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Narco News 2001

Day Two of Historic EZLN Caravan

Zapatistas Defy Death Threats...

Marcos Slams "Mega-Project" on Isthmus...

Crowd of 30,000 in Oaxaca City Chants...

"Long Live the EZLN"

Civil Society in Juchitán Decorate Abraham and Marcos

The death threat arrived while the City of Juchitán, Oaxaca was welcoming the 24 Zapatista delegates on their way to Mexico City. An unsigned letter, claiming to be from a local criminal-paramilitary group "Corta-Mortajas," or "Cut Shroud."

"Tomorrow, in Jalapa del Marquéz, you'll get the shroud-cut."

The Zapatista Command fired off, later last night, a communiqué announcing that they would proceed with their travels, and would not be detained on the way to Mexico City.

But the real response came from the community of Jalapa del Marquéz itself the next morning. The entire town lined the main road, including uniformed schoolchildren, and the town council issued its own communiqué, stopping all traffic to hand out the one page flyer. The leaflet told the history of Jalapa del Marquéz, which hosts a giant reservior and is famous for its "mojarra" fresh water fish, explaining how the local caciques (local political tyrants) stole every resource that came from the building of the dam, and identifying the threatening party as being representative of the old caciques upset that the Zapotec indigenous population of that community has organized from below to break the power of the old bosses.

Members of the community told Narco News that they credit the Zapatista uprising in 1994 as the beginning of their own efforts to take back their town.

And so, today, the population gave their thanks with a human wall of protection and cheers as the Zapatista Caravan came rolling through.

The "Cut Shroud" group remained in hiding. The smiles and the shouts of the local schoolchildren chased them away.

The appearance of Subcomandante Marcos on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec on Monday in La Ventosa and Juchitán, and Tuesday in Tehuantepec and in Jalapa de Marquez took on a new importance due to Sunday's speech by the Zapatista spokesman that came out squarely against President Vicente Fox's "Plan Panamá-Puebla" and the related "mega-project" superhighway on the Isthmus, imposed from above with only superficial "consultation" of the communities where the project would be constructed.

This was a new twist in Mexican events, as Oaxaca - the only majority indigenous state in Mexico with more than 20 ethnic groups comprising 55 percent of the state population - could explode over the mega-project issue in the coming years. The idea from above is to make a "Panama Canal on Wheels" between the Pacific port of Salina Cruz and the Caribbean, while inviting agribusiness and other industries to set up shop along the route, replacing native crops like corn and beans with eucalyptus and other products that most Oaxaqueños don't use or even want. Environmentalists have forecast major ecological problems. Communal farmers face losing their lands to eminent domain. Nationalists are upset that the Mexican government has negotiated with Japanese and European companies to build the highway and charge tolls for the benefit of the privatized transportation route. And in the area of Juchitán, where the alternative economic development of the local population has already built a flourishing economy, years of effort to control development based on local needs could be erased by this mega-project.

The Narco-Interests are also salivating that the prospects of this mega-highway: a new, centralized route for South American cocaine from Pacific to Atlantic: one-stop private-sector pay-offs and bribery. Once again, it's the drug-free Zapatistas vs. the Narco State.

By the time the Zapatista Caravan reached Oaxaca City this afternoon, the entire Alameda alongside the city Cathedral was overflowing. 30,000 Oaxaqueños, half of whom are not indigenous, greeted the Zapatistas with all the volume and enthusiasm that the Beatles were met with when they first reached America.

Here are some reports from today's Mexican and International news on the Zapatista Caravan.

- Al Giordano

From the Caravan Road with Narco News


Defying the Death Threats

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
Translated by irlandesa

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

February 26, 2001.

To the People of Mexico:
To the Peoples and Governments of the World:
To the National and International Press:

Yesterday, February 25, 2001, during the course of the zapatista
delegation's trip through the city of Juchitán, Oaxaca, we received the
following written message:

"Tomorrow, in Jalapa del Marquéz, you'll get the shroud-cut."

We entrusted the members of civil society who are accompanying us with
investigating this threat, and they confirmed that a criminal group exists
in this part of the country with that name which carries out assassinations
for money.

Given the above, the Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee -
General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation declares the

First. - No threat will make us desist from our objective of reaching the
seat of the federal legislative branch in order to promote the
constitutional recognition of indigenous rights and culture in accordance
with the "Cocopa Legislative Proposal."

Second. - We are making a courteous call to national and international
civil society and to the federal legislative branch to join in the march of
indigenous dignity and to prevent, through their presence, any attack
against the zapatista delegation.

Third. - We repeat that we are holding Señor Vicente Fox's government
responsible for whatever might happen.

That is all.


From the House of Culture in Juchitán, Oaxaca.

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

Mexico, February of 2001.


To Other Armed Insurgent Groups

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
Translated by irlandesa

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

February of 2001.


To the Leadership, Command Groups and Combatants
Of the Different Political-Military Revolutionary
Organizations in Mexico.


The EZLN is writing you the following:

First. - As is public knowledge, on February 25, 2001, a delegation of the
CCRI-CG of the EZLN began a march to Mexico City, for the purpose of
engaging in dialogue with the Congress of the Union concerning the
constitutional recognition of indigenous rights and culture.

Second. - During their trip to Mexico City, the zapatista delegation will
be travelling through the states of Chiapas, Oaxaca, Puebla, Veracruz,
Tlaxcala, Hidalgo, Querétaro, Guanajuato, Michoacán, the State of Mexico,
Guerrero, Morelos and the Federal District, according to the itinerary
which was made public at the appropriate time.

Third. - Since the zapatista delegation will be crossing through some of
your areas of influence and interest during its trip, the CCRI-CG of the
EZLN is respectfully requesting that you take whatever measures you
consider relevant so that this peaceful march can carry out its high and
just aims.

Fourth. - We are certain that, even though differences and dissent exist
at various levels, you share in the struggle for the rights of the Indian
peoples, and you will attend, insofar as you are able, to the respectful
request we are making of you.


From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

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

Mexico, February of 2001.

By Hermann Bellinghausen

Isthmus Supports EZLN

Originally published in Spanish by La Jornada
Translated by irlandesa

La Jornada
Monday, February 26, 2001.

Independent Organizations From the Isthmus of Tehuantepec
Join Zapatista March

Hermann Bellinghausen, corespondent.
La Ventosa, Oaxaca.
February 25, 2001.

Here, where there are seven windmills and they are used to generate
electricity, where a strong wind can unexpectedly turn over a car - and
even more easily carry a man away - independent organizations from the
Isthmus came to gather together in a flying rally, in order to greet the
stopover by the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) and to let
them know: "We have decided to join your caravan so your step might be
joined with ours."

Zoila, a woman in a wide Isthmus skirt and with a good voice, who belongs
to the Union of Indigenous Communities of the Northern Region of the
Isthmus (Ucizoni) asked the thousand indigenous gathered at the crossroads
of the highways to Oaxaca, Matías Romero and Veracruz: "Let us remain
silent for a moment."

Comandantes David and Tacho and Subcomandante Marcos were getting out of
the bus, as, following a little behind, was the architect Fernando Yañez,
invited guest of the EZLN delegation.

The audience - Zapotecos, Huaves, Mixes, Popolucas, Mazatecos - suspended
their shouts, slogans and comments.

That was when Zoila began speaking: "Compañeros, before your struggle, we
were not clear. We knew what we wanted, but we did not know the path.
Your struggle is just. Your path is our path."

The place - a dry, rubbish-strewn plain with some knots of huisache filled
with pieces of plastic trapped by the wind - would have been desolate
without all these people with their banners and their presence.

The Oaxaca woman said, given that they also were demanding the recognition
of their rights as Indian peoples, "we have decided to join your caravan.
We are asking your permission so that your step might be joined with our

Large colored banners identified the organizations which were present: the
Coordinating Group of the Peoples of the Isthmus, the Regional Council of
Nahua and Popoluca Indigenous Peoples of Southern Veracruz, the
Coordinating Group of Women of Oaxaca and the previously mentioned Ucizoni,
among others.

The residents of Santo Domingo Tepetapa proclaimed: "We admire your
courage and struggles for the indigenous." Their banner was the one
furthest away from the modest grandstand, barely a curb-high dais, from
where Subcomandante Marcos greeted the most rebellious and dissenting
Isthmus residents, those who are defending the Isthmus of Tehuantepec from
feverish privatization in a fundamental struggle for national sovereignty.

Right away the Sup presented Comandante David, who, with simple but
convincing words, reiterated the reasons for the trip to Mexico City.

The Federal Highway Police patrols had to stop, as well as the caravan the
bus had been attracting since San Cristóbal de Las Casas and Tuxtla

Tlayudas for the Zapatistas

Before the zapatistas returned to their transportation, the people
presented them with good-sized stacks of tlayudas. And, since the
zapatistas have been quite accustomed to living on tostadas, they
appreciated the gesture.

The caravan is growing every day, between the additions and subtractions of
those accompanying it, and it now takes up dozens of kilometers and is
paralyzing the areas through which it is travelling for a time. Some join
in for just a stretch, others say they are going with the Zapatista Army of
National Liberation delegates for the entire route, to Mexico City.

This morning in the chiapaneco capital, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, one would have
had to have seen the Civil Protection employees handing out oranges - or
the government helicopter buzzing above the caravan non-ominously - in
order to perceive that the state government of Chiapas has already changed.
Who would ever have said that Subcomandante Marcos would arrive in front
of Government Palace and be, not persecuted, but supported?

Then came a reference to the former governor, Roberto Albores Guillén: "We
want to thank you for having thrown the substitute of the substitute of the
substitute out of here," said Marcos to the multitude stopped in the plaza
or poking above the treetops. "This state is no longer going to be the
country's police blotter or garbage dump," he added.

Emblazoned across a banner was: "This is zapatista territory." In this
place of so many acts of government and PRI repression, in the inclement
course of truncated administrations and grotesque interims.

The zapatista caravan had been bid farewell in San Cristóbal de Las Casas
by thousands of masked indigenous, who immediately returned to their
communities in resistance, to continue resisting - what else?

After Tuxtla Gutiérrez, and upon passing Cintalapa, the serpent on wheels
(the metaphor isn't new, but it works) entered Oaxaca.

There, a few things changed: new companions joined in, women with
'tehuana' skirts appeared among the small crowd, and highway security
changed hands.

In Tapanatepec, the crowd stopped the zapatista bus. Comandante Tacho and
Subcomandante Marcos drew near and greeted them through the windshield.

There, PRI campesinos and State service workers joined in the march, and
not just teachers from the National Coordinating Group of Education

Several vehicles and a State Department of Health ambulance added their
services for anyone who needed them, with the following sticker on the
door: "The National Union of Department of Health Workers welcome the EZLN
with fighting greetings in solidarity," and they put doctors and nurses at
their service for the Isthmus portion of the trip.

During the event in the central plaza of Juchitán, when night was falling,
the PRDs and 'coceístas' were surprised to see eminent PRIs (the "enemy")
in the crowd, enthusiastically greeting the zapatista Comandantes.
Eighteen years of government by the Worker Campesino Student Coordinating
Group of the Isthmus (COCEI) for a political event to reunite the governing
left and at least some members of the still-official party in Oaxaca.

Town of Women (and Men)

At the entrance to the famous city of Juchitán, famous for its social
struggles, and especially for its victories, thousands of persons waited
for the zapatista caravan this afternoon.

When it arrived, they accompanied it, walking slowly towards the plaza, in
front of the council building which was decorated with colors and portraits
of Emiliano Zapata, Che Guevara, Lucio Cabañas, Genaro Vázquez Rojas and
Subcomandante Marcos, with a background of palm trees adorned with red

Out of the dozens of buses, cars and trucks which make up the caravan,
descended students from the National Autonomous University of Mexico
(UNAM), as well as the hard rockers from 99 Posse and their suggestive
tattoos and piercings, as well as senior citizens from the United States
and young people from Spain, France, Italy and Canada, urban civil society,
or they had come from the center of the Republic, or they had joined in
with the zapatistas during their travels through the cities of Chiapas.

The Party Has Barely Begun

In the plaza where the rooks were going crazy a la Hitchcock against the
evening sky, speakers -Chontal, Chinantec, Mazatec, Mixtec and Zapotec, of
course - were greeting the Comandantes.

In this "historic place of rebellion," as Municipal President Leopoldo de
Gyves called Juchitán in his speech, the 'binixaa' language and culture are
vitally alive.

The National Democratic Convention was recalled here, celebrated in the
chiapaneco community of Guadalupe Tepeyac in 1994. Not just zapatistas,
but De Gyves also played a noted role. And Don Félix Serdán, the now
hundred year old zapatista veteran and jaramillista (or is it the reverse?)
even made use - with difficulty, owing to his years - of the word, before
Comandanta Esther asked all the women present: "Let us not lose our

From woman to woman, the Juchitecas and the zapatistas gave the 'quién
vive' on issues of strength and resistance, and the world knows it.

At the end of the event, Marcos recounted to the very attentive crowd a
history by Old Antonio, which had to do with the origins of language.
Behind his back could be read: "Ma' guiruti' zuxhaata;ee laanu (No one
shall ever again trample on our dignity)."

Much color and celebration, and that, according to Leopoldo de Gyves de la
Cruz, when "the party has barely begun."

None Of Your Business

The Zapatistas Vs the Moneymen

by Michael McCaughan

From the Irish Times, February 26, 2001

The Zapatista movement's Long March to Mexico City has caused particular discomfort to Mexico's business class, which has worked hard over the past seven years to portray the movement as an irrelevance, composed of "unemployed leftovers" from past failed revolutionary projects.

As thousands of people flock to greet the rebel convoy in every hamlet and crossroads along the way, Mexico's business elite has been forced to reinvent their view of the rebels, or risk ridicule in the face of overwhelming national support for their demands. The business bluff lasted well into February, as Alberto Fernandez Garza, director of Mexico's influential business council, Coparmex, called the Zapatistas "a gaggle of armed and masked crazies", worthy only of a bullet in the head. Mr Garza expanded on his vision of indigenous inequality, blaming their unfortunate situation on "alcoholism, machista habits and senseless quarrels."

The money men's loyal messengers rallied to the cause, led by Ignatio Loyola, Governor of Queretaro state, one of the planned stopoff points on the Long March. "Marcos deserves the death penalty" said Loyola, an opinion seconded by a local National Action Party (PAN) deputy, who said he knew "several snipers" who were up to the job. If it achieves nothing else the Long March has unmasked the ugly face behind the respectable politicians, entrusted with the good health of Mexico's democratic institutions. How quickly they reach for their revolvers as soon as democracy suggests something more substantive than a meaningless ballot cast every six years.

By the time the rebel convoy departed from Chiapas (feb 24th) President Vicente Fox had jumped on the peace bandwagon, welcoming the rebels, pledging to "put his presidency on the line" for the success of the march. As a former Coca-Cola executive Mr Fox recognises the success of the rebel movement in winning the propaganda war, a victory achieved without a penny wasted on advertising. The money-grubbers sniffed the wind, consulted private polls, (knowing well that the much-hyped quickie TV phone-in polls are a useless barometer of popular opinion) and growled with impotent fury; 'Subcomandante Marcos has won the war against the Mexican government" whined Sergio Sarmiento, a reactionary economist who, up until this week, parroted the official line about the Zapatistas, dismissing them as a tiny, insignificant gang of losers, sustained only by a mob of dodgy Italian drifters in white overralls. Now however, Sarmiento's reality has shifted drastically, blasting President Fox for surrendering the nation to the guerrillas; "the government has already given away so much,' concludes Sarmiento, "that it hardly matters at this stage what new concessions are made. " (to the rebels).

Meanwhile Enrique Quintana, a management expert writing in the popular daily Reforma, had the decency to admit that Marcos and the Zapatistas gave him and his associates 'a pain in the liver". Quintana went on to outline an 8-point marketing strategy, which he recommends for inclusion in business school texts, pinpointing the Zapatista's marketing success, a success he can't help but admire. Such admiration can clearly be seen in TV, radio and press ads which borrow rebel phrases and images to boost sales campaigns. "From Chapas to Marcos", (from "Locks" to "Frames") reads one eye-catching ad in Mexico City, playing on Chiapas and Marcos to sell hardware goods.

One furniture shop commissioned a TV ad showing footage of Marcos and Tacho explaining the rebel struggle, adding a fresh phrase in which the two leaders rub their hands gleefully, anticipating a shopping trip to buy a class of chair unavailable in the jungle. In another ad published this week a PR agency printed a photo of Marcos and a question; "Why does he have so much power?' There were three possible answers, "his weapons? his computer? his image?' The latter response was the 'correct' answer according to the PR agency, advertising its own services.

Under the thin veneer of advertising opportunism however, lies a fist of iron, which has taken a brief and profitable holiday from its sustained campaign of hate against the indigenous rebels. The infamous leaked Chase Manhattan bank memo, (December 94), recommending the Mexican government "eliminate the Zapatista threat" to please foreign investors, remains a sacred text for business leaders, sign-posting the bloody road to Acteal.

The rest is window-dressing.

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