Sign Up for Free Mailing List

April 30, 2001

Narco News 2001

Zapatistas Respond to Congress' Betrayal

The War Doesn't End

Two new communiques and new analysis translated by Irlandesa...


Zapatista Army of National Liberation.

April 29, 2001.

To the National and International Press.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

The communiqué is off. So the "unholy trinity" (which, as its name
indicates, is made up of four: Diego, Jackson, Chucho and Bartlett) have
been up to their old tricks in the Senate? The war in Chiapas doesn't
matter to them? Of course it matters! That's why they drew up this
reform. Because that way they ensure that the war doesn't end, that the
soldiers continue with their dirty dealings in Chiapas, that the zapatistas
remain clandestine, and that the indigenous continue to be subjected to
charity and contempt. It can now be seen that it wasn't a problem of
"details." If that reform deserves any name it's that of the
"Constitutional Recognition of the Rights and Culture of Latifundists and
Racists." And how about Fox applauding the legislative mockery? Of
course, since he sponsored it.

They want to turn the March of Indigenous Dignity into a defeat, but the
only defeat they're ensuring is that of their future, or don't they

Yes, we already know what's coming: a great media campaign about the
"zapatista intransigence," an increase in military and police pressure,
reactivation of paramilitary groups, offensives, etcetera. We've already
seen this film, and the denouement is well-known (ask Señor Zedillo).

Vale. Salud and know that it's not over for us.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.

Mexico, April of 2001.



Communiqué from the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee -
General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.
April 29, 2001.

To the People of Mexico:
To the Peoples and Governments of the World:

Brothers and Sisters:

The EZLN has learned of the constitutional reform on indigenous rights and
culture which was recently approved by the Congress of the Union. This is
our position:

First. - The constitutional reform approved in the Congress of the Union
in no way answers to the demands of the Indian peoples of Mexico, of the
National Indigenous Congress, of the EZLN, nor of national and
international civil society.

Second. - Said reform betrays the San Andrés Accords in general, and the
so-called "Cocopa legislative proposal" in particular, in substantive
points: autonomy and free determination, the Indian peoples as the
subjects of public right, lands and territories, the use and enjoyment of
natural resources, the election of municipal authorities and the right to
regional association, among others.

Third. - The reform only serves to block the exercise of indigenous
rights, and it represents a serious offense to the Indian peoples, to
national and international civil society and to public opinion, since it
disregards the mobilization and the unprecedented consensus which the
indigenous struggle achieved at that time.

Fourth. - Señor Fox hailed the current reform, knowing that it is not even
remotely similar to the one he represented as his own. This proves that
Fox only pretended to embrace the "Cocopa proposal," while negotiating a
reform with hard-line groups in Congress which does not recognize
indigenous rights.

Fifth. - With these reforms, federal legislators and the Fox government
are closing the door on dialogue and peace, since they are preventing a
resolution of one of the causes which led to the zapatista uprising. They
give a raison d'être to various armed groups in Mexico, by invalidating a
process of dialogue and negotiation. They shirk the historic commitment to
settling a debt which Mexico has been dragging along in its almost two
hundred years of sovereign and independent life. And it is an attempt to
divide the national indigenous movement by handing over a federal
legislative obligation to state congresses.

Sixth. - The EZLN formally refuses to recognize this constitutional reform
on indigenous rights and culture. It does not embrace the spirit of the
San Andrés Accords. It does not respect the "Cocopa legislative proposal."
It completely ignores the national and international demand for the
recognition of indigenous rights and culture. It sabotages the incipient
process of rapprochement between the federal government and the EZLN. It
betrays the hopes for a negotiated solution for the war in Chiapas. And it
reveals the absolute alienation of the political class regarding popular

Seventh. - Consequently, the EZLN communicates the following:

A). - That it has indicated to architect Fernandez Yáñez Muñoz that he
completely suspend his work as liaison between the EZLN and the federal
government. There will be no more contact between the Fox government and
the EZLN.

B). - That the EZLN will not take back up the path of dialogue with the
federal government until indigenous rights and culture are constitutionally
recognized in accord with the so-called "Cocopa legislative proposal."

C). - That the zapatistas continue in resistance and in rebellion.

Eighth. - We are calling on national and international civil society to
organize, and, with mobilizations in Mexico and in the world, along with
the EZLN, demand that the Mexican government turn back from the legislative
mockery, and fulfill the constitutional recognition of indigenous rights
and culture.

Ninth. - We are making a special call to the brothers and sisters of the
National Indigenous Congress to organize and to keep up forms of civil
resistance throughout the national lands.




From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

By the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee -
General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.

Mexico, April of 2001.

Analysis from La Jornada...

La Jornada
April 27, 2001.

Indigenous Law Proposal Approved By Senate:

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

By Sergio Rodríguez Lascano

The constitutional changes regarding indigenous issues which were approved
by the Senate of the Republic - along with the vote of all the parties, to
the shame of the PRD - is closer to the Zedillo Law than to the Cocopa Law
in its fundamental aspects. Once again the political parties have not been
sensitive to the demands of the indigenous, which are supported by millions
of non-indigenous Mexicans, to provide them with a legal framework which
will allow them to achieve a two-fold objective: to participate as a
subject with legal recognition in the reorganization of the national State,
and to achieve that through the legal recognition of their own mechanisms
for regulating their social, political, economic and cultural life.

In the draft proposed by the Senate - which the Chamber of Deputies will
most certainly support - there is movement towards a general definition
concerning the concept of autonomy or concerning indigenous peoples - where
the consciousness of their identity is incorporated - only to immediately
cancel it or limit it to the greatest degree when it goes on to more
concrete definitions. Further on, if we compare the Law proposed by the
Cocopa with the one Zedillo presented and with the one currently being
promoted, we can see that it is a Law which, in some instances, is even
more regressive than the previous President's.

There are four points in the current legislative proposal which are the
most questionable:

1). - In the original Cocopa text the indigenous communities are proposed
as "entities of public right." In the Zedillo Law this was changed, and it
noted "the indigenous communities as subjects of public interest." The
Senate proposal suggests "such as the recognition of the communities as
entities of public interest." Between Cocopa and Zedillo, the Senate chose
the latter. What does this difference imply? In the Cocopa proposal, the
communities are recognized as subjects of public right, that is, as part of
the State. In the Zedillo proposal, being backed by the Senate today, the
Mexican indigenous communities are treated in a similar fashion to a
Conasupo store, by being considered in the public interest. All of this
contradicts Paragraph 1, Article 2 of the Senate proposal, which reads,
literally: "The nation has a multicultural composition, based originally
in its indigenous peoples." How can they say that and then recognize those
peoples with a legal status similar to that of a Conasupo store?

2). - In the original Cocopa text, the following is proposed: "To gain
access collectively to the use and enjoyment of the natural resources of
their lands and territories, those being understood as the totality of the
habitat which the indigenous peoples use and occupy, except for those whose
direct control corresponds to the nation." The Zedillo proposal said: "To
gain access to the use and enjoyment of the natural resources of their
lands, respecting the forms, methods and limitations established for
ownership by this Constitution and the laws." The Senate proposal says:
"To gain access, with respect for the forms and means of ownership and
possession of land established in this Constitution and laws in these
matters, as well as to the rights acquired by third parties or by members
of the community, to the preferential use and enjoyment of the natural
resources of those places the communities inhabit and occupy, except for
those which correspond to strategic areas, in the terms of this
Constitution." Once again there is no doubt that the Zedillo Law had more
weight than the Cocopa one. The territorial concept, which is key for
understanding and defining autonomy, has disappeared. In this way, the
geographical space in which autonomy can be exercised is maximally limited,
violating the agreement established in San Andrés that all the problems of
Land Ownership should be discussed in Table 3 on Justice and Development.

3). - In the original Cocopa text it says: "The exercise of free
self-determination by the indigenous peoples will be respected in each of
the arenas and levels in which their autonomy is asserted, being able to
take in one or more indigenous peoples, according to the individual and
specific circumstances of each federal state. The indigenous communities
as entities of public right, and those municipalities which recognize that
they belong to an indigenous people, will have the power to freely
associate in order to coordinate their actions." The Zedillo Law stated:
"The communities of the indigenous peoples as entities of public interest,
and those municipalities with a primarily indigenous population, will have
the option to freely associate for the purpose of coordinating their
actions, always respecting the political-administrative divisions in each
federal state." The Senate proposal says: "The indigenous communities,
within the municipal arena, will be able to coordinate and to associate
under the terms, and to the ends, provided by this law." This even
backpedals from the Zedillo law. The possibility for associating in
regional terms - beyond the existing municipalities - which is the
mechanism which represents the only guarantee for the rebuilding of the
indigenous peoples following more than 500 years of fragmentation and
marginalization -disappears completely here. The addition to Article 115
which is being proposed represents an absolute mockery of the Indian

4). - In the Cocopa Law it stated: "In order to establish the territorial
demarcation of the uninominal districts and the plurinominal districts, the
location of the indigenous peoples should be taken into account, in order
to ensure their participation and political representation in the national
arena." The Zedillo proposal said: "In order to establish the territorial
demarcation of uninominal electoral districts, the location of the
indigenous peoples should be taken into account, in order to ensure their
participation and political representation in the national arena." In the
Senate proposal, in the provisional third party, it states; "In order to
establish the territorial demarcation of uninominal districts, the location
of the indigenous peoples and communities should, when feasible, be taken
into consideration, in order to foster their political participation."
Once more the Senate proposal backpedals even from Zedillo's. It is not
only against the Indian peoples - the ones who are the original foundation
of the Nation - having a specific representation, through their own
plurinominal constituency - but now "the location of the indigenous peoples
should be taken into account" only when it is feasible.

When Ernesto Zedillo presented his proposal, he noted that 85% of the
Cocopa proposal had been incorporated. The problem was that the remaining
15% contained the heart of the indigenous autonomy program. Now, with the
Senate proposal, it can be said that it incorporates 80% (5% less than in
Zedillo's), but the 20% that has been left out is the backbone of
indigenous autonomy.

The Senate's omission cannot be replaced with general and abstract
suggestions concerning autonomy or with government welfare proposals (the
entire Part B of the proposal), whose placement within the body of the
Constitution is a disgrace. In addition, those proposals were the
political platform of a system which was defeated on July 2.

It is truly deplorable that once again the Senate (the same one which
refused to listen to the zapatistas and to the members of the National
Indigenous Congress), and very probably the Chamber of Deputies, are
turning their backs on the indigenous peoples of Mexico. The conviction
that this decision will be closing an historical wound is not only a
fiction, it is also a joke in very bad taste. If this legislative proposal
is approved in the Chamber of Deputies, and then in the state Congresses, a
file will have been closed, but the serious problems of more than 10
million Mexicans will not be resolved, The struggle for indigenous rights
and culture will continue to be an unresolved issue and an insult for the

The Resistance Doesn't End Either