Welcomes Mexico's New President:
Start from Zero"
The Narco News Bulletin
Name of Our Country is América"
December 2, 2000
Mr. Vicente Fox
Los Pinos, Mexico City
Six years ago we wrote a letter to Ernesto
Zedillo Ponce de León, your predecessor. Now that you
are the new head of the federal executive branch, it is my duty
to inform you that beginning today you have inherited a war in
the Mexican Southeast; that which on January 1st, 1994 the Zapatista
Army of National Liberation declared against the federal government
in the demand for democracy, liberty and justice for all the
Since the beginning of our uprising we
have confronted the federal troops according to military honor
and the laws of war. Since then, the Army has attacked us without
any military honor and violating international treaties. More
than 70,000 federales (including more than 20,000 of the
so-called "special counter-insurgency troops") have
surrounded and pursecuted the Zapatistas for 2,525 days (counting
today). During 2,000 of those days they have violated the Dialogue
Law, the Negotiation and the Dignified Peace in Chiapas, approved
by the Congress of the Union on March 10, 1995.
During these almost seven years of war
the Zapatistas have resisted and we have confronted two federal
executives (self-named "presidents"), two secretaries
of national defense, six Interior Ministers, Five "peace"
commissioners, five "governors" of Chiapas and a multitude
of mid-level bureaucrats. They're all gone. Some are being investigated
for their links with organized crime. Others are in exile or
on their way there. Others, still, are unemployed.
During these almost seven years we the
Zapatistas have insisted, time and time again, on the path of
dialogue. We have done so because we have an agreement with Civil
Society, that called upon us to silence the weapons and try a
Now that you assume the title of the federal
Executive Branch, you must know that, beyond inheriting the war
of the Mexican Southeast, you inherit the possibility of choosing
how to face it.
During your campaign and since July 2nd,
you, Mr. Fox, have said time and time again that you are going
to choose dialogue to face our demands. Zedillo said the same
thing during the months that preceded his inauguration, but two
months later he ordered a huge military offensive against us.
You will understand that the distrust
in everything that is government, independently of what political
party it belongs to, has already indelibly marked our thinking
If, from our understandable distrust of
the word of power, we tell you the contradictions and frivolities
that you and those who accompany you have committed without a
first look, then it is also my duty to tell you that, with the
Zapatistas (and I believe not only with the Zapatistas), you
start from zero in what is referred to as credibility and trust.
We cannot trust in someone who has exhibited
the shallowness and ignorance to state that the indigenous demands
can be resolved with "a Volkswagen, a TV and a changarro."
"changarro" is a Mexican slang for a small shop or
a market stand, related to the word "chango," or monkey).
We cannot give credit to whomever tries
to "forget" (that is, "give amnesty to")
the hundreds of crimes comitted by the paramilitaries and their
patrons who deliver them impunity.
He who with shortness of vision and businessman's
logic has a government plan to convert the indigenous into mini-micro-businessmen
or into employees of the businessman of this six-year term does
not inspire our confidence. All in all, this plan is no more
than an intent to continue the ethnocide that, below different
styles, brings neoliberalism forward in Mexico.
Thus, it's good that you know that none
of this will prosper on Zapatista lands. Your program of "disappear
an indigenous and create a businessman" will not be permitted
on our soil. Here, and under many Mexican skies, the indigenous
being doesn't just have to do with blood and origen, but also
with the vision of life, death, culture, land, history, tomorrow.
They have failed to anhilate us with arms. They who try to eliminate
us by turning us in to "businessmen" will fail.
Note that I have told you that, with the
Zapatistas, you begin from zero in credibility and trust. This
means that you don't have to overcome, still, anything negative
(because it is fair to say that you have not attacked us). You
can, then, prove those who gamble that your government will repeat
the nightmare of the PRI for all the Mexican people, especially
the Zapatistas, to be correct. Or you can, beginning from that
zero, begin to construct with deeds what all government needs
in its labor: credibility and trust.
The demilitarization that you have continually
announced (although it varies between "total withdrawl,"
"repositioning," or "reaccomodating," that
are not the same, something that you, your soldiers and we all
know) is at the start, insufficient, but necessary.
Not only in Chiapas, but above all in
Chiapas, you can prove those who desire your failure, or those
who give you the benefit of the doubt, or those who plainly deposit
what is called "hope" in you, to be correct.
Mr. Fox: In contrast with your predecessor
Zedillo (who came to power through the path of regicide and with
the support of that corrupt monster of the system of the party
of the state), you come to the federal Executive Branch thanks
to the rejection that the PRI carefully cultivated among the
population. You know it well, Mr. Fox: You won the election,
but you didn't defeat the PRI. It was the citizenry. And not
only those who voted against the Party of the State, but also
the previous and current generations who, in one form or another,
resisted and combated against the culture of authoritarianism,
impunity and crime that the PRI governments of 71 years constructed.
Although there is a radical difference
in the way that you come to power, your political, social and
economic project is the same that we have suffered in the most
recent presidential terms. A project of the country that means
the destruction of Mexico as a nation and its transformation
into a department store, something like a "mega-changarro"
that sells human beings and natural resources at the prices that
the global market dictates. The hidden agendas of privatizing
the electric industry, petroleum and education, and the sales
tax that you try to impose on medicine and food, are just a small
part of the grand plan of "restructuring" that the
neoliberals have for the Mexican people.
Not only that. With you, we contemplate
the return of moralist positions that are sealed with intolerance
and authoritarianism. It wasn't for nothing that the results
of July 2nd unleashed an offensive of persecution and destruction
by the confessional right wing. This has been suffered by women
(raped or not), youths, artists, dramaturges, homosexuals and
lesbians. Together with retired and pensioned people, together
with the handicapped, together with the indigenous, and together
with some 70 million poor Mexicans, these groups are called "minorities."
In "their" Mexico, Mr. Fox, these "minorities"
don't have a place.
We oppose this Mexico and we will do so
in radical form.
You can worry or not that a group of Mexicans,
mainly Indigenous, also are not in agreement with the mercantile
plans nor with the beligerance of the right wing. But you must
not forget that if the PRI lost power it is because the majority
of the Mexican people rebelled and succeeded in kicking it out.
That rebellion has not ended.
You and your team, from July 2nd to today,
have not done anything but insist that the citizens should return
to conformity and immobility. But it will not be that way. Your
neoliberal project will confront the resistance of millions.
Some members of your cabinet and allies
say that the EZLN must understand that the country has changed,
that it they (the Zapatistas) don't have any choice but to accept
it, to surrender, to take off the ski-masks and apply for credit
to put up a little store, buy a TV and make monthly payments
on a compact automobile.
They are wrong. We take it as a given
that we fight for change, but for us, "change" means
"democracy, liberty and justice." The defeat of the
PRI was a necessary condition for the country to change, but
not enough. Much is lacked, and you and the few members of your
cabinet who are politicians know it. Many things are missing
and, more importantly, millions of Mexican men and women already
What is missing, for example, are the
Indigenous. What is missing is to recognize constitutionally
their rights and culture that, believe me, have nothing to do
with the promotional sales of businesses. What is missing is
to demilitarize and deparamilitarize the indigenous communities.
What is missing is to free the prisoners of conscience. What
is missing is to bring disappeared politicians to justice. What
is missing is to reconstruct and defend our national sovereignty.
What is missing is an economic program that satisfies the needs
of the most poor. What is missing is that the citizens will be
full time citizens. What is missing is that the governors settle
accounts. And the peace is also missing.
Mr. Fox: During more than six years your
predecessor, Zedillo, spoke about the will to dialogue and he
gave us war. He chose confrontation and he lost. Now it is you
that has the opportunity to choose.
If you choose the path of sincere, serious
and respectful dialogue, simply demonstrate your disposition
with deeds. You will have the certainty that you will have a
positive response from the Zapatistas. There the dialogue can
be reinitiated and, soon, it will begin to construct a true peace.
In the public communiqué that we
attach, the EZLN makes known our demand for a series of minimum
signals on the part of the federal Executive Branch. If these
are made, everything will be ready to return to dialogue.
What will not be at play is whether or
not we oppose what you represent and what you mean for our country.
This there must not be any doubt: We are your contrarians. What
will be at play is whether this opposition can happen through
civil channels or if we must continue rising up in arms and with
our faces covered until we find what we seek, which is not any
other thing, Mr. Fox, except democracy, liberty and justice for
all the Mexican people.
Vale. Good health to you and hopefully
it is certain that in Mexico and in Chiapas there will be a new
From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.
For the Clandestine Revolutionary Committee
- General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.
Subcomandante insurgente Marcos
Mexican Transition: Immediate History
From Outside the Mass Media's Mega-Changarro