The retreat is making us almost scratch at the sky

To the national weekly magazine, Proceso
To the national newspaper El Financiero
To the national newspaper La Jornada
To the local newspaper in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Tiempo
To the national and international press;

February 20, 1995

Dear Sirs:

Here are the communiques. As things are becoming black, it's almost night. The cynicism is amazed with the negation of what is evident: the decision to seek a military solution. Us? Well, but almost scratching at the sky. The first time that something falls the sky, it will fall on me.

Let's go. Health and and a well-equipped boat to break through so much darkness.

From the mountains of southeastern Mexico.

Subcomandante insurgent Marcos
Mexico, February 1995

P.S. Writing on February 15, 1995, sixth day of the retreat (we recommend that it be read before each meal; it is an excellent diet aid).

"The morning of the 15th we were going to drink our urine. I say "we were going to" because we didn't do it as we all began to vomit after the first swallow. Previously there had been a discussion. Although all of us had been in agreement that each person should drink his/her own urine, Camilo say that we should wait until night came so that the urine gets cold in the canteens, and we can drink it thinking that it is a soda.

In defense of his position, Camilio argued that he had heard on the radio that imagination made anything possible. I opposed the idea, suggesting that time would only make the odor stronger, as well as mentioning that the radio had not been recently known for its objectivity. My other self alleged that a time of rest could help the ammonia settle on the bottom. " It will be the adrenaline"--I said, realizing strangely that the skepticism was my own and not my other self. Finally we decided to take a sip, all at the same time, to see what would happen. I don't know who began the "concert", but almost immediately all of us began vomiting what we had ingested, and also what we hadn't. We were left even more dehydrated, lying on the ground. Like dunces, stinking of urine. I think that our image was hardly soldier-like. At these hours, before the sun comes up, a sudden rain pelted us and alleviated our thirst and our spirits. With the first light of the sixth day we continued walking. In the afternoon, we came upon the outskirts of a small village. Camilo went near to ask for something to eat.

He returned with a little fried pork, hard and cold. We ate it right there without any modesty. In a few minutes the cramps began. The diarrhea was memorable. We were tied to the foot of a small wooded hill. A patrol of federal troops passed by about 500 meters away. They didn't find us because God is grand. The smell of shit and urine could be smelled kilometers away..."

PS Reiterating their rebellion They can bring more. To do in all of the villages what they did in Guadalupe Tepeyac, where, for each resident, child or adult, they brought in 10 soldiers, for each horse a war tank, for each chicken, an armored vehicle. In total 5,000 soldiers who patrol a deserted village and "protect" a whole slew of dogs, in all of the areas, in all of the ranches. The whole state of Chiapas full of soldiers..

On top of everything and everyone, the mountains of southeastern Mexico will continue to be rebel territory against the bad government. This will continue being Zapatista territory.

It will be forever...

P.S. Clarifying and rectifying

It was not the EZLN who broke off the dialogue and reinitiated the war. It was the government.

It was not the EZLN who feigned political willingness while preparing a military attack and betrayal. It was the government.

It was not the EZLN who detained and tortured civilians. It was the government.

It was not the EZLN who murdered. It was the government.

It was not the EZLN who bomed and strafed communities. It was the government.

It was not the EZLN who raped indigenous women. It was the government.

It was not the EZLN who robbed and plundered the campesinos. It was the government.

It was not the EZLN who betrayed the will of an entire nation to find a political solution to the conflict. It was the government.

P.S. Pointing out incongruencies in the investigations of the Attorney General If the "Sup" had received political and military training from the Sandinistas, he would have already organized a "pinata" with the recovered properties and he would have expelled those who have criticized from the organization. If the "Sup" had received training from the Salvadoreans, he would have already given his weapon to Cristiani. If the "Sup" had received aid from the Russians, he would have already bombed Chechenia, excuse me, Guadalupe Tepeyac.

In addition, what other guerrilla army, " of the millenium", "fundamentalist", and directed by "white university people" has carrried out the military actions that the EZLN has done in January 1994 and in breaking through the military blockade in December 1994? What other guerrilla force has agreed to sit down and dialogue only 50 days after having taken up arms? What other guerrilla force has appealed, not to the proletariat as the historical vanguard, but to the civic society which struggles for democracy? What other guerrilla force has put itself aside in order not to interfere in the electoral process? What other guerrilla force has convened a national democratic movement, civic and peaceful, so that armed struggle becomes useless? What other guerrilla force asks its bases of support about what it should do before doing it? What other guerrilla force has struggled to achieve a democratic space and not for power? What other guerrilla force has relied more on words than on bullets?

Note: Please send the responses to the, supposedly disappeared, CISEN so that it can help think in a "modern" way. Yes, to the CISEN. The Attorney General is only the pimp paying the ruling class.

P.S. Calling myself the "special investigator on the case of the Sup" and inviting the national and international civic society to be the jury and pronounce the sentence.

"Being such and such hour on such and such day, of such and such month, in the current year, see before this P.S. a man of indefinite age, between 5 and 65 years old, with his face covered with one of those garments that appears to be a sock with holes in it (and which the gringos call "ski mask", and the Latin Americans call "pasamontanas--mountain passes"). Among the particular signs of a face, two enormous protruberances emerge, one of which, which was supposedly deduced after several sneezes, is the nose. The other, judging by the emanations of smoke and the smell of tobacco, could be a pipe, like the ones used by sailors, intellectuals, pirates and fugitives from justice. Exhorted to say only the truth and nothing but the truth, the individual in question said that he was called "Marcos Montes de la Selva", son of Old Anthony and lady Juanita, brother to young Anthony, Ramona and Susana, uncle to Tonita, Beto, Eva and Heriberto. He of the voice declared himself to be in full control of his physical and mental faculties, and, without any pressure (other than the 60,000 federal soldiers who are looking for him dead or alive) declares and confesses the following:

First. That he was born in the guerrilla camp called "Agua Fria" in the Lacandon jungle, Chiapas, in the early morning one day in August 1984. The man with the voice says that he was reborn the first of January 1994, and born again, succesively, the 10th of June 1994, the 8th of August 1994, the 19th of December 1994, the 10th of February 1995, and each day and each hour and each minute and each second since that day up to this moment in which I am making this declaration.

Second. That, in addition to his name, he has the following aliases: "Sub", "Subcomandante", "Sup", "Supco", "Marquitos", "Pinche Sup", "Sup son of a ...", and others that the power of this PS Agent prevents from writing.

Third. He of the voice confesses that, since having been born, he has conspired against the shadows which cover the Mexican sky.

Fourth. He of the voice confesses that, before being born, being able to possess everything in order to have nothing, he decided to possess nothing in order to have everything.

Fifth. He of the voice confesses that, in the company of other Mexicans, the majority Mayan Indians, they decided to make a paper live up its words, a paper that they teach about in school, which lists the rights of the Mexican citizens and which is called, "The Political Constitution of the United Mexican States". He of the voice pointed out that, in article 39 of this paper, it is said that the people have the right to change the government. Coming to this point, the P.S., jealous of his right, ordered the very subversive paper confiscated, and ordered that it be burned with giving it a glance, and having done this, continued to take the statement of the individual with the obvious nose and the contaminating pipe. He of the voice confessed that, not being able to exercise this right by peaceful and legal means, he decided, together with his accomplices, (these whom he of the voice calls "brothers"), to take up arms against the supreme government and to shout "Enough!" to the lie that, says he of the voice, rules our destinies. The P.S. could not help but be terrified in the face of such unusual blasphemy, and was fixated on the idea of leaving him without "a bone".

Sixth. He of the voice confessed that, put to choosing between comfortableness and responsibility, he of the voice always chooses responsibility. This statement merited the disapproval of the people present to this preparatory statement and the instinctive reflex of the P.S. to put his his hand on his wallet.

Seventh. He of the voice confessed that he has been irreverent with all of the truths that are called supreme, execept those that emanate from being a human being and that they are, to declare clearly, dignity, democracy, liberty and justice. A murmor of disagreement ran through the Holy Inquisition, excuse me, the office of the special investigator.

Eighth. He of the voice confessed that they had tried to threaten him, to buy him off, to corrupt him, to put him in jail, and to murder him, and that they had not intimidated him nor bought him off, nor jailed him, nor killed him (up until now, he added, threateningly, to the Investigating P.S.).

Ninth. He of the voice confessed that, since he was born, he decided that he preferred to die before turning over his dignity to those who have made lies and crime a modern religion. A thought that was so impractical earned a cynical look from the people present.

Tenth. He of the voice confessed that, since then, he had decided to be humble with the humble, and to be arrogant with the powerful. The P.S. added "irreverent" to the charges that were being made against him of the voice.

Eleventh. He of the voice confessed that he had believed and believes in human beings, in their capacity to try indefatigably to be a little better each day. He confessed that, among the human race, he has a special affection for the Mexican race, and that he had believed, believes and will believe that Mexico is something more than six letters and a underpriced product on the international market.

Twelfth. He of the voice confessed that he believes, firmly, that the bad government has to be brought down by all means and by all parts. He confessed that he believes that a new political, economic and social relation has to be created among all Mexicans, and later on, among all human beings. These promiscious intentions gave shivers to the P.S. investigator.

Thirteenth. He of the voice confessed that he will dedicate himself to the absolute last second of his life, to struggling for what he believes.

Fourteenth. He of the voice confessed that, in a small and egotistical act, he will dedicate his last second of his life to killing himself.

Fifteenth. He of the voice confessed that he was completely bored with this interrogation. This earned him a severe reprimand from the P.S. Interrogator, who explained to him of the voice that the case will continue until the supreme government finds another tale to entertain itself.

After these confessions, he of the voice was exhorted to spontaneously declare himself innocent or guilty of the following series of accusations. To each accusation, he of the voice responded:

The whites accuse him of being dark. Guilty

The dark ones accuse him of being white. Guilty

The authentics accuse him of being indigenous. Guilty

The treasonous indigenous accuse him of being mestizo. Guilty

The machos accuse him of being feminine. Guilty

The feminists accuse him of being macho. Guilty

The communists accuse him of being anarchist. Guilty

The anarchists accuse him of being orthodox. Guilty

The Anglos accuse him of being Chicano. Guilty

The antisemetics accuse him of being in favor of the Jews. Guilty

The Jews accuse him of being pro-Arab. Guilty

The Europeans accuse him of being Asiatic. Guilty

The government officials accuse him of being oppositionist. Guilty

The reformists accuse him of being ultra. Guilty

The ultras accuse him of being reformist. Guilty

The "historical vanguard" accuse him of calling to the civic society and not to the proletariat. Guilty

The civic society accuses him of disturbing their tranquility. Guilty

The Stock Exchange accuses him of ruining their breakfast. Guilty

The government accuses him of increasing the consumption of antiacids in the government's Departments. Guilty

The serious ones accuse of being a jokester. Guilty

The adults accuse him of being a child. Guilty

The children accuse him of being an adult. Guilty

The orthodox leftists accuse him of not condemning the homosexuals and lesbians. Guilty

The theoreticians accuse of being a practitioner. Guilty

The practicioners accuse of being a theorist. Guilty

Everyone accuses him of everything bad that has happened. Guilty

Not having anything else to declare in this first preparatory statement, the P.S. Investigator ended the session and smiled imagining the congratulations and check that he would receive from his bosses.

P.S. Talking about what was heard on February 16, 1995, on the afternoon of the seventh day of the retreat

--And why don't we attack instead of retreating?--Camilo threw at me in the middle of a hill, precisely when I was concentrating most heavily on breathing and on not falling into the ravine at our sides. I didn't respond immediately, I made signs that he should continue climbing. At the top of the hill we three sat down. Night comes to the mountain before it comes to the sky, and in the semi-darkness of this indecisive hour in which light isn't the same, and the shadows waver. Something is heard, far away... I say to Camilo who is listening with attention. "What do you hear?"

Crickets, leaves, wind-- responds my other self.

--No--I insist--. Pay attention.

Now it is Camilo who responds:--Some voices...very far away...a a drum...from over there...--Camilo points to the west.

--This exactly--I tell him.

--And?--intervenes my other self.

--It is the civic society. Yelling that there can't be war, there has to be dialogue, that words should talk and not weapons...--I explained.

--And the boom-boom-boom?--insisted Camilo.

--That's their drums. They are calling for peace. There are many people, thousands, dozens of thousands, hundreds of thousands. The government is not listening to them and is confronting them. We, all the way over here, we have to listen to them. We have to respond to them. We can not turn a deaf ear like the government is doing. We have to listen to them, we have to avoid the war until there is no other choice...

--And then?--muses my other self.

--Then we fight--I responded to Camilo.

--When?--he insisted.

--When they fall, when they tire. Then that will be the black hour in which we will have to talk...--Fight--says my other self I insist: "We do everything for them. If we fight, it is for them. If we stop fighting, it is for them. In the end they will win. If they annihilate us, they will have the satisfaction of having done everything possible to avoid it, to avoid the war. For this reason they rose up, and now they are not being held back. In addition, they have in their hands a flag that they are responsible for. If we live, they will have the satisfaction of having saved us, of having avoided the war and having demonstrated to us that they are better and that they can handle the flag. Whether we die or live, they live and will become stronger. For them everything, for us nothing..."

Camilo said that he preferred his version: "For them nothing, for us everything".

P.S. Reigniting his nocturnal delirium

Forgetfullness, a faraway lark, is the cause for our going around without face. To kill forgetfullness with a little memory, we cover our chests with lead and hope. If, in some improbable flight, our stay in the wind coincides, you will take off so many clothes and mask of sweet trick, and with lips and skin make the memory better, that of tomorrow. For this reason, a message goes from the earth to the concrete. Listen well!

As an unperfect actor on the stage,
Who with his fear is put besides his part,
Or some fierce thing replete with too much rage
Whose strength's abundance weakens his own heart;
So I, for fear of trust, forget to say
The perfect ceremony of love's rite,
And in my own love's strength seem to decay,
O'ercharg'd with burden of mine own love's might.
O, let my books be then the elocuence
And dumb presagers of my speaking breast,
Who plead for love, and look for recompense
More than that tongue that more hath more express'd.
O, learn to read what silent love hath writ;
To hear with eyes belonge to love's fine wit".
William Shakespeare. Sonnet XXIII


Good bye, amber lark, don't look for us under your flight. Up above yes, where our pain takes us up, to the sun, where hope rains...

P.S. Not being able to give anything on this birthday

Heriberto has a birthday on the March 5th. They say he will complete 4 years and start on his fifth. Heriberto walks the mountains, while in his home soldiers live and a tank is on his patio. The toys that a "Operation Toys" brought him for the Three Wise Men's Day, are now in the hands of some general or being analyzed by the Attorney General in search of some secret organization. Heriberto, as much as he prepared for what happened the 10th of February (the invasion of the federal soldiers), at the actual moment, he left behind his best toy: a little car that Heriberto, inside it, played at being a driver around the patio where the coffee was dried. They tell me that Heriberto consoles himself saying that in the mountain his little car couldn't go. Heriberto asked his mom if he ever was going to have his car again, and if the Sup was not going to give him chocolates. Heriberto asked his mom why the war from last year returned, why his car was left behind--Why?--asks Heriberto. His mom does not respond, continuing to walk with the boy and the pain weighing on her shoulders...

P.S. Remembering and I recite from memory, verses from Antonio Machado? which refer to distinct things, but which are coming.

In the heart I have
the thorn of a passion
I was able to pull it out one day
Now I don't feel my heart.
Sharp golden thorn
who will again feel you
in the stopped heart...
At night I dreamed that I heard
God yelling to me: Watch out!
later it was God who slept
and I was yelling "Wake up"!
P.S. Bleeding unstoppably
An injury I carry in my chest
Of bloody wheat
and there is no bread
to alleviate the desire...

The Sup at the top of a hill, seeing how the sun goes down, in the west, a twinkle that is going out...

Jornada March 5 pg. 17-18

(translated by Cindy Arnold, volunteer, National Commission for Democracy in Mexico)

To the Mexico page