Narco News 2001
March 20, 2001
Fox Calls for
updated Tuesday afternoon
by Fox to EZLN
He Agrees to Zapatista Demands
will see the silence made into splinters"
are the days of immediate history.
In the same hour last night, it became
news that Mexico's two major internationally-known leaders threw
out the pre-written scripts and made daring gambits on the world
The two men - Zapatista Subcomandante
Marcos and Mexican President Vicente Fox - made very different
statements about seemingly different issues.
This correspondent, however, sees a synergy
between the two events, that have now brought this nation of
96 million people - indeed, all América - to a bold and
new road of possibilities.
The synergy between the call for indigenous
rights and drug policy has existed for 509 years, ever since
the Spanish conquest, when the sacramental use of hallucinogenic
plants by advanced societies in Mexico began to face the first
drug prohibition on the continent. That the two issues bounce
and reverberate off each other today presages earthshaking events
that lie ahead, in the very near future.
In the English-speaking world, the statement
by Mexican President Vicente Fox embracing a proposal for global
drug legalization will undoubtedly grab the bigger headlines.
Indeed, that might well have been the intent of the Mexican head
of state as his Congress, and especially his political party,
have made a mess of the aspirations of the Mexican people to
end seven years of conflict in the state of Chiapas and recognize
We note, immediately, that Fox's drug
legalization story was leaked first to the AP reporter assigned
to cover the Mexican Congress. It was a textbook public relations
case of "changing the subject."
This, at the very hour that the Congress'
disingenuous placing of obstacles to dialogue with the indigenous
Zapatista Army of National Liberation had led the rebel army
to announce it is pulling up stakes in Mexico City and will return
to the jungle on Friday. The Zapatistas and the Indigenous National
Congress both blamed the "cavemen politicians" of the
Congress and their "closed mindedness" for the collapse
of dialogue efforts. "Nothing will be able to stop the popular
mobilization," warned the Zapatistas in a communiqué
yesterday afternoon. "We will return with everyone who we
Five major indigenous groups in Oaxaca
vowed to block the Panamerican Highway and other key transport
routes until Congress approves the San Andrés Accords
for indigenous autonomy - a key condition for renewal of peace
talks in the seven-year Zapatista rebellion. Thirteen national
peasant farmer organizations, also upset over a Fox veto of a
rural development plan, announced protests throughout the country.
Among students at the national universities, and independent
labor leaders, words like "insurrection" and "general
strike" were whispered with serious intent. Tomorrow, the
Zapatistas go to the National Autonomous University - Mexico's
largest. On Thursday, the indigenous movement goes to the very
gates of the Federal Congress, before leaving the capital on
Members of the Concord and Peace Commission
(Cocopa) and other Congressional leaders begged the Zapatistas
to stay. Fox called upon Congress and the Zapatistas to meet
before the rebels leave town. Congressional leaders of Fox's
National Action Party (PAN) who had blocked chances of a dialogue
suddenly told reporters they will make a new proposal, perhaps
today, to the Zapatistas to address the entire Congress. In one
fell swoop, the Zapatistas called the bluff of the reactionaries.
Fox, faced with global embarrassment and
the massive disillusionment by the Mexican People, whose hopes
for peace in their country had risen in recent weeks during the
historic Zapatista Caravan, finally found a way to change the
subject, albeit for the very short term.
The Mexican President shocked the US Embassy
when he erased tens of millions of dollars that this espionage
center posing as a diplomatic building has spent in recent years
trying to keep the drug legalization debate from surfacing in
a country where there is fertile ground awaiting it.
Fox made his move as if to say, "see,
we really are experiencing a democratic opening in my country."
And what more effective way than to challenge the lynchpin of
US intervention in Mexico and Latin America - the prohibition
on drugs? Whether the move was cynical, or sincere, or a combination
of both, it has radical consequences. It is one of the silences
that has been shattered, in fulfillment with the Seven
Keys to Mexico City prophesied by the Zapatistas.
The shockwaves of yesterday afternoon
will reverberate for days and weeks to come.
As for the Zapatista and Indigenous National
Congress dialogue with the Federal Congress, the wheel is in
spin. It remains to be seen whether cool minds will prevail over
the right-wing, narco-banker funded, hardliners in the Federal
Congress and if the Zapatista march out of Mexico City can be
delayed by the opening of the doors of the legislative halls
without tricks or games placed in the way.
Meanwhile, in Washington, and in capitals
throughout the hemisphere, Fox's statements on drug legalization
will be analyzed once the shock wears off and the leaders realize
that the landscape of all América now stands on unpredictable
We start, today, with our analysis of
the Fox statement on legalization of drugs. We follow with the
Zapatistas own words - for they are their own best authentic
journalists - on why they will not tolerate the closed-mindedness
of the federal Congress.
From somewhere in a country called América,
The Narco News Bulletin
on Drug Legalization
Favored President Sends Message
CITY: President Vicente Fox, 106 days
into his six-year term, stunned the hemisphere this week when
he expressed his agreement with the legalization of drugs. "Humanity
some day will see that it is best," he told newspaper reporters
in Mexico City.
The statement had all the markings of
a calculated message, made to appear spontaneous: a common practice
by Mexico's media-savvy president.
During his campaign for the presidency,
which he won on July 2, 2000, Fox rejected entirely the concept
of legalization, instead calling for the increased penalization
of personal drug use and a policy of "zero tolerance."
But by November of 2000, the wind began
Days before he took office on December
1st, Fox announced that journalist-professor Jorge Castañeda
would be his government's secretary of state. Castañeda,
long a vocal advocate of ending drug prohibition, did not back
away from his controversial position. Instead, he called for
an "international crusade" to end the violence and
corruption associated with drug trafficking by pulling the plug
Attending Fox's inauguration, Uruguay
President Jorge Batlle told international correspondents in Mexico
City that it was time to legalize drugs: statements ignored by
the U.S. press corps until later that month after the story hit
the Internet in English. Batlle's trial balloon still rides high.
América's first head-of-state against the drug war took
some early and snide hits from New York Times correspondent Clifford
Krauss, but Batlle continued to speak out. Last week, Batlle
appeared on a Washington Post cyber-chat session with journalist
Marcela Sanchez, reiterated his anti-prohibitionist position,
and vowed to take his proposal to the other presidents in the
hemisphere at the "Summit of the Americas" in Quebec
City next month.
As the Uruguay president took the heat,
the Fox government tapped Mexico City Police Commissioner Alejandro
Gertz Manero as the nation's public safety czar. Gertz Manero,
last May, had publicly called for "a Holland-style drug
policy" in Mexico to take the illicit profits out of drug
Last Thursday, one of Gertz Manero's top
aides, Federal Police Chief Miguel Angel de la Torre, granted
an exclusive interview to Notimex, the government-funded news
agency. De la Torre called for the legalization of drugs. For
a translation of that story in English see: http://www.narconews.com/pfp1.html
Two days later, on the very Saturday when
the blockbuster motion picture "Traffic" by director
Stephen Soderberg, critical of the US war on drugs, set a cinematic
record in Mexico by opening in 250 theaters, Fox convened newspaper
reporters from two mid-sized national dailies to his office.
One of the reporters asked him about Chief De la Torre's statement
that legalization would end the violence and corrupton of narco-trafficking:
"A high federal police official has
called for an opening of the debate over drug legalization in
Mexico," a reporter asked Fox. "What is the president's
"My opinion is that in Mexico it
is not a crime to have a small dose of drugs in one's pocket,"
Fox was reported as saying by the capital daily Unomasuno. "These
people are not apprehended or imprisoned, but they do commit
a crime. Nevertheless, this has not lowered consumption. To the
contrary, it has grown. The consumption of drugs is a distinct
issue. That has to be the job of the Secretary of Health
of the parents of families
of the entire society. That's
how to diminish the consumption of drugs, this harmful evil,
among our youth."
A reporter followed up, mentioning Chief
De la Torre's view that the crime and violence associated with
drugs stem from their being made illegal.
"That's right! That's true! That's
true!" responded Fox. "But the day that the alternative
of freeing the consumption of drugs from punishment comes, it
will have to be done in the entire world because we are not going
to win anything if Mexico does it, but the production and traffick
of the drugs to import them to the United States continues. Thus,
humanity will some day view it (legalization) as the best in
Unomasuno, a newspaper founded in the
1980s by crusading journalist Manuel Becerra-Acosta, who was
exiled at gunpoint by the government in that decade and passed
away in Spain last year, has, ever since, been one of the small-circulation
dailies dependent on government advertising for its survival,
and has a generally pro-government line of reporting. On Sunday,
Becerra-Acosta might have smiled from the great beyond, as Unomasuno
editorialized on Fox's statements regarding drug legalization:
"In Mexico, the issue has not been
discussed," the newspaper opined, "possibly owed to
the enormous pressure that the government of the United States
imposes and that has politicized the problem to such a degree
that it blocks the possibility of exploring alternate routes
without paying a high political and economic cost."
"The determination to continue forward
with the current strategy does not impede the president from
attending to the arguments of those who propose legalization
and who affirm that the criminality, the violence and other associated
evils result from the very fact of it's illegal nature,"
the paper editorialized. "It should not surprise anyone
that a government caught in a failed strategy listens to voices
that suggest possible different alternatives, even if, at the
moment, they appear almost utopian. But in a country where the
chances for democracy improve every day, the nation must be open
to all kinds of debate, with an interchange of ideas from all
viewpoints, from where better solutions can emerge."
Fox's unprecedented statement of agreement
with the global legalization of drugs hit the English-speaking
world on Monday evening, March 19th, in an associated press story
reported by John Rice. Another powerful message has been sent
to Washington by another Latin American head of state, this time
from the President of the sleeping giant that is Mexico. That
it comes from Fox - universally praised from the White House
to Wall Street for his conservative, free-market ideology and
for defeating 71 years of one-party rule in Mexico - poses an
interesting dilemma for the drug warriors of the Potomac. Will
Fox's statement now pave the way for other Latin American leaders
to disagree with the US-imposed policy of drug prohibition without
fear of reprisal from the superpower to the North?
from the EZLN
Originally published in Spanish by the
Translated by irlandesa
Communiqué from the Clandestine
Revolutionary Indigenous Committee -
General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.
March 19, 2001.
To the People of Mexico:
To the Peoples and Governments of the World:
Brothers and Sisters:
Ever since the EZLN made public its decision to march to Mexico
City, it has been clear about the march's objectives:
engage in dialogue with national civil society in order to gain
its support in the struggle for the constitutional recognition
indigenous rights and culture in accordance with the Cocopa legislative
To engage in dialogue with the Congress of the Union in order
argue the goodness of the Cocopa proposal and the importance
and urgency of
recognizing indigenous rights in the Constitution.
The results are obvious:
The Indian peoples of all of Mexico have joined with the EZLN
with the National Indigenous Congress in the dignified struggle
recognition of their rights, and they have openly expressed their
for the Cocopa legislative proposal.
Civil society has turned this demand into a national outcry.
regard to color, race, sex, economic position, ideology, religious
size or age. Mexican civil society has overwhelmingly demonstrated
end to racism and discrimination now, for the recognition of
in the Constitution, and for the fulfillment of the 3 signals
the resumption of dialogue between the government and the EZLN.
Public opinion and international civil society have joined in
demand of all Mexicans. They have demonstrated on the five continents
respect for difference and for inclusion for those who are now
Vicente Fox's government has paid more attention to the media
of the march than to the obvious popular, national and multi-class
which the march for indigenous dignity has awoken during its
through 12 states of the federation and during its stay in Mexico
Instead of fulfilling the 3 signals, and
thus taking advantage of a
delegation of the CCRI-CG's stay in the Federal District, Señor
been handing out statements left and right, without actions to
up, and he has played with the anguish and suffering of hundreds
indigenous families who remain, barely surviving, far from their
because their homes are being occupied by the Fox Federal Army.
The Congress of the Union has been held prisoner by those who
to close their eyes to the national and international mobilization.
most reactionary legislators have openly defied the consensus
which the EZLN and the National Indigenous Congress have achieved
constitutional recognition of indigenous rights and culture.
For seven days, since March 13, the EZLN
has waited patiently for the
Congress to accept its willingness to engage in dignified and
dialogue. In response to this willingness, those who are holding
Congress hostage responded first with an unworthy and disrespectful
proposal, whose only purpose was to salvage the pride and arrogance
legislators who are refusing to engage in dialogue and to recognize
indigenous rights. Notably, legislators from the National Action
headed by Senator Diego Fernández de Cevallos.
Following our demand, those who are manipulating
the Congress of the Union
preferred to return to the fatuous game of holding up discussion
in order to engage in the settling of internal accounts among
which are fighting and, in addition, the leadership of the National
Party (PAN) and the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).
popular demand for the recognition of indigenous rights and culture
The EZLN regrets that internal wheeling
and dealing, power fights, the
conservative groups which confuse the tribunal with an exclusive
club, have won out in the Congress of the Union. As well as
those who want
to use us in order to settle their accounts, positive or negative,
They are trying to do politics in the
Executive and in the Federal
Legislature as if nothing has changed in this country. As if
peoples can be treated exactly as they have been being treated
the almost 200 years that Mexico has been a nation.
The Indian peoples will no longer go around,
nor shall we go around,
knocking on doors in order to beg them to listen to us and to
attend to us.
The demand for our dignity is not only ours, it is also that
of all honest
Mexicans and all the good people in the world.
Only reactionary politicians assume that
they can act with the same racist,
arrogant and authoritarian positions of the times of colonialism
Porfirio. These positions are no longer tenable in the Mexico
Because Mexico can now be defined as before
and after the March of
Indigenous Dignity, a march which included all the Indian peoples
hundreds of thousands of Mexicans. During this march, the people
role of spectator and participated, directly or indirectly, in
zapatistas showed ourselves to be open to dialogue. We disarmed
for this mobilization. We exposed ourselves openly to any attack,
dozens of public plazas throughout the more than 3000 kilometers,
were able to meet with the people. We did not impose anything
We persuaded through the justness of our
demand, for the recognition of the
rights of the Indian peoples, and, in addition, along with the
rediscovered the dignity and hope that exists in all honest Mexicans.
Mexican society, the Indian peoples and
the zapatistas arrived with our
heads held high. Not to bring down the government, not to challenge
system, not to impose a way of thinking. But to engage in dialogue
convince that the indigenous deserve a dignified place at the
side of all
Mexicans. In order to achieve this we made this march, and we
did so with
dignity. We did not march in order to beg or in order to negotiate
dignified space. We marched for respect.
Now, more than ever, the separation between
the government and the people
is not only marked, it is also in conflict. The government is
defying society and looking on it with contempt.
Given the choice between politicians and
the people, the EZLN does not
hesitate: it is with the people. It is from them that we have
the attentive ear and the respectful word. We shall never lower
in front of the politicians, nor will we accept humiliations
deceptions. We will not wait in line in order to be given "received"
stamps on our historic demands.
In response to the above:
The EZLN has decided to end its stay in Mexico City and to begin
return to the mountains of the Mexican Southeast. The stubbornness
political class is clear. The people, the Indian peoples, national
international civil society are convinced of the justness of
and they have unconditionally supported us. The EZLN will continue
and to build inclusive spaces for the participation of everyone
a truly new Mexico. The constitutional recognition of indigenous
must take place, and we will seek new means of struggle in order
Thursday, March 22, 2001, the zapatista delegation will hold
farewell event in front of the Congress of the Union, in order
to thank the
Mexican people, the international community and Mexico City for
and hospitality during the march and during the stay in Mexico
EZLN is calling on all social, political, non-governmental
organizations, groups and individuals, men, children, women and
of Mexico City to accompany the delegation during the event on
March 22 and
to listen to what the Congress of the Union did not want to hear.
EZLN is calling on social and political organizations and
individuals in the Mexican province to participate with us on
March 22 in
the event in front of the Congress of the Union and to mobilize
states and municipalities.
EZLN is calling on international civil society and solidarity
committees throughout the world to make their voices heard on
March 22, along with ours, and to reject the politics of exclusion
practiced by the Mexican executive and legislative branches.
On Friday, March 23, 2001, the zapatista delegation will leave
City for the mountains of the Mexican Southeast, following a
will be announced in due course.
We shall report to our communities concerning this twofold result
the march: the stubbornness of those who are the government,
and the great
support of the people in Mexico and in the world. The mobilization
regular everyday people has only just begun, and nothing is going
it. With the zapatista communities, who are those who sustain
us, we shall seek the means to continue marching along with the
like us, are fighting for an inclusive, tolerant, just, democratic
Brothers and Sisters:
We are going. With all of those whom
we are, we shall return.
From the National School of Anthropology
Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee
General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.
Mexico, March of 2001.
by Vicente Fox
Afternoon, March 20
Publisher's Note: After more than 100 days of stalling
on Zapatista demands for release of all EZLN political prisoners
and the closure of seven military bases in Chiapas, Mexican President
Vicente Fox today - in response to the Zapatistas announcement
of their imminent return to Chiapas - held a press conference
in which he said he has ordered:
- Release of remaining
Zapatista political prisoners, including federal prisoners. (Narco
News reiterates our demand for the release of the framed Drug
War Prisoners: Rafael López Santíz Conseta Norberto López Rincón
David Hernández Hernández
Gustavo Estrada Gómez
Mario Diaz Gómez and, José Hernández
- The closure of the remaining
three military bases on the Zapatista list of seven.
- Increased efforts by
his administration to convince the Congress to meet, as a full
body, with the Zapatistas.
Narco News repeats it's
headline of earlier today: The Zapatistas have truly called the
Stay tuned for further
updates - AG
afternoon. All of you have been witnesses,
every citizen, of our absolute will to reach peace in Chiapas.
We have extended our hand and given a
welcome to the EZLN march, and at all moments we have complied
with our word so that it will be respected.
We speak the truth to the citizens, to
the entire country, and above all, we speak with actions, very
concrete actions. That's why:
As president of all the Mexican people, and as an integral part
of the legislative process, I respectfully call upon the Congress
of the Union to find the space and form to receive and listen
to the EZLN, so that it can process and decide the matter of
the revindication of the rights and cultures of the indigenous
It is our desire that the dialoque prospers to support and push,
together with the legislators, the EZLN, and the members of the
indigenous peoples of the country the approval of the constitutional
reform that guarantees that never again will the indigenous people
I am ordering that federal prisoners be released once we can
know from the EZLN the corresponding names.
I am filing a decree to transform the military bases of Guadelupe
Tepeyac, of Río Euseba and of La Garrucha into development
centers for the indigenous communities.
am also sending, at this moment, a letter to Subcomandante Marcos
requesting a meeting before his return to Chiapas.
I propose that we have a dialogue about
the approval of the initiative that I have sent to the Congress
of the Union and to push, in the entire country, a human development
program for the 10 million indigenous brothers and sisters.
Where there have been weapons, hearts
and wills will open to promote the dignity of our indigenous
sisters and indigenous brothers. We all want peace, we all want
peace to be a reality, but a true peace is born from justice,
it is born from reconciliation and unity. We can come to peace
in Chiapas. We have time to reach the peace in Chiapas.
The President of Mexico will do everything
on his part, everything that is necessary, so that this peace
is a reality.
Thank you very much.
President, the United States of Mexico
Silence into Splinters