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Narco News 2001

Battle for the Bastón

Fox Reaches for Headlines as

EZLN and CNI Meet in Nurío

Fox to "Indigenous brothers and sisters" in TV address:
"I have the cane of leadership"

Yet in Michoacán...

at the Indigenous National Congress...

"While the grand narcos...

...and fraudulent bankers walk free

...Vicente Fox's goverment has put

...two innocent fishermen in prison."

- Subcomandante Marcos

Michoacán, México, March 2, 2001

Obedience Leads

Pols and TV Stations Fail to Co-opt

Dignity Marches On

By Al Giordano

For Francisco de la Cruz Mesino, age 35

Social Fighter from Atoyac de Alvarez, Guerrero

Assassinated by Paramilitaries last Thursday

NEW ON SUNDAY NIGHT: Results from CNI in Nurío

As the Zapatista Caravan rolled into Michoacán on Friday to begin three days of meetings with 5,000 members of the Indigenous National Congress, Mexican President Vicente Fox made a desparate grab for publicity. Fox, in a nationally televised address to "my indigenous brothers and sisters" waved a ribboned-cane in the air, announcing, "I have the bastón!" - the traditional cane of political-military leadership that dozens of indigenous communities and ethnic groups along the caravan route had already presented to the Zapatista Command.

Fox had followed in the footsteps of the EZLN Caravan by going to Oaxaca (the southern Mexican state that counts with a majority of indigenous citizens) and appearing at a photo op with representatives of one indigenous village who, in front of the cameras, presented him with "the cane of leadership."

At the Indigenous National Congress in Nurío, Michoacán, Fox's publicity stunt drew laughter and ridicule.

Reporter Miguel Reyes Razo of El Universal records one overheard conversation between indigenous leaders on Saturday at the Indigenous National Congress:

"Did you see him?"


"Fox! Last night he was on TV with his cane of leadership. It was the funniest thing you could imagine. It was truly unbelievable: one of those canes that you can buy in any market!"

In fact, the following indigenous ethnic groups have already lent their support, and scores of authentic bastónes de mando, delivered to the Zapatista command by the decisions of assemblies of their communities, elders and peoples, in the first seven days of the Caravan:

Aguacateco, Amuzco, Cakchiquel, Chatino, Chichimeca, Chinanteco, Choho, Chol, Chontal, Chuj, Cochimi, Cora, Cucapá, Cuicateco, Guarijío, Huasteco, Huave, Huichol, Ixcateco, Ixil, Jacalteco, Pápago, Pima, Popoloca, Purépecha, Quiché, Serí, Solteco, Tacuate, Tarahumara, Tepehua, Tepehuan, Tlapaneco, Tojolobal, Kanjobal, Kekchí, Kikapú, Kiliwa, Kumiai, Lacandón, Mame, Matlatzinca, Maya, Mazahua, Mayo, Mixe, Mixteco, Motocintleco, Náhuatl, Ocuilteco, Opata, Otomí, Paipai, Pame, Papabuco, Totonaca, Triqui, Tzeltal, Tzotzil, Yaqui, Zapoteco and Zoque.

Who's in charge here anyway? Obedience, as the Zapatistas say: Obedience leads. He and she who obey the people are the real leaders.

Meanwhile, local mayors from Fox's National Action Party (PAN) in Chiapas and Tabasco erected wide screen TVs in public plazas to show the Televisa-Azteca "Concert for Peace" on Saturday night, an event that resulted banal and insignificant, guarded by 1,200 police officers, full of decibils and fury, signifying nothing. (The "big surprise" promised by concert promoters and ticket scalpers, rumored to be an appearance by Carlos Santana or some other major star, never occured.)

And PAN governor of Morelos, a state that the Zapatista Caravan will enter on Tuesday, Sergio Estrada, told the press that "the Zapatistas are phonies." (This, on the heels of a PAN state legislator and ally of the governor, displaying his mental disturbances to the nation, challenging Marcos to a duel of six-guns during the Zapatista pass through Morelos).

We look forward to hearing what canine nickname that Subcomandante Marcos will tag the rookie governor Estrada with when he tours through Cuernavaca and Tepoztlán, Morelos on Tuesday, and makes stops in the lands of Zapata near Cuautla, Morelos on Wednesday and Thursday. Marcos, who tagged the disgraced (now former) Chiapas governor Roberto Albores as "croquetas" (the word for "bones" that are fed to dogs), and who last week tagged Querétaro governor Ignacio Loyola - who had called for the death penalty for the Zapatistas - as "Firulaís" (a common pet dog name akin to "Fido" in English), still has a couple of days to come up with the nickname that, if past is prologue, will stick to Estrada like fleas for the rest of his political life.

On the way to the Indigenous National Congress, the Zapatista made a brief stop in Pátzcuaro, Michoacan. Marcos and the comandantes were greeted as they stepped off the bus by the wives of two fishermen who were sentenced to 20 years in prison for opposing a federal ban on fishing in a lake that generations have fished. The case has received much publicity in Mexico, including a recent investigative story in El Universal. The women, in tears, gave Marcos a sombrero and pleaded: "Do something, Marcos!"

The Subcomandante said, "While the grand narcos and fraudulent bankers walk free, Vicente Fox's government has put two innocent fishermen in prison. President Fox: How can you say that you have your arms open and the will to sign the peace if you hold two innocent men in prison?"

Click for Background Info on

Indigenous National Congress

At the Third Indigenous National Congress, the Zapatista Commanders spoke about their decision to hold this long march and meet with the indigenous peoples from across Mexico. This is the communiqué of Saturday, May 3rd, 2001:

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
Translated by irlandesa

Words of the EZLN
March 3, 2001
In Nurio, Michoacán.

Brothers and sisters of the National Indigenous Congress:

Brothers and sisters of national civil society:

Brothers and sisters of international civil society:

Through my voice speaks the voice of the Zapatista Army of National

When the seventh month of last year came to pass, the rains were beginning
to prevail in the mountains of the Mexican southeast. We then went to
speak with our foremost ones, and we spoke to them thusly:

"The one who said he was eternal and fixed has fallen, he was brought down
by the brother, the sister, the one who has name and face but, being small,
seems to be without name and without face, the one who is like us, the one
who is the color of the earth and all colors, the one who is below, the one
who, like us, is denied tomorrow.

"In the place of the one who fell is one who seems to be nothing but the
same. He talks much and says that all things have changed. But our debt
is still unpaid, since the most first of these lands and this history are
still an unresolved matter, a closed issue to the ones who are the
government, both old and new.

"We see the brother and sister from other lands, of varied languages, their
ear attuned, their word generous and friendly. Their heart is great today,
although the one who hears little and speaks much tries to make it small.

"Thus we are asking you, brother and sister chiefs, what we who are
governed by you should do."

"It is fine," said our main ones. "We are going to ask our most ancient
ones. You wait here and, as always, hone your machetes and the word, hone
hope, that is."

We did not wait for long, because the foremost ones returned soon. They
returned and looked to see if the edges of the machetes were good, and then
they gave the word:

"We have now spoken with our most ancient ones, and they gifted us with a
word which says what and how and where and why.

"Open your hearts, then, guerreros, zapatista women and men, our Votán
Zapata, guardian and heart of our people."

And thus spoke to us our most ancient foremost ones:

"It is the hour of the word. Put, then, the machete away, continue to hone
hope. The mountain circles seven times, seven the river which lays under
it. It speaks with seven of our deaths. Seven times it makes a ship of
the sea. Seven times it closes your hut. Seven times it dresses the color
of the earth and seven times reveals the word. Because seven is coming
now, and seven is the shell for the one who feels it strongly. Because now
comes the spiral, which can be path within and without, route and hope.

"With that done, prepare your feet which we spoke you, open your eyes and
your ear, which we are, attentive. Become our word once again. You will
no longer be you, now you are us. Do not be upset by everything which the
one who speaks much has to say. It is merely noise, rude music. Nothing
will be given you. Nothing that is not fought for by us. Nothing will be
presented to us. Nothing that we do not take hold of will belong to our
house. Nothing that we do not struggle for will live with us. And so walk
the path, walk the land of the other, of the other who is, like us, of the
color of the earth, and who is from the land that is, like us, all the
colors of the earth.

"Walk, walk and speak. Take our face now, take color and word from the
earth. Take our voice now, go with our gaze. Make yourselves our ear in
order to listen to the word from the other. You shall no longer be you,
now you are us.

"Go down from the mountain and seek the color of the earth that is in this
world. Walk for seven days, and raise the color from the earth. Seek the
other colors which speak with the one of the earth. Teach the heart of the
other. Be small in front of the weak, and, along with him, you shall
become great. Be large in front of the powerful, and do not tolerate in
silence our being humiliated, which shall increase in your journey.

"With the humble, be humble. With the arrogant, do not tolerate anything
that smacks of mockery or lie. Do not forget your mission. And always
keep your distance from that which draws away from you. Speak, thus, to
the we who are the collective color and which is throughout Mexico. Make
room for all those colors which coexist with the color of the earth.

"Ignore borders if the word is sister of the other. Be suspicious of he
who speaks much, and listen attentively to he who wisely remains silent.
Call the great collective, which the nation demands, to be with us. Join
dreams and sorrows. Walking, join tomorrows. Once again become greater
echo of those who, in Indian lands, are silent.

"Do not be silent concerning any pain, no matter how distant, make it yours
and speak. Tell the other he is brother and she is sister. Seek place for
the color of earth and hope to bear fruit. See the house of the Purépecha,
older brother and great sister nobility. Use the word with respect with

"Greet those who govern those lands obeying. Give our embrace to all those
peoples who give pride to the color of the earth, and ask him respectfully
for permission to speak. If there is no permission, lower your head and be
silent. If there is permission, lower your head and speak.

"Speak to your foremost heart. Ask for shelter and hospitality there.
There you will find support and the other who is us in color and in

"Arrive then, on the seventh day, arrive and seek from the color of the
earth mutual dignity arisen. For seven times seven join sorrows and hopes.
For seven times listen to what the word says of he who is the color of the
earth and hope.

"If it is necessary, seven times seven shout and seven times seven remain
silent. Open your heart then, and, with it open, listen to other words.
Let speak the word of those who are as we, in the color of the earth which
we are. Do what we tell you, one part speaks and the other is silent, so
that it can be said in the land which grows upward, which they call city.

"Tell them, then, who we are who are speaking through your mouth. With
that done, then let the word which is to come follow. Which is tomorrow.
That which seeks a place for he who has the color of the earth, hope.

"Call on all to struggle for what belongs to everyone and to harm no one.
A dignified place for those of us who are the color of the earth, hope."

Brothers and sisters:

We are indigenous and we represent the Zapatista Army of National
Liberation, which rose up in arms against the supreme government seven
years ago, and which holds high its banners of democracy, liberty and
justice for all Mexicans.

We came from a race of guerrero indigenous. The blood which runs through
us is from the ancient Mayans. It is that which gives us life and which
arms us. We are guerreros.

We are the last of a generation of men and women who have been collectively
entrusted with being guardians and heart of our peoples.

As guerreros, we are beings of sword and word. With both, we must
safeguard the memory which our peoples are, and which allows them to resist
and to aspire to a better tomorrow.

As guerreros we were prepared in the sciences and the arts, in honor and
war, in sorrow and hope, in silence and the word.

We are guardians, we do not take anything away from anyone, nor do we
permit anyone to take anything away from us. If they shout, we shout. We
respond softly to he who speaks softly to us. If they attack us, we defend
ourselves. And he who insults or threatens us, receives our contempt, and
we wield the word like sword.

As guerreros, we are as those who order us, those whom we serve with honor,
for whom we give life or death, who give us face and who name us, those who
told us to come here, those who are our strength, even though they still
speak in the shadows.

We are those who are commanded by all the colors which are in the color of
the land. We are the most small. They call us zapatistas. We are asking
you for a place among you, for us guerreros, a space for the ear and the

Brothers and sisters:

Yesterday, March 2, 2001, it had been seven days since we came down from
our mountains. With the seventh journey complete, we have arrived in
Purépecha lands in order to participate in the Third National Indigenous

Here we have been received by the indigenous community of Nurio, Michoacán,
to whom we are grateful not only for their hospitality, but also for the
work and sacrifice involved in carrying out all that was necessary for us
to be able to carry out our work.

During the seven days that we have been travelling, we have gone through
nine states of the Republic: Chiapas, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Puebla, Tlaxcala,
Hidalgo, Querétaro, Guanajuato and, now, Michoacán. We shall also have to
journey through the state of Mexico, Guerrero and Morelos before arriving
in Mexico City.

We are going to speak with the one who makes the laws, so he will see that
in the land of Mexico there is no place for those with the color of the
earth. We are going for the recognition of our rights, as indigenous and
as Mexicans. We are going for what they stole from us, what they have
denied us, what we do not have and what, however, we want, we need and we

Many words have nurtured us on our journey.

Words which have the color of the earth and which speak dignity.

We are seeking more words so that tomorrow and hope might be expanded. We
are seeking this from those who, being the color of the earth, are called:

Aguacateco, Amuzco, Cakchiquel, Chatino, Chichimeca, Chinanteco, Choho,
Chol, Chontal, Chuj, Cochimi, Cora, Cucapá, Cuicateco, Guarijío, Huasteco,
Huave, Huichol, Ixcateco, Ixil, Jacalteco, Pápago, Pima, Popoloca,
Purépecha, Quiché, Serí, Solteco, Tacuate, Tarahumara, Tepehua,
Tepehuan, Tlapaneco, Tojolobal, Kanjobal, Kekchí, Kikapú, Kiliwa, Kumiai,
Lacandón, Mame, Matlatzinca, Maya, Mazahua, Mayo, Mixe, Mixteco,
Motocintleco, Náhuatl, Ocuilteco, Opata, Otomí, Paipai, Pame, Papabuco,
Totonaca, Triqui, Tzeltal, Tzotzil, Yaqui, Zapoteco, Zoque.

But we are not seeking other voices only from he who is other and who
struggles and walks with us. Word which all the colors which speak in the
world has. Our word walks in all words. Our small light, our hope, shines
in all lights.

We are of the color of the earth. The hour and tomorrow are of the color
of the earth. It is the hour of dignity, the hour of the bridge which is
also window. It is the hour of looking and looking at ourselves, without
shame and without fear. It is the hour of struggling for dignity for the
color of the earth and hope.

Salud indigenous brothers and sisters!

Salud Purépecha brothers and sisters!

Salud Mexican brothers and sisters!

Salud brothers and sisters of all colors!

Que viva forever the color of the earth which we are!

Democracy! Liberty! Justice!

From the Purépecha community of Nurio, Michoacán.

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

Mexico, March of 2001.

"Sharpen Your Words"