October of 2004.
To the people of Mexico:
To national and international civil society:
Brothers and sisters:
The EZLN is addressing you in order to state the following:
First. - Owing to harassment by paramilitary groups and the intolerance encouraged by the Institutional Revolutionary Party [PRI] in some communities, dozens of zapatista indigenous families found themselves forced, some time ago, to move and to form small population groups in the so-called "Montes Azules biosphere."
During the time that they have been in this terrible situation, far from their native lands, the displaced zapatistas have gone to great effort to carry out our laws which mandate that the forests be cared for. Nonetheless, the federal government - at the hand of the transnationals who are trying to gain control of the wealth of the Selva Lacandona - has threatened, time and again, to violently dislocate all the villages in that region, including the zapatista ones.
The compa~eros and compa~eras from various communities threatened with dislocation decided to resist as long as the government failed to comply with the San Andre's Accords. Their decision has been respected and supported by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation. At that time we pointed out, and we are now reaffirming: if any of our communities are violently dislocated, we, all of us, will respond in kind.
Second. - With the advance of the "good government juntas," a large number of the zapatista indigenous communities have been provided with the means of substantially improving their living conditions. The rebel communities have achieved successes, especially in health and education - without any federal, state or official municipal help - which easily surpass those of the official communities.
This has been possible because of help from brothers and sisters from all over Mexico and the world.
These benefits, however, have not managed to cover all the rebel communities. The displaced populations in Montes Azules, in particular, have not benefited from these advances.
Third. - Respecting their autonomy, the Comandancia General of the EZLN addressed the "Hacia la Esperanza" Good Government Junta in the selva border region, headquartered in La Realidad, in order to ask for their help in matters of health, education and commerce for these displaced communities. The Good Government Junta has responded that they will do everything necessary, as far as they are able, to attend to these zapatista brothers and sisters.
The distance and scattered nature of some of these villages, however, present important difficulties. The EZLN has therefore agreed, with the express consent of their residents, to reconcentrate some of the zapatista villages in that region, so that they can thus be taken in by the Good Government Junta of the selva border region.
The following are the villages to which we are referring:
Primero de Enero.
12 de Diciembre.
8 de Octubre.
There are a total of 50 families.
We would like to make it clear that they are not the only zapatista villages in the Montes Azules. There are other zapatista population centers in that region who are continuing to live with the threat of dislocation.
Fourth. - The Comandancia General of the EZLN has been holding talks for several months with the compa~eros and compa~eras of these villages, and it has reviewed with them the paths for improving their difficult situation a bit.
Together, the conclusion has been reached that it would be best if some villages were reconcentrated in one place. In that way they will be able to better resist the threats, they will be able to better care for the selva, they will be participants in the advances of the good government junta, and they will be able to better participate in the EZLN's struggle for the respect and recognition of indigenous rights and culture.
Fifth. - With the backing of those villages and of the Good Government Junta of the selva border region, the EZLN is turning to national and international civil society for their moral and economic support of this reconcentration, because, in compliance with zapatista resistance, these villages have declared that they will not receive any help from the state and federal governments.
Sixth. - With the same backing, the Comandancia General of the EZLN has turned to social activist Rosario Ibarra de Piedra, in order to respectfully ask her to agree to create whatever is necessary so that national and international civil society can help in this task, financially and with their work. This is with the understanding that a clear accounting will be presented and that the EZLN is publicly committing itself to absolutely making sure that this money is not used for anything other than the reconcentration, under dignified conditions, of the compa~eros and compa~eras.
Once Do~a Rosario has accepted, and the involved communities so decide, the EZLN will announce the details of the stages and work for this reconcentration.
Seventh. - We sincerely hope that national and international civil society will respond to our call to help these communities and thus to improve their zapatista living conditions, that is, their struggle and resistance.
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, October of 2004, 20 and 10.
Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
Translated by irlandesa