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Date: Sat, 24 Jun 2000 16:10:53 -0500 (CDT)
To: chiapas95@eco.utexas.edu
Subject: En;CCRI-CG EZLN,Communique re elections,Ju 23

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Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2000 13:40:58 -0400
From: irlandesa <irlandesa@compuserve.com>
Subject: CCRI-CG EZLN communique regarding elections
Sender: irlandesa <irlandesa@compuserve.com>
To: chiapas-l <chiapas-l@tierra.ucsd.edu>,
        chiapas-l <chiapas-l@tierra.ucsd.edu>

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
Translated by irlandesa

To the National and International Press:

June 19, 2000

Ladies and gentlemen:

A communiqué is off, with our position on the upcoming elections.  It says
what it says, which is enough.  We ask for clemency for the editorial

Meanwhile, here we are shivering.  And not because the "croqueta" Albores
has contracted with Alasraki to "improve" his image (Albores is probably
already looking for work promoting dog food), nor over the six hundred
thousand dollars hés going to pay them (with money originally earmarked
for "resolving the conditions of poverty and marginalization of the
chiapaneco indigenous" - Zedillo dixit).  Nor because of the barking by the
puppy Montoya Liévano (hés more nervous than ever because hés already
discovering that it was his "boys" - his paramilitaries, that is - who were
the ones responsible for the attack on Public Security in El Bosque on June
12).  No, we are shivering because we are getting drenched by the rain. 
And, between the helicopters and the rain, we can't find good cover.  The
sea says, whatever, there are storms and storms and we still haven't made
it to July 3.  I sigh and curse the lack of umbrellas.  What else can I do?

Vale.  Salud, and look and see if there are any birth control pills around
here.  There is more than one ballot box in urgent need of them.

>From the Promotional Committee for the Useless Vote, excuse me, from the
mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

Mexico,  June of 2000.

P.D. That Tells an Ad Hoc Tale of the Current Times

Once upon a time there was a poll that was very alone and abandoned.  It
went here and there and no one paid it any attention.  In desperation, the
alone-and-abandoned poll went to see a specialist in marketing and image. 
The publicist cost the alone-and-abandoned poll very dearly, not just
because of the check he had to pay him, but also for what the taxi cost
which was waiting outside the offices for him.  And the image consultant
was much in demand by candidates of some official party.  The
alone-and-abandoned poll followed the consultant's directions to the
letter, and he completely changed his "look" (check out how the P.D. is
using a new vocabulary now).  With this done, he went back to the party
offices.  Everyone received him with enthusiasm, and he became very famous
and much sought after.  While he was walking through the city streets, a
child saw him and he asked his mother:  Why is that mirror walking?  Tan,

Communiqué from the General Command of the
Clandestine Revolutionary Indigenous Committee of the
Zapatista Army of National Liberation

June 19, 2000.

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

Brothers and Sisters:

In response to the upcoming national election, the CCRI-CG of the EZLN says
its word:

First. -  There is a war going on in Mexico.  In the mountains of the
Mexican Southeast, in the states of Chiapas, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Hidalgo,
Puebla, Veracruz, San Luis Potoí, and in other places with an indigenous
population, tens of thousands of soldiers from the federal government, and
police from various forces, are carrying out a war of extermination against
the Indian peoples of Mexico.  Day after day, the dead or imprisoned
indigenous blood continues to mount.  The fate of the original inhabitants
of these lands is being decided between the jail and the grave.

Extreme poverty, persecution and the failure to recognize Indian rights
have led not only to the continuation of the resistance of the zapatista
peoples in the Southeast of Mexico, and to the ERPI and EPR guerillas
remaining active.  Now, other armed groups, demanding justice and
democracy, have been added.  There are few countries in America that have
as many armed opposition groups as there are in Mexico.

Although ignored by the majority of the media, that war continues its
course.  Its end has nothing to do with its firepower or number of
combatants, but with resolving just demands and the opening of spaces for
democratic participation.

Armed confrontations, which began on January 1, 1994, are continuing in
Chiapas.  Despite the fact that the EZLN has demonstrated its will for a
peaceful negotiated solution to the conflict, the federal and state
governments are continuing violent actions against zapatista communities
and failing to fulfill the San Andrés Accords, which they committed to
almost 5 years ago.

With this unspeakable war as background, our country is approaching the
moment in which - through an election - federal officials will be replaced:
 the executive and legislative branches.

Second. -  During this election process, it has been made clear that the
position of the citizenry as electors is not being respected.  In their
place has been the media, markedly the electronic ones, who have raised
their sing-song voices.  The indiscriminate use of "polls," many of them
carried out without the least scientific rigor, has displaced the citizens'
vote as elector.  It is not important now to fight for an election at the
polls, but to win it or lose it in the headlines of the written press and
in radio and television news shows.

The citizenry are not making their decisions based on different political
options, but based on the media, that is, based on the image they are
presenting of political proposals.  "Modernity" has not meant movement
towards democracy for our country, to the government of the people, by the
people and for the people.  The exercise of political power has not passed
from the political class to the citizens, but to all the publicists,
editorial heads, announcers and commentators.

If it was once said that one could govern through the media, this has been
degraded:  now one governs (and contests the government) in and for the
media.  The replacement of the citizens by radio and television is not
democracy, it is virtual government and virtual change in governments. 
Government palaces, legislative chambers and election boxes are no longer
in their real homes, but in the news programs.

It is, strictly speaking, in this scenario, with the nation being replaced
by "ratings," where the election contest has taken place.  Except for
honorable exceptions, the presidential candidates have directed their
efforts (and financial resources) almost exclusively to the terrain of the
media.  In addition to the obvious profits, the media have won a political
role which far exceeds their prerogatives and, above all, their abilities.

It is obvious that the opportunity for political parties to let their
positions be known through radio and television is an important advance in
democratization.  And it should be applauded that the political parties
have taken advantage of it.

The problem is that, on not a few occasions, this coverage is not equitable
(the official party is far ahead in amount and prime time coverage), and it
is not a political position which is being covered, but rather an opting
for scandal, insult, disgrace or banal jokes.  Even more, the announcers
frequently turn themselves into the judges of what they are communicating,
and they "decide" what and how they are going to report on.

As various workers in the press have noted, the role of the media is not
that of elector, but of communicator.  Not understanding that, or not
working with an awareness of that, has led more than one to commit
regrettable excesses.

The media in Mexico has a more determinative role in Mexico now.  It is
only fair to recognize that not only has the irresponsibility of some
increased, in the new nature of their position, but also, in not just a
few, their independence has increased, along with their critical spirit and
their honesty.  Nonetheless, a responsible attitude by the electronic and
written press has not been present in the majority.

It is not by putting the media aside, or by silencing them, that this
replacement of the citizenry will be avoided, but by regulating the right
of the citizens and political organizations to fairness, truth, honesty and
responsibility on the part of communicators in the political arena.

Citizens have a right to truthful, timely and complete information.  There
is no law guaranteeing this, nor any body which defends or safeguards its

Today, in response to the current election process, the zapatistas reaffirm
one of the points of our struggle:  the right to information and culture.

Third. -  With the media's lights focused solely on the presidential
contest, a fundamental aspect in the life of the Republic has been left to
one side:  the legislative branch.

It will not be just the head of the executive branch which is decided in
the impending election.  Members of the chambers of federal deputies and
senators of the Republic will also be elected.

In Mexico, presidentialism has been a heavy burden and an obstacle for
democracy.  Even though we have not had a president in the last 70 years
who has not belonged to the official party, the possible arrival to the
presidential chair of the opposition does not mean "movement towards
democracy," if the executive branch continues to be concentrated in one
single person, and while the branches charged with legislating and
upholding the law are merely decorative elements which are changed every 3
or 6 years. The survival of the presidentialist system in Mexico is a fact.
 What kind of democracy is this, in which the fundamental decisions of a
nation fall to one single individual for six years?

An autonomous legislative branch, independent of the executive, is
essential in a democracy.  Nonetheless, the campaigns for deputies and
senators have passed unnoticed.  The natural passion over the presidential
contest has managed to conceal an advance which has already been seen
during the last 6 year term which is now ending:  a legislative branch
struggling for its independence and autonomy.

In addition to confronting the executive, the legislative branch should
become independent of party leaders, who not infrequently replace leaders
of the parliamentary wings in those agreements and regulations which
correspond exclusively to the legislative arena.  Legislating is not the
prerogative of the political parties, but of those who are democratically
elected to that task.

At the back of the line behind the presidential campaigns, the campaigns by
the legislative candidates are not winning anything for themselves, nor are
they of any benefit to those who are seeking executive office.  They are
different elections, because their function is different.  The legislative
contests deserve an attention they have not received.

We hope that the next legislature - which has been so neglected during
these elections - does not carry out their work tied to commitments with
their party leadership or with the elected executive, but with the Mexican
men and women who, having voted or not for their candidacies, make up the
Mexican nation and are the ones with whom they must make laws.

Today, in response to the current election process, the zapatistas declare
ourselves to be in favor of an authentic balance of powers.  Not just in
the exercise of their duties, but also in the fight for seats.  It is as
important to know about the proposals and positions of those candidates
seeking to be deputies and senators as it is to know of those of the
presidential candidates.  The end of presidentialism is a condition for
democracy in Mexico.

Fourth. -  The current national election process has not been equitable. 
The entire government apparatus has been mobilized for the PRI.  Vote
buying, coercion, favors, threats and favoritism by some media:  all of
these have been employed in trying to impose the PRI candidate:  Francisco
Labastida Ochoa.  Some of these inequities have been appropriately noted by
national and international observers, by non-governmental organizations and
by the honest press. 

Today, in response to the current election process, the zapatistas denounce
that it is not an election of citizens responding to political proposals,
and those who represent them, but rather a state election, with the
opposition confronting not only the official party, but the entire
machinery of the Mexican state.  No election can be called "democratic"
under these conditions.

Fifth. -  Despite the government's overwhelming and scandalous support for
the PRI campaign, the discontent of the citizens has become ever more
eloquent.  There is talk today of the possibility that the PRI might not
win the necessary votes to take the presidency, and that the next president
of Mexico could be from the opposition.

In response to this possibility, in addition to material resources of the
most varied kind, an argument has been mobilized:  instability.  As during
every six-year change in administration, warnings are raining down from the
government and related circles concerning the catastrophes that will befall
we Mexicans if a non-PRI person were to reach the presidency.  War,
devaluations, flight of capital, social discontent, rises in prices,
bankruptcies, unemployment, chaos.

One does not have to go far to remember what Zedillo warned (after
Colosio's assassination secured him the candidacy) if a government were to
be elected from a party other than the official one.  Under Zedillo, the
following took place:  the crisis of December 1994, the renewal of the war
in the Mexican Southeast, the failure to implement the San Andrés Accords,
the killings at Aguas Blancas and El Charco in the state of Guerrero, the
Acteal killing, the entrance by the PFP into UNAM, the death of
undocumented Mexicans in the US, the assassination and extortion of Central
American migrants, the flight of capital, the devaluation of the peso.

We have also suffered from an increase in social discontent, the
proliferation of active armed groups, price increases in basic products,
the growth of unemployment, FOBAPROA-IPAB, massive bankruptcies of small
and mid-sized businesses, closer ties between organized crime and the
federal government, impunity for white collar criminals, the jailing of
social activists, militarization of indigenous areas, an increase in drug
trafficking, attempts to privatize the electricity and oil industries, as
well as higher education, an increase in relationships of foreign
dependency.  In sum:  the destruction of Mexico as a free and sovereign
country.  The only good thing about Señor Zedillo's administration is that
it is almost at an end.

Today, in response to the current election process, the zapatistas remember
that all the catastrophes and human suffering have fallen on us during, and
because of, PRI governments.  During the more than 70 years in which the
PRI has governed Mexico, all those disasters have occurred which they
assume could only take place with a different party in power.  It is
difficult for us to imagine that it could be worse with the opposition in

Sixth. -  The mere possibility of an opposition candidate reaching the
presidency has provoked nonsense and stunts, but not just in government
ranks.  Responding to the advance of opposition electoral options, the idea
of the "useful vote" (or its pleasant variant:  the "conditional vote") has
arisen in certain intellectual and political sectors. 

Specifically, the possibility of the Alliance for Change (PAN-PVEM)
candidate, Vicente Fox, winning a significant number of votes has unleashed
a real offensive against the Alliance for Mexico (PRD-PT-PAS-CD-PSN)
candidate, Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas Solórzano, to withdraw and to join Señor Fox
in his presidential race.  The arguments for this political juggling act
vary in complexity, but they can be summarized by the following:  the most
important thing is to throw the PRI out of Los Pinos, Fox has a chance,
ergo, Cárdenas should turn his lack of a chance into Fox's chance and thus
assure victory over the PRI (and over the Alliance for Mexico, but they
don't mention that in the argument).

Those who are proposing this are proposing that electoral options no longer
be political (programs for the nation and positions regarding the country's
different problems), and that the electorate not have a chance to support
one or another political force, according to whether or not he identifies
with it. 

Engineer Cárdenas' resignation from the election fight for the presidency,
and his joining Vicente Fox's campaign, would not mean merely the
resignation of a person and the adding of his votes to those of the
Alliance for Change candidate.  It would also mean the disappearance of a
leftist electoral option in the struggle for the presidency.  We are not
unaware that there is a debate over whether or not Cárdenas and the PRD
belong to the left.  We believe that they are still part of the left, with
all the connotations and criticisms that might provoke, and noting - and
insisting - that the political left is broader than Cardenism, and,
obviously, than the PRD.

Eliminating the left from the political spectrum, that is, from a peaceful
path for political change:  what option would then remain for the millions
of Mexicans who have their hopes and efforts committed to profound social
change?  Abstaining?  The guerrillas?

It is obvious that Señores Vicente Fox and Cuauhtémoc Cardenas represent
two different programs for the country.  Each of their proposals have the
backing of millions of citizens.  The judgment as to which of them is best
will not be made by the number of votes they receive, but in the results
they achieve when they reach government.

The campaign by engineer Cárdenas is something more than a campaign for the
presidency.  It is, for millions of Mexican men and women, an argument for
being of the left and for fighting for changes without having to resort to
the clandestine, to illegality, to armed struggle.

Engineer Cárdenas' withdrawal from the election would mean the withdrawal
(at last for now) of the partisan and institutional left from peaceful and
electoral change.

Sooner or later, history comes to settle its accounts.  Those who have
called on the EZLN to support the PRD, "because, even though they don't
convince us politically, it is better than the PRI, and not voting for the
PRD will help the PRI win in Chiapas," are now confronting the same
pragmatic argument.  Now that they themselves are responding that
"principles are the main thing," they have the answer to the question: 
"Why aren't the zapatistas voting for the PRD in Chiapas?"

For zapatistas, politics is a question of principles.  Not just of
principles, but also of principles.  Those who hold to the principles of
social change, and civil and peaceful struggle in order to achieve them,
should work accordingly, without regard to adversity or circumstances, if
they want to have legitimacy in the Mexico of below.

Today, in response to the current election process, the zapatistas express
our support for respect for this kind of civil and peaceful struggle, and
in which all political options (the right and the left, to use geographical
terms) are represented, in such a way that the citizen can truly choose
among them.  We reject the argument of the "useful vote."

Seventh. -  The Federal Electoral Institute, in addition to organizing the
elections, will be the one who, by law, says who the winners are in the
upcoming elections.     

Despite the wave of complaints from the opposition and from
non-governmental organizations, the president of the IFE has jumped the gun
by stating that it will be a "clean and transparent" election.  Not only
does he make risky prophecies, this gentleman is also demanding that
opposition candidates and citizens unconditionally support his verdict, and
that we accept the results of an election that has not even been held yet. 
The president of the IFE asks us to award a "10" to a job that has not yet
been completed.

A multitude of frauds, even before the election, are already being carried
out (vote buying, conditioning of government programs, unfairness in media
coverage, threats, blackmail, etcetera), and it does not look as if there
is any capacity for safeguarding and preventing, even beyond the ballot
boxes, fraudulent activities from taking place.

It must be pointed out that the IFE, has, on some occasions, been used for
things which have nothing to do with their duties.  A large number of
zapatistas do not have voting credentials.  This is because IFE personnel
in Chiapas in charge of photo credentials in this state are conspiring with
military intelligence services.  The information and photographs for the
credentials are being "provided" to the federal Army so that, with the help
of "informers," they can identify the zapatistas and their peoples.  The
IFE as an arm of counterinsurgency.

It cannot be denied that participation of citizens in the IFE is a step
forward, and that some of its members have resisted strong pressures by the
government and by the PRI.  But no one can be asked to accept the results
of a process prior to its being carried out, especially in a country like
Mexico, where elections are synonymous with a parallel world replete with
"crazy mice" and Operation Tamales," and other etceteras which surpass any
piece of literary fiction.

Today, in response to the current election process, the zapatistas state
that electoral fraud is already underway, and there is nothing to guarantee
that the day of July 2, 2000 will not end with a brazen imposition with
serious consequences.

Eighth. -  For zapatistas, democracy is much more than an electoral contest
or changes in power.  But it is also an election fight, if it is clean,
equitable, honest and plural.

That is why we say that electoral democracy is not sufficient for
democracy, but it is an important part of it.  That is why we are not
anti-election.  We believe political parties have a role to play (nor are
we anti-party, although we have criticisms of party doings).

We believe that the elections represent, for millions of persons, a space
for dignified and respectable struggle.

Election time is not the time for the zapatistas.  Not just because of our
being without face and our armed resistance.  But also, and above all, for
our devotion to finding a new way of doing politics, which has little or
nothing to do with the current one. 

We want to find a politics which goes from below to above, one in which
"governing obeying" is more than a slogan;  one in which power is not the
objective;  one in which "referendum" and "plebiscite" are more than just
words which are difficult to spell;  one in which an official can be
removed from his position by popular election.

Concerning the political parties, we say that we do not feel represented by
any of them.  We are neither PRDs or PANs, even less PRIs.

We criticize the parties' distance from society, that their existence and
activities are regulated only by the election calendar, the political
pragmatism that goes beyond its mandate, the cynical juggling act of some
of their members, their contempt for the different.

Democracy - regardless of who is in power - is the majority of people
having decision making power concerning issues that concern them.  It is
the power of the people to sanction those in government, depending on their
capacity, honesty and effectiveness.

The zapatista concept of democracy is something that is built from below,
with everyone, even those who think differently from us.  Democracy is the
exercise of power for the people all the time and in all places.

Today, in response to the current election process, the zapatistas reaffirm
our struggle for democracy.  Not only for electoral democracy, but also for
electoral democracy.

Ninth. -  Regarding our place in the national situation, we say that we are
waiting for the fulfillment of the San Andrés Accords and clear signs from
the current, or next, government that there is a serious commitment to a
peaceful path for resolving the war.

As long as the necessary conditions are not in place, there will be neither
dialogue nor negotiation.

We do not want vain promises, or for them to tell us what we need or what
suits us.  Nor are we looking for employment as police officers or

We want an attentive ear, a true word, and a serious commitment in a
dialogue which will end the war.

If, as can be expected, Señor Zedillo's government persists in its war, in
failing to honor its word, and in irresponsibility as the political rule,
then the incoming government will inherit a war, the one the zapatistas
declared on January 1, 1994.

In response to this war, the new government will have two options:

Continue Señor Zedillo's policies and feign solutions, while continuing to
militarize, persecuting, killing and lying.

Or to fulfill the conditions for dialogue, demonstrate its seriousness and
responsibility in carrying out its commitments and resolving, not just the
war, but also the demands of the Indian peoples of Mexico.

There are no other options:  those in power who are cherishing the idea of
a "final" military solution are completely mistaken.

The EZLN cannot be annihilated militarily.  Any offensive military campaign
against us is doomed to last, not hours or days (as is presumed in high
military circles), nor weeks, months or years either.  They can try for
entire decades, and the EZLN will continue, still armed and masked, demanding
democracy, liberty and justice.

Whatever the new government's decision might be, regardless of its
political affiliation, it will receive a consistent response from the EZLN.

If it opts for low intensity violence, pretence and deception, it will see
how time passes without the problem being resolved, and it will have the
EZLN's contempt and distrust.

It must be said that, in case the government were to attempt a military
solution in any of its variants (whether a surgical strike, a partial or
total invasion of the communities, or any form of military action), it will
find itself confronted by thousands of indigenous risen up in arms, in war,
ready for anything except surrender or defeat.

We will not die.  Individual or collective martyrdom is not on the
zapatista agenda.

For war or peace, the EZLN is ready.  The new government will have the word
and the opportunity to choose.

Tenth. -  For all the above-mentioned, we state that:

-  We will not impede the federal elections on July 2, 2000.

-  The establishment of polling booths will be allowed in zapatista areas.

-  No acts of sabotage will be carried out, nor any action against election
facilities, IFE officials or voters.

-  We will not call for voting for any of the candidates or their parties.

-  Zapatista support bases will vote or not, according to their own
assessment.  Support bases will vote without any line and without sanction,
according to their party leanings.

-  For all those Mexican men and women who see the possibility of struggle
in the elections, we call on them to fight on that terrain and with those
means, and to defend the vote.

Brothers and sisters:

This hour is not our hour.  It will be some day, when there is peace and
respect for the Indian peoples.  When democracy is more than an election
calendar.  On that day, Mexico will not be democratic just because of the
zapatistas, but also because of them.  On that day, we will not be fighting
for a government post, but rather we will be walking alongside millions of
women and men who, like us, are fighting for...




>From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

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

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.
Mexico,  June of 2000. 

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