Marcos: The table at San Andrés

March 1988


Between the amnesia from above and the memory of below
For my Mariana, in other words, the sea of my insomnia.
(First Key)
``And all this happened to us.
We saw it,
We watched it.
With this lamentable and sad luck.'
We were anguished.
On the roads lay broken spines.
Hair is scattered everywhere.
The houses without roofs.
The walls are reddened.
Worms crawl through the streets and plazas,
and brains are splattered on the walls.
The waters are red, they are colored,
and when we drink of them,
it is as though we are drinking brine water.
We beat, meanwhile, the adobe walls,
and our inheritance was a web of holes.
Swords were their defense,
not even the swords could sustain their solitude."

Anonymous, Tlatelolco, 1528

In "Apparition of the Conquered." Miguel Leon-Portilla, Angel Ma. Garibay y Alberto Beltr·n. UNAM, MÉxico.

I.- The dispute in San Andrés: oblivion against memory.

On February 16th of 1996, the representatives of the federal government and the Zapatista Army of National Liberation signed the first agreements of the so-called "Table of San AndrÉs'', so named because it occurred in the municipality of San AndrÉs Sacamch'en of the Poor, in the Highlands of Chiapas. In those first agreements a large part of the rights and culture of the Indian peoples of Mexico are recognized. Two years have gone by and they have not been fulfilled. Two years during which the true nature of the Table of San AndrÉs'' has been revealed.

The federal government, through its spokesmen (Zedillo, Labastida and Rabasa) have made it clear that in word and deed THEY WILL NOT fulfill the agreements of San Andres.

Why? At the present time there are three versions.

1.- It is said that they intend to fulfill them, but they disagree with the "legal interpretation" contained in the initiative developed by the COCOPA.

2.- It is said, that the government learned somewhat late, that those agreements constituted an act of "treachery to the Nation" since they implied the wounding of national sovereignty, the fragmentation of the country and the creation of a "State within a State".

3.- It is said that the government did not sign those agreements in the belief it would fulfill them, but in the pretense of a disposition which is far from reality.

It is not likely that the government's reluctance to honor the agreements it signed almost two years ago - and whose lack of fulfillment has done nothing but aggravate the war it has in the Mexican southeast-is due to a "legal interpretation". Since its rejection of the COCOPA initiative, almost 14 months ago, the government is presenting arguments which contradict one another and none of them contain "legal technicalities". Its refusal to fulfill them is not due to a sincere preoccupation with the dangers of "balkanization" or something which attacks national sovereignty. The San Andres Agreements contain nothing which impact the first or contradict the second, and the government knows it.

Is it the third reason then? Yes, but it is not all. The signing of the agreements in themselves does not have major consequences, above all for an illegitimate government which has no credibility. To fulfill them presents a grave problem though. Because their fulfillment represents a defeat for the government at the table of San Andres.

Yes, because, while the table at San Andres was, for the Indian peoples, a table of dialogue and negotiation, for the government it was the site of a fight, the scenario for a struggle, a struggle between oblivion against memory.

On the side of oblivion are the multiple forces of the Market.

On the side of memory is the solitary reason of History.

This is the grand fight for the Mexican government, the fight of the 20th Century: the Market against History.

II.- A fight of many rounds!

This fight at the end of the century which the Mexican government fights against itself San Andres is a small boxing ring. The boxers are the same ones which have fought, throughout the different eras of humanity.

On one side is the Market, the new sacred beast. Money and its conception of time which denies yesterday and tomorrow. On the other side is History (the one which Power always forgets). Memory and its trajectory is to ground and temper humanity in the past, the present and the future.

In the world of "modernity," the cult to the present is the weapon and the shield. Today is the new altar upon which principles, loyalties, convictions, shame, dignity, memory and truth are sacrificed. The past is no longer, for the technocrats whose rule our nation suffers, a guide to be learned from and upon which to grow. The future can be nothing more than a lengthening of the present for these professionals of amnesia.

In order to defeat History, it is denied a horizon which goes beyond the neoliberal "here and now." There is no "before" or "after" today. The search for eternity is finally satisfied: the world of money is not only the best of all possible worlds, it is the only one necessary.

For the "neo-politicians" the only acceptable attitude towards the past and history is a mix of nausea and regret. The past should be devalued, ignored, eliminated. The past and all it reminds us of, or which leads us to look at it another way. What better example of this phobia of history is there, than the attitude of the Mexican government towards Indian peoples? Are not the indigenous demands a worrisome stain which history puts out in order to dim the splendor of globalization? Is not the very existence of indigenous people an affront for the global dictatorship of the Market.

Fulfilling the San AndrÉs agreements is equivalent to acknowledging that History has a place in the present. And this is unacceptable ("irrefutable" says Mister Labastida Ochoa, temporary Minister of Governance). To fulfill the San AndrÉs Agreements is to admit that the end of the century is not the end of history. And this is intolerable (``not negotiable'' says the up and coming ex-coordinator of the governmental dialogue, Mister Emilio Rabasa). The present (in other words "Me", translates the actual vice-president Ernesto Zedillo) is the only acceptable guide.

The Mexican federal government will not fulfill the San Andres Agreements. It thus believes that the present will defeat history and can proceed to the future. But History, that stubborn and rude teacher of life, will return to pummel a truncated reality, faked by the masks of power and money. History will return for a re-match in the time in which the present is most vulnerable, in other words, the future.

Meanwhile, on the clock of San AndrÉs, the hands mark a quarter to twelve. Attention! The fight is about to begin...

Come on, it is pointless for you to look for a seat so you can watch the fight as a spectator. There are no seats in the place. The Supreme One, upon making the space for a peace dialogue into a boxing ring, has forced everyone to climb up to the ring... in order to box everyone. So, oh well, there is only space inside the ring. Silence now, here comes the announcer to announce the boxers.

III.- In this cornerrrrrr! The Federal Government!
(the strategy of amnesia induced by a knock-out blow)

``They put a price on us.
Price of the young man, the priest,
the child and the lady.
Enough: for a poor man the price was
only two handfuls of corn,
only ten loaves filled with flies;
our only price was
twenty loaves of nitrous dog-grass."

Ibid.

The beast of Power has made Chiapas into a war for the Nation, and in this fight it plays the role of boxer, judge, and often adversary. The Hydra of the State-Party system tries to completely fill the small boxing ring at the table of San AndrÉs. Not only to capture the front stage and display all its trappings, but to keep any rival from stealing the show or winning. In this way Power forces the "others" to come into the Fight, but they are admitted only as losers...

``I am waiting for them to get tired", Zedillo informed his true teachers (the North Americans), referring to the more than 10 million indigenous people who are waiting for him to keep his word. Zedillo thus declares that he will wait for the past to get tired of presenting past due accounts to modernity. The head of the executive branch waits for the Indian peoples of Mexico to get tired, the ones who already inhabited these lands before it became nation or a nation of History, the ones who, with their blood, fought for independence, the ones who, with their bodies confronted the successive aggressions of foreign invasions, the ones who, with their bones, gave a spine to the Mexican revolution, the ones who shook and awoke the Nation from the false dream of modernity.

Mister Zedillo, who came to Power through a murder, who stays in power through the good graces of money and indolence of the Hydra, who stains his hands with the blood of Acteal, has informed his superiors in the United States that he will wait until the Indian peoples, who have been waiting for 500 years, get tired.

The Market feels powerful and omnipotent, it thinks it can dominate history and rewrite it. The result of the proposition is evident: a terminal crisis of the society. Without a foundation (since history has been erased) the social structure and its pinnacle, the State, crumble away.

In the unstable government of Zedillo, San AndrÉs is only a sample of the crisis and the "style" for dealing with it. When he says he is going to wait for those who ask for justice to "get tired," the government is refusing to fulfill its word and resorts instead to two fundamental pillars to justify itself; some of the mass media and the army. For one and the other it has money, privileges and lies.

The "patient wait" of Zedillo is nothing more than another name for his strategy: he waits for the opportune moment to strike the resounding blow which will impose amnesia in Mexican society. He denies he will strike this blow, over and over again. This boxing "technique" has three fundamental parts: Violence, Lie and Intrigue.

Violence. The use of force in slowly increasing dosages. "Dodge, fake, attack" are the instructions Zedillo receives from his teachers. The extermination of the opponent can be achieved through a variety of means. Deception, treachery and crime are the preferred means of this man who has stamped his administration with these three "virtues" as his personal style of government.

Through his soon to be ex-minister of Governance, Francisco Labastida Ochoa and his still "dialogue coordinator", Emilio Rabasa Gamboa, Mister Zedillo attempts once and again, uselessly, to trap the Zapatista leadership in ambushes disguised as "meetings."

The first attempt is a letter without an addressee, address, or signature. Anonymous. The date? January 23, 1998. With the letter comes a verbal message: "We propose a secret meeting between Subcomandante Marcos and the Ministry of Governance for January 26th of 1998. The meeting will be private, there will be no witnesses, and will be made public (if it is agreed) after its conclusion. It is important that this be kept absolutely secret because the army knows nothing."

But the message, like everything the government does, arrives late. The General Command of the EZLN receives the proposal on January 26th of 1998, in the midst of an intense land and aerial military mobilization. The ambush fails and the Minister of Governance is offended by the answer he receives ("No!") from the Zapatistas. There are several reproaches, but one remains unsaid: "Why didn't they fall into the trap?"

Why was Mister Emilio Rabasa so afraid that the federal army would capture the document of January 23rd of 1998 which, without a signature, addressee or sender, was sent through Conai?

The second is a document in the same style of the "letter" of January 23rd. Without return address, or signature or concrete proposal we receive a document which contains the "4 observations which used to be 27". The so-called "4 observations ("irrefutable", Labastida adds later, as a sample of his negotiating nature) which are not 4 but 15, and are not addressed to the EZLN nor to anyone.

But we will speak about this later on. For now, we only ask: Why does the army increase its pressure during the days in which the EZLN receives the "4-observations-which-are-15-but-at-least-not-27" anymore?

The answers may vary, but basic things do not change: force attempts to replace reason. And the Federal Army is here to exert force. In exchange for its services it is offered the opportunity to charge a high price for the challenge of the Zapatista rebellion. It doesn't matter that its "supreme commander" obliges the armed forces to walk against history. In order to assist this end, arises...

The Lie. Overdose of slander.- The attempts, failed until now, of an annihilation of the Zapatista leadership is accompanied by a "media campaign" for public opinion. In order to hide the governmental plan of re-negotiation (or lack of fulfillment) of the San Andres Agreements and to justify the military and police persecution, the debate is centered no longer on the rights of Indians and the failure to fulfill what has been signed, but upon who doesn't want to sit at the negotiating table.

But negotiation for what? Haven't we already dialogued? Didn't we come to some agreements which have not been carried out? Was there an attempt to resolve the conflict or a pretense of dialogues and negotiations that have no results?

The fundamental questions are buried underneath the tomb of declarations of the government and its goals. "No to intransigence. We do want to negotiate", declares the Ministry of Governance, and with the noise they try to confuse. But Zedillo has spoken clearly in the nation which really owns him, North America. "No to San Andres. We are going to wait for the moment of payment." The failed action is amended in Mexico by the neo-pretender Emilio Rabasa with one more declaration, just as hollow and noisy as all the ones before.

In some mass media there continue to be symptoms of stupidity which have not been relegated and which work so that everything will continue to be as before. In them the government finds echo and mirror for its words and deeds. The slander is recycled: indigenous who are manipulated, foreigners who manipulate, strange forces which use the conflict to favor their perverse interests, occult intentions, intransigence. They are the same accusations they made 4 years ago, 3, 2, even one year ago: the indigenous are good, the perverse ones are the mestizos and the foreigners who manipulate them. These governmental "media campaigns" always accompany a military campaign.

And it is not that the government and "modern" journalism are betting that they will be believed, but they do believe that they can plant confusion and mete out the illegitimacy that they enjoy. "You must believe in no one," says the actual governmental campaign, "We are all equal" in other words "we are all the worst".

Remembering that crimes attract reflectors, the crime of Acteal in Chiapas has attracted different personalities of the "Zedillo mob." There you have the Minister of Health exploiting his own sickening image near an indigenous child. The child does not know if her most terrible stigma is having lost her parents at Acteal, or being used by the assassins in order to wash their hands. The photo and the lie is accompanied by Lady Roccatti of the CNDH [Mexican Commission on Human Rights, translator's note].

In another corner up above, in the so-called "Ministry of Governance" "alternatives" are offered, which accompany the couple violence-lie which confront the indigenous rebellion. Blows and slander accompany them...

Intrigue. The price tag of the dialogue. - But in spite of all its barbarity, the government offers, out of its bounty, an alternative to annihilation: another kind of negotiation: the one specialty of the political class, the agreement which is secret and made among a select few.

In Zedillo's government no one really believes that the indigenous demands really matter to the EZLN. They think the Zapatistas have a price and that they are using the Indian demands only to sell themselves at a higher price. So they ponder and they try to figure the price and let their "opponent" know that they are willing to pay it.

With its effort to think of the EZLN as though it were a "normal" political organization, it offers to negotiate the indigenous theme, again and again, in exchange for "other" things: the retreat of the federal army, participation in local organizations, the reorganizing of the municipalities to the convenience of the Zapatistas, the management of money in governmental projects, credits and even...a pardon for what the EZLN did!

The last "offer" of Mister Labastida (the "review of the positions of the army in exchange for the re-negotiation of the indigenous theme") is only an example of the lures which, just like Mister Rabasa, are thrown out in order to deceive the Zapatistas and confuse public opinion. So the government increases the military presence and the persecution. Then it says it will return the Army to its previous position if, in exchange, the EZLN forgets its demand that the San Andres Agreements be fulfilled. It attacks the autonomous municipalities and offers to "reorganize them in order to "erase" their indigenous essence; it proposes that the commanders of the CCRI-CG of the EZLN receive money directly from the government and administer it; it offers to "forget" the rebellion which shook Mexico and ruined the end of the year and the century party.

Consequently, the threats of the government increase in tone and volume. "Accept my conditions or we will kill you" is the message repeated once and again by the voices of Power. Replace the dialogue through gangster-style intimidation. The threats provoke worry in minds which are honest and enthusiasm in the cynics. The first see how easy it will be to go from words (ultimatums of different kinds) to deeds (the war), and the second unleash their bravado and call for extermination. Each step of the government brings the war closer and can bring on amnesia. It will be forgotten that peace should come with justice and dignity and not as a simulation.

They want the threats to make public opinion choose re-negotiation over annihilation. And behind the re-negotiation that the government pretends to hold about the indigenous theme, is the negation of San Andres, the negation of "another politics," of the politics which grew and deepened when the table of San Andres stopped being a boxing ring and became a wide and deep table of encounter and birth...

IV.- In the other corners!...

The COCOPA and the CONAI! (the Mediation and the Coadjutation in the trap: Will they be effective and endure the beating, or will they be accomplices and be dishonest?).

The government insists upon its plan to make the COCOPA and the CONAI into messengers who deliver anonymous mail, cowardly threats and invitations to failed ambushes. Both know that the document "27 pretend observations in 15 and hidden in 4" have nothing to say to the Zapatistas. The real object of the mail is the COCOPA, which is the entity which wrote the legal initiative. The government document points out that the COCOPA doesn't want to carry out the San Andres Agreements!

The Cocopa can become mired once again. Under the leadership of the Bernal-Del Valle duo it has already suffered a strategy of reduction and mockery. The "cocopos" said then "never more". But now the new dynamic duo Labastida-Rabasa wants to reassign them to the role of governmental spokesmen, replacements for the mediation, saviors of a regime without credibility, and legislative sanction of state violence.

The new trap which has been laid out by the government consists of making the Cocopa believe that the ice breaker would be the total re-negotiation of the San Andres Agreements or at least that the legislators accept the observations made to their legal initiative. The cocopos resist entering a situation which would take them to break their word (and with that lose all credibility with the Indian peoples and make the illegitimacy of the government their own): they responded that they would sustain their legal initiative on indigenous rights but they would accept transmitting the observations of the government to the Conai so that it, would send them to the Zapatistas. This is how they created an equally grave situation for the conflict.

As has been stated before, the governmental observations are not intended for the EZLN (if someone possesses enough "Zedillista" patience to read them, they are an attachment to this document), but for the legislative commission. The government has stated publicly that they are expecting a response from the EZLN, and some members of the Cocopa have echoed this wait. Why fall into the trap? Why the complicit silence about the true content and significance of the document from Governance? Why add legislators to the snapping of fingers with which the government demands the surrender while it shows the ostensible club of repression?

There can be several answers. One is that the legislative commission has decided to participate actively or passively in the new belligerent strategy of the government (it seems unlikely, there are still honest and responsible people in the Cocopa). Another is that the Cocopa has decided that it is preferable to re-negotiate the agreements rather than return to war (an understandable position...yet erroneous: to re-negotiate the agreements means - for us - that no agreement will be fulfilled and the dialogue will be destroyed as a means for a solution. This will give the government the excuse to return to the war). Another possibility is that the Cocopa is still absorbing what is happening and is trying to clarify its role in the midst of the confusion which reigns.

In addition to the pressure and the governmental traps, some of the "cocopos" suffer the traps of their own party leadership. Chiapas has become, in addition to a prelude which prepares the presentation of pre-candidates for the year 2000, into "negotiable" currency in exchange for other things (Governor's seats? The Bartlett law? Definitive enrollments? Municipal presidencies? Cabinet posts? Etcetera?)

The CONAI meanwhile suffers continual persecution from the networks of Power and its good faith in the search for peace is used to reinforce the governmental strategy. The reluctance of the mediators to convert themselves into instruments of war is responded to with a governmental campaign which tries to destroy the Conai, or at least, reduce its profile to a piece of scenery. If the Conai shows optimism towards the dialogue, the government salutes it and uses its declarations in its favor; but when the mediation expresses worry about the militarization and the lack of peace gestures from the government, the attack on the members of the mediating body is immediate.

If the tactic of making the Conai and the Cocopa go into the "ring" is successful, the result will help the government in two ways: on one hand it will recuperate (together with the mediation and the adjutant) the legitimacy it lost with the massacre of Acteal, with the failure of the politics of omission and diminishment, and the war of attrition against the Zapatistas and the Indian peoples; on the other hand using them (in the worst meaning of the word) to isolate and fence in the EZLN, it will make the Conai and the Cocopa as well, lose all legitimacy and trust of the source of their legitimacy and support, national and international civil society.

By beating the COCOPA on one side and the CONAI on the other, and by seeding xenophobia in order to avoid international mediation, the government does not seek a direct "dialogue", but the elimination of obstacles and uncomfortable witnesses of the crime whose commission was nurtured since the day Zedillo entered Los Pinos [presidential palace, translator's note].

We do not gloat about this. We Zapatistas are not enthused about the "blue helmets" (which so enthuse the National Action Party). We do not celebrate the blows to the COCOPA and the CONAI. On the contrary, history shows that a weak mediation and an adjutant which has no independence and legitimacy, not only distance the proximity of a dignified and peaceful solution, but they also contribute to the deterioration of a situation which, day by day, adds deaths and impunities.

The Legislative Power and the Political Parties! (the Congress wavers between independence and servility; the political parties between pragmatism and principles).

With war knocking on the doors of the Nation, the Legislative Power has a role which can be defining and definitive. The military has convinced the executive branch and the legislators from the PRI, that the blow in Chiapas will be "surgical" and shed only the necessary blood. But the "sterility" of the necessary crime requires that inconvenient legal obstacles disappear, and there is a law (the one for dialogue) which is an obstacle. It requires then, the destruction of that law so that the military (or police) can act "legally."

The PRI line-up has a new opportunity to "serve the president" untying his hands (if there is one part which is reaping benefits from the conflict in Chiapas it is the Institutional Revolutionary Party, not for winning points, but for wiping out opponents - with the disinterested help of the paramilitaries), by annulling the law which prohibits the persecution of the Zapatistas. The other parties (PRD, PAN, PT and PVEM) works with these variable in order to win the elimination of the law for dialogue passed nearly 3 years ago (March 11 of 1995).

It appears to be an inconceivable horror to have a Congress and some political parties which give support to the genocide which Zedillo prepares for the Mexican southeast (the "surgical strike" is only possible on paper, in the mountains of Chiapas it will be only the first and last step into the abyss of war). Deputies and senators will have to choose between independence and servility, the political parties will have to choose between pragmatism and principles. Everyone will have to choose peace or war.

Not because this writer says so, but because the History of this country erupted in Indian lands. The arena of struggle which the government has made into a boxing ring, San Andres, does not leave space for spectators and forces everyone to take a side. If before Chiapas could be seen as a state of the Mexican southeast, after the State crime perpetrated in Acteal the "Chiapas" affair blew up in Tijuana and Merida, in Queretaro and Veracruz, in the Federal District and in the mountains of the Tarahumara, in Jalisco and in the mountains of Oaxaca, in Nayarit and Tlaxcala, in all the national territory.

Not only that, it also exploded in the cubicles, laboratories and departments of the Universities, in the theaters, the cafes, the movie theaters, the rock concerts, the art, the sculpture, the literature and journalism, in the unions and popular neighborhoods, in the living rooms, bedrooms and kitchen of the Mexican homes, in Europe and Asia, in Canada, the United States, Latin America, Africa and Oceania.

Everywhere it exploded and divided people between those who ratify cynicism and selfishness as a route, and those who walk with a commitment to hope as a guide and those who are obliged by the responsibility of being human beings to be accountable and to refuse to remain paralyzed before the mirror offered them by the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

V.- Intermission: Chocolates and Swiss airplanes,
the neoliberal alternative for the Indian peoples.

The Mexican government has continually referred to the situation of the Indian peoples as the product of "left-over" economic inequities which can be resolved through private investments and social programs. But, says Zedillo, these backward economic and social zones are insignificant. The rest of the nation moves through a macroeconomic bonanza and all that is needed is to accelerate the "modernization" of the indigenous Mexico so that it shares the well-being which all Mexicans share? A lie. "Neoliberal integration of Mexico in NAFTA, will deepen the regional inequalities, by prioritizing areas with a competitive edge, neglecting less favorable regions and thereby the gap between marginal and prosperous regions" (Jose Luis Calva. "El Universal". February 20, 1998.)

In the eternal present polished by neoliberalism , the past is erased completely and redefined by defining a better future. The indigenous should stop being and convert themselves to the new religion of the market as "coupiers" of casinos or workers in the twin-plant industry. This last is the only branch of the economy (besides financial speculation and drug trafficking, of course) which has had the growth which the technocrats promised for all of Mexico with NAFTA. From 1974 to 1982 the number of twin plants grew by 28%, but in the period from 1983 to 1997 the percentage grew to 455%; the number of workers increased by 67% during the period of 1974-82 and by 747% from 1983 to 1997. (Jose Luis Calva. Ibid.)

Mister Zedillo, who likes to talk correctly in front of his teachers and mislead his subjects, defines in Davos, Switzerland, the alternative offered to Mexican indigenous people by his social model.

As a response to the international uproar about the massacre of Acteal, Ernesto Zedillo announced the signing of an agreement to build a Swiss chocolate factory in Chiapas!

Airplanes and chocolates are the only governmental proposals for "economic development" used to resolve the serious "historic residue" suffered by the Indian peoples.

There is no future with respect and dignity for the indigenous in the Mexico of Zedillo. He has only one alternative: surrender and turn into the employees of a Swiss chocolate factory, or continue to be rebels and be attacked by Swiss airplanes.

This is consistent globalization...

VI.- "Kill that rock!"
(Resistance, a prehistoric weapon in modernity).

Mister Zedillo cannot tolerate the fact that women and children confront the soldiers to defend their few belongings. The "supreme chief" of the Federal Army prefers that the children and women wait, with humility and resignation, for the shot which the Mexican government saves for them as a ticket to modernity. "Mister President" cannot tolerate the serious dignity with which men, women, children and elderly indigenous people reject food, medicine, government money and projects. He wants the Indians to be submissive, humiliated, servile, sitting in a corner with their hands out in order to receive the charity which they should appreciate with enthusiasm.

In order to explain to himself something which to him is nonsense, Zedillo figures the brave resistance is due to those "perverse provocateurs" who, instead of promoting surrender, support and nurture the firm dignity of those who are opposed to neoliberal arrogance.

With great care, and for more than 12 years the technocrats who administer the seasonal liquidation sale of national sovereignty- in other words, the destruction of Mexico- have been constructing a gigantic dome of protection over financial capital. The objective is to isolate definitively (definitive is one of the favorite words of Mister Zedillo) the blows of social reality. In order to make this dome more resistant to the nightmare which assails the doors of history ever stronger, the Mexican government has made "intermediaries" of the Army and the electronic media.

But the indigenous rebellion is now a rock which hits once and again the great dome of power of money.

With that brutal and bloody pragmatism which characterizes it, the Mexican government has prescribed the antidote: "KILL THAT ROCK".

That is what they are doing. There is only one problem: the rocks do not die. At most they become smaller rocks...

VII. What's next?

On behalf of the government the same continues except on a higher scale. It tries to win advantages before the electoral process. And it bets, after the elections, it will recompose itself in order to "regulate" the process of presidential selection which is out of control, and "de-Chiapanize" the national agenda, obtain a breathing space in order to recompose its international image and alleviate the weariness of the military. For this it needs for the law for dialogue of March 11, 1995 to be set aside, and the reactivation of the arrest orders and the pursuant renewal of the persecution.

IN addition it carries out the media campaign about the "perverse provocateurs" and "manipulators" of the "poor" indigenous, the mining of the moral authority of the Zapatista leadership, etc. Meanwhile the Army refurbishes its role and redefines it as a container. Enter now the "special commandos" but perhaps under another name, and they apply to the EZLN leadership the so-called "rabbit hunt." The commanders pursue and the government waits for the prey to fall...in whatever way possible.

As far as the EZLN is concerned it will continue to resist and continue firm in its struggle for the recognition of the rights of the Indian peoples. It will continue to seek out the paths to extend new bridges of dialogue with national and international civil society and the political and social organizations of Mexico.

On behalf of the Cocopa, the Conai, The Congress of the Union and the Political parties, what follows is that they choose one of the alternatives which confront them.

On behalf of you, man, woman, child, youth, elderly, homosexual, lesbian, housewife, squatter, worker, farmer, employee, artist, intellectual, scientist, student, teacher, in whatever part of Mexico or the World, what's next is, is, well, you tell us what's next. Perhaps it is possible to refuse to sit in that absurd ring in which the Hydra lies and assassinates, and construct a dialogue which is no longer a fight in disguise. Yes, why not? Let the Hydra destroy itself. Construct in its place not a battleground, but a table where all that we are can sit down, a table which is very other, wide and deep such as the one all of you and us constructed in San Andres more than two years ago, a table which has yesterday as a foundation, the present as a cover, and the future as food, a table which lasts a long time and does not crumble, a table made of rocks, many little rocks, many resistances (this is the disguise of hope when times are difficult).

Value.
Health, and if memory continues, do not forget to pick up in your hand one of those rocks so feared by the neoliberal Goliath which, like all rocks, never dies...

>From the (rocks) of the mountains of the Mexican Southeast

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.
Indigenous Mexico, February of 1998


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