To the National and International Press:
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Here once again. The letters are off, for the one who is now leaving (fortunately), and an invitation for you to a press conference. We will do everything we can to not get hung up on the time.
Salud, and, no, you don't have to worry, Martha Sahagu'n is not going to be here.
>From the Mountains of the Mexican Southeast.
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos
Mexico, November of 2000.
Yepa! Yepa! Yepa! Andale! Andale! Andale!
Arriba! Arriba! Arriba!
First Act. - Characters: the political class, announcer, the
headlines, the public.
Place: Mexico. Date: Prior to the elections of July 2, 2000.
(The curtain goes up. There are a television and a radio on the stage, turned up at full volume. In the background, the headlines of a national newspaper. The audio on the TV and the radio is the same: commercial jingles. The newspaper headlines are changing as they are signaled.)
The political class: "We are in the media, therefore we exist. We should now confront our greatness with the most difficult test in the supreme art of governing: the ratings. Call for the image consultants! (clapping of hands)."
The headlines: "THE IFE IS CREATED, THE FEDERAL INSTITUTE OF POLLS. The bother of going to the voting booths will be eliminated, says its boss."
The consultant (entering from the right): "Here I am (turning to the public). Modern political science consists not just of discovering which product will have the best acceptance in the marketplace, but - and here I have the science - in converting anything into something which resembles that product as far as possible (he takes a complete makeup kit out of his briefcase) (He painstakingly apples cosmetics to the face of the political class)."
The headlines: "CYBERNETIC CHALLENGE A DEMOCRATIC ADVANCE: EZPL"
The political class (sneezing): "Achoo! I think I'm allergic to this dust. What is it?"
Consultant (offering a handkerchief): "Bless you! It is the latest word in fashion, it is democratizing dust."
The political class (sighing in resignation): "Okay, anything to survive"
The headlines: "CANDIDATES' PRICES WILL BE GOING DOWN: SECOFI."
Announcer (entering hurriedly from the left): "Quickly! Hurry up! The sponsors are getting anxious! We have to tape the program."
Consultant: "The sponsors? I thought the members of the audience would be the ones who were anxious..."
Announcer: "No, no, no. The rhythm of politics is not set by clocks or calendars, but by program times. Hurry up! We don't have much time between the commercial breaks."
The political class (fixing itself up in front of a mirror being held by the consultant): "Good, how do I look?"
Consultant (smiling in satisfaction): "Magnificent! You are unrecognizable..."
The political class (to itself): "Commercial breaks! In the good old days there were no breaks other those produced by the happy sound of the rattles and slogans of "You can see it, you can feel it, the PRI is omnipotent."
(The consultant moves to one side).
Announcer: "Lights! Camera! Action!"
Announcer (turning to the public): "Welcome to our program: 'The Modest Truth'! Today, as a special guest, we have...the political class! (loud applause is heard, the public is still, but an audio tape is keeping them from the grueling task of having to applaud)."
The political class (turning to the announcer): "Is my tie okay?"
Announcer: "Tell us, political class, excuse me, can I call you 'tu'?"
The political class (fixing a decal which looks like a smile on its mouth): "Of course."
Announcer: "Good, tell us, what can the audience expect from the upcoming election?"
(The political class moves its lips, but no sounds at all come out).
Announcer: "Very interesting! Almost as interesting as these commercial messages from our sponsors!"
The political class (to the announcer): "Are we still taping?"
Announcer: "No. It went perfectly. Now we're waiting for the consultant to send us the audio of your response after he's done his marketing studies."
The political class: "Then can I leave now?"
(The political class leaves. Someone comes and turns off the radio and television. The headlines disappear. The curtain falls. The audience yawns. An audio breaks into enthusiastic applause.)
Date: July 2, 2000.
(The curtain rises. There is only an empty street on the stage).
The political class (to itself): "We see faces, we do not know votes."
Senora X: "No."
The young man, Y: "No."
Senor Z: "No."
The political class (to the public): "We see faces, we do not know votes."
The public (breaking into the script, to everyone's shock): "No!"
This play is a problem. Those directing it are making a huge effort to convince the audience that it's already over. Not only is the public not leaving the premises, they're also insisting on getting up on the stage. The director and the actors are tearing their hair out. It is no longer possible to know where the stage is and where the seats are. Suddenly, apparently without an agreement having been reached, and with stern expressions on their faces, all the members of the public yell: "Third act! Third act! Third! Let's begin."
Does the curtain fall?
What? You didn't like it? Well, La Mar did. Okay, at least she smiled. What? Dari'o Fo, Carballido, Gurrola, Savariego and Lenero are going to reprove me? Let them do so. They reproved Einstein for his hygiene (or was it for his mathematics?).
The Sup in the box office
Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN ______________________ Translated by irlandesa