Open Letter from Marcos to Señor Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon

Señor Zedillo:

Six years ago I wrote to you in the name of all zapatistas, welcoming the
nightmare. Many now think we were right. Throughout this administration,
your term of office has been a long nightmare for millions of Mexican men
and women: assassinations, economic crises, massive impoverishment, the
illicit and brutal enrichment of a few, the selling off of the national
sovereignty, public insecurity, the strengthening of ties between the
government and organized crime, corruption, irresponsibility, war…and bad
jokes badly told.


Señor Zedillo:

Six years ago I wrote to you in the name of all zapatistas, welcoming the
nightmare. Many now think we were right. Throughout this administration,
your term of office has been a long nightmare for millions of Mexican men
and women: assassinations, economic crises, massive impoverishment, the
illicit and brutal enrichment of a few, the selling off of the national
sovereignty, public insecurity, the strengthening of ties between the
government and organized crime, corruption, irresponsibility, war…and bad
jokes badly told.

Throughout your administration you have striven to destroy the indigenous
who rose up in defiance of everything that you represent. You strove to
destroy them.

When you came to power you were free to choose how to confront the
zapatista uprising. What you chose and what you did is now history. In
your role as Commander-in-Chief of the federal army – and with all the
power given to the head of the Executive – you could have chosen the path
of dialogue and negotiation. You could have given signals of de’tente. You
could have carried out what you signed in San Andrés. You could have
reached peace.

You did not do so.

You chose, rather, the double strategy of feigning a willingness to
dialogue and of continuing the path of violence. In order to achieve that,
you tried to repeat the history of the Chinameca betrayal (February 9,
1995), you squandered thousands of millions of pesos trying to buy the
consciences of the rebels. You militarized the indigenous communities (and
not just in Chiapas). You expelled international observers. You trained,
equipped, armed and financed paramilitaries. You persecuted, jailed and
summarily executed zapatistas (remember Unión Progreso, June 10, 1998) and
non-zapatistas. You destroyed the social fabric of the chiapaneco
countryside. And, following the slogan of your putative child, the Red
Mask paramilitary group (“We will kill the zapatista seed”), you ordered
the massacre of children and pregnant women in Acteal on December 22, 1997.

We could understand why, being able to follow the path of dialogue, you
opted to make war against us. It could have been because they sold you the
idea that you could take us prisoners, that you could defeat us militarily,
that you could achieve our surrender, that you could buy us, that you could
deceive us, that you could make the Mexicans forget us and our struggle,
that you could make people from other countries give up their solidarity
with the indigenous cause. In short, that you could win the war against
us. That we could understand. But, Señor Zedillo, why Acteal? Why did
you order the assassination of children? Why did you order your henchmen
to finish pregnant women off with machetes who, wounded or terrified, were
unable to escape the massacre?

What, in fact, did you not do in order to finish off the zapatistas?

But were they finished off? They slipped through your ambush of February
9, 1995. They rebelled once more against your failure to fulfill the San
Andre’s Accords. They escaped from your military siege as often as they
wanted. They resisted your ferocious offensive, directed by the
‘croquetas’ Albores, against the Autonomous Municipalities. Over and over
again they demonstrated with mobilizations that their demands had the
support of millions of Mexicans. No, the zapatistas were not finished off.

And not only were they not finished off. In addition, they spread
throughout the world. Do you remember the times that you had to leave,
surreptitiously, through emergency exits, events being held in other
countries, while zapatista solidarity committees were protesting your
Chiapas policies? Is there any ambassador or consul who has not reported
to you with desperation the actions carried out by international zapatistas
at Mexican government events and buildings abroad? How often was your
foreign affairs service estranged because of the failure to carry out the
San Andrés Accords, for the militarization of Chiapas and the lack of
dialogue with the zapatistas? And, when you ordered the expulsion of
hundreds of international observers, did solidarity actions throughout the
world diminish?

And what do you have to say to me about Mexico? Instead of remaining
“limited to 4 chiapaneco municipalities,” zapatismo spread to the 32 states
of the federation. It became worker, campesino, indigenous, teacher,
student, employee, driver, fisherman, rocker, painter, actor, writer, nun,
priest, sportsman, housewife, neighbor, independent unionist, homosexual,
lesbian, transsexual, soldier, sailor, small and medium-sized business
owner, street vendor, handicapped person, retiree, pensioner, people.

Such were these 6 years, Señor Zedillo. Being able to choose between peace
and war, you opted for war. The results of this election are obvious: you
lost the war.

You did everything you could to destroy us.

We simply resisted.

You are going into exile.

We will still be here.

It is clear that we were right when, 6 years ago, the zapatistas told you
welcome to the nightmare. But, now that you are going, is it over yet?

Yes and no.

Because, for us, the nightmare with you is ending today. Another could
follow it, or the dawn could finally appear, we do not know, we shall do
everything possible so that it will be the morning which flourishes. But
for you, Señor Zedillo, the nightmare will only continue…

Vale. Salud, and it does not matter where you hide, there will be
zapatistas there as well.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.

Mexico, November of 2000.

Author: Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

News Service: Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN (Zapatista Army of National Liberation)

URL: http://www.eco.utexas.edu/faculty/Cleaver/chiapas95.html