<i>"The Name of Our Country is América" - Simon Bolivar</i> The Narco News Bulletin<br><small>Reporting on the War on Drugs and Democracy from Latin America
 English | Español August 15, 2018 | Issue #43

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Al Giordano

Opening Statement, April 18, 2000
¡Bienvenidos en Español!
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Delegate Zero’s Words on the Night of September 15 in Atenco

“Those Up Above are Discovering that the Government is Shit and that the Institutions are Useless”

By Subcomandante Marcos
Translated by Narco News

September 17, 2006

Good evening, compañeros and compañeras of Atenco and of the Other Campaign who have gathered here to make an “other” cry of an other independence that we are lifting up.

It’s September 16 and dawning already. “Ignacio del Valle,” I come bringing this name while those above fight over the names of Fox, Calderón and López Obrador. And we, as Zapatistas, did not elect any of those three. We choose the name of Ignacio del Valle on this day, and, together with his name, that of the People’s Front in Defense of the Land and that of the dignified people of Atenco.

One year ago, the Other Campaign met in a Zapatista community, in La Garrucha. And on that day, a year ago today, September 16, the indigenous Zapatista communities and the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN, in its Spanish initials) delivered the Other Campaign to all those compañeros and compañeras and we began, together, to raise up a movement different than those that have been seen everywhere throughout history.

Because now what is happening out there and up there above is that there are many searching for someone to lead them. There are those who gather where there are many people to listen to what they will be told by he who is going to lead them, he who wants to lead them to one side or another. But we, in the Other Campaign, are not looking for anyone to lead us, to redeem us, nor for anyone who is going to give us what we need. In the Other Campaign, we aren’t looking for who will lead, we are not looking for a people who we can gather on one side and then tell them what they have to do in a manner in which all they have to do is raise their hands for one thing or another.

We, in the Other Campaign, are looking at one another, men and women, not so that someone will lead us, but, rather, to take our fate in our own hands. To decide, ourselves, as Indian peoples, as farming peoples, as workers, as women, as youths, as employees, as students, what it is that we need and how we are going to get it.

We, in the Other Campaign, are seeking to make an “other” country, where we, and not a symbol that they fight one another over up above, are the Homeland. Right now, the two of them are running and neither of those two gave the cry that they had fought over. We choose to be here with you in Atenco.

Ignacio del Valle, Felipe, Galindo, and other compañeros and compañeras of the Peoples’ Front in Defense of the Land, went all the way to the communities from where the Other Campaign was beginning. They were there as the Peoples’ Front in the Defense of the Land a year ago, when the Other Campaign began. And we then began the journey. They came to various parts of the country, and you came with them as a town. They didn’t speak for anyone else nor tell them their own personal history. They told us and they told many people all over the country the history of the peoples of Atenco. About how you defended the land… About how you won, and about how you obtained that victory. And the dead and the imprisoned appeared in your stories. And the one who never appears was always mentioned, he who is nobody, he who has no name or face, even less so when those up there above make themselves into congressmen, senators, presidents, governors, to win or lose no mare than a little cash box from which they take the money for themselves and not for what the people need.

Thus, a year ago in the Other Campaign we said that we were going to be compañeros, that we would be compañeras, that we would support each other, one another. And we began. And today, here, in this land, we remember the blood of Alexis Benhumea, our compañero, who died defending Atenco. A young student who was not from here and who died here on these lands, although he was circling that death for a long time.

And Alexis was here on May 4 for the same reason that Ignacio del Valle, Felipe and Galindo, and all those of the People’s Front in Defense of the Land were in Texcoco on May 3. Because we were compañeros. On the Fourth of May, in the entire Mexican Republic, we, men and women, the Other Campaign, lifted up the flag for the freedom and justice for those compañeros who had been attacked.

After that, organizations, groups and collectives were putting that flag down and criticizing the EZLN about why, unilaterally, without asking anyone, it had decided to suspend the tour of the Other Campaign to concentrate on freedom and justice for the compañeros and compañeras of Atenco. When did they ever come and ask you if you were going to put that flag down? They who today are scolding us because we suspended the visits to other places, to concentrate and defend and support ourselves as compañeros; the struggle for freedom and justice for Ignacio del Valle, for Felipe, for Galindo, for the compañeros and compañeras who are prisoners in Santiaguito.

When the movement rose up that has – or had – Reforma and the Zocalo, they immediately put down the flag for the freedom of Atenco and went running to look for who would lead them, who will tell them what to do. They didn’t ask anyone. Who did they ask what was more important? To line up in the tail of a movement that wants power instead of fighting for the freedom and justice of a farmer like Ignacio del Valle, or like Felipe, or like Galindo, or for a student like that which spoke to us a while ago?

What do they care if here there is none of that? The masses are over there. There they are on TV. There they are in the newspapers, in the photos, with the artists, the singers, the painters. Over there are the same police that attacked our young compañeros from the National School of Anthropology, when they blockaded the Mexico City beltway demanding freedom for Atenco, the freedom of the prisoners of Atenco.

And it turns out now that, yes, they can do those things, because that is freedom of expression. But when we did it, then it was a crime. And when they do it, it is to seize power, and thus it is a right that must be exercised.

And they think that we don’t have a memory. And these organizations and these groups that a year ago said that we would be compañeros, and that stopped being that at the moment that the cameras, the microphones, the photos went to see the other side, they thought that we would forget, that we won’t remember. They think that they are going to be able to return at the hour that this movement that is the Other Campaign gets Ignacio del Valle out of jail. Because we are going to get him out. And while those who were putting that flag down to go and hold a yellow-and-black flag, to hold up another flag of a movement that is legitimate because it fights against the electoral fraud, but that has all the support of another government, while we, alone, are fighting from our own strength.

And we come here to say to you, compañeros and compañeras of Atenco, that even if everyone in the Other Campaign abandons the struggle for the freedom of our compañeros, we, the Zapatista men and women, are not going to stop. And we are going to continue fighting for them until they are free. And if they don’t let them go, we are going to liberate them ourselves.

These compañeros and compañeras who during this year were leaving the struggle to join as the tail of those others, who left and abandoned our prisoners, who did in the other movement what they never did for the prisoners of Atenco, these compañeros and compañeras stopped being that. And we continue, even if alone. And still we know that we are not alone. That there are other organizations of the left, groups and collectives, that know what is here, below, where the Homeland that we want is, and not in a Zocalo, not in a bell that is rung every September 16, but, rather, in the people who are fighting for the land.

In a few days, in one or two weeks, compañeros and compañeras of our leadership, of the leadership of the EZLN, comandantes and comandantas are going to arrive to reinforce the solidarity with Atenco. We said so a while ago and now we are going to comply. We are going to continue to the North of the Republic, and in every place we pass we are going to tell the story of this injustice, of the Third and Fourth of May, but also in that story we want to invite you to send one or two compañeros from the Peoples’ Front in Defense of the Land to go with us to the states in the North. And that they will be your voice, the voice of you who tell your story: Not only the story of the prisoners, not only about the repression, but also and above all your story of struggle and of organization. The story that rose up with the grandest victory and the grandest humiliation that the government of Vicente Fox received: the cancellation of the airport that he wanted to make out of your lands. We want you to come with us and, starting now, the nobody that we are, in every place, in every corner, we are going to again raise up the flag of freedom and justice for the prisoners of Atenco.

That is our story. They tell us that by not joining the movement of López Obrador we lost an opportunity to speak with millions of people. Who ever said to them that we wanted to speak in front of millions of people, if what we wanted to do was listen to the voices of those to whom nobody listens? That is what we have done this year and we will return to doing it starting now in the rest of the Republic.

There is a story, a legend from the War of Independence: Vicente Guerrero arrived and presented himself to José María Morelos y Pavon, telling him he wanted to fight. Morelos gave him a letter and named him general. Guerrero asked, “And, where are my troops?” Morelos turned to him and said, pointing to a bunch of peasant farmer, indigenous, men and women, armed only with machete swords, pickaxes and sticks, “these are them.” With that, Vicente Guerrero began the campaign that later would culminate in Independence.

We don’t want an Independence that just changes its name. We don’t want Independence so that somebody will lead us. We want Independence to decide for ourselves. As a compañero said: sovereignty. That the peoples lead. That they lead themselves: That nobody comes to tell us what it is that we have to do.

There is a Mayan legend. We are Zapatistas, indigenous of Mayan roots. And they say that the moon is a goddess: Ixchel… This goddess worried about caring for the land and cared for and raised men and women of the color of the land. And that it is during the day that the moon hides and protects herself in the land and that those men and women, the farmers, the indigenous men and women, are those who have to care for the land during the day, so that in the night she comes out, again, Ixchel, the goddess of the moon. And in exchange for this, she gave them the power of healing, the power of medicine. And since then, these men and women, we who are the color of the earth, we have to be curing and healing the pains that inflict the land.

We come here to say that we already know it. Up there, above, there is no solution for us. There is no leader, no caudillo, who is going to construct our solution. Everything that we have we have achieved by organizing, together. Whether the press is here or not, whether the many are here or not, we, in the Other Campaign, are going to continue on our path.

And those who are up there, above, who are now discovering that the government is shit, that the institutions are useless, they are now discovering that they have to fight for their rights, they are now discovering that they have to listen to the people of Mexico, because nobody listens to it. Yes, we had already found that out. Because that is what is still lacking: that they listen to us.

We have returned to say it here: Between one thing or another of the political parties that are up there, above, we elect the People’s Front in Defense of the Land. Among Fox, López Obrador and Calderón, we elect Ignacio del Valle. We have come here and we are going to say it: We will continue fighting for your freedom.

Thank you, compañeros. Thank you, compañeras.

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The Narco News Bulletin: Reporting on the Drug War and Democracy from Latin America