The Narco News Bulletin
of our country is América"
from Marcos before the July 2, 2000 Elections
the original Spanish by Al Giordano of The Narco News Bulletin
To read original in Spanish:
improvements in translation to firstname.lastname@example.org
TO THE NATIONAL
AND INTERNATIONAL PRESS:
June 19, 2000
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Here is the communiqué
with our position before the coming elections. It says here what
it says, which is a lot. We beg clemency from the editors.
Meanwhile, we are trembling.
And not because "Bones" Albores has contracted with Alazraki to
"raise up" his image (Albores is probably already seeking
work in the promotion of dog food), nor because of the six hundred
thousand dollars that he's going to pay (with money originally
destined to "resolve the conditions of poverty and marginalization
of the Chiapaneco Indians" - Zedillo dixit).
Chiapas Governor Roberto Albores Guillen
April 1999, Palenque,
Nor are we trembling over
the barks of "the puppy" Montoya Liévano (more
nervous than ever because its already being discovered that they
were his "boys" - that is, his paramilitaries - who
were guilty of the attack on the State Police in El Bosque on
No, we are shivering because
we are drenched by the rain. And it's that, between helicopters
and storms, not a single good roof can be found.
The sea says, as it likes
to do, that there are storms and then there are storms; and the
storm of July 3rd is still to come. I sigh and damn the lack
of umbrellas. What else can I do?
Well, good health to you,
and see if there are some birth control pills. There is more
than one ballot box that needs them urgently.
From the Committee to
Promote the Useless Vote, um, pardon, from the mountains of the
Mexico, June of 2000
P.S. That tells an ad
hoc story about the race of these times.
Once there was a public
opinion poll that was very alone and abandoned. It went from
one side to the other and nobody noticed it. Despairing, the
poll, alone-and-abandoned, went to see a public relations and
image specialist. The publicist turned out to be very expensive
and the poll, alone-and-abandoned, not only for the check that
he had to pay, but also because he had to cover for the taxi
that was waiting outside the office. And it's that the image
consultant was in high demand by the candidates of some official
party. The poll, alone-and-abandoned, followed the instructions
of the consultant and completely changed its "look"
(look how the P.S. is already using the new lexicon). This done,
he returned to the party offices. Everyone received him enthusiastically
and he was made very famous and popular. When he walked along
the streets of the city, a child saw him and asked his mother:
Why is this mirror walking? So, so
OF THE CLANDESTINE INDIGENOUS REVOLUTIONARY COMMITTEE - GENERAL
COMMAND OF THE ZAPATISTA ARMY FOR NATIONAL LIBERATION (EZLN):
June 19, 2000
To the Mexican
To the people and governments of the world:
Brothers and Sisters:
Before the coming national
election process, the CCRI-CG of the EZLN speaks its word:
First: In Mexico there is a war in the
mountains of the Mexican Southeast, in the states of Chiapas,
Guerrero, Oaxaca, Hidalgo, Puebla, Veracruz, San Luis Potosí
and other places with indigenous population. Tens of thousands
of soldiers of the federal government and various police corps
are waging a war of extermination against the Indian people of
Mexico. Day after day, the dead or imprisoned indigenous blood
accumulates. Between the jail and the tomb is decided the fate
of the original people of these lands.
The extreme poverty, persecution,
and the lack of recognition of Indian rights, have provoked the
continuation not only of the resistance by the Zapatista peoples
in the Mexican Southeast and also maintains the guerrilla activities
of the ERPI and the EPR. Now it has also brought together other
armed groups with demands of justice and democracy. There are
few countries in América that have so many armed opposition
groups such as those that are in Mexico.
Although ignored by the
majority of the media, this war continues on its course. It's
end doesn't have anything to do with the firepower or the number
of combatants, but rather with the solution of just demands and
the opening of spaces of democratic participation.
In the state of Chiapas
the armed confrontations that began on January 1, 1994 continue.
Even though the EZLN has demonstrated its will for a peaceful,
negotiated solution to the conflict, the federal and state governments
continue with violent acts against the Zapatista communities
and evade complying with the San Andrés Agreements, which
were signed almost five years ago.
With this unmentionable
war at its root, our country comes closer to the moment in which,
through an electoral process, the federal authorities will be
renewed: the Executive and Legislative Branches.
this election process it has been evident that the place of the
citizen as voter is not respected. In its place has been the
media, markedly the electronic media, who have owned the singer's
voice. The indiscriminate use of "polls," many of them
conducted without the least bit of scientific rigor, have displaced
the citizen voter as elector. Now it doesn't matter to dispute
an election at the ballot box, but rather to win it or lose it
in the headlines of the written press and the newsmakers of radio
The citizen doesn't make
his decision in front of the distinct political options, but
rather in front of the media, and the image that they present
of the political proposals. "Modernity" has not meant
for our country the passage to democracy, to government of the
people, by the people, and for the people. The exercise of political
power has not passed from the political class to the citizens,
but rather to the publicists, editors, anchors and commentators.
If sometimes it is said
that governing can happen through the media, today this has been
inverted so that now one is governed (and the government is disputed)
in and by the media, the substitution of the citizen by the radio
and the TV. This is not democracy. It is virtual government and
the virtual change of government. The government palaces, the
legislative halls and the polling places are already not in their
real homes, but rather in news programming.
On this stage where the
nation is substituted for the "rating," is where the
electoral contest has fundamentally been offered. Save some honorable
exceptions, the candidates for the presidency have led their
efforts (and their economic resources) almost exclusively to
the terrain of the media. Beyond the obvious profits, the media
has obtained a political role that surpasses many of its prerogatives
and, above all, its capacities.
It's clear that the opportunity
of the political parties to make their positions known through
radio and television is an important advance in democratization.
And it's laudable that the parties take advantage of it.
The problem is that, more
than a few times, this coverage is not fair (the official party
demolishes the others in times and in stellar hours), and it
is not a political position that is broadcast, but rather they
opt for scandal, insult, defamation or banal gossip. More still,
very often the communicator becomes the judge of what he communicates,
and "decides" what and how he is going to inform.
As has been signaled by
various workers in the press, the role of the media is not that
of voter, but of communicator. To not understand that or not
to work in congruence with that, has proved more than one to
commit lamentable excesses.
The media in Mexico now
have a more determinant role in national life. It's fair to recognize
that not only has the irresponsibility of some of its members
increased in the new character of their profession, but also
that more than a few have grown in their independence, their
critical spirit and their honesty. Still, the responsible attitude
in the electronic and written press has not come from the majority
This is not about putting
aside the media or silencing them as a way to avoid the substitution
of the citizenry's decision, but rather of returning the right
of the citizens and the political organizations to fairness,
truth, honesty and responsibility by the communicators in the
The citizen has a right
to truthful, opportune and complete information. There is no
law that guarantees this, nor agency that defends or monitors
Today, in front of the
current election process, We the Zapatistas reaffirm one of the
points of our fight: The right to information and culture.
Third: With the lights of the media exclusively
focused on the presidential contest, a fundamental element has
been left aside in the life of our Republic: The Legislative
The imminent election
process will decide not only who will hold the title of the Executive
Branch, but also the members of the federal Senate and House
of Deputies of the Republic will be chosen.
In Mexico, presidentialism
has been a heavy load and an obstacle for democracy. Although
in the past 70 years we have never had a president who was not
of the official party, the possible coming of the opposition
to the presidential seat does not mean a "passage to democracy"
if the six-year power remains concentrated in one person and
if the powers of legislating and imparting justice are decorative
elements that are renewed every three or six years. The all-powerful
role of the presidency is a fact. What democracy is there when,
during the course of six years, the fundamental decisions of
a nation fall again to one individual?
An autonomous and independent
legislative branch, separate from the executive, is indispensable
in a democracy. Still, the campaigns for deputies and senators
have been invisible. The national passion is placed into the
contest for the presidency and has succeeded in hiding an advance
already seen in the six-year term that is ending: A legislative
branch that is in the struggle for its independence and autonomy.
Beyond confronting the
executive, the legislative branch must make itself independent
from the party leaderships that more than a few times supplant
the leaders of the parliamentary factions in the agreements and
dispositions that correspond exclusively to the legislative arena.
Legislating is not the prerogative of the political parties,
but rather of those who are elected democratically for this task.
By following the tail
of the presidential campaigns, the candidates to the legislative
branch don't gain a thing, nor do they help those who seek the
Executive power. They are different elections because their function
is different. The legislative contests deserve attention that
they have not received.
We hope that the next
legislature, so erased from these elections, will not do its
job tied to compromises with their party leaders nor with the
elected executive, but rather with the Mexicans who, voters or
not for their candidacies, form the Mexican Nation by and with
those who will make laws.
Today, in front of the
current election process, We the Zapatistas declare ourselves
for an authentic balance of powers. Not only in the exercise
of their job but also in the dispute for their own seats. It's
as important to know the proposals and positions of the candidates
for deputies and senators as those for the presidency of the
Republic. The end of presidentialism is the condition for democracy
The current national election process has been imbalanced on
the side of the PRI and its candidate that have moved the entire
governmental apparatus on their behalf. The buying of votes,
the pressure on voters, the hauling of voters, the threats, the
favoritism of some media outlets, have been used to support the
imposition of the candidate of the PRI, Francisco Labastida Ochoa.
Some of these unfairnesses have been opportunely demonstrated
by national and international observers, by Non-Governmental
Organizations, by political parties of the opposition, and by
the honest press.
Today, in front of the
current election process, We the Zapatistas denounce that this
is not about an election of citizens before political proposals
and those who represent them, but rather an Election-of-the-State.
The opposition confronts not only the official party, but also
the entire apparatus of the Mexican State. There is no election
under these conditions that can be qualified as "democratic."
Fifth: In spite of the crushing and scandalous
support of the government for the campaign of the PRI, the citizen
discontent is increasingly more eloquent. It is said today that
it is possible that the PRI will not obtain the necessary vote
to win the presidential seat, and that the next president of
Mexico will be of the opposition.
Before this possibility,
and also with material
resources of the most diverse species, an argument has been launched: In the instability
of every six-year change, warnings rain from the government and
its circles about the catastrophes that will come upon us, the
Mexican people, if a person who is not of the PRI comes to the
presidency: War, devaluations, the flight of capital, social
discontent, inflation, business collapses, unemployment, chaos.
Not to stray to far, one
must remember what Zedillo warned (when the assassination of
Colosio made him the candidate) if a government of a distinct
party to the official one would be chosen. With Zedillo the crisis
of December 1994 happened, the renewal of war in the Mexican
Southeast, the non-compliance with the San Andrés Peace
Agreements, the massacres of Aguas Blancas and El Charco in the state of Guerrero, the massacre of Acteal, the entrance
of the Federal Preventive Police in the National University,
the death of undocumented Mexicans in the United States, the
escape of capital, the devaluation of the peso.
We have also suffered
the growth of social discontent, the proliferation of active
armed organizations, higher prices of basic products, an increase
in unemployment, the FOBAPROA-IPAB bailout, the massive fall
of small and medium sized businesses, close links between organized
crime and the federal government, impunity for the white-collar
criminals, the incarceration of social fighters, the militarization
of indigenous zones, the increase in drug trafficking, the intents
to privatize the electric industry and Mexican oil as well as
higher education, the increase of dependence on foreign powers.
In sum: The destruction of Mexico as a free and sovereign country.
The only good thing about this six year period of Zedillo is
that it is almost over.
The Future of
1998 Al Giordano
Today, in front of the
current election process, We the Zapatistas remember that all
the human catastrophes and disgraces have fallen upon us during
and by the governments of the PRI. During many of these 70 years
that the PRI has governed Mexico, all the disasters that one
supposed could happen only with a different party in power have
happened. It is difficult for us to imagine that it could be
worse with the opposition in the government.
Sixth: The mere possibility that a candidate
of the opposition could come to the presidency has provoked nonsense
and distortions, but not only in the government ranks. Before
the advance of electoral options by the opposition, in certain
intellectual and political sectors has surged the idea of the
"useful vote" (or in its kinder version: the "conditional
Concretely, the possibility
that a candidate of the Alliance for Change (PAN-PVEM), Vicente Fox, could achieve a significant number
of votes has provoked a true offensive against the candidate
of the Alliance for Mexico (PRD-PT-PAS-CD-PSN), Cuauhtémoc
Cárdenas Solórzano, that he decline his candidacy
and join Mr. Fox in his presidential campaign. The arguments
of this political juggling act vary in their complexity, but
can be summed up in the following manner: It's most important
to take the PRI out of the presidential house of Los Pinos,
Fox has the chance to do it but needs a helping hand, Cárdenas
doesn't have a chance, ergo, Cárdenas should convert his
impossibility into the possibility of Fox and assure the victory
over the PRI (and over the Alliance for Mexico, but this is not
said in the argument).
Those who propose this
are proposing that the electoral options already will not be
political (projects for the nation and positions with respect
to the distinct problems of the country) and that the voter would
have no chance to support one or another political force, according
to whether he identifies or not with it.
The resignation of Cárdenas
from the electoral fight for the presidency, and his joining
of the campaign of Vicente Fox, would not only mean the resignation
of one person and his joining of his vote to that of the candidate
of the Alliance for Chance. It would also mean the disappearance
of the one electoral option of the Left in the fight for the
presidency. We do not ignore that there is a debate over whether
Cárdenas and PRD are of the Left. We think that they are
still part of the Left, with all the subtleties and critiques
that can be proposed, and we signal - and insist - that the political
Left is wider than Cardenism, and of course, than PRD-ism.
To eliminate the Left
from the electoral spectrum, that is to say, from a peaceful
path of political change, what option remains for millions of
Mexicans who have their hope and efforts gambled on profound
social change? Abstention? The Guerrilla?
It's evident that Misters
Vicente Fox and Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas represent two
different projects for the country. The proposals of one and
the other have the backing of millions of citizens. The decision
of which of them is the better one will not be made in the number
of votes that they obtain, but rather in the results that are
achieved when they become the government.
The Cárdenas campaign
is something more than a campaign for the presidential seat.
It is, for millions of Mexicans, the argument of what the Left
can be of struggling for change without having to become clandestine,
illegal, in the armed struggle.
With The People
1999 Al Giordano
The resignation of Cárdenas
in the electoral fight would mean the resignation (at least in
the immediate) of the institutional and partisan Left from peaceful
and electoral change.
History comes to call
in its chips sooner or later. Those who have reprimanded the
Zapatistas for not supporting the PRD "because although
they are not politically convincing it is still better than the
PRI and to not support the PRD helps the triumph of the PRI in
Chiapas" are now against the same pragmatic argument.
Now they themselves respond that "principles come first,"
they now have the answer to the question, "Why don't
the Zapatistas vote for the PRD in Chiapas?"
For the Zapatistas, politics
is a question of principles. Not only of principles, but also
of principles. Those who have social change and civil and peaceful
struggle as principles, in order to achieve it, must work toward
them, without paying mind to the adversities or opportunities,
if they want to have legitimacy in the Mexico from below.
Today, before the current
election process, We the Zapatistas declare ourselves to respect
this form of civil and peaceful struggle and so that all the
political options (the Right and the Left to use geographic terms)
will be represented, in a way that the citizen can truly choose
between them. We refuse the argument of the "useful vote."
Seventh: The Federal Elections Institute,
beyond organizing the elections, will be who, by law, says who
will be the winners of the elections.
In spite of the avalanche
of legal complaints by the opposition and by Non-Governmental
Organizations, the president of the IFE has gotten ahead of the
process and assures that it will be an election that is "clean
and transparent." Not only does he make adventurous prophecies,
but also this lord demands of the opposition candidates and the
citizens that we give an unconditional endorsement to his verdict
and that we accept the results of an election that has not yet
happened. The president of the IFE asks us that we grant him
a "10" for a task that has not yet been done.
The multitude of frauds
that, still before the election, already are mounting: buying
of votes, conditional use of governmental programs, inequality
in the media broadcasts, threats, blackmails, etc. And it remains
to be seen the capacity for monitoring and avoiding that, beyond
the ballot boxes, fraudulent activities are conducted.
It must be signaled that,
on some occasions, the IFE has been used for things that have
nothing to do with its job. A great number of Zapatistas don't
have a voter's card. This is because the personnel of the IFE
in Chiapas in charge of the photo-credentialing in this state
are found in collusion with the military intelligence agencies.
The information and photos for the credential are "facilitated"
to the Federal Army so that, with the help of "informants,"
they identify the Zapatistas and its people: The IFE as an arm
It is undeniable that
the making of the IFE into a citizen agency is an advance, and
that some of its members have endured strong pressures by the
government the PRI. But it cannot be asked beforehand to anybody
that they accept the results of a process before it is conducted.
Above all, in a country like Mexico, where the elections are
a synonym for a parallel world full of "crazy mouses,"
"tamale operations," and etceteras that surpass any
Today, in front of the
current election process, We the Zapatistas declare that an electoral
fraud is already in march, and that nothing guarantees that the
day of July 2nd, 2000, will not culminate in a masked imposition
of grave consequences.
Eighth: For the Zapatistas, democracy
is much more than an electoral contest or putting the alternative
party in power. But it is also an electoral contest if it is
clean, fair, honest and plural.
That's why we say that
electoral democracy doesn't make a democracy, but is an important
part of it. That's why we are not anti-election. We consider
that the political parties have a role they must comply with
(neither are we anti-parties, although we have criticisms of
what the parties do.)
We think that the elections
represent, for millions of people, a space for a dignified and
The electoral season is
not the Zapatistas' time. Not only for our being without a face
and our armed resistance, but also, above all, for our zeal to
find a new form of making politics that has little or nothing
to do with the current way.
We want to find a politics
that comes from below toward above: one in in which "obedience
leads" is more than a slogan; one in which power is not
the object; one in which the "referendum" and the "plebiscite"
are more than words that are difficult to spell; one in which
an official can be removed from his post by popular election.
Of the political parties
we say that we don't feel represented by any of them. We are
not PRD-istas, nor PAN-istas, and much less PRI-istas.
To the parties, we criticize
their distance from society, their existence and activities purely
responding to the electoral calendar, their political pragmatism
that spreads only in their directions, the cynical juggling act
of some of their members, their discrediting of that which is
Good Friday Procession,
Polho, Chiapas, 1998
1998 Al Giordano
Democracy is something
that, independently of who is in the job, the majority of people
have the power of decision over the matters that are their business.
It is the power of the people to sanction whomever is of the
government, depending on their capacity, honesty and effectiveness.
In the Zapatista idea,
democracy is something that is constructed from below and with
everyone, including those that think differently than us. Democracy
is the exercise of power by the people all the time and in all
Today, in front of the
current election process, We the Zapatistas endorse our fight
for democracy. Not only for electoral democracy, but also for
With respect to our role in the national situation we say that
we continue awaiting the compliance with the San Andrés
Peace Agreements and clear signals, from this or the next government,
that there is a serious commitment to the political path of solution
to the war.
While the adequate conditions
are not complied with, there will not be dialogue nor negotiation.
We don't want vain promises
or for them to tell us what we need or what is good for us. Neither
are seeing employment as police or forest rangers.
We want an attentive ear,
a true word and a serious commitment in a dialogue that brings
an end to the war.
If, as expected, the government
of Mister Zedillo insists in his war, in the non-compliance with
his word, and in irresponsibility as a political norm, then the
entering government will inherit a war, that which the Zapatistas
declared on January 1, 1994.
Facing this war, the new
government will have only two options:
To continue the policy
of Mister Zedillo and simulate solutions while it continues militarizing,
persecuting, killing and lying.
Or to comply with the
conditions of dialogue, to offer demonstrations of seriousness
and responsibility in the compliance of agreements and to resolve
not only the war, but also the demands of the Indian people of
There are no other options.
Those in power who have in mind the possibility of a "definitive"
military solution are completely in error.
The EZLN cannot be anhilated
militarily. Any offensive military campaign against us is destined
not to last hours or days (as is supposed in the high military
spheres), nor weeks, months or years; they can try it for entire
decades, and the EZLN will continue still, armed and masked,
demanding democracy, liberty and justice.
Whatever the decision
of the new government will be, without regard to its political
affiliation, it will have a coherent response from the EZLN.
If it opts for the violence
of low intensity, the simulation and the trick, it will see how
time passes without the problem being solved and it will have
the disrespect and distrust of the Zapatistas.
If it opts for dialogue
and compliance with agreements, it will see that the Zapatistas
will do the same without hesitation and that, in little time,
a dignified peace will be a reality and not an empty phrase.
This is precise to say
that, in the case that the government attempts a military solution
in any of its variations (whether that be a surgical strike,
a partial invasion or one in all the communities, or a full-scale
military action), it will find itself with thousands of indigenous
risen up in arms, in war, ready for everything except for surrender
We will not die. Individual
or collective martyrdom is not on the Zapatista agenda.
March 21, 1999
1999 Al Giordano
In peace or in war, the
EZLN is ready. The new government will have the word and the
opportunity to choose.
Tenth: For everything said above we declare
-- WE WILL NOT INTERFERE
WITH THE FEDERAL ELECTIONS ON JULY 2ND OF THE YEAR 2000.
-- THE INSTALLATION OF
ELECTORAL POLLING PLACES WILL BE PERMITTED IN ZAPATISTA
-- ACTS OF SABOTAGE WILL
NOT BE CONDUCTED AGAINST THE ELECTION INSTALLATIONS, OFFICIALS
OF IFE, OR VOTERS.
-- THERE WILL BE NO CALL
TO VOTE FOR ANY SPECIFIC CANDIDATES OR PARTIES.
-- THE ZAPATISTA BASES
OF SUPPORT WILL VOTE OR NOT VOTE ACCORDING TO THEIR OWN DECISIONS.
THE BASES OF SUPPORT WILL VOTE WITHOUT ANY LINE NOR SANCTIONS
FOR ANY PARTISAN INCLINATION.
TO ALL MEXICANS THAT SEE
IN THE ELECTIONS A POSSIBILITY FOR STRUGGLE, WE CALL TO FIGHT
ON THIS TERRAIN AND WITH THESE MEANS, AND TO DEFEND THE VOTE.
Brothers and Sisters:
This hour is not our hour.
It will come someday, when there is peace and respect for the
Indian people. When democracy goes further than the election
calendar. On that day, Mexico will not be democratic only for
the Zapatistas, but also for them. On that day we will not be
fighting for a governmental post, but rather we will walk alongside
of millions of women and men who, like us, fight for
From the Mountains
of the Mexican Southeast
For the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee - General
Zapatista Army of National Liberation
Mexico, June of 2000
Vamos, vamos, vamos,