To: International and National Civil Society
From: Sup Marcos
Here we are once again. I am reminded that, in the last letter, I had left open what I was going to tell you about the International Consulta and the International Jornada for the Excluded of the World. Sale y vale:
1. - Good, first I'll tell you about the brigades that have been accredited on the five continents, and that have sent us their ideas, reports and concerns.
There now are persons interested and working in Asia, specifically in Japan, South Korea (they tell us there that they do not believe the lies of the Mexican government), Hong Kong and Israel. They are similarly in Africa, specifically in South Africa. They are also mobilizing in Australia in Oceana.
In Europe, they are in Germany, Belgium, Denmark, the State of Spain, the Basque Country, France, Holland, Italy, England, Portugal, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway and Ireland. For example, in Hamburg they have asked us how they can participate; in northern Norway they do not feel far from Mexico (despite the fact that they are very close to the North Pole), and they are organizing in order to be heard; in Ireland, the Irish Mexico Group will set up a voting table in...Dublin! Alright!
In Latin American there are interested persons and groups in Argentina (in addition to Buenos Aires, Rosario, Bahia Blanca, Rio Cuarto and Bariloche, they are in Patagonia, close to the South Pole. Or, the Consulta is from Pole to Pole, no?), Brazil (Sao Paulo, Rio and Rio Grande del Norte, for starters), Chile (greetings to "Plomo," which is also close to the ends of the earth), Costa Rica, Panama, Puerto Rico, Uruguay and Venezuela.
In Canada the Zapatista Support Group is already working in Victoria, British Columbia. There are also groups in Toronto (Peace Action for Chiapas), Montreal and Quebec.
The American Union deserves special mention. Not just because millions of Mexican men and women are living there. Also because there are many persons and groups who are already mobilizing in order to organize the Consulta and to express their opinions.
Some of the places where this is happening are: Alaska, San Diego, New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Santa Cruz (California), Philadelphia, Chicago, Michigan, Rochester (NY), Albequerque (New Mexiso), Columbia (in South Carolina), Seattle, Dallas, Oregon, Denver (Colorado), Mount Vernon (Washington), San Francisco, Tarzana (California), El Paso, Madison (Wisconsin), Lancaster (Pennsylvania), Providence (Rhode Island), Bakersfield (California), Maywood (California), Richmond (California) and Minnesota.
More details? Take a look: in San Diego there is the Dignity and Liberty 99 brigade; the Aztlan Information Center tells us: "Here in Frisco, California, we are in the Consulta, we've already printed up the materials and they're being distributed all over..."; also there is the "Aztlan Chicana and Chicano Student Movement (MECHA)," and they send their greetings to the indigenous "buds" in Mexico; in New York, the color blue has become a brigade with the United Zapatista Dawn in the struggle; in Santa Cruz, it's the Bi-national Oaxacan Indigenous Front; in Michigan, the Group for Peace and Resistance; in other places there are the Coalition for Rights for the Raza, Harmony Keepers of Aztlan Nation, Tonantzin Land Institute, Coalition for the Rights of the Indigenous, Committee for Solidarity in the Americas, Vote Online Polling, Mexican National Front Abroad, Committee of the Chicano Minority, Renewal Center, Barrio Warriors of Aztlan, Emiliano Zapata Committee, Danza Mexica Cuauhtemoc, Chiapas Coalition, El Bracero, Zapatista Support Committee and the Parish of San Pascual Bailon.
It is here, in North America, where the excitement and energy being provoked by this Consulta can most readily be seen. The Mexican men and women who are living and working in the United States are mobilizing, and in a big way. They receive many insults and suffer many humiliations, but they also have their Ya Basta! And they see in the Consulta an opportunity to be heard and respected.
They all know that the struggle going on here is also theirs, and that is how we understand it. That is why we welcome them.
Wacha Bato! This is great. Join the consulta!
2. - Now let me tell you that two great activities are being prepared on the five continents for this March.
One is the International Consulta. Since, for us (and for many others like us), the Mexican men and women living abroad have rights which should be recognized, we have thought that the Consulta for the Recognition of the Rights of the Indian Peoples and for an End to the War of Extermination should be open to the participation of all Mexicans, without regard to the country they are in. Then, what we did was call for the International Consulta, so that Mexican men and women who are living in other nations, and who are more than 12 years old, can also express their opinions on the 4 questions which will be answered on March 21, 1999.
And not only that, we have also decided to add a fifth question to the International Consulta, which says:
"Are you in agreement that Mexican men and women residing abroad should have an active part in the building of a new Mexico, and should have the right to vote in elections?"
"Response: Yes. No. I don't know."
In this way, Mexicans living outside the country will also have the opportunity to express their opinions on the recognition of their rights (which are denied them by the government).
3. - Certainly at this point one might ask what those who are not Mexicans - but who are interested and committed to peace and to the recognition of the rights of everyone - can do, or how they can participate.
Good, one way then is to participate in the International Action for the excluded of the world (which we'll talk about later), and another is by promoting and publicizing the Consulta in their countries, organizing the setting up of the voting tables in the different nations of the world, and organizing and carrying out the counting and the communication with Mexico in order to announce the results. All men, women, children and old ones of the world may participate in this task, without regard to their nationality, race, color, flavor, creed, size, weight, sexual preference or any of those kinds of classifications which the powers use to exclude those who are different.
Nationality is of no importance here, the International Consulta has many spaces for participating beyond the voting.
4. - Yes, I undrestand that you are asking how Mexicans abroad will give their opinions on the 5 questions, and how they will let us know their answers.
Good, we have thought to offer the following options:
a). - So that Mexicans living abroad can express their opinions, everyone within a nation who is interested in this can get in touch with each other, and, by common agreement, organize the setting up of the Consulta tables and the counting centers. We call this "National Coordination," and it can be done in the countries where it's possible.
For example: all persons and organizations interested in the Consulta in the United States can get in touch with each other and agree to form the "US National Coordination." Through this coordination, they will organize the setting up of the Consulta tables in the places that are possible and convenient, so that the Mexican population residing in the US can express their opinions on the 5 questions.
We should imagine that tables can be set up in Chicago, Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, New York, El Paso, Albequerque, San Antonio (to mention a few of the cities where there are people already interested in participating in the Consulta). Good, then the people and organizations in these cities should get in touch with each other, and with the other places in the American Union, form their National Coordination and organize the setting up of the tables in those and other cities, as well as the counting of the votes. This example also has the advantage that the National Commission for Democracy in Mexico-USA (NCDM) (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) is already organizing the Consulta there, and they can be gotten in touch with, or they may organize themselves separately. We propose that the NCDM function as US National Coordination. The people and organizations who do not have contact with the NCDM can link directly with the EZLN Contact Office for the Consulta (whose address appears further on).
In this way, then, there can be several National Coordinations in the same country, because the term "national" here does not mean that it's the only one, but rather that it covers all or various parts of the nation where it is located.
b). - These National Coordinations should be accredited with the EZLN Contact Office for the Consulta, so that we can know in what countries and how the International Consulta is being organized.
c). - The National Coordinations' vote count results should be sent to the EZLN Contact Ofice for the Consulta.
d). - There is no problem if any group of persons, organizations or group of organizations in a particular country, want to organize themselves other than through the National Coordinations. We just ask that they accredit themselves in the same way with the EZLN Contact Office for the Consulta.
e). - In addition to going to the Consulta tables, opinions can be expressed on the 5 questions by sending your responses to the Consulta questions by telephone, fax, internet, email, satellite, paper ships or planes, intercontinental rocket, carrier pigeon, or by land, sea or air mail. All should be sent to the EZLN Contact Office for the Consulta.
Avenida Ignacio Allende #22-A Barrio San Antonio (entre Av. Alvaro Obregon y Hermanos Dominguez) C.P. 29250 San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.
Telephone and Fax: (967) 8-10-13 and (967) 8-21-59
Good, now I'm going to talk to you a bit about the International Action for the Excluded of the World.
This international mobilization which we are calling is not just for March 21, 1999, but we are inviting actions to be carried out centered around this day in which the Consulta for the Recognition of the Rights of the Indian Poeples and for an End to the War of Extermination is being held. Certainly one form of mobilization for this International Action is through participating in the promotion and publicity for the Consulta, by forming National Coordinations, by setting up tables, by the counting and communication of the results (which are not tasks exclusively for Mexicans), but it is not the only one. One can organize, for example, demonstrations, public and private letters, displays, peaceful mobilizations, music concerts (absolutely, following the example of the honorable Mexican rock musicians - who are beat for beat for the Consulta -, all the rock groups in the world echoing the zapatista Ya Basta!), recitals, assemblies, conferences, multimedia and/or cyber events, etcetera. Nothing that is civil and peaceful is excluded, and imagination and creativity will most certainly exceed anything we could propose here. We are talking about, then, an action for all the excluded, not just for the indigenous or for the zapatistas.
An act in Strasbourg is being planned, demanding a change in immigration policies by the European countries, and the organizers have decided to include the demands for the recognition of the rights of the Indian peoples and for an end to the war of extermination in Mexico. There is also, in France, the Feu Faux Lait. This is a theatre company which is preparing for their participation in the action for the excluded with a production in and around Paris.
Now you see that you can participate in many ways. You just have to come to agree among yourselves, organize yourselves and act.
Good, I'll say goodbye now. When I know more, I'll write you again.
Vale, salud, and we must not allow neo-liberalism to exclude humanity.
From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.
Mexico, February 1999
Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN ______________________ La Jornada Translated by irlandesa