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Cristóbal to Mexico City
24 to March 11, 2001
Narco News 2001
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Information in English...
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in Rough Order of Importance:
A. The Minimum Demands for Dialogue
1. Withdrawl of Mexican
Armed Forces from Seven Bases
As of January
20, 2001, Indigenous Zapatistas of Chiapas have taken back one
of the seven key positions, and President Vicente Fox has ordered
the withdrawl from three more. Still remaining are the military
bases in La Garrucha, Guadalupe Tepeyac and Rio Euseba.
of Zapatista Political Prisoners
As of January
17, 2001, 18 political prisoners have been released. More than
80 Zapatista political prisoners remain incarcerated in Chiapas,
Tabasco and Querétaro, including our June 2000 drug war heroes of the month.
into Law of the San Andrés Peace Accords
As of January
17, 2001, President Vicente Fox has sent the initiative of the
Cocopa Peace Commission to the Federal Congress, the legislation
that must be passed to comply with The San Andrés Accords. He has not made any serious lobbying
effort upon their behalf. And key members of his own PAN party
are making legislative attempts to block their passage. Specifically
to address the Congress and mobilize the citizenry to demand
compliance with this treaty, signed in 1996 by the Mexican government
but never made law, the General Command of the Zapatista Army
for National Liberation (EZLN) will advance upon Mexico City
via this historic caravan.
B. If you read Spanish...
to the official page:
C. Make a Contribution to the Peace Initiative
Army of National Liberation, through the new Zapatista Information
Center, issues a call to national and international solidarity
to support this peace initiative economically.
of any size into the following bank account:
437. Número -500I060-5.
In the name of la Señora María del Rosario Ibarra.
San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, México.
for international contributions:
D. Inform the Zapatistas of Your Solidarity
regarding the official mailing list:
related to the official web site:
If you wish to
send an encrypted message to the EZLN, The PGP program is available at:
E. The Caravan Route and Itinerary
on January 27!
As of January
27, 2001, the Zapatistas have announced the following information
about the historic caravan to Mexico City:
1. It Will Travel Through
Oaxaca, Puebla, Veracrúz, Tlaxcala, Hidalgo, Querétaro,
Guanajuato, Michoacan, the State of Mexico, Morelos, Guerrero,
and back through Morelos on the way to Mexico City.
2. Here's the Route:
Schedule Announced by the EZLN
a few notes added by us about the places along the road)
Info in Yellow...
24: The Zapatista Delegations
will leave from La
Realidad, La Garrucha, Oventik and Moises Gandhi where Civil Society will meet them and with them converge upon San Cristóbal
de Las Casas.
25: The Zapatista Delegation
leaves San Cristóbal, stopping
briefly for a public event in the state capital of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, and into the State of
Oaxaca via Tapanatepec and La Ventosa. The delegation will stop to salute a concentration
of indigenous allies at the border of Oaxaca. The Central Event will be in Juchitán,
Oaxaca in front of
City Hall. The delegates
will spend the night in Juchitán. (More info soon on these pages about the history
and struggles of Juchitán, the largest Indigenous City
in América, and longtime friend of our publication. During
the Zapatista Caravan of September 1997, more than 40,000 Juchitecos
and Juchitecas came to welcome them in the Central Plaza.) Meanwhile, the Indigenous citizens
of Juchitán -- the first city to rebel against Mexico's
ruling party in 1982 -- are demanding that the military remove
its checkpoint near their city during the Zapatista Caravan.
26: Passing through
Tehuantepec and Villa de Mitla, the Caravan travels to the state
capital, Oaxaca, Oaxaca, where it will spend the night. (Also during the Caravan of 1997,
a grand multitude waited seven hours in the cold rain for the
Zapatista Caravan, filling the Plaza of the Dances and all nearby
streets, waiting until well after midnight for the Caravan to
the Caravan then takes a different route than the 1,111 Zapatista
Delegates took in 1997:
27: Passing through
with brief stops in Tehuacán, Puebla, and Orizaba, Veracrúz,
the Central Event will be in
the Central Square
of the state capital of Puebla, Puebla. The delegation will spend the night in Puebla.
28: The delegation
passes through Tlaxcala, Tlaxcala, Emiliano Zapata, Hidalgo,
Cuidad Sahagún, Hidalgo, the state capital of Pachuca,
Hidalgo, Actopan Hidalgo, Francisco I. Madero, Hidalgo, and Tepatepec,
Hidalgo. The Central Event will be in Ixmiquilpan, Hidalgo. The
delegates will spend the night in the community of Tephé,
in the municipality of Ixmiquilpan.
1: The Caravan will
pass through the state capital of Querétaro, Quéretaro
(new home to retired
Chiapas Bishop Samuel Ruiz, where there are Zapatista political
prisoners incarcerated, and where El Barzon will join the caravan
with 1,000 horses and tractors). It will then pass through Acámbaro, Guanajuato
(home state of Mexican
President Vicente Fox)
and on through communities in the State of Michoacán: The delegation will briefly stop
to salute supporters in de Zinapécuaro, Morelia, Patzcuaro
and Uruapan. The Central
Event will be in Nurio, Michoacán. The Delegates will
spend the night there.
2: The EZLN Delegation
will participate in the work of the Third Indigenous National
Congress in Nurio, Michoacán. NOTE: The Indigenous National Congress has asked
all participants and observers to bring our own utensils (bowl
and spoon) because they will not be using plastic or paper plates.
4: Still more work
to do at the CNI Congress.
5: The Delegates will stop for a planned event in
the state capital of Morelia
and then pass through Zitácuaro, Michoacán, and
enter the State of Mexico. There
will be a rally in Toluca and another in the Otomí zone
of Temoaya. The delegation will "share bread and roof with
our brothers and sisters" of the Andrés Molina Enriquez
housing project known as "La Pila" in the town of Metepec.
6: The Zapatista Delegation will pass through Cuernavaca,
Morelos, and then to Tepoztlán, Morelos, where it will
spend the night. (The
1997 Caravan stopped in Tepoztlán, arrived after midnight
in the cold rain, and was greeted by an enthusiastic multitude
in this rebel indigenous community that is a good friend of our
publication. More information forthcoming.)
7: The EZLN Delegation
will leave from Tepoztlan,
Morelos, directly toward the city of Iguala, Guerrero, where the Central Event will
be held. The Delegates will return to Cuautla, Morelos at 7 p.m.
(In Cuautla lies in
state the tomb of General Emiliano Zapata. In the nearby community
of Aninecuilco, Zapata's was born and the ruins of his home still
stand. Also nearby, Chinameca, where history says Zapata was
assassinated. But Zapata still lives!)
Related to the rally in
Iguala, on February 21st, simultaneous marches will leave 30
of the 76 municipalities in the State of Guerrero, converging
on the capital of Chilpancingo on February 24 for a three day
encampment in the State Capital, organized by Indigenous communities
from the organization "500 Years of Resistance." On
February 27th it will march, by foot, toward Mexico City, and
will meet up with the Indigenous National Congress and Zapatista
Command along the route. (Some observers without auto transportation
might choose this route, which, because of the unique and longstanding tradition of
struggle among Guerrerenses,
and the quality of friendliness and openness that characterizes
the region, is certain to be a moving and historic procession.)
Thursday, March 8: The Delegation of the EZLN leaves from Cuautla,
Morelos, following the route of Emiliano Zapata, toward Milpa
Alta in the Federal District of Mexico City. The Central Event
will be in Milpa Alta. The Delegation will spend the night there.
sweater: the route rises to a high altitude, through rebel Indigenous
communities like Felipe Neri, with a spectacular vista of the
El Popo volcano.)
Friday, March 9: The Zapatista Delegates will hold a public event
in the morning at the Zapatista military base from Zapata's time
in San Pablo Oxtotepec. Again, they will spend the night in Milpa
Saturday, March 10: The Zapatista Delegation will head to Xochimilco,
also in the Federal District of Mexico City.
Sunday, March 11: The EZLN Delegation will make its official entrance
into Mexico City. The Route will be detailed in due time. The
Central Act will be on the Zócalo -- the central plaza
and heart of Mexico City in front of the National Palace. Nobel Laureate José
Saramago has just announced that he will come from Portugal for
The agenda of the Zapatista
Delegation in Mexico City will be made known in due time. The recent communiqué states
that the delegation will remain in Mexico City "until there
is a dialogue with Congress."
As soon as more details are available, we will translate and
post them here at:
3. March 2nd through 4th,
Indigenous National Congress in Nurio, Michoacan
In a January
12th communiqué, the Zapatista General Command asked the
P´urhepecha Indigenous Community of Nurio, Michoacan, for
permission to attend the Indigenous National Congress meeting
there March 2nd through 4th.
On January 19th,
the Indigenous National Congress confirmed the invitation and
attendance of the Zapatistas. A link to its web page appears
below in the links section.
Road With the Zapatistas
Authentic Global Media Coverage
by Al Giordano
Thousands of Mexicans
and citizens throughout the world have accompanied the Zapatistas for the past seven
years as human rights observers and journalists. We have attended
the "Encuentros" and "Intergalactic Congresses,"
been guests in the indigenous communities, reported from the
five "Aguascalientes" support bases and from the encampment
of thousands of displaced families in Polho. Still others have
worked as observers with Enlace Civil and the Catholic Diocese
of Chiapas in various communities.
Until recently, we were
chased by immigration authorities and more than 400 were expelled
or deported from Mexico. Every single one of these observers
has lived his and her personal history, dealt with harassment
by immigration, military and police roadblocks. Many have found
ourselves on "blacklists" of foreign observers to be
deported, or have been detained and questioned ("No,
Señor, I'm just a tourist trying to find my way to Palenque!").
Some have been kidnapped by paramilitary groups. Some have escaped
pursuit by the authorities through long jungle journeys. It's
been a long but worthwhile road.
Thus, the recent announcement
by the administration of President Vicente Fox that foreign observers
will be permitted with regular tourist visas to accompany the
Zapatista Caravan to Mexico City is a bit stunning. If true --
and it should be kept in mind that this young administration
has been changing its positions almost daily regarding the Zapatistas
-- it means a potentially different situation.
But one thing remains
the same: the importance of understanding that observers are
guests of the Indigenous communities or caravans they accompany,
and at all times we look to the Zapatistas and the communities
to guide the parameters of our participation. "Obedience
leads" is more than a slogan. It is, for this Caravan, essential
to the safety of the Zapatista Command, the Indigenous National
Congress, the communities along the route, and the other participants.
We don't, indeed can't, offer those instructions here. We, like
others, wait to receive them. International participants should
make direct contact with the EZLN and the Caravan support committee
at the addresses provided above, who are in charge of all aspects
of this Caravan.
Policy of "Opening"?
Words on Foreign Observers
The shifting positions
of the Fox administration indicate that great caution and care
is necessary on behalf of foreign observers and journalists that
will accompany this caravan.
In the first days of his
administration, Fox said that there would be an "opening"
of the immigration policy and that observers were now welcome
from everywhere to accompany the Zapatista communities in Chiapas.
"We're going to sustain this measure of total opening to
visit our country or travel in Chiapas," said Fox on December
23rd (source: NOTIMEX, December 23, 2000).
But on January, 9th, Fox's
Subsecretary of Population and Migratory Services, Víctor
Mariel Soule, announced, "Yes, here there will be restrictions"
on foreigners accompanying the Caravan. "We have to analyze,
precisely, why they come, because we remind that the problem
is in Chiapas, and if they ten come here (to Mexico City), we
have to see in what quality they come, what they are doing. Are
they really doing programs of observation? Or do they arrive
already belonging to some contingent or conducting some other
kind of activity. Evidently, we're going to have to place some
restrictions.... We remind that the people who come as human
rights observers (must come with) a migratory classification
with certain restrictions." (source: El Universal, January
Most recently, on January
17th, the Interior Ministry overruled the Subsecretary's remarks
and announced that "foreign tourists" who accompany
the Zapatista Caravan will not require a special visa and "as
long as they don't engage in any activist intervention they can
be present. If not, we will apply Article 33." (Article
33, prohibiting foreign meddling in Mexican political affairs,
although it was never applied to Fox's US political consultants,
was the pretext to expell and harass foreign observers and journalists
from Chiapas for seven years.)
Citing the "policy
of opening," Immigration Commissioner Felipe de Jesús
Preciado Coronado announced that California professor Peter Brown,
previously expelled from the country for helping to construct
a school in Oventik, will be granted permission to attend, and
that other expelled observers have solicited permission to return
for the Caravan: "We will study their applications in the
spirit of opening." He said that the foreigners "are
going to participate, but as spectators; there is worry all over
the world about this march."
After firing off a few
disparaging remarks about the "Zapa-tour" and "revolutionary
tourism," the Immigration Commissioner added, "We are
very conscious that there is enourmous interest throught the
entire world to see what happens in Chiapas, and that Marcos
has a grand following among international non governmental organizations.
To participate in this Zapatista March can be one of the most
important moments in the lives of any foreigner who has a chance
to be there: they are going to be with the Indigenous of Chiapas,
and there is a long history there." (source: El Universal,
January 17, 2001)
For once we agree. Beginning
in 1997, I joined the ranks of these countless visitors, and
headed into Chiapas. First, with the Todo Para Todos Caravan
and don Andrés Vasquez de Santiago of the Indigenous National
Congress. I spent some weeks in Oventik, in the Tzotzil-speaking
highlands, and later in the "Aguascalientes" of Roberto
Barrios and La Realidad, and still later in the desplazados camp
of Polho. These are the places where I learned to speak and read
in Spanish. In September 1997, I accompanied the caravan of 1,111
Zapatistas to Mexico City, through Juchitán, Oaxaca City
and Huajuapan de Leon in the State of Oaxaca, through the states
of Puebla and Morelos and on to Mexico City. It was a whirlwind
four-day trek, accompanied by members of many Indigenous ethnic
groups along the road and culminating in a session of the Indigenous
National Congress in Mexico City. I've returned to many of those
communities since, where lasting friendships and alliances were
In 1999, I accompanied
the Zapatista Consulta delegations in Mexico City, Morelos and
Guerrero, and also the
11-day "Exodus for Democracy" against election fraud
from Chilpancingo, Guerrero to Mexico City. The Immigration Commissioner is right about one
thing: these were formative moments for me and for others who
were present. Our personal debt remains to offer Authentic Journalism
coverage of the historic Zapatista movement to the English speaking
Mexican President Vicente
Fox, like any other
politician in this world, has been criticized in these pages
when he's been wrong and praised when he's been right.
His Chiapas policy, which
started with a string of positive declarations and a few good
actions, has recently become pushed and pulled by other interests,
foreign and domestic, financial and political.
Upon taking office in
early December, Fox declared that he would meet the three Zapatista
conditions to resume the dialogue. He temporarily took down the
roadblocks that surround Chiapas Indigenous communities.
But Hermann Bellinghausen
(bar none, the most experienced and honest journalist in the
world covering Mexican indigenous issues) reported recently that
twenty of those roadblocks have been reinstalled in the jungle
municipalities of Ocosingo, Las Margaritas and Palenque in Chiapas.
(Source: La Jornada, January 10, 2001).
Fox said he would withdraw
troops from the seven among 123 military bases that the Zapatistas
placed as a condition of dialogue. Seven weeks later, he has
yet to remove the three most strategic bases on the list: La
Garrucha (next to the Zapatista "Aguascalientes" known
by the same name), and the two that surround La Realidad, where
the Zapatista command appears, Guadelupe Tepeyac and Río
Fox said he would facilitate
the release of more than 100 Zapatista political prisoners. Today,
seven weeks later, more than 80 remain unjustly in prison.
Last week, on January
16th, his press secretary Martha Sahagún announced there
would be no more troop withdrawls. Later that same day, the military
base at Roberto Barrios was ordered to withdraw, and evacuated
in the pre-dawn hours of January 17th.
On January 19th, Fox reportedly
reversed his policy entirely.
Speaking in a closed door
session to members of the media in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas,
"Fox said that there will be no more Army troop withdrawls
from Zapatista enclaves beyond the four already realized, while
the EZLN doesn't offer signs of response to the actions of the
federal government.... Vincente Fox also said that no more prisoners
will be freed... This announcement was also transmitted by a
local radio station... However, (Fox) refused to confirm or deny
the declaration that he made at this meeting with the editors
of the local media, which occured behind closed doors."
(Source: El Universal, January 20, 2001).
Meanwhile, certain members
of Fox's PAN party and of the old PRI regime, particularly in
the federal senate, have been saber-rattling against the Zapatistas
marching with their pasamontaña ski masks, even some calling
for their arrest. The national chambers of commerce announced
their view that Fox was giving too much away in his efforts to
bring the Zapatistas to the negotiating table. On Saturday, January
20th, Fox met with the chiefs of the National Chamber of Transformation
Industry (CANACINTRA), the Business Coordinating Board, the Federation
of Industrial Chambers (CONCAMIN), the National Chamber of Commerce
(CANACO), the National Agriculture Council, the Mexican Board
of Businessmen, the Bankers Association, the Mexican Insurance
Association and the Mexican Association of Stock Brokers.
They asked Fox to prohibit
the Zapatista Caravan. As if he could.
Street vs. Indigenous Autonomy
But the most nefarious
scenario being predicted would come from abroad: from the great
financial powers of Washington and Wall Street, who do not want
the San Andrés Peace Agreements made law for the precedent
of local autonomy that they would establish: a goal that much
of the world follows in demanding.
In recent Mexican presidential
terms, which begin every six years, the term began with a financial
crisis and a devaluation of the peso in relation to the dollar.
This, to ensure that the Mexican Nation is economically weak
and must answer to the dictates of the World Bank, the International
Monetary Fund, the US government and the financial interests
that it serves.
Some US and Mexican financial
and governmental powers have loudly sought to assure that it
will be different under Fox, that there will be no devaluation.
However, recent economic reports and statements have indicated
that, indeed, a devaluation of the peso is coming. In fact it's
been slipping all month.
On the day that George
W. Bush, through an act of election fraud, took the presidency
of the United States, La Jornada columnist Jaime Avilés,
made a prediction:
"In early December,
an important financial broker of Wall Street predicted with hard
data that in the first trimester of 2001, "at the latest,
in March," our national currency will suffer a soft and
controlled adjustment. The experts predicted that the new exchange
rate will be fixed at more than 10 pesos to the dollar but fewer
than 11 to the dollar. January has not concluded and already
we are at 9.90 pesos to the dollar, but the signals are that
the slowdown of the US economy threatens to bring us a little
farther below in this pending matter...
These are times of change,
according the the flaming governmental propaganda, but in the
facts -- once more, in the facts -- the economic fall that comes
tends to be paired with the permanent crisis in Chiapas. If the
devaluation is going to coincide with the trip by Marcos and
the Comandantes of the EZLN to Mexico City, the press that nobody
reads (those daily newspapers that only serve to hang from the
newstands and be seen by the passers-by) have launched a Zedillo-style
campaign to blame the indigenous rebels beforehand of what could
occur in the economic sphere.
This is not about, however,
a spontanous action by the marginal media. The grand Salinista
businessmen of Monterrey and other places are contributing, with
anonymous Internet reports, to this campaign to impose upon Fox
that the model of "poverty that stabilizes economies"
The powerful captains
of those financial groups that are owners of 70 percent of everything
that is in Mexico wish that the Southeast would be free of unconquerable
indigenous people.... (Source: La Jornada, January 20, 2001).
In sum, precisely the
days of February 25th through March 6th and beyond, world financial
powers and the
New Mexican Oligarchy,
may attempt to play market games to harm the Mexican economy
and blame the Zapatista Caravan.
This, again, points to
the importance that those who accompany the caravan pay close
attention to the letter and the spirit of the instructions given
by the Zapatistas who are leading the long march. They're the
experts of struggle and victory. The rest of us are students.
We invite other authentic
videographers, individuals, solidarity
organizations, Internet sites, mailing lists and media organizations
of all languages, to collaborate with us in the construction
of daily online coverage of this historic Zapatista Caravan.
We of course will make
the pages of The Narco News Bulletin available for reports, and
will also post some reports to the Indy Media Center site of
Mexico City, the
Media Center of Chiapas,
and other open access sites to get the daily news to the world,
including to the English speaking world. Various important and
authentic Mexican news organizations are discussing with us how
to join efforts to provide day to day coverage.
It will require a gargantuan
effort and will also require Internet and phone connections along
the long caravan route, cell phones, phone-ins from public telephones,
photographs, audio and video, and, last but not least, vehicles
along the long route. We already have compañeros and compañeras
along the former Caravan route; we, too, are awaiting instructions
on the road from here.
Last night we heard from
Juchitán, Oaxaca, and Querétaro, Querétaro
(they're ready!), where our correspondent sent a message from
don Andrés that, at 90 years old, he wants to make the
entire journey beginning in San Cristóbal...
Andrés Vasquez de Santiago
1998 Al Giordano
If you are going to accompany
the march, and wish to participate in this all volunteer effort,
please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can coordinate this
effort in Authentic Journalism with the participation of the
Vamos, vamos, vamos adelante....
The Narco News Bulletin
January 21, 2001
Narco News Stories on the Struggle:
Months of Immediate History:
2000 Series on the Narco in Chiapas
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