From civic society we expect the opportunity to speak


Brothers and sisters, Subcomandante Marcos is speaking to you.

By my voice also is speaking the voice of the Zapatista National Liberation Army.

Mexico, February 17, 1995

To the people of Mexico
To the people and Governments of the World
To the National and International Press

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

First.- The Federal Army continues to advance into the Lacandon Jungle. In its path the Federal Army is encountering many deserted villages, as the civilians prefer to flee to mountains rather than be victims of the arbitrary behavior of the soldiers.

In the communities the Federal Army has been dedicated to destruction, robbing, plundering and pillaging. The civilians who have the unfortunate luck to fall into their hands are victims of torture and interrogations. In addition they are detained illegally, disappeared and some are assassinated.

Second.- To the demonstrations of the disposition of the Zapatista National Liberation Army to seek a political solution to the conflict, the federal government responded with two-facedness. While it spoke of peace and dialogue, it prepared a brutal military attack. When the government had everything ready, it broke the dialogue and launched a military offensive in the Lacandon Jungle.

The government does not want a solution to the conflict. What it wants is to annihilate us. It tried to buy us, and it couldn't., Now it wants to destroy us, and it is failing again.

Third.- Despite seeing itself betrayed and injured in this way, the Clandestine Indigenous Revolutionary Committee, General Command of the Zapatista National Liberation Army, has ordered its troops to retreat to their positions in the mountains and to avoid as much as possible armed conflict with the punitive expedition of the Supreme Government. In this manner the Zapatista National Liberation Army ratified its will to dialogue, and directed itself to the civic society, both national and international, so that they could evaluate this real and trueful demonstration of the political will of the Zapatistas.

Fourth.- Today by means of a radio transmission we have learned of the calls made by the Legislative Commission, made up of various members of political parties with the goal of making proposals for the renewal of negotiations.

The Zapatista National Liberation Army responds: There are not the physical conditions for dialogue. The Zapatista communities, along with the troops of the Zapatista National Liberation Army, found refuge in the mountains. Whatever effort at communication and consensus, with regard to the dialogue, among the Zapatista bases, is impossible to carry out in the face of the government's aggression.

An indispensable requirement for beginning the dialogue again is the withdrawl of the Federal Army in the Lacandon jungle, that they return to the positions they had on February 8, 1995.

Fifth.- The Zapatista National Liberation Army is not playing with two faces. Its will to dialogue is, and has always been, genuine, and there is a great deal of proof of this political disposition.

Today we confirm to the people of Mexico that which has been stated since the 21st of February 1994, in the calls for dialogue for peace and reconciliation for Chiapas, which were carried out in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas.

We are willing to continue to seek a peaceful solution if it is with dignity and genuine.

Sixth.-Today despite our declaration, repeated many times, of our dispositon to dialogue, the Federal Army continues cornering us. They are driving us into a dead-end alley of choosing to die or fight. We will fight if we are forced to. We will start a guerrilla war if we are not left any other option. We will talk if the dialogue which is offered us is with dignity and trueful.

Brothers and sisters, we only expect lies of humiliation and death from the Supreme Government.

From the national and international civic society we expect the opportunity to speak and to have a life with dignity. To live or die with dignity is again the only alternative for the Zapatistas.

The people of Mexico and the international community have the floor; we are listening.

DEMOCRACY!
LIBERTY!
JUSTICE!

From the mountains of Southeastern Mexico.

For the Clandestine Indigenous Revolutionary Committee,
General Command of the Zapatista National Liberation Army,
Subcomandante Marcos.

Mexico, February 1995

M. Ana Maria, C.David, C. Javier


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