FZLN: For a true national dialogue with the Zapatistas in Mexico City!

Mexico City, September 24, 1996

To national and international civic society;
To the committees, collectives, organizations and solidarity groups with the Zapatista struggle;
To the participants to the first Intercontinental Encounter for Humanity and against Neoliberalism:

As is generaly known, last August 29th as a result of the consultation with its communities, the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee-General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) decided to suspend its participation in the Dialogue at San Andres Sacam'chen de los Pobres, in view of the fact that the government had made the dialogue into a farce.

The principal reasons for the suspension of the dialogue were explained in a communique of the CCRI-CG of the EZLN on that date, of which we extract the following;

In regards to the Dialogue at San Andres:

In regards to Theme I, "Indigenous Rights and Culture":

"The EZLN accepted the agreements with the objective of demonstrating to indigenous communities, the Mexican national and international public opinion, that the government does not want to solve in a profound way the national indigenous situation. The government manifests a disposition to do it, but in no way is it willing to radically modify the relation between the nation and indigenous Mexicans."

" The Verification and Implementation Commission, fundamental base for the completion of the agreements continues to be non existent."

In regards to Table 2, "Democracy and Justice":

"During all the development of the so-called "Table 2 of Democracy and Justice" the government delegation based its negotiation strategy on intransigence and obstinacy. Committed to the failure of the negotiation of this theme, the government looks to reduce the table on Democracy and Justice, first to local questions, and then to abstract declarations...By ratifying its intransigence without even discussion of any fundamental themes of the political life of the country...the government ratified its actual politics in terms of indigenous people: omnipotence, racism and intolerance."

In regards to the alleged Zapatista prisoners;

"With the sentence to the alleged Zapatistas in Yanga [Veracruz, as well as prisoners in REclusorio Norte of Mexico City], the federal government insists upon treating the EZLN as though it were a band of delinquents which is being entertained at a negotiations process at the same time that it is being hit and that terror is seeded among all those who have anything to do with Zapatismo."

In regards to the "state of law" in Chiapas;

"In the northern part of the state, a de facto power which has nothing to do with a "state of legality" functions. It is not a power of the federal or state government, of the military, or of the EZLN; in the northern part of Chiapas the brutality of a civil war which can no longer remain hidden governs...the real governors of Chiapas (the military) follow their plans of annihilating not only Zapatistas, but any person who rebels and has dignity in these lands of the southeast...it has increased troop presence and its technical quality has improved as has the composition of its soldiers...The rumors of an imminent action against the Zapatistas are uncontrollable...as a response to the actions of the EPR."

The Zapatistas have stated the minimal conditions necessary in order to return to the Dialogue to the government;

-Until conditions exist which guarantee the will of the government for an inclusive, serious and political solution.

-Liberation of all the alleged Zapatistas now imprisoned and of the Zapatista support bases which have been detained in the northern part of Chiapas.

-A government delegation which has the capacity to make decisions and the political will to negotiate respectfully with the Zapatista delegation.

-The installation of a Verification and Implementation Commission and the implementation of the first agreements made in the table of "Indigenous Rights and Culture".

-Serious and concrete proposals of agreement for the table of "democracy and justice" and a commitment to achieve agreements with this theme.

-An end to the climate of military and police persecution against the indigenous people of Chiapas and the disappearance of the white guards (or a law which gives them institutional recognition and uniforms so that they cannot operate with impunity).

The response of the Mexican government to this action of Zapatismo, as well as to the increased expression of social discontent which spreads throught the nation, has been an increase in repressive measures of which the most salient and serious are; the militarization of large areas of the nation, the persecution and jailing of the leaders and political and social militants, and the closing of the spaces for dialogue and negotiation.

In this context the efforts of different popular and democratic organizations develop in order to impede militarization and to avoid the imposition of war. In the next weeks, these efforts should focus upon two actions which will take place in Mexico City in which the presence of the EZLN should be won and guaranteed by all of us.

From October 8-12 the Indigenous National Congress will take place; among the organizers of this Congress is the EZLN; the right of a Zapatista delegation to attend in Mexico City should be respected by the government. Following the Congress in Mexico City as well there will be a National Dialogue for Peace in Mexico, in which it is expected all the political and social actors may participate in strengthening the political option in the struggle for peace in a transition to democracy which includes the Zapatistas.

In order that the EZLN delegates may attend these events, international and national civic society should organize a peace cordon which will protect our Zapatista brothers and which will allow them to travel from their positions in the mountains of the jungle to the city of Mexico.

Their travel to the capital of the country will begin on October 5th. Before, during and after their stay in Mexico City, there are various tasks and support which we will need in order to guarantee the security of the Zapatista delegation. Among the important ones are;

-Public events and pronouncements of support as well as signature campaigns in support of a true national dialogue with the participation of the EZLN, in Mexico City (text is attached).

-The presence of observers from national and international organizations during the trip of the EZLN delgation to Mexico City, during their stay in the city and their return to their communities.

-Participation in the peace cordon which will surround and protect the Zapatista delegation at all times.

-Financial support for the expenses of all these actions, through donations which can be deposited in account number 6746497, Banamex, branch 0532, in the name of Miguel Angel Lopez Diaz.

To register for the peace cordon and for more information about other ways of participating please call:

The Special Promotion Commission of the Zapatista Front of National Liberation, Calle Zapotecos 7 bis, Colonia Obrera, CP 68000, Mexico, DF: Telephone and fax: 761 42 36. flores@spin.com.mx. Home page: http://www.spin.com.mx/-flores/FZLN

International Commission of the Special Promotional Commission of the FZLN: email: 74174.1671@compuserve.com. Telephone and fax: 606 14 34 and 515 85 25.

Basic text for public declarations and signature campaigns:


Under the slogan "Never a Mexico without us", the National Indigenous Congress will take place in Mexico City on October 8-12 of 1996. The organizers have already extended a public invitation to the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee-General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation in order that a delegation from the EZLN be present at the Congress.

The organizations and people signed below manifest our support to the realization of the National Indigenous Congress and we inform national and international public opinion that we have already begun the tasks necessary to make possible the presence of an EZLN delgation in Mexico City.

In view of the government simulation which caused the suspension of the Dialogue at San Andres and the worsening of the conflicts in Chiapas; before the absence of authentic and effective space for dialogue as means of solution for the problems of the country; before the continuity of a political economy which continues the militarization and the repression, while the transition to democracy is postponed and sabotaged, the presence of the Zapatista delegation will give an opportunity to reclaim the reflection which was initiated in the Special forum for the Reform of the State in San Cristobal de las Casas and begin a true National Dialogue in the capital of the country, with the participation of the principal social and political actors from all the corners of the country; it will signify a new opportunity to mobilize the conscience and the energy of civil society so it may open a different path to the militarization and the hopelessness in which Mexico is sinking, before it is too late.

We call upon the Mexican government to listen to the demands for a true dialogue and to respect the guarantees of free transit established in the Mexican Constitution and in the Law of Concordance and Pacification.

Above all we call upon social organizations, both civil and political, upon workers, farmers, indigenous people, housewives, students, intellectuals and artists, men and women, the old and the young, to support the National Indigenous Congress and to join the invitation to the EZLN to go to the city of Mexico and help with the task of the protection of its delegation.

Translated by: National Center for Democracy, Liberty and Justice.

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