To continue on the road of dialogue, an undeniable decision of the EZLN

source:La Jornada March 9, 1996

Zapatista Army of National Liberation Press Release

To the national and foreign press:
To the national and international public opinion:

Brothers and sisters:

The dialogue of San Andres Sacamch'en began with the general recognition of the legitimate causes of our uprising. The principal one is the existence of a State that does not respond to the needs of the indigenous peoples and to the national majorities, and for whose reform there is a general outcry. For this reason our proposal of themes and subthemes for the Table on Democracy and Justice has insisted in making the lines of change at the local level correspond with those that are indispensable at the national level. Here the EZLN says the same as thousands and thousands of people in Chiapas who wants profound economic, political, social and cultural changes. We also say the same as millions of Mexicans who have said Enough is Enough to an authoritarian regime that constantly resists being transformed, being changed.

On this point we have encountered clear difficulties in advancing with the government's delegation, although some possibilities have open up and which we are studying. We will maintain our position of continuing along the political road of negotiation and dialogue, in an effort to achieve a just and dignified peace. We have also encountered serious difficulties with the language and way in which the government's delegation wants to focus the dialogue and the negotiation regarding democracy and justice, since it sees the reform of the State as a question only for the political parties and not for all of society. We hope that the government changes its attitude, since only a deaf person is unable to hear the general social outcry that exists in the country to demand such a transformation of the State, and only a blind person is incapable of seeing the millions of hands that have been raised in the last few years to demand democracy, justice and liberty, because this is the road for a just and dignified peace.

Despite these conditions the EZLN wants to demonstrate its undeniable decision to persist in this attempt to continue along the political road. We are demonstrating before all of society that we will continue examining the options of the dialogue that allow us to walk towards a peace with justice and dignity. Our road has already been laid out: we are going to discuss the democratic transformation of Mexico and the state of Chiapas, with the idea of a democracy that is not reduced to the electoral arena and that of political parties. We are going to discuss which are the doors that have to be opened in order to achieve a genuine justice for everyone. We are going to debate about the new ways in which the governing officials lead by obeying, and the forms in which the people consolidate and extend their roads that have already been outlined for self-government and autonomy.

In response to the demand of civil society we will continue on the road of dialogue, fully aware that we are not alone in this struggle. We will at all times respond to the vital and full of hope political initiatives of the civil society which has not tired in insisting upon its demands for justice and democracy.

We say this with all clarity: as long as the federal government does not close the possibilities of dialogue, we will continue defending firmly our just cause until there is a free, just and democratic country.

San Andres Sacamch'en de los Pobres

March 7, 1996

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