Oil, the basis for the government's current decision

EZLN reiterates its disposition to a dialogue without threats, pressures or military attacks

February 9, 1995

To the people of Mexico:
To the people and governments of the world:
To the national and international press:

The Indigenous Clandestine Revolutionary Committee, General Command of the Zapatista National Liberation Army declares the following:

First.- In response to the ultimatum of Ernesto Zedillo given on February 5th 1995 in the city of Queretaro, Queretaro, we say:

1. Ernesto Zedillo has now made a decision. Put between choosing between, for one side, favoring the peaceful transition to democracy, to defending the national sovereignty, to changing the direction of the current brutal path of the national economy and to giving a just and dignified solution to the demands of the Mexican indigenous; and, for the other side, leading the reaction, continuing with the flight of our riches in order to benefit the foreign stock market, continuing with the economic program based on lies and satisfying the anxiousness for vengence of the plantation owners and powerful businessmen in southeastern Mexico. Made to choose, Zedillo has opted to be humble and servile with the powerful, to be haughty and arrogant with the humble.

2. Ernesto Zedillo has given an ultimatum to the rebel forces of the EZLN. He immediately received applause and expressions of loyalty from the men of the gallows and the knife in Chiapas, the support of the usurpers of government in the Southeast and the satisfaction of the powerful foreign capitalists.

3. The EZLN has given constant demonstrations of its disposition to dialogue. Proof of this will can be provided by the governmental representatives with regards to the solution to the armed movement of the EZLN.

4. Now, inexplicably, when the representation of the EZLN had finalized the details for a new meeting with the governmental delegates and when among the indigenous communities which support our just cause, the points of the agenda for the closed-door dialogue were beginning to be discussed, we receive this ultimatum.

5. The EZLN laments this surprising turn in the disposition of the federal Executive. The EZLN does not bow its head before threats. For years we have lived that way, threatened by the mighty men and their private armies. Tired of this, we took up arms to demand that which is the right of whatever human being in whatever part of the world: liberty, democracy and justice. Under threats we will not talk; we will repond to intimidations, reinforcing our decision to risk the ultimate consequences in order to obtain a satisfactory, just and dignified solution to our needs.

6. Zedillo attempts to make the Congress of the Union an accomplice in the use of military force to confront our cause. Protected by a Congress with a PRI majority, Zedillo wants to obtain the legal endorsement to suspend individual rights, to declare martial law and to authorize the massive and indiscriminate use of the federal Army against the insurrectionary indigenous people.

7. The dialogue that the bad government attempted was an effort to bring the EZLN to its knees. It was misled, since January 1st, 1994, we live on foot. On foot we will talk or on foot we will fight, on foot we will live or on foot we will die.

8. The delivery of the wealth of the national subsoil, especially the petroleum, is what is at the root of the current governmental decision. In the top level government circles of Mexico and the United States, the existence of rich, high quality oil fields in the lands of Chiapas is common knowledge. The EZLN is a disturbance to the treasonous plans of the supreme government. This is the price of the loan: it will have to be paid with Mexican blood, and with indigenous blood especially, in order to pay off the debt.

The supreme government prepares the criminal blow, prepares the mass media, the Legislative and Judicial powers, its armed forces and its paramilitaries. The EZLN prepares the resistence. There is no dialogue now. Rather than talk, the bad government made a call to arms.

Second.- Today, February 9th, 1995, at 4pm, hundreds of troops of the federal army took possession of the town halls in San Andres Sacamach, Simojovel and Sabanilla, and reinforced the garrisons with thousands of soldiers in Ocosingo, Altamirano, and Las Margaritas. Minutes later, the bad government announced by means of a radio transmitter and in the voice of Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon, a series of declarations and threats regarding the EZLN and our just cause.

Third.- With regard to the detention of some people in Mexico City and in the state of Veracruz, who, it is said, belong to the EZLN, we are waiting for information about these people to be able to clarify whether they are or are not members of our army. As we have shown in previous communiques, the EZLN always has acknowledged that it has forces in other states in the country, but all are under the orders of this CCRI-CG of the EZLN to not carry out any military offensive against any governmental force or its installations.

Fourth.- Regarding the serious accusation that Zedillo makes against our EZLN, saying that we refuse to dialogue and that we were preparing for a series of violent acts in order to extend our territory, we declare firmly that this is a lie. The disposition to dialoguing and to a just and dignified solution to the conflict has been demonstrated in the statements of our leaders and in the actions to reduce the tensions, which we agreed to in the meeting on January 15, 1995 with the Secretary of State. At all times the EZLN has given demonstrations of its commitment to a just and dignified political solution to the conflict. The supreme government, through the mouth of its representative Esteban Moctezuma Barragan, did nothing but lie to the people of Mexico and lie to us.

The EZLN denies completely that it was trying to buy time or preparing bellicose actions that would break its commitment to an indefinite offensive cease fire while the negotiations for a stable treaty were developing. The EZLN's delays in responding to the government's communications were the result of our complying with our obligation to consult the members of this CCRI-CG of the EZLN, and the great distances and problems with communication that exist in the mountains of the Mexican Southeast also caused the delay in our answers.

It is evident that the supreme government is ignoring the grave conditions of isolation in which that same government has always kept the indigenous communities, and which make communication difficult.

But, above all, it is our lack of trust regarding the supposed will of the government which impedes the possibility that the discussions dedicated to a political solution continue. The climate of belligerence of the guardias blancas in the states, the forced removals of people from their land and the lack of a serious proposal for dialogue on the part of the governmental representatives makes a serious meeting impossible. From the Zapatista perspective the governmental decision to take a military solution to the conflict was made in the United States of America and Moctezuma Barragan only tried to gain time, feigning willingness while the supreme government prepared the farce of detentions in Veracruz and Mexico City, finalizing details of the war and waiting for the end of the rainy season to carry out the planned massacre. The two-sided face of the governmental representatives today now can be seen behind the arrest orders and the military bayonets.

Fifth.- With respect to the calumny about the leadership of the EZLN not being indigenous nor from Chiapas, the EZLN declares that it has no higher command than the Indigenous Clandestine Revolutionary Committee-General Command and that it is composed of, in its totality, indigenous people of Chiapas.

With respect to the origins of subcomandante Marcos, as he has stated since January 1st, 1994, he is not from Chiapas nor indigenous, but he is Mexican and he obeys our political and organizational direction and no one else. The military questions are his direct responsibility, and there is no higher military authority than his, and in our structure, no one else has the military rank of subcomandante.

With respect to the ties of the EZLN to the organization called "National Liberation Forces", the EZLN, during interviews, letters and communiques, has explained that in its beginnings members of diverse armed organizations in the country came together, that from there was born the EZLN and that this, little by little, has been taken on by the indigenous communities until they have become the political and military leadership of the EZLN.

To the name of the "National Liberation Forces" as the antecedents of the EZLN, the government should add those of all of the guerrilla organizations of the 70s and 80s, Arturo Gamiz, Lucio Cabanas, Genaro Vazquez Rojas, Emiliano Zapata, Francisco Villa, Vicente Guerrero, Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon, Miguel Hidalgo and Costilla, Benito Juarez, and many others who are now erased from the history books because a people with a memory are a rebellious people.

We reiterate, the EZLN is an organization of Mexicans, for the most part indigenous, directed by a committee that brings together the distinct ethnic groups in Chiapas and absolutely does not have, in its composition, any member who is not indigenous.

Sixth.- With respect to the threat of the government to enter the Zapatista communities with federal troops and police in an alleged search for the one they accuse of being subcomandante Marcos, the EZLN declares that while it may appear as a good excuse, it will resist and combat in self defense if it is assaulted by the governmental forces.

Seventh.- The CCRI-CG of the EZLN reiterates its disposition to a political solution to the conflict by means of dialogue without threats, pressures or military attacks.

Eighth.- If, regardless of this reiteration of our disposition to dialogue, the bad government goes forward with its war plans, the EZLN declares, now, that we will not give up. We will fight on foot, on foot we will die, but we will not return to living, not ever, on our knees.


From the mountains of Southeastern Mexico

Indigenous Clandestine Revolutionary Committee,
General Command of the Zapatista National Liberation Army,
February 1995

translated by Cindy Arnold, volunteer,
National Commission for Democracy in Mexico]
from La Jornada 2-13-95 pg. 10

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