Brothers and sisters:
With relation to the so-called "Initiative of Law for Peace and Dialogue in Chiapas", which will be discussed in the extraordinary session of Congress, this Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee General Command of the Zapatista National Liberation Army point out the following:
1. The aforementioned legal initiative signifies a genuine step backwards in the road to a dignified and just solution to the conflict. The supreme government denigrates our name and cause, referring to us as a "group of malcontents" or "the self-proclaimed EZLN". The group of people unhappy with the policies of the bad government include the millions of Mexicans from all social classes.
The EZLN is only a small part of these millions of malcontents and it is a representative and authentic organization of broad indigenous groups at the national level, and in particular, in Southeastern Mexico.
We are not self-proclaimed "EZLN", millions of nationals and foreigners know us and call us by that name, and the so-called "president of Mexico" Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon, has himself referred, on numerous occasions, to us as "EZLN". Even in the correspondence that he sent to us when he was a candidate and after December 1, 1994, he referred to us as "EZLN".
2. In wanting to denigrate our name and cause, the bad government tries to elude whatever commitment it might be held to. It continues to treat us as delinquents and it is no more than a trap to finish the political persecution against us. If the government is going to talk with malcontents, it should therefore create a grand table for national dialogue with all of the citizens, because, we repeat, the dissatisfaction and incredulity is the heritage of millions of Mexican nationals. If the government wants to talk with the EZLN, it should recognize it for what it is, an organization of Mexican citizens, principally indigenous people, who took up arms demanding Democracy, Liberty and Justice for all Mexicans.
3. There is, in the aforementioned legal initiative, a confusion between what is a "free zone" or a "gray zone", and what is a physical space for dialogue and negotiation.
The "free or gray zone" is what is established to separate two armed forces with the intent of avoiding military confrontations. It is formed by parties neutral in the conflict, and who put themselves between the armed groups. The characteristics of this "area of distance" between "armed groups" are agreed upon by the parties in conflict. On the other hand, the physical space for dialogue and negotiation, the agenda for the discussions, the mechanisms for developing agreements, and for verification that they are being upheld, is something that is agreed upon between the representatives of the disputing parties, the Secretary of State and the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee in this case, with a party that "mediates" between them, the National Commission for Mediation (CONAI) in this case.
4. Annulling the free or gray zones which avoide the contact between armed forces, the government is trying to wipe out the advances made in resolving the conflict as well as justify the inhumane occupation of the indigenous villages by his armed forces.
5. The Legislative Power can not mediate the conflict because it is part of one of the parties to the conflict. The federal government, in proposing the formation of a type of commission of verification with four representatives from the Legislative Commission, two from the government, and two from the EZLN, tries to hide the fact that in reality it would be six government representatives and two from the EZLN. This is not fair, nor just, nor correct.
6. The government has changed from its positions in January 1994. It is trying to make the Legislative Multi- party Commission and the country's Congress accomplices in its intolerance and authoritarianism. We do not imagine that any people or political organizations committed to independence and democratic struggle would honor a humiliating, undignified, haughty and unjust law.
7. However, this Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee General Command of the Zapatista National Liberation Army recognizes a substantial contribution in the aforementioned law: --The clarity that a law of amnesty eventually should result from dialogue and negotiation, and not as a pre- requisite for the discussions.
8. The Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee General Command of the Zapatista National Liberation Army recognizes the sincere effort and the genuine concern of the members of the Plural Legislative Commission to find the necessary roads to achieve a just, dignified and definitive solution to the conflict.
9. The Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee General Command of the Zapatista National Liberation Army rejects the content of the aforementioned legal initiative, but salutes the spirit of dialogue which animated it. We exhort those responsible to continue looking for mechanisms which renew the dialogue and make a definitive solution to the conflict possible. The spirit that animates them is reflected in the Mexican political class, including within the PRI and within the federal government, where real and authentic tendencies exist to seek a political solution and not the road of military squashing.
10. The Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee General Command of the Zapatista National Liberation Army reiterates its genuine will to continue a political road, just and dignified, to resolve the conflict.
- Freedom and Justice!
>From the mountains of Southeastern Mexico,
Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee
General Command of the Zapatista National Liberation Army,
Signed: M. Ana Maria, C. David, C. Javier, C. Felipe
(translated by Cindy Arnold, volunteer, National Commission for Democracy inMexico)