Communique from the EZLN

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Posted by Zapatista Network on January 03, 1998 at 16:22:41:

Communique of the Indian Revolutionary Clandestine Committe of the General
Headquarters of the Zapatista National Liberation Army of Mexico(EZLN).

December 29, 1997
To The People of Mexico
To the Peoples & Governments of the World
To the National & Internmational Press

Brothers & Sisters,
referring to the communiques of the Ministry of the Interiior and the
Presidency of the Republic dated Dec. 28, 1997, the EZLN declares

First. We inform the peoples & governments of other nations that according
to the Mexican custom, December 28 is all fools day to laugh about the
naivete of all people. It is very common to say lies so that others will
believe them. This may have motivated the Ministry of the Interior and the
Presidency of the Republic on this 28th of Dec. to have insisted in their
intent to surprise public opinion, national as well as international, y and
to deceive them about the reality of the massacre at Acteal.

Second. It is evident that the reading and comprehension of the communique
of the EZLN, dated Dec. 26, requires a medium level of an intelligence
quotient which has not been met by the Ministry of the Interior in its
reply. This explains why the Secretary of the Interior speaks of lack of
exactness where it does not exist.

The EZLN nevertheless considers it convenient to make the following

1. The Secretary of the Interior accuses the EZLN of supposed failures of
exactness in its investigatigations on the events that occurred in Acteal..
For the sake of argument it says that the EZLN had said that all those who
intervened in the massacre at Acteal professed the Cath. Religion and
presents as proof of error Mr. Jacinto Arias (Government Party = PRI mayor
of Chenalho who is also one of the Intrernediaries of the Federal and the
State Government in their relation with the paramilitary groups) who is a
Presbyterian and that Mr. Domingo Perez Paciencia of the Autonomous
Administration is likewise not a Catholic.

There is no lack of exactness. The Secretary of the Interior does not know
to read carefully the communiques he tries to respond to. The
EZLN-Communique says literally " The Majority of those who attacked ...
professed the Cath. Religion". So there is no error. We never said that all
the aggressors were Catholics. The argument of the Ministry of the Interior
does not do anything else but conceding us that we are correct and it
contradicts the hypothesis proposed by the Office of the Attorney General.

2. The supposed "proofs of peace" referred to by the Secretary of the
Interior are lies. The security of the extinct Dialogue at San Andres was an
obligation for the Federal Government, not a concession. The Liberation of
the alleged Zapatistas (illegally held in prison) was madse possible due to
the pressure of the civil society and meant a lamentable loss for the
government because of the reduction of the number of hostages held by the
government. The presence of Zapatistas abroad cannot be understood by the
Federal Government because they use their right as citizens and comply with
all the legal requirements for their trips. The march of the 1,111
Zapatistas to the Federal District did not count with any Security by the
Federal Government or the States. The government police forces were up to
date on the march to watch over it as though it was an enemy and to look out
if there was any Zapatista leader participating. The federal army did not
only not intervene in the peaceful return of the refugees that were not
members of the PRI but it was rather one of the principal promoters of the
exodus of the Indians.

3- The facts that speak of the intent to make war on the part of the Federal
Government are killings as the one in Acteal, the military occupation of
indian communities (did somebody forget the Indians of Guadalupe Tepeyac?
This place is militarily occupied and used as a brothel for the federal army
while the original inhabitants live in exile in the mountains), the
thousands of refugees on account of the menaces by the armed paramilitary
forces, financed by the Federal Government and the lack of complying with
its given word at San Andres.

4. All these are some of the facts carefully forgotten by the Secretary of
the Interior in his communique, and the same facts show the interest of the
Government to annihilate the Indians and that it did not spare any resources
to achieve it.

5. The Autonomous Indian Governments are neither illegitimate nor do they
act at the margin of the law. Its legitimacy (which the Secretary of the
Interior is lacking) is based on the communities who appointed them and whom
they serve.

Their legality is considered in the San Andres Agreeents signed by the
Federal Government and on account of this fact they have juridical validity.
On the basis of these first San Andres Agreements the COCOPA used to present
its initiative for a constitutional reform which the Secretary of the
Interior first signed and then retracted.

6. The Secretary of the Interior questions the armament of the EZLN,
regardless of the comical fact that at this stage of the game a Secretary of
the Interior asks where the EZLN did obtain its armament. Nevertheless we
want to reply.

A. For the last four years the EZLN has not obtained weapons, i.e. since the
time we have entered the process of dialog. Thus we have not accumulated
military strength (quite contrary to what the Government has done). The
little economic income and the war fund of the EZLN has been used for the
peaceful initiatives during these 4 years and also to alleviate the
situation of the Indian communities.

B. Since the first dialogues in San Cristobal, February 1994, the warring
parts (The EZLN and the Federal Government) have recognized each other as
interlocutors in the dialog. When Mr. Zedillo became president, the dialog
(and thus the existence of the dialog-participants as interlocutors) became
federal law, promoted by the COCOPA, and thus it granted juridical status to
the warring parties and their characteristics. Consequently the EZLN has
legal authorization to be armed as long as it does not make offensive use of
these arms. This way also the Federal Army has the same legality. Complying
with this law the EZLN has not attacked militarily the government and its
forces. It has neither poceded to disarm its military and police forces.
C. To the contrary of what the Secretary of the Interior says, the EZLN does
not use its arms. Since the beginning of the dialog with the Federal
Government the EZLN has not brought into effect any offensive attack against
Government positions and, opposite to the Federal Government's actions, the
EZLN has not produced any massacre of Indians as the one which was brought
about under the auspices of Zedillo and Chuayffet.

D. The weapons of the EZLN consist almost exclusively of sticks made of
different types of jungle trees such as mahogany, ceder, hormiguillo, cante,
bayalte, of huapac, yellow trees and other kinds of trees.

E. The principal weapon of the Zapatistas is the one which causes most
inconvenience to the Federal Government. it is the word. To deprive us of
this weapon of the word they have tried everything to buy it, to imprison
it, to kill it, to silence it, to belittle it, to ignore it, to deform it
and, as it is doing right now, to menace it. All this has been ineffective.
We continue to speak and that is to say, we continue to fight.

7. As to the aggressions against the CONAI, the government asks for which
ones it is to be blamed. Right now we only mention two. The expulsion of
priests from the Diocese of San Cristobal (under the leadership of him who
also presides the CONAI) brought about by the Ministry of the Interior, and
the assault on the bishops Samuel Ruiz and Raul Vera. This was done by
elements of "Peace and Justice" (a paramilitary organization financed by the
government by way of the Ministry of Social Development).

8. The remainder of the affirmations of the Ministry of the Interior only
reflect, in the best of cases. a careless reading of our message. In the
worst case, it is an open intent to make public opinion participate in the
confusion which prevails in the federal government.

Third. It is becoming evident as our investigations advances that the
relationship between the Federal and State Governments with reference to the
massacrte at Acteal is not of omission but rather of complicity.

Fourth. With attention of an undeniable fact at the massacre at Acteal: His
responsibility and that of Mr. Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon

Fifth. The menace of a military action against us under the pretext of
disarming us. It is nothing new yet by no means empty words. The federal
army has notoriously reinforced its military bases in the area of the
valleys, especially in those which surround the community of La Realidad.
Under the flood of words by the government the army prepares the following blow.

Sixth: The Ministry of the Interior knows if it survives unpunished the
Acteal (massacre), the Federal Government may take the following step toward
war not greatly caring about national and international pressures. The
following step is, and they know it already (and are getting ready for it),
the federal soldiers in the Lacandon jungle will attack the Zapatistas.

Seventh. At the close of the long and visceral text of the Ministry of the
Interior after having made hidden and insolent menaces the federal
government declares again in words only to be disposed to dialog.

Eighth. The EZLN does no make declarations but rather demonstrates with
facts that since the beginning of the dialog we have not used arms in spite
of the continuous governmental provocations (amongst others the treason of
February 95 and the massacre at Acteal 97). as Zapatistas we have remained
waiting, still complying with our commitment with society.

Ninth. The EZLN calls the civil society on the national and international
level to insist on the demand that justice be done to the massacred people
at Acteal, to pressure the government to comply with the accords of San
Andres (accepting the Cocopa Initiative), and to stop the war machine
against the indians.

Tenth. To comply with the accords, to stop the militarization (or
paramilitarization), and the menaces, and massacres are the path to return
to the table of negotiations and to achieve peace we deserve and need.

From the mountains in southeastern Mexico
Clandestine Revolutionary Indian Committee
General Headquarters of the Zapatkista Army
of National Liberation
Mexico, December 1997

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