of examples which remain in silence.

And silence, as is known, is not a guarantee that everything is under control, but it is, rather, the ferment of rebellion.

The presence and activities of several political-military organizations demonstrate that Mexico is far from having changed.

The EZLN recognizes these organizations, among them the Revolutionary Army of the Insurgent People (ERPI), the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) and the Armed Revolutionary Forces of the People (FARP), to mention a few, to whom we are grateful for the conditions created which have facilitated our travel through the lands in their areas of influence and interest.

If to the government the word "Guerrero" is associated with the Acapulco of tourism, for the people of Guerrero it means jails full of social activists, political disappearances, militarization. Yes, but also rebellion, social struggle, organization, honest and consistent opposition. History, in fact.

Yes, "Guerrero" means history.

I say "Guerrero," but I could mention almost any state in the Republic of Mexico.

The breeding ground for social discontent continues and, if there is no dialogue and real peaceful political solutions, this discontent will, sooner or later, resort to the armed path.

Brothers and Sisters:

By mandate of its support bases, the indigenous communities of the Mexican Southeast, the EZLN has decided to insist on the path of dialogue.

Equally mandated, the EZLN has asked the federal government for 3 signals. Their fulfillment will be responded to with the initiation of sincere and respectful dialogue. Prior to the 3 signals, there will be no dialogue with the federal government.

But what is at stake with the 3 signals is not just the constitutional recognition of indigenous rights and culture, and not just the door for real dialogue without militarization and political prisoners, it is also an important response to questions of equal magnitude:

Will they opt for the impossible and futile rupture of the false circle of social conflicts?

Or will the two-fold path be chosen, the one, on the one hand, of dialogue in order to halt the spiral with political solutions and, on the other, of profoundly modifying economic policy so that it will seriously examine easing the living conditions of the most poor?

The March of Indigenous Dignity, the march of the color of the earth, is presenting Senor Fox with a gauntlet, a challenge.

This challenge is not the one called "the conflict in Chiapas," or the zapatista uprising, it is an entire government policy which, as in most arenas, is notable for its absence.

And so it continues to be the hour for the Fox government to understand that it is not confronting a problem of media popularity, where it's always behind and the results are increasingly unfortunate.

What is being confronted is a challenge.

A challenge which can only be confronted by someone with state vision.

And state vision is not learned in management training programs.

Leading a nation is not leading a marketing program for a cola soft drink.

One can give the impression of governing, and that there is a state vision, with publicity campaigns.

Yes, but for how long?

The Republic has, then, a challenge: a state vision.

The challenge is not only for the federal executive branch. The vacuum left in politics by television commercials must be filled at the risk of making crisis the predominate sign on the national shield. The federal legislative branch must, for the Republic, begin making national policy with state vision. In order to do that it must get out of its seats in order to engage in dialogue with the people it represents. It must open the highest tribunal in the Republic in order to listen to, and speak with, those who are legitimate in their aspirations and proposals.

If the federal legislature does not understand its historic role, Mexicans will see how national political life is not decided either in the streets or in the Congress or in the government palaces, but on radio and television news shows.

The state vision will thus have commercial breaks, and it will be decided by the ratings.

Brothers and Sisters:

The cruelty with which those who have everything in excess have behaved has led all our dead to cry out from the earth.

Good men and women are not listening to those cries because they are good.

Good men are not listening to those cries of complaint because they themselves are the cry.

But for those who know that the source of their wealth is dirty, that cry becomes a trembling.

A trembling which, on this occasion, is the color of the earth.

Viva Guerrero!

Democracy!
Liberty!
Justice!

>From Iguala, Guerrero.
Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee
- General Command of the Zapatista Revolutionary Army.
Mexico, March of 2001.

P.S. - We are sending, from here in Iguala, Guerrero, the third of the seven messages to Mexico City:

"This is Mexico. In order to make war one must challenge the government. In order to achieve the peace with justice and dignity, one must also challenge the government. We, thus, are challenging whomever objects. We are challenging them."


Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN ______________________ Translated by irlandesa

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