Narco News 2001
for the Bastón
Fox Reaches for
EZLN and CNI Meet
Fox to "Indigenous
brothers and sisters" in TV address:
have the cane of leadership"
Yet in Michoacán...
at the Indigenous
"While the grand narcos...
fraudulent bankers walk free
Fox's goverment has put
innocent fishermen in prison."
México, March 2, 2001
and TV Stations Fail to Co-opt
Francisco de la Cruz Mesino, age 35
from Atoyac de Alvarez, Guerrero
by Paramilitaries last Thursday
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
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:
you see him?"
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:
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
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,
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
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
On the way to the Indigenous
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
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?"
At the Third Indigenous
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
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,
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
is still unpaid, since the most first of these lands and this
still an unresolved matter, a closed issue to the ones who are
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
although the one who hears little and speaks much tries to make
"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
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
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
of the earth and seven times reveals the word. Because seven
now, and seven is the shell for the one who feels it strongly.
comes the spiral, which can be path within and without, route
"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.
no longer be you, now you are us. Do not be upset by everything
one who speaks much has to say. It is merely noise, rude music.
will be given you. Nothing that is not fought for by us. Nothing
presented to us. Nothing that we do not take hold of will belong
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,
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
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.
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
become great. Be large in front of the powerful, and do not tolerate
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
keep your distance from that which draws away from you. Speak,
the we who are the collective color and which is throughout Mexico.
room for all those colors which coexist with the color of the
"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
Call the great collective, which the nation demands, to be with
dreams and sorrows. Walking, join tomorrows. Once again become
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
the color of earth and hope to bear fruit. See the house of the
older brother and great sister nobility. Use the word with respect
"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
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
"Arrive then, on
the seventh day, arrive and seek from the color of the
earth mutual dignity arisen. For seven times seven join sorrows
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
Let speak the word of those who are as we, in the color of the
we are. Do what we tell you, one part speaks and the other is
that it can be said in the land which grows upward, which they
"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
That which seeks a place for he who has the color of the earth,
"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,
Brothers and sisters:
We are indigenous and
we represent the Zapatista Army of National
Liberation, which rose up in arms against the supreme government
years ago, and which holds high its banners of democracy, liberty
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
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
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,
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
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
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
Purépecha lands in order to participate in the Third National
Here we have been received
by the indigenous community of Nurio, Michoacán,
to whom we are grateful not only for their hospitality, but also
work and sacrifice involved in carrying out all that was necessary
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,
Hidalgo, Querétaro, Guanajuato and, now, Michoacán.
We shall also have to
journey through the state of Mexico, Guerrero and Morelos before
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
earth. We are going for the recognition of our rights, as indigenous
as Mexicans. We are going for what they stole from us, what they
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,
Aguacateco, Amuzco, Cakchiquel,
Chatino, Chichimeca, Chinanteco, Choho,
Chol, Chontal, Chuj, Cochimi, Cora, Cucapá, Cuicateco,
Huave, Huichol, Ixcateco, Ixil, Jacalteco, Pápago, Pima,
Purépecha, Quiché, Serí, Solteco, Tacuate,
Tepehuan, Tlapaneco, Tojolobal, Kanjobal, Kekchí, Kikapú,
Lacandón, Mame, Matlatzinca, Maya, Mazahua, Mayo, Mixe,
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
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
also window. It is the hour of looking and looking at ourselves,
shame and without fear. It is the hour of struggling for dignity
color of the earth and hope.
Salud indigenous brothers
brothers and sisters!
Salud Mexican brothers
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.
Indigenous Committee -
General Command of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.
Mexico, March of 2001.