We started a hunger strike in protest of the government's lies

Cereso One Cerro Hueco, Tuxtla Gutierrez Chiapas
July 24, 2001

To the people of Mexico and the world
To all human rights activists
To the Red de Defensores Comunitarios Por Los Derechos Humanos
To the Zapatista Front of National Liberation (FZLN)
To all social activists
To the local, national and international press

Brothers and Sisters,

We, the Zapatista political prisoners belonging to La Voz de Cerro Hueco in Tuxtla and San Cristobal de Las Casas, have the following to say:

Today, July 24, 2001, at 11am, we started a hunger strike in protest of the government's lies. It continues favoring moneyed men to the detriment of indigenous autonomy, for which reason the Zapatista political prisoners express their word:

The marginalizing policies that have governed our country and increased poverty since the era of the PRI, have been maintained with the taking of power by Vicente Fox Quesada. Yet another time, Mexicans trusted that change would lead us to real democracy. But this is not possible as long as the enrichment of a few is based on the impoverishment of the many. Fox has lied to the Mexican people and has lied to us, who have struggled for a country with justice and liberty and have been persecuted and incarcerated. [On March 23, 2001] Fox mentioned our names, promising a liberty that we are still waiting for in resistance, in the jails of Chiapas and the nation.

We declare ourselves against the Bartlett - Cevallos indigenous law, approved by those who supposedly represented us in their farce of a democracy. [The passage of this law occurred] in spite of our round rejection, once again excluding the indigenous from participating in their own future which, as far as we can see, continues consisting of duplicity, poverty, prison and extermination.

In order to trick people, the government uses the media to spread its claim that development will come. In reality this means the militarization of our villages and programs that only maintain damaging dependence and not real self-determination. With this it is clear that the government does not want lasting peace. It has not fulfilled the three signs that the real army of the Mexican people demanded as a precondition to continue with dialogue. Trustworthy proof of this is that we are still here, we are still resisting and struggling for liberty with justice and dignity, seeing that this has not come. On the contrary, the prisons continue being filled with poor indigenous and non indigenous. Unseen among them are the real criminals - rich landowners and corrupt government officials that continue the false policies of "Don Dinero."

For this reason we call on all prisoners of the 13 prisons of Chiapas, and all social activists that have been imprisoned in response to their demands to join our resistance and organize, according to their means, to denounce the corruption which exists in the legal processes of our country.

We know that in this struggle the government will want to intimidate us because it doesn't serve their interests for it to be known that many prisoners are still unjustly incarcerated. Many deserve "pre-liberation" while others are in jail because they had been tried or sentenced unjustly. Others are imprisoned due to their inability to pay for justice.

That is all, thank you.

For liberty with justice and dignity for Zapatista political prisoners in Chiapas, Tabasco and Quere'taro!

Salvador Lopez Gonzalez [ signature ]
Alejandro Mendez Di'az [ signature ]

Gustavo Estrada Gomez [ signature ]

* [Translator's note: Pre-liberation refers to a legal clause that allows prisoners to be freed if 1) they have served half their sentence and 2) they belong to a marginalized group. Three of the four Zapatista prisoners in Chiapas qualify for pre-liberation.]

Communique's originally published by Enlace Civil ____________________________________________ Translated by Estacio'n Libre: e-libre@tao.ca

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