The catastrophe caused by the rains of recent days

September 12, 1998.

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


In relation to the catastrophe caused by the rains of recent days in the Sierra and Coastal zones of Chiapas, the EZLN has this to say:

First. The great magnitude of the tragedy caused by the abundant rains in the southeast is not owing merely to the meteorological climate. The incapacity of the state of Chiapas to face natural disasters, and the corruption of those who hold power in this state, have multiplied the waters' destructive effects. Buildings of poor quality (although priced as if they were not), the lack of a contingency plan, the indifference towards the citizens' complaints who asked for help when the rains began, and a political class more concerned with their public image than with governing: these are the responsibility of those who say they are at the head of the Executive in Chiapas, and of those who, from the center, imposed them.

Second. The government of the state of Chiapas, with the complicity of federal employees, is perpetrating a scandalous theft of the humanitarian aid which is intended for the flood victims, aping the Nicaraguan dictator, Anastasio Somoza, who profited from the aid sent to the victims of the earthquake in Managua. Senor Albores Guillen is converting the pain and the blood of tens of thousands of chiapanecos into a lucrative personal business.

Third. The money received by the government of the state of Chiapas to deal with the emergency is being diverted into the private bank accounts of Senor Albores Guillen and of his accomplices. In a complicated maneuver of laundering humanitarian money, Senor Albores Guillen is trying to steal all he can now, since rumors of his departure are growing in government circles.

Fourth. According to information provided by zapatista bases living in various municipalities on the Coast and in the Sierra of Chiapas, the material humanitarian aid from the federal and state governments is not all arriving, and the little which is arriving is being distributed only to PRI activists and to those who commit their votes to the PRI in the next elections of October 4, 1998.

Fifth. In contrast to the foregoing, the humanitarian aid being distributed by non-governmental organizations, churches and religious groups, as well as by the political parties National Action (PAN) and Revolutionary Democratic (PRD), are being distributed without distinction or by political preferences. However, their efforts are insufficient to deal with this tragedy.

Sixth. The EZLN calls on the national and international community to come to the aid of the victims of the Sierra and the Coast, and to see that this aid is sent directly, or through trustworthy groups or organizations. All the aid which is channeled through the federal and state governments, or which comes from them, is stolen by the caciques who currently govern the state, or is is being used for electoral purposes, taking advantage of the anguished needs of those affected.

Seventh. For their part, the EZLN is setting aside a part of its war fund in order to contribute some to relieve the difficult conditions of those afflicted by the rains and by government inefficiency.


From the mountains of Southeast Mexico
The Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee
- General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.

Mexico, September of 1998

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