Re: ZapatistaPortAction

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Posted by ricardo dominguez on February 03, 1997 at 11:33:56:

In Reply to: ZapatistaPortAction posted by ricardo dominguez on February 02, 1997 at 17:37:38:

Rabinal Achi/ZapatistaPortAction

February 2,1997.

In San Cristo'bal, 9 thousand zapatistas call
on Cocopa to "not allow itself to be intimidated".

9 thousand indigenous people belonging to the EZLN and the FZLN
marched this morning demanding that "Cocopa does not allow itself to be
intimidated and that it demands the fullfillment of the San Andre's
accords" , and for " a halt to the harrasment" by police and military
to the communities.

"We were expecting that this 1997 was going to be a year of dialogue
and of peace. Now we realize that we were being deceived." said
one of the indigenous speakers during the gathering at the end of the
march with which they opened up the regional mobilizations of the
National Congress in support of the constitutional reform on rights
and indigenous culture based on the San Andre's accords between the
federal government and the EZLN.

Twelve full blocks in the center of San Cristobal, filled with
indians, overflowing with them. There were moments in which
they were so many, that they would have to stop. A voice coming
from a truck would advice: "Don't stand on the sidewalk companeros,
the sidewalk is not for us, but for those who only want to look."
Even so, once they arrived at the town square of this coleto (native
san cristobal people) city, the about 9 thousand indigenous from the
Altos (highlands) of Chiapas who demanded the fullfillment of the
San Andres' accords, were already on the sidewalk.

It is the largest zapatista march since the begining
of the conflict 3 years ago. Meaning, the most numerous
public appearance of the bases of support of the EZLN.
"Those with ski masks young man, are zapatistas", a store owner
said to his friend as the march passed by them. Later he added:
"And they are 'un chingo' (expression to denote thousands and
thousands ) so many of them. Each time there are more".
The man did not seem terrorized, but rather, getting used to the

The march was peaceful, ordered, even calm (and calmness is not
an atribute frequently seen in protest marches). With a few
exceptions, the stores kept their doors open, something they did not
do other times. Accompanying the zapatistas were some independent organizations who support their demands: La Arriera Nocturna, of Chilo'n;
Las Abejas, of Chenalho'; Tres nudos, of Oxchuc; and Vashakmen,
of the Altos amongst others. For that variety, other demands were added, particularly, that of electricity, that has been disconnected in many indigenous
communities for lack of payment to the Federal Commission
of Electricity.

The streets of Jovel echoed today at noon some powerful words:
"Federal Army, out of all of the state of Chiapas", "long live
universal democracy".

With between 700-800 people per block , they occupy 12 blocks, all the way to the municipal market and returns to the cathedral's atrium. In the
crowd I recognize my friend Sextino. He is dressed as usual,
with his white manta shorts and his distinguished self. Even
though he is wearing a paliacate (handkerchief) to cover his face, his eagle
eyes and his fine salt and pepper hair are impossible to confuse.
He is a serious man, quiet, but around him at that moment the people
are shouting 'long live' to comander Tacho, David, Ramona and
Sextino raises his fist. Many are wearing tenis shoes or boots;
the women, plastic sandals.

Sextino wears huaraches, it's because he comes from a village that
is very traditional, very far and very peasant, from the rebel
municipality of San Juan de la Libertad, (Saint John of Freedom.
"real zapatistas" , as he says.

He is happy about the sign on the stage. He reads it to me out loud,
before he reaches to shake my hand: "We do not have to ask permission
to be free", and he smiles.

Unlike other zapatista marches, this time the communities from the
north did not come, they are ussually large, but Public Security did
not allow them to leave towards San Cristo'bal. As it is known,
in the north are of Chiapas, yes, there is war. No one from any of
the jungle Canadas came either, due to the military encirclement
that does not let them loose.

In any case, each time there are more who dare to defy in Jovel,
with or without ski masks, so that the cameras of the Presidency
of the Republic, who on this ocassion is filming practically all the
protesters. Even Sextino makes a joke: "Did you see how they took our pictures? We are in the movies!"

At least half the marchers did not stay for the ralley. So, while the
speakers take the microphone, the tzotziles who came from
far away start returning, so that they may find transportation and
that it won't get too late.

Before about 4 thousand people, an indigenous speaker reads a
14 points document, that says amongst other things: "support
the proposal from Cocopa on constitutional reforms and rejects
the one from the government", "the inmediate departure of the
Mexican Army, Public Security and other police from our communities",
the " taking down of the ambush by the Mexican Army between
Guadalupe Tepeyac and Nueva Providencia against the zapatistas,
where subcomander Marcos was seen for the last time on January 11".

Another point they make: "the abuse of the ignorance and need of
the people who are still militants of the PRI", and "who are bought
with food, so that they become "ears".

The speaker started his speeach by saying: "Mr.Ernesto Zedillo
does not love us and does not respect us. We expected that this
1997 was going to be a year of dialogue and of peace. Now we
realize that we had been deceived". And he ended briefly:
"we will not surrender".

The next indigenous speaker, on the same note, said: "No matter
what happens, we will know how to defend with honor our demand."
He warns: "if anything happens to subcomander Marcos, the people
will rise up". The "viva" followed his remarks. Someone brought up
to the podium a sign that read: "Stop the climate of terror in San
Cristobal", while representatives of the Civilian Commitees of
Dialogue of the FZLN of Comitan, Las Margaritas, Villas las Rosas
and San Cristobal take turns at the micorphone.

Some women from Oxchuc hold a banner with a the picture of a
military tank and says: "This dialogue, we do not understand",
while another young woman reads denunciations from 'Sabanilla
and Pantelho'.

To conclude, those gathered dedicate a moment of silence to"those
fallen on January 1, 1994". The voice of a store owner who does
not seem to realize what is happening underscores the impressive
silence that is heard in the heart of Jovel.

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