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Narco News 2001

In Mexico's Heartland

Days Four, Five and Six of Zapatista Caravan...

From Hidalgo, Querétaro and Guanajuato...

Day Four:


Here Comes the Rain

By José Ramírez Cuevas

Note: A longer report from the Hidalgo, Puebla and Oaxaca Caravan acts will appear in Wednesday's Boston Phoenix, authored by the publisher of Narco News. We'll link to it as soon as it is online.

Originally published in Spanish by La Jornada
Translated by irlandesa

La Jornada
Thursday, March 1, 2001.

EZLN Confirms Contact With Legislators

Jesús Ramírez Cuevas, correspondent.
Ixmiquilpan, Hidalgo.
February 28.

The EZLN formally announced the beginning of contacts with federal

During the reception event in Pachuca, Subcomandante Marcos reported that
Fernando Yañez has already been in contact with José Narro, Jaime Martínez
Veloz, Miguel Bortolini and Genoveva Domínguez.

In Actopan, Marcos said: "There is a major fight going on right now and a
dispute over this dove (the one of peace). Fox's government wants to turn
it into an advertising logo. He's going to buy a product that doesn't
serve. The dove we want is the one which flies." Later he said: "You
choose the kind of peace there should be in this country. That is the
dilemma: an advertising dove, or one which flies and doesn't leave anyone
underneath anyone else."

On the fourth day of the March for Indigenous Dignity, there were four
events. In the city of Tlaxcala, during the first event, the EZLN
spokesperson expressed his appreciation for being received on "these rebel
lands." He said the Puebla-Panama Plan being promoted by Vicente Fox's
government, is going to have to have a name change. "It will have to be
called the Guatemala-Panama Plan, because there's not going to be anything
from Chiapas to Puebla." The people laughed at the warning.

There Comandanta Fidelia spoke of the reality of chiapaneca indigenous
women: "We are members of the EZLN because we are tired of so much
poverty, of so much humiliation, of so much exploitation."

Comandante Mister also spoke, eloquently: "Señor Fox wants to continue the
game of previous governments, he wants to continue gaining time, like
Salinas and Zedillo, he wants to tire us out, to wear us down, but he won't
achieve it." He asked the crowd to join in with the demand for the
fulfillment of the three signals which the EZLN is demanding of the federal

In Pachuca, thousands were gathered in front of the Hidalgo Theater.
Comandante David warned: "Without the fulfillment of these signals, it
will not be possible to reinitiate dialogue, and we will be very far from a
peace with justice and dignity."

We Don't Want a Simulated Peace: Marcos

"Since we entered your state," Marcos said, in his improvised speech in
this city, once a mining jewel, "we have found your support. You have told
us you support us. Right now I'm looking at a placard here that says
'Marcos, if you really love our indigenous brothers, sign peace'."

The EZLN's military chief responded: "The brothers of Acteal had signed
peace with the paramilitary groups two weeks before December 22, 1997,
After having signed that peace, 45 men, women and children were just
praying, and they shot them in the head. I ask the people of Hidalgo if
this is the peace they want. We want peace, but the real one, and we are
going to build it. Just a minute ago one of the people, a little girl,
said: 'In your hands, Marcos, is the future of peace'."

In Actopan, Ñahñu indigenous had a massive reception. The master of
ceremonies presented the EZLN as "the ones who have given us an example of
struggle. The hour has come for building an alternative social force in
order to achieve democracy, peace and justice." Comandante Omar repeated
the objectives of the journey, and he invited those present "to walk
together until we reach the finishing line. Together, zapatistas and civil
society, we will be able to demonstrate that we can make a culture of

In Tepatepec, at the very entrance to the Valley of Mezquital, one of the
most impoverished regions of the country, Ñahñu indigenous were gathered,
along with students from the Mexe Normal School and teachers from the area.
There, the mother of Erika Zamora spoke. Zamora is a prisoner in Puente
Grande, accused of belonging to the ERPI following the killings at El

Comandantes Moisés and Eduardo explained the reasons for their trip to
Mexico City. Subcomandante Marcos made a short and revealing presentation
in this place which is characterized by its social organization and its
opposition to the government: "We are always turning around to look at the
people in other places. Sometimes when we turn around they are with us,
and sometimes they are very far ahead, like you, and we ask them to wait
for us."

Marcos ended by sending a message to the Normal School students of this
municipality: "Continue with your education. The word allows lights to be
found which the day does not have, and shadows not contemplated by the
night. That is what they are afraid of, and that is what we have in order
to be equal."

Not Even the Storm Could Stop Them

In Ixmiquilpan, a climactic moment occurred. The event, with dances and
Ñahñu music, had barely begun when it began raining torrentially.
Subcomandante Marcos asked the thousands who had packed the plaza to take
shelter until the rain let up, but the public responded "No!."

Comandante Zebedeo spoke: "No one can stop this march, even though this
storm is trying to make us suspend this civic festival."

Comandante David, next to speak, said: "We have arrived in your lands, and
we are determined to undertake this March of Indigenous Dignity for right,
for liberty, for justice, for respect, for autonomy, for the land which is
our mother, since we have not as yet had those sacred rights. All of this
will be possible only when indigenous rights and culture are
constitutionally recognized."

The rain grew more intense, but the crowd remained there, waiting for
Marcos' appearance.

"Good evening everyone," he said, and the skies fell in. The communiqué
that he had in his hands was dripping water, but the Sub was not perturbed.
The crowd shouted.

"If they have informed me correctly, Ixmiquilpan means the place of barren
clouds. No longer, it seems. Something has changed today." Someone tried
to cover him from the rain, but he refused: "No, if they're going to get
wet, I'm going to get wet." An ovation broke out.

The document was impossible to read, and so he began making up jokes:
"Since we came into Emiliano Zapata until now it's been a few days since
we've bathed, and we've finally gotten around to it (laughter). If anyone
has any soap, they can toss it up here. This ink is quite good, it won't
come off."

Eloquence Under the Rain

Marcos began a monologue-speech which revealed his improvisational
abilities and his eloquence. Here are a few examples:

"We want to make a difference, taking advantage of our being in
Ixmiquilpan, to distinguish three things: what their democracy is, those
who are above, and what democracy is for us. For them democracy has to do
with a calendar. On such an hour, on such a day, an election."

"We are all citizens, and we can all have opinions, but the rest of the
time our word doesn't count for anything. The rest of the time a group of
professional politicians makes decisions for us, without asking us if we're
in agreement, without taking into account whether it can do us damage or be
to our benefit. And that is the democracy they're making so much of. It's
necessary, yes, but it's not enough. Here is where we're proposing our
democracy, where the people participate all the time, where they never stop
keeping watch over that government so that it doesn't become corrupt. So
that it doesn't betray, exactly how it happens in our indigenous
communities, where we know that there the one who governs, governs obeying,
and if it goes too far, then out, why not?"

"There's another difference between their liberty and ours. For them,
liberty is the liberty to buy or sell. For us, the ones who have it hard,
what can we buy or sell? The only thing we can sell is our blood, our
hands, and even so, we have to sell them very cheaply. That's not the
liberty we want. Not the liberty that tells us that someone can put up a
little shop whenever they want. Not the liberty to but whatever we want.
In short, it's not neoliberalism that we want."

"The liberty we want is ours. It's the liberty to be able to decide and to
choose, being well informed. To be able to decide and choose who governs
us. And to be able to decide and choose what government policies we accept
and which we reject. To be able to decide and choose how we're going to be
governed, how we're going to organize ourselves, which work is most
important. To be able to decide and choose, for example, to listen to what
a group of masked persons, transgressors of the law, have come from the
Selva Lacandona to say…"

"Now I'm going to be quiet, because the more I talk the more it rains…"

The people, who were still standing in spite of the hail which was falling,
responded: "Duro, duro, duro!" The skies thundered, and lightning

Then, impelled by the people, the Subcomandante continued: "There's a
difference between their justice and our justice. Their justice is a
prostitute, and a badly paid one at that. Look at how many bankers there
are in jail, how many industrialists, how many landowners, how many
property owners…No, Señor, the jails are full of the poor, of indigenous,
of workers, of employees. That's their justice, the justice of those of
above has a price, and it has to be paid for. And not paying for it is a

"Our justice is from each according to his work. The one who works more,
can get more. It's more important in justice what the entire collective
does, not the individual. Justice is when there is an offense done, when a
crime is committed, like we say, he has to pay for it then, and not
necessarily like their justice says. In short, our justice, the justice of
the indigenous, is much more progressive than theirs."

At the end, Marcos said the zapatistas had brought a gift to the Valley of
Mezquital, and he continued joking despite the storm.

"I'm bringing a gift to the Valley of Mezquital. We brought you the rain.
No, that's not true. We looked in our backpacks, we looked in our
rucksacks, and we didn't find anything worthy enough for you. We brought
you some questions. Okay, the first: Is the EZLN the vanguard of the
Mexican indigenous movement? "Yes!!" chanted the audience. "Wrong,"
Marcos responded. "The vanguard of the national indigenous movement is
made up of the indigenous peoples of all Mexico."

"The second question: Are you happy to be here with the EZLN?" Everyone
answered yes.

"Are we wet? No, not that. Are we happy that we met each other?" "Yes,"
they seconded.

"Should the EZLN surrender?" "No," the crowd answered.

"Is the EZLN going to sell out?" "No."

"We know in the EZLN that we are not alone. Yes, we know we're not alone,"
Marcos said, in closing.

Day Five:

Thursday in Querétaro

A Bus Accident and a Canine Governor

Reports by Hermann Bellinghausen, Narco News and EZLN

Originally published in Spanish by La Jornada
Translated by irlandesa

La Jornada
Friday, March 2, 2001.

Marcos Awakens Querétaro Opposition Conscience With Fiery Speech

Hermann Bellinghausen, correspondent.
Querétaro, Querétaro.
March 1.

Subcomandante Marcos responded at great length this afternoon, with a
satirical-political speech, to the repeated threats of execution proffered
by Querétaro Governor Ignacio Loyola Vera over the last few days. After a
day filled with vicissitudes, the zapatista caravan arrived in this city to
find a crowd which had been waiting for them without leaving for six hours
in the central plaza.

They were received by Querétaro civil society and by Ñahñu indigenous
groups. At the beginning of the zapatistas' presentation, Comandante Tacho
said: "We knew that one day all this was going to happen, but what we
didn't know was the time or the year or the how. Now that time has come to

Comandante Tacho, who was applauded by the audience, followed immediately
and referred to the variety of Mexicans: "This variety of colors which we
are holds a place among all colors. We look at each other, and each color
holds the same importance in the place it belongs to."

Alluding to the various resistances which the zapatistas have encountered
in their travels through several states in the Republic, Comandante Tacho
said: "The people are beginning to make much noise for those who govern.
They were not even able to hear themselves through the noise they were
making." The latter was in reference to the recent examples of neo-PAN
guile in these Querétaro lands.

After vivas to the EZLN and to Tacho, Subcomandante Marcos performed a
fiery piece of oratory which, with numerous changes in rhythm and tone,
ignited feelings of opposition in this city which seems to be dozing in the
most ultramontane and inquisition-like dream of all those which are dotting
the country's new political map.

Durito With the Executioner

The central plaza, filled with several thousand who had waited six hours to
hear the zapatistas and Marcos, did not hide their pleasure when Comandante
Tacho announced, at the end of the event: "And next, who do you think is
coming up?" An energy of opposition is building here which the zapatistas
have not raised in any other state. Neither had they involved themselves
with - or not much, anyway - state governments. But in Querétaro,
Subcomandante Marcos' colloquial speech raised an anti-Loyola wave to such
a point that the PAN leader now has a nickname: 'Firuláis.'

Marcos began: "I'm going to try and not go on too long, because they're
going to be coming for us shortly in order to execute us in the Cerro de
las Campanas. And we are specifically beginning by giving a history
lesson, completely free, to the self-styled governor of Querétaro."

A chorus interrupted him: "Duro, duro, duro," and Marcos continued:

"Ignacio 'Firuláis' Loyola. A long time ago, during the years of the
French intervention, the Mexican people were engaged in a full out
offensive against Emperor Maxmilian of Hapsburg. The emperor found himself
forced to abandon Mexico City, and he sought refuge in the city of
Querétaro. The government of Querétaro was in the hands, like now, of a
reactionary person."

"The Juárez army attacked the plaza and began the siege of Querétaro, on a
day like today, the first of March, but in 1867. On May 15, Maxmilian
turned in his sword, and he was executed in the Cerro de las Campanas on
July 19, 1867 at 7:15 AM."

The Subcomandante, with a change in his tone of voice, went on:

"Then, if 'Firuláis' Loyola had known the history of the state which he
says he governs, he would have realized that it was a conservative
government, like his, which was defeated by a patriotic army, like ours.
The ones who ended up being executed in the Cerro de las Campanas were
conservatives. And so, if we're going to bring up national history, we're
going to do it well and act accordingly."

"We are deeply grateful for the publicity work for this march which
'Firuláis' Loyola, in his arrogance and stupidity, has carried out."

In an unusually satirical speech, which had the audience absorbed, Marcos
held nothing back:

"The intolerant governor of Querétaro achieved what we had not even thought
of: that we would come to Querétaro. We are so grateful that we have
brought him a gift...a bone," and he disdainfully let drop a piece of paper
with a bone drawn on it, which was picked up by the wind.

"We'll leave it here, because they're going to execute us now, and we won't
be able to deliver it personally. We understand that he isn't willing to
preside over the firing squad out of fear that that they're going to shoot
him instead of us."

Cries of "you are not alone" allowed him a pause.

Speaking of Boots

The rebel chief, in front of another filled plaza, recounted that an
insurance salesman had come to visit them in El Tephé last night:

"Even though the policy covered "executions ordered by idiots," we had to
ask for a bank loan. And now, in addition to wanting to execute us, they
also want to seize our boots. Because the people from the bank say they
don't like the kinds of boots we use. That it's another kind of boots that
they like."

"Whatever, if they don't have time to execute us today, they can try it
again in a few days, because they know that the members of the Congress of
the Union intend to engage in dialogue with the zapatista delegation in
what was the cradle of our current Constitution."

And he repeats, as do all the speakers from the zapatista delegation, on
the roads and in the plazas:

"This won't keep it from happening. Even if they keep us under even more
surveillance, we shall engage in dialogue with the Congress of the Union in
order to obtain the recognition of indigenous rights and culture."

In front of cameras and microphones, very Mexican in style, he took
advantage of the fact that they still had not executed them "in order to
tell our zapatista brothers who are imprisoned in the Querétaro jail,
Sergio Jerónimo Sánchez and Anselmo Pérez Robles, not be sad, they are
going to be getting out free soon, and their place in jail will soon be
filled by the one who is currently governing the state. We also came to
tell you something that people like Querétaro civil society have taught us:
you are not alone."

The tone of the speech provoked astonishment and enthusiasm:

"Our demand is no longer only ours. Hundreds of thousands of Mexicans with
whom we have met these last few days have made it theirs, and it's certain
that the millions we are going to meet in our journey to the country's
capital will make it theirs."

And he changed his rhythm once again:

"Well, that's if the execution doesn't ruin our health a bit, or the tires
of our truck aren't punctured."

Between winks to the Barzonistas, Marcos alluded to tractors, yokes and
governors, and he said:

"The people of Querétaro have nothing to fear from the zapatistas. We have
come to call them in peace, but to call them to fight along with us for the
constitutional recognition of indigenous rights and culture."

Cries of "e-zeta-ele-ene" paradoxically led him to another change in tone
and rhythm: "Hopefully I'm just getting pissed off, but, trust me, we
haven't even begun."

Blindfolding Prohibited

"We were so peaceful in the Selva Lacandona, enjoying the solitude afforded
us by 60,000 soldiers who are guarding national security with work such as
haircuts and using the homes of Tojolabal and zapatista indigenous in
Guadalupe Tepeyac as brothels, while they continue in exile."

According to Subcomandante Marcos, the zapatistas had already found the
fastest and surest route, "but after reviewing the maps very carefully, we
came to the conclusion that the fastest and surest route was through the
heart of the people."

Marcos cited Jacinto Canek, "a great wise man and Mayan chief," who taught
that "in addition to knowledge, emotion - feelings, that is - is also a
means for penetrating the truth of things. It's also a way for the other
to learn that truth. Canek didn't say the latter, I'm saying it, but don't
pay much attention to me. I always get like that before my execution.
It's happened to me before."

Becoming almost Pascal-like, he added:

"Sometimes one can know with the heart and not with the mind. There are
times when knowledge is only possibly through the heart. Okay, our
indigenous ancestors didn't say that either, but I would like them to have
said it."

He thanked the Querétaro crowd, which cheered him and expressed their
support for the zapatista demands. And he added a postscript:

"Now that they're executing us, we don't want them to blindfold our eyes.
Ever since the first of January in 1994, the blindfolding of anyone's eyes
is prohibited in this country."

In conclusion, and owing to the accident which took place this morning,
Marcos announced that the zapatista delegation would be spending the night
here. The people shouted: "Welcome."

Tonight the Zapatista Army of National Liberation delegation was received
in La Balbanera convent, outside the Querétaro convent. Under the
determined protection of a concerned civil society, in an inaccessible
site. Meanwhile the members of the caravan, who have been accompanying the
rebels by the thousands, slept in the Corregidora stadium, which served as
their home and, even, shelter.

Narco News Alert Filed at 4 p.m. Thursday

EZLN Bus Accident

PFP Officer Dead

No Zapatistas Seriously Injured

Narco News has just received a report from our reporters on the road with the Zapatista Caravan, and confirmed by members of the FZLN in Querétaro and the Indigenous National Congress who are with the caravan.

This afternoon, in San Juan del Río, Querétaro, near the border of Hidalgo, a bus lost its brakes and hurtled toward the bus transporting the 24 Zapatista delegates to Mexico City. Two police officers of the PFP (Federal Preventive Police) escorting the Caravan on motorcycles placed themselves in front of the bus attempting to signal the driver to move away. One of them, Carlos Martínez, was seriously injured and died later this afternoon. The status of the other officer is still unknown. The accident occured at kilometer 159 of the Mexico-Piedras Negras highway.

The bus that lost its breaks was part of the Caravan, transporting members of Civil Society. Various vehicles were swept into the accident, including one transporting our friend, federal congressman Felix Salgado Macedonio of Guerrero, and another of the Centro de Información Zapatista. To them we also send our prayers and solidarity. Other vehicles, still unidentified, were also impacted by the pile-up on the highway.

Subcomandante Marcos appealed to Civil Society of Querétaro to permit the Zapatista delegation to spend the night there, and his appeal was instantly accepted. A press conference was been announced, but then dashed. A federal legislator told the press that the 24 Zapatista delegates went on to spend the night in Celaya, Guanajuato, but we have been so far unable to confirm that.

The governor of Querétaro, Ignacio Loyola Vera, is the governor who, weeks ago, called for the death penalty for the Zapatistas and opposed their passage through his state. Marcos, who in Hidalgo had given Governor Loyola the nickname of "Firulais" (something akin to "Fido" in English), quipped to the press "We're going to stay in the governor's mansion" and confirmed that no Zapatistas were injured.

Santiago Creel, the interior minister of the Fox government, announced the possibility, but unconfirmed as of yet, that the federal government would increase its escort protection of the caravan. The International Red Cross was not present, due to previous veto by the Fox administration, something denied by the administration and the Geneva offices of the organization, but confirmed by its staffers in Mexico.

We await further information from the Zapatista Information Committee, and have our reporters on the scene in Querétaro seeking more confirmed facts.

- Al Giordano, Publisher, Narco News

EZLN Communiqué

On the Bus Accident

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.

March 1, 2001.

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

Today, March 1, 2001, the March for Indigenous Dignity suffered an
automobile accident enroute from El Tephé (Hidalgo) to Querétaro, at San
Juan del Río (Querétaro).

After running over two Federal Highway Police officers and damaging several
vehicles, a bus crashed into one of the vehicles belonging to the Zapatista
Information Center (CIZ - Mobile), which was pushed into the rear of the
bus in which our delegation was travelling.

Four women from civil society who are working in the Zapatista Information
Center were injured, with various cuts and bruises, as a result of this

In addition, during the accident, Federal Highway Police Officer Carlos
Martínez Pérez was run over. He subsequently died as a result of the
injuries he received.


First. - The EZLN is awaiting the relevant investigations in order to
determine whether it was an accident or an attack.

Second. - The EZLN states that Officer Carlos Martínez Pérez was at that
moment escorting the zapatista march, demonstrating respect at all times
for the zapatista delegation's vehicle and for those travelling in it.

Third. - The EZLN sincerely regrets the death of Officer Martínez Pérez.


From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

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

Mexico, March of 2001.

The Caravan of Authentic Journalism