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Narco News 2001

March 8, 2001

From Zapata's Hometown of Anenecuilco...

Zapatistas Foil Local Bosses

Narco News to AP's Distorter Patterson

It's the Struggle, Stupid!

By Al Giordano

As the Zapatista Caravan snaked its way into the state of Morelos, local political bosses, known as caciques, attempted to prohibit the entry of the 24 EZLN delegates into the museum space built around the ruins of the humble one-room adobe house where General Emiliano Zapata was born.

Local PRI party bosses Pablo Torres Chávez, Héctor Plascencia Ayala and Alfredo Acevedo convened a meeting of 20 citizens of the city of Ayala - where the neighborhood of Zapata's birth, Anenecuilco, is located - and made up fantastic stories of what the indigenous Zapatista rebels planned to do in their town.

According to the local bosses, the 20,000 armed Zapatista soldiers were going to arrive and steal historic documents and artifacts from the museum that is the pride of the town. The 20 citizens then voted to ban the planned Zapatista visit.

Further causing the late General Zapata to turn in his tomb in nearby Cuautla, Morelos, the local bosses then invited Mexican President Vicente Fox, of the PAN party, to come in place of the Zapatistas.

But the story doesn't end there. On March 2nd, Civil Society in Anenecuilco stepped forward to correct the facts. Members of the community convened a second, larger, meeting and explained that there would be 23 Zapatista comandantes plus one subcomandante, that they would be unarmed, and that the last thing they would ever wish to do is dishonor the site of their hero, for whom the Zapatista Army of National Liberation was named.

The citizens of the town repudiated the local bosses and voted to issue a formal invitation welcoming the Zapatista rebels to visit their town and enter the Zapata Museum as honored guests, and invited the Zapatista delegates to please sign the guest book while there.

The Zapatistas visted the general's birthplace this morning without incident.

"We don't come here to take the name of Zapata away from where he was born and where he will always live," Marcos told the assembled. "We're not here to usurp a history that belongs to everyone. He goes forward and we march behind. General Emiliano Zapata taught us not to fight for power because power rots the blood and darkens the mind. We will never come to be Emiliano Zapata, but we will always strive to do so... Salud always to the blood of the General in Chief Emiliano Zapata!"

The people of Anenecuilco then made a gift to Marcos and the Zapatista delegates: A piece of the earth below the home where Zapata was born, to carry with them on their journey to Mexico City.

Solidarity from Zapata Son and Daughter

During the visit to Zapata's homeland, two of the late General's children broke with their big-mouthed, government-paid little brother, Mateo Zapata, who on a television program attacked the Zapatistas as "delinquents." Mateo has long been on the payroll of the PRI regime and now of the Fox regime of the PAN.

His older sister, Ana María Zapata, told the press that she shares the Zapatista goals and hopes for an invitation to accompany the EZLN to Mexico City. The goals of her father, she said, are those of today's Zapatistas.

Ana María Zapata, with brother Diego, greet Marcos

At this morning's ceremony, Diego Zapata, pictured here with Marcos, also came to welcome the Zapatistas.

That photo was taken by Associated Press.

Unfortunately, one of the "journalists" assigned by AP to cover the caravan has done little except trivialize, lobotomize and make superficial the agency's coverage of this historic march.

The "reporter," to our knowledge new to AP, and filling in, we suppose, for the often fair and never boring Mark Stevenson, is none other than Wendy Patterson, who wrote to Narco News last June to defend corrupted journalism that protects drug-traffickers and bankers.

In a hysterical, barely coherent rant to this publication, which we published uncensored last June, in which she hung her own credibility from her own gallows, Patterson defended her friend Sam Dillon, now ex-bureau chief of the New York Times in Mexico. Apparently unconcerned that Dillon had withheld information from New York Times readers about drug trafficking on the properties of Banamex owner and free speech opponent Roberto Hernández Ramírez, Patterson offered a screeching conspiracy theory against Narco News for criticizing Dillon: "One has to wonder what interests are really behind your rag, the so-called Narconews? Or are you just jealous of first-rate journalists?"

In her recent coverage of the Zapatista Caravan, Patterson has revealed herself to be anything but first-rate. Her coverage has been dreadful, even making an exciting march sound boring.

Check out today's AP story in which Patterson touched upon issues that she neither understands nor can explain:

From AP: Zapatista leader Subcomandante Marcos criticized Mexico's bankers on Wednesday, saying that they were the biggest threat to the country's indigenous population.

Speaking to hundreds of supporters in Cuautla, 45 miles south of Mexico City, Marcos accused the country's bankers of wanting to exploit the land by extracting precious resources.

"They want to construct and administer centers of diversion where the peasants and the indigenous would be clowns," he said.

He also attacked President Vicente Fox's plan to bring more development to the country's poor southern states.

"Instead of using riches to support poor peasants and small business owners ... Fox has a plan to use the money to support those who want to fill the land with gas stations, malls and plastic playlands," he said.

Marcos is leading a two-week trek through Mexico to build support for an Indian rights and autonomy bill. He and hundreds of supporters are scheduled to arrive Sunday in Mexico City, where they will lobby Congress for passage of the bill.

Marcos' repeated attacks drew the criticism of Felipe Calderon Hinojosa, a congressional leader from Fox's party.

"The discussion has been about nothing," Hinojosa told the state-run news agency, Notimex. He said the rebel leader's speeches have been based on "insults, and I know that you can't win with those...."

First of all, Narco News had eight correspondents on the scene in Cuautla yesterday, half of them Mexican, three of them indigenous. Where Patterson claims there were only "hundreds" present, there were in fact many thousands.

Why this blatant distortion from the AP stringer when thousands of witnesses exist to disprove her?

Second, although Patterson does mention the Zapatista critique of Mexico's fraudulent bankers, she does not report what the critique is based upon, other than a vague reference to the bankers "wanting to exploit the land by extracting precious resources."

Marcos, in his Cuautla speech, said:

"The Mexican countryside's most dangerous enemy is not the land invasions, but the bankers.

"The ones provoking destabilization in rural Mexico are not agrarian reform advocates, but the usurious banks."

The subcomandante explained that the interest rates (often over 20 percent per year and sometimes more) of the bankers, protected by the government, have destroyed:

"...rural workers, peasant farmers without land, impoverished and dislocated communal farmers, small time business owners and those who have never been able to obtain anything other than insults, contempt, deceit and sorrow: the Mexican indigenous."

"The neoliberal reforms to Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution did not bring security to small and mid-size property. They did not promote investment in the countryside. They did not improve the lives of
ejiditarios and comuneros. The anti-zapatista reforms to Article 27 were made so that powerful bankers would have legal protection for their thefts and dislocations.

"The bankers are not interested in whether or not the land produces. They have no interest in working it or planting it or harvesting food from it.

"They are interested in it in order to sell it, in order to speculate with it, in order to destroy it, trying to extract what it conceals in its bosom: oil, uranium and other minerals. In order to exploit what gives life: wood and water, and in order to build and run entertainment centers where the campesinos and indigenous are the clowns.

"They are wrong, those from above, if they think we are going to remain with our arms crossed while the law and the thief join up together and, together, destroy the land which is mother.

And Marcos concluded his words by saying:

"Brothers and Sisters:

"We who are the color of the earth, we are string in the bow of history.

"At times slack, we are the bowstring which guards and waits.

"At times drawn, we are the bowstring that shall let fly the arrow we are.

"The hour to be drawn has come, but with everyone.

"Only thus will our desire be able to reach far, to there, to the morning.

"Down with usury and crime! Viva forever Emiliano Zapata!"

Marcos didn't just attack the banks for wanting natural resources; in fact he accused them of not being interested in cultivating the most "precious resources" to use Patterson's term: food for the people. He called the bankers usurious and mentioned how they are protected by "those from above" which includes, apparently, Associated Press, for allowing this poor excuse for a "journalist" to distort immediate history in which the boring Patterson does.

When Patterson quotes a congressman from Fox's PAN party, saying, "This discussion has been about nothing," she might as well be reporting about her own coverage of the Caravan, clearly aimed to make it seem to be "about nothing."

The cub reporter for AP, previous defender of the disgraced NY Times bureau and its cover-up for the very bankers mentioned by Marcos yesterday, however, had the bad timing to attempt her unethical distortions just as La Jornada of Mexico City interviewed scholar Noam Chomsky about the Zapatista Caravan and the lack of serious coverage it receives in the United States press.

Chomsky spoke of the global significance of the EZLN caravan and its worldwide potential:

"It is this potential for solidarity and mutual aid that frightens the cupolas in the United States and other countries, indicated Chomsky. 'The business and political worlds are trying everything to avoid that this happens.' As an example he cited the reduced coverage of the Zapatista march that the mass media of the United States have offered. This, he said, is a conscious decision to evade the development of these connections. "They like to characterize these movements as marginalized and crazy Non-Governmental Organizations, but they know very well that it is not the truth," he said.

"The social movements that don't participate in the institutional channels of politics - called extra-parlimentary - are those that generate political changes," Chomsky said. For example, he indicated, 'if the San Andrés Accords succeed in being passed and applied within the parliamentary circuit, it will be the result of a social struggle that promoted this change from outside of the institutional political circuit.'"

Chomsky was speaking of the very kind of false and deceitful "journalism" from above that Patterson attempts to get away with.

Our message to Patterson: You didn't get away with it, and never will. It's the struggle, stupid!

It's The Struggle, Stupid!