If you have come here to help me,
You are wasting your time...
if you have come because
Your liberation is bound up with mine,
let us work together.
- Aboriginal Woman
This is not a cry in the wilderness,
but a hypothesis about
- Harry Cleaver
Zapatismo has infected the political body of Mexico's "perfect
dictatorship" since January 1, 1994. This polyspatial movement for a radical
democracy based on the Mayan legacies of dialogue ripped into the electronic
fabric of The War Machine, not as cyberwar - but as a virtual action for real
peace for the real communities of Chiapas. As of September 1997, reports of the
Mexican military training and arming paramilitary groups with the intent of
moving the "low-intensity" war to higher level began to circulate among the
Zapatista Network. It took the massacres at Acteal to focus the world on
something that was already known - the constant tragedy of late-capital. As
manifestations took place around the world in remembrance of those who died on
January 1 and 2nd, the Mexican military, with the full support of the PRI
goverment, began to move to the next stage of the war against peace. As the West
stumbled about in celebration of a new year - the first report reached out
across the net and slapped us awake once more with the vicious and brutal
reality of the neoliberal agenda.
Dispatch from the Mountains of the Mexican Southeast
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos (alias Speedy Gonzales)
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Here is a letter for the protagonists of January 12th. We're still
here and "nothing's new," we're still being chased in this new extermination
campaign which began with Acteal and now disguises itself as "indiscriminate
It doesn't fail to amaze us how immobile the federal Legislative and
Judicial powers are before the actions of an Army General, Jose Gomez Salazar,
who has decided to carry out a coup d'etat. Over and above the laws of the Union
of the Congress, he constitutes himself as judge, pursues Zapatistas and metes
out blame and punishment to whomever he believes to be responsible. While he
continues to violate the law for dialogue, the Cocopa doesn't get it (and takes
things with great c-a-a-a-lm), and the new governor of the system repeats that
same style of using many words to say nothing, which is so like the PRI
As for the rest, it's understandable why they haven't yet managed to
disarm the paramilitaries. All the soldiers are too busy trying to disarm us.
Anyway, it's a habit, the government says one thing, and the Army does
another. Vale. Health and may the new massacre promised by "Peace and Justice"
not take the "institutions of the Republic" by surprise.
P.S. WHICH ADDS ITSELF TO THE IMPROMPTU SIDEWALK INTERVIEWS - The EZLN agrees
with the call made by the Justice Secretary to a so-called Sebastian Guillen so
that he contribute to the efforts for peace in Chiapas. Yes, he should
contribute (where ever he is), and we think he should discuss it accompanied by
some nice stuffed crabs, or some grilled steak a la tampiquena.
P.S.S. WHICH PROVIDES TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE TO THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY - We
are seriously considering adding ourselves to the demand for "indiscriminate
disarmament". I mean, so that the paramilitaries can be disarmed, because all
the little soldiers are hell-bent on disarming us. If there are any left over,
it would be good to send them to "Peace and Justice". They say they need a
haircut and their kitchen appliances fixed. The ones from the "Red Mask" don't
want a haircut (for obvious reasons) but they need their teeth fixed. The ones
from "MIRA" clamor for sex education classes and the "Chinchulines" demand
candies and little toys.
Don't send us any barbers or dentists. Better yet (and so said General
Morelos) send us a few little bombs because we are very bored by so many
airplanes, helicopters and tanks.
Anyway they look at it, they will never finish us nor will they shut
us up. Yepa, yepa, yepa! Andale, andale! Yepa, yepa, yepa!
By the way, when Zedillo finishes arranging his cabinet for the year
2000, tell him that Rojas' employee, the deputy Samuel Sanchez (the commander of
the group of criminals called "Peace and Justice") has already warned he will
bloody his territory. Please let general Gomez Salazar know that the story about
the EZLN and it's "goal" has already been used in 1994 and again in 1995. He
should think up something new, no?
P.S. ANOTHER ONE - The sea says that beyond us joining the march on the 12th,
we should tell you that you should hurry up and catch us because we began to
march since the beginning of this year and we have a speedy pace.
P.S. WHICH RETURNS TO THE MANIA OF TELLING STORIES AT DAWN - The Sup Speedy
Gonzalez searches for Rosita, excuse me, the sea, or Rosita, anyway, it's the
same thing, to tell her the story of... the story of the lime with an identity
There was once a lime who was in anguish. "I am neither lemon nor
orange", it told itself and worried a great deal as it hung from the tree. And
it looked and looked at the oranges on the tree and the lemons too, and was
still anguished because it belonged nowhere. Then Saul and Andulio arrived and
cut the lime off the tree and began to play soccer with it as the ball. "I am
cured!" yelled the ex-lime as Andulio dribbled to Saul and kicked it towards the
enemy goal, which was of course, the chicken coop. The yell of "go-o-o-o-al"
awakened a little pig who, thinking it was a chick, slept on a roost of the
chicken coop. Tan-tan.
(Moral of the story: the closet has more than one door.)
Rosita ignored Speedy, and only said "that story is sillier than the
other one". Oh well.
P.S. THE COLLABORATOR - In order to collaborate with the coup d'etat which
the general Jose Gomez Salazar acts out in the Mexican Southeast, we send now
another list of those involved (foreigners, no less) directly in the armed
movement of the transgressors of the law. As proof of their participation we
offer the books they wrote, found in some of the camps of "those who will not
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, William Shakespeare, Euripides, Socrates
(via Plato), and Homer.
Once again. El Sup. (Yepa, yepa, yepa! Andale, andale, andale! Yepa,
Zapatista Army of National Liberation Mexico. January of 1998. To
national and international society: Brothers and Sisters.
The Zapatista Army of National Liberation salutes the national and
global mobilization which demands justice and an end to the war in Mexico, which
took place on January 12th. We salute all those who demonstrate in Mexico and on
the five continents as they mobilize against the massacre of Acteal, the
re-initiation of the persecution of the Zapatistas in the mountains of the
Mexican Southeast, and of the government's failure to fulfill the San Andres
Men, women, children, and elderly, of all social classes, of all
races, of diverse languages, of different nations all over the world, have
joined their voices to say Ya Basta! To the extermination of the Indian peoples
The best thoughts of Mexico and of the world have mobilized in order
to demand a peaceful solution to indigenous demands, to demand justice for the
genocide of Acteal, and to stop the persecution of the Zapatistas. January 12th
is a day of celebration for us, a day of encounter.
On this day we remember and salute the fact that we have found one
another. Our aspirations are the same: democracy, liberty and justice for
everyone. Our paths are different, but within us is the same commitment to a
life enlightened and accompanied by those three fundamental demands.
This January 12th, while in Mexico and different parts of the world
justice and respect for indigenous Mexicans is demanded, the government
continues with its strategy of lies, treason and assassinations.
On these days, the ambassadors of the government are stationed
throughout the world to sell lies and hide massacres. But at this point, it is a
secret to no one that on December 22nd the Mexican government ordered the
assassination of 45 children, women and men in the indigenous community of
Acteal. Death squads, armed and trained and directed by the government attacked
a group of indigenous people, killed the wounded, opened the wombs of pregnant
women, and annihilated everything they found in their path.
For those dead children, for those women who were dismembered like
animals, for those men who were assassinated we ask for justice. All of us are
clear and in agreement about this demand, in Mexico and in the world. Justice
for the dead, punishment for the true assassins.
Nevertheless, the Justice Ministry of the Republic does all it can to
hide what has happened, to distract public attention, to make injustice the
crown placed upon the tombs of the dead of Acteal.
Acteal is symbolic of a form of government: the form which plays at
peace and makes war; the form which pretends to dialogue as it prepares reason;
the form which promises a peaceful solution and assassinates the innocent. The
government planned the massacre. The government prepared and equipped the
assassins. The government arrived later in order to erase the evidence. The
government bends over backwards now to present the massacre as a minor conflict,
the product of internal conflicts and a "war among the poor" to which it is
extraneous. But since two years ago, the Mexican federal government began a
counterinsurgency strategy to arm, train and direct paramilitary bands with the
goal of having them confront Zapatista support bases.
Acteal is the symbol of a war of extermination, the true government
response to the just demands of the indigenous peoples of Mexico. The
"extermination of the Zapatista bases" is the slogan of the criminal bands of
the government. Their actions have provoked the displacement of thousands of
indigenous families, Zapatistas and non-Zapatistas from their communities. These
refugees are to surrender to hunger and death, with the complicity of the
government who first persecutes and assassinates them, and then offers them
humanitarian aid with the singular goal of whitewashing its image in the
exterior. To the global demands for justice the government responds as though
nothing had happened. The massacre remains behind and becomes, through the magic
of the government lie, one more act of inter-family violence, bureaucrats are
fired and replaced by others who will guarantee the impunity of those who have
been removed. And the Mexican government complains that after having ordered
them persecuted and killed, the indigenous rebels behave with dignity and do not
accept the alms with which they seek to buy their silence, their pardon, and
But Acteal is also the symbol of the struggle of two efforts; that of
the government who seeks the victory of amnesia and impunity; and that of civil
society which seeks true justice and refuses to forget the worst crime of the
past 30 years. And the struggle for memory and justice is the struggle for a
peace with dignity.
You are united with us in this struggle.
Massacres, persecutions, lies, and simulations will not replace a true
Peace and justice will not come from the government.
They will come from civil society, from its initiatives, from its
To civil society, to you, we speak today.
To your demand for justice we add our voice.
To your demand for an end to the war and the persecution we add our
To your demand for a peace with justice we add our voice.
And together with all of you we demand the fulfillment of the San
The Zapatista Army of National Liberation salutes the mobilizations of
this January 12th which are occurring in Mexico and other parts of the world.
Together with you, we demand...
Democracy! Liberty! Justice!
Ricardo Dominguez is Managing Editor of Thingnyc, a member of the New York
Committee for Democracy in Mexico, and a former member of Critical Art Ensemble.
Translated by Cecilia Rodriguez, NCDLJ.
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