Some reflections on the FOBAPROA, some support and a call

FOBAPROA is a (Mexican) Savings Protection Banking Fund; it seems that the 43 Billion dollar fund is in debt to the tune of 1.5 billion dollars) and that the Mexican administration has proposed a bank bail-out with public funds.

Last Sunday as many as 3 million people turned out all over Mexico on Sunday to vote in a non-binding referendum sponsored by the left-of- center Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD. Final results were expected to be announced today, but exit polls showed fewer than 2 percent of those voting supported Zedillo's bank-bailout scheme.

The Marcos writing below makes extensive reference to FOBAPROA


Some reflections on the FOBAPROA, some support and a call

"I have lived long enough: the May of my life has fallen into drought, into the yellowed leaf, and what should have come with age, such as honor, love, obedience, multitudes of friends, I cannot hope to have, instead curses, not spoken aloud, but deep, honor in name only, words which the poor heart would deny, although it does not dare."
Macbeth, Act V, Scene III
- William Shakespeare

The catastrophe of the FOBAPROA has not been covered up by Arizmendi, nor by Labastida's enthusiastic statements in favor of the death penalty. The dark and outrageous "Russian vodka" hangover in the stock market, and the devaluaton of the peso, are the cherries crowning the cake, oozing blood and sludge: the neo-liberal model (the technocrats' May looks more and more like autumn). In an attempt to explain this corruption to ourselves , let us "bring down" a few things in order to reflect and to make conclusions. These brief comments then, support for what is worth supporting, the call for what needs to be called.

I. Fobaproa and the technocrats:neither politics nor economics

A bad economist and a worse politician, Zedillo is now a criminal, a kidnapper of the law, who tries to do as he wishes with the nation's wealth.

Much has already been said and written concerning the serious economic effects which would be brought as a consequence of approving Zedillo's proposal in the Congress of the Union, converting the Bank Fund for the Protection of Savings (Fobaproa) into public debt. Much has also been uncovered regarding the true beneficiaries of this "economic rescue." We will add little or nothing to this.

But it is worth reflecting on another aspect which it calls into question: that of the "state of law," that constantly recurring expression in the words of the masters and dogs of the hunt, at the moment of violating, beating, destroying, jailing and assassinating indigenous and non-indigenous persons in north, center, east, west, south and southeast Mexico.

This political-economic crime (because that is what it is) begins when Zedillo made the ILLEGAL decision of asking for loans abroad in order to try to help the banks which were "failing." Now we know what was behind those banks' "bankruptcies:" fraud, loans to themselves, money laundering, speculation. But in addition to those crimes is the one Zedillo is committing, because the Political Constitution says (in Article 73, Section VIII), in order to ask for foreign loans, and in order to allocate economic resources, the approval of the Congress of the Union is necessary. Feder al legislators from the National Action Party (PAN) and from the Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD) have denounced that Senor Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon violated the Constitution.

Why support the rich financiers, and not the millions of small debtors who lost everything, even their future, due to "December's mistakes?"

For years (during the administrations of De la Madrid, Salinas de Gortari and Ernesto Zedillo) the democratization of the country was left to the side. We were told (and the great Salinas repeated it to us time and again, while assassinating opponents) that politics should wait, that the economy was the most urgent, and that our leaders were working to sell us off to the First World, without asking anything in return, as the eternal adoration of everyone for their figure would not be.

There is not full democracy in Mexico today. And nor is there a national economy. It has been destroyed over the last 15 years, and its rubble was then sold. The economic model - whose development demanded the abandonment of the struggle for democracy - has only caused the growth of poverty and its distribution among more and more Mexicans, and it has concentrated the wealth more greatly in an ever smaller number of persons.

The technocrats (as the members of the gang who currently run the government call themselves) tell us that reality will be what their cybernetic macro-economic schemes determine it to be. They said their specialty was not politics, but that did not matter, because, in the era of economic globalization, marketing was fundamental. To know how to sell and buy, that is, to know how to do business, was what the country demanded of its leaders. Thus, they said, and they told us, that the "old politicians" (the "dinosaurs," they called them), who, with their populism, had kept the nation far from modernity, should be left aside. The 'dinos ' were put aside, but the "neopoliticians" inherited from them the long trail of corruption, crimes and ineptitude which took them to power, and with which they made the "old politics." Lying in wait, nostalgiac for the impunity and wealth conferred by the ill-gotten power, the 'dinos' prepared for their return.

Meanwhile, in order to prevent any doubt about their not knowing politics , the "computer kids" gave us free demonstrations of their stupidity. Three examples:

1. Having the opportunity to resolve the conflict in southeastern Mexico quickly and with dignity, they opted for massive assassinations (Acteal, Chavajeval and Union Progreso), the escalation of the war, the creation of paramilitary groups and support for regional political-economic caciquism (how "The Band of Can," as Albores Guillen's group is known, came to local power).

2. Allied economically with organized crime, the technocrats brought back a way of doing politics, as an option for resolving differences inside the governing class: assassination. The unpunished crimes of Luis Donaldo Colosio and Jose Francisco Ruiz Massieu demonstrate that "reshuffling" within the new political class is done by the same methods as those used by the mafia. The costs of modernity.

3. Committed to displacing the old political class in order to better administer the "sale" of the country, the technocrats closed spaces, let in their "buddies" and purged in the manner of the most vile nomenklatura. The lack of political oxygen smothers not only the opposition, but also certain groups within the state party system. The results? More and more "historical" PRI's abandon their ranks and move to other parties or positions.

Meanwhile, the political vacuum left by the technocrats in the national scene is filled predominately by two forces: the Church and the Army.

These three things give one an idea of the stupidity of the group which is in power, confirming what is already a national conviction: our leaders do not know how to make politics. But before they justified themselves with their macro-ecomic "achievements." Then came the Fobaproa, and with it, the truth: neither do they know economics.

The Fobaproa issue is a lesson, but not for the PhD's of Harvard-Yale-Cambridge, rather for the entire nation. "Neither politics nor economics," this is the phrase which sums up the last 15 years of neo-liberal government in Mexico.

Fobaproa calls into question the foundations of the political and economic model imposed on Mexico by the State party system. Fobaproa demonstrates that it does not add up: more of us are poor, there is not financial nor currency stability, we are less and less sovereign and more dependent, there are no jobs, crime grows, the alliance between the goverment and the criminals grows ever greater and closer; in conclusion, we are worse off in the micro and the macro economy.

Fobaproa demonstrates, in short, that the current economic and political model is untenable and indefensible.

By insisting on his proposal for Fobaproa, Zedillo only insists on keeping himself, and his colleagues, in power, even at the cost of the opposition, even within his own party.

That is why it is necessary to critique the effectiveness and efficiency of the technocrats, as well as the urgency for taking a position against them.

It is necessary to stop them NOW.

II. An autonomous and independent Legislative Branch?

Riding, to their regret, a political crisis which had been dormant for some time, the technocrats have to suffer the gradual liquidation of presidentialism and a booming, although chaotic, growth in the Federal Legislative Branch's independence and autonomy. The national catastrophe produced by the "Band 1982-2024" (Gurria 'dixit'), despite Labastida's efforts and trickeries, was not supported by honest politicians (of those that still remain), nor by analysts, nor by social organizations nor by non-aligned citizens. It is logical: failures (although they are disguised as successes) do not have supporters. Some legislators in the Revolutionary Institutionary Party have warned about the immoral nature of Zedillo's proposal.

The struggle by some parliamentarians for the autonomy and independence of the federal legislative branch is to be applauded. Their critical attitude towards the Executive's proposals is beneficial for republican life. The country needs a truly independent Congress, in addition to one that is representative of the interests of all Mexicans. The struggle for the independence of the branches should be taken to its ultimate consequences.

In a healthy republican regime, the Executive is subject to the Legislature. The presidentialism which our political system still suffers should completely diappear. As long as this does not happen, democratization will continue to fall under "articles to discuss" and "demagoguery."

The Fobaproa issue has served to assess the fierce struggle by the Legislative branch to achieve their independence and autonomy; it has demonstrated the growing discontent inside the State party system, and it is one more example of the technocrats' political and economic stupidity.

But it can also be a sign of the advance -within the political parties - of trends which are more sensitive to popular needs than to macroecomic indices. Within the National Action Party and the Revolutionary Democratic Party there are trends which are committed to the search for the means of resolving the problem created by the Executive's ineptitude, without causing greater harm to the people.

III. Fobaproa: democracy above or below?

All told, the debate and decision-making concerning Fobaproa continues "above," among the legislators, analysts, opinion leaders and party leadership. It is necessary to "lower" it and for the rebound to produce positive effects. If national politics are no longer dictated only and exclusively by the executive, if political parties (and now not just one of them) have greater and better participation in decisions, if professional politicians seem disposed to listen to or to anticipate the peoples' reactions against measures which affect them, - the voice of the citizens is missing, to be able to be heard and to have their influence felt in a determinant manner. This is democracy, "government of the people, by the people and for the people."

The proposal by the Revolutionary Democratic Party to hold a citizens' consultation on the Fobaproa is a serious effort to open a space so the citizenry can speak out and express their opinions on this issue. The PRD proposal is an example of inclusive and democratic politics, and it will be healthy for Mexico.

However, the mechanisms for having the citizenry's voice heard in the branches of the Union are still missing, and for their influence to be felt, forcing those who govern to "govern obeying."

The struggle for democracy in Mexico is not just the struggle for fair, just and free elections; it is not just the struggle for a multi-party system; it is not just the alternating of power. It is, above all, the struggle for the "citizen-izing" of politics. The struggle to find paths , to create spaces, to encourage initiatives which give voice and influence to those who make a nation: the workers in the countryside and the city, the indigenous, the settlers, the housewives, the teachers, the students, the retired persons, the small businesspersons, the professionals, the employed, the disabled, the sero-positives, the intellectuals, the artists, the investigators, the unemployed, the homosexuals, the lesbians, the women, the children and the elderly, all of those who, with different names and faces, give name and face to the people.

IV. Consultation on Fobaproa: a support

The EZLN welcomes and supports the consultation of the Fobaproa which the PRD is organizing, and in which other political and social organizations will participate, as well as individual citizens, and which will take place this August 30.

V. A call to struggle for what belongs to us: democracy, liberty and justice

We call on the people of Mexico to participate in the National Consultation on the Fobaproa this August 30, 1998, and, above all, we call on everyone to struggle for the rights of everyone: for health, housing, food, fairly paid work, land, education, culture and information, liberty, independence, democracy and peace.

We welcome the Legislative branch's struggle for independence and autonomy; we welcome the political organizations which turn towards those below.

We welcome, then, this Consultation on the Fobaproa, We welcome those who open spaces for citizens' participation. And, above all, we welcome those who struggle for the "citizen-izing" of politics, that is, the democratization of the country.

>From the mountains of Southeastern Mexico.

By the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee
- General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos
Mexico, August of 1998.


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