Emiliano Zapata will not die by Decree

"The right to land, of those who work, it is inalienable."


[La Jornada, 4/11]April 10, 1994

To the people of Mexico:
To the people and governments of the world:
To the national and international press:

Brothers and Sisters:

The Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee-General Command of the Zapatista National Liberation Army addresses you to say the following:

Today, April 10, is the 75th anniversary of the assassination of General Emiliano Zapata. His cry of "Land and Liberty!" appeared to be drowned by the treachery of Venustiano Carranza. Today the usurper Salinas de Gortari, who calls himself "President of the Mexican Republic," lies to the people of Mexico saying that his reforms of Article 27 of the Constitution reflect the spirit of General Zapata. The supreme government is lying! Zapata will not die by an arrogant decree. The right to land, of those who work it, is inalienable, and the war cry of "Land and Liberty!" continues to have a place in these Mexican lands, lands under the banner of neoliberalism, which shadows our soil and imprisons and kills all of those campesinos who struggle for their agricultural rights.

The Salinista reforms of Article 27 of the Magna Carta represent a treachery to country, and the one responsible for this crime must be judged as a usurper of the federal executive power in Mexico.

Brothers and sisters, today we mark 100 days of the new dawn of our voice, in the mouths of the rifles of faceless men and women, the voice of the landless campesinos, of the agricultural workers, of the small property holders, of the Indigenous Mexicans. The voice of those who have nothing and deserve everything had to follow the path of its smallest people, the most humiliated, the most persecuted, the most forgotten. The voice of the true people spoke, the voice of the Mexicans dispossessed of their lands, of their dignity and of their history. Everything seemed to be lost in the long night of our peoples. The earth gave nothing but pain and death. But 10 years before this day, in our sorrowful lands, some planted the hope of life, that it might return to the true people. In the Mexican mountains, the seed of their word found a good place to be born. Their silence was cultivated. Their step was the night, to become dawn later.

Then, in our dawn, "Enough!", the land gave the fruits of that planting. Instead of pain was born rage; instead of humiliation came dignity; instead of laments, weapons were reaped. Thousands of men and women climbed out of the earth, from the same soil that only gave them poverty and the tender fire that would inhabit their hands, they covered their faces, they erased their pasts, they left behind their names and their lands, and began to walk the path of war. None of us, men and women of the night path, have a tomorrow. There will never again be any peace for our fears. Our bones and blood will never again find rest.

For whom do these men and women walk? Who drinks their blood? For who is the light of their words? For who is the death of their life? One hundred days. Ten years. Who will now join hands with these men and women who can't be here with you today. Who will now take the flag that their blood ripped out of the hands of the powerful? Who will add their steps to their dignified walk? Who speaks with them, with us, of voice and tender fury? Who will shout with us? Who will not abandon us? Who will struggle with us? Who will listen to our dead?

Not the usurper, whose arrogance is dispatched from the National Palace. Not he who sells us out. Not those who kill us. Not those who dispossess us? Not those who humiliate us?

You, brothers and sisters, yes. For you, our blood. For the night of all, our timid light. For your life, our death. Our war for your peace. For your ears, our words. Your pain, brothers and sisters, will find alleviation in our struggle. For you, everything, brothers and sisters; for us, nothing.

Brothers and sisters, in front of you, in that palace where today the lies reign, lives the man who denies everything to us and who has not been asked to be there. The powerful gentleman, who takes away our lives every day, should leave there. He must go, brothers and sisters. Nothing good comes from his doors. There are lies on his face and his word lives in deceit. He must go, brothers and sisters. This is the cry that comes from the mountains. This is what our blood says. This is what our dead ask. That he must go. Tell him this, brothers and sisters: That he must go!

Let no one else come to that palace that you have in front of you except through the mandate of the majority. Let the one who sits in that chair rule by obeying. Let the one who speaks from that balcony have truth in his words. Let the one who is our leader be so by obeying. Tell him this, brothers and sisters. This is what we want.

We cannot be with you this day, brothers and sisters. Our path is still in the night on the mountain. Our face is still gagged; our word is still far away. Take a moment, Mexican brothers and sisters! Give us a moment of your voice and let our words speak from your mouth. In that same instant, in the mountains of the Mexican Southeast, thousands of men and women with negated faces, nameless and with no past, renew in their breasts the first cry at the beginning of the year. Happiness is in our heart since Emiliano Zapata has come again, in your steps, to the Zo'calo of Mexico. We, small and forgotten, raise the image of Zapata in the other heart of the country: that of the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

Greetings Mexican brothers and sisters! May our cry be yours:

Viva Emiliano Zapata!
Death to the supreme government!
Freedom!
Justice!
Democracy!

Respectfully,
From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.
Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee-General Command of the Zapatista National Liberation Army.


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