To Senor Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon.
Enroute to nowhere.
Six years ago I wrote to you in the name of all zapatistas, welcoming the nightmare. Many now think we were right. Throughout this administration, your term of office has been a long nightmare for millions of Mexican men and women: assassinations, economic crises, massive impoverishment, the illicit and brutal enrichment of a few, the selling off of the national sovereignty, public insecurity, the strengthening of ties between the government and organized crime, corruption, irresponsibility, war...and bad jokes badly told.
Throughout your administration you have striven to destroy the indigenous who rose up in defiance of everything that you represent. You strove to destroy them.
When you came to power you were free to choose how to confront the zapatista uprising. What you chose and what you did is now history. In your role as Commander-in-Chief of the federal army - and with all the power given to the head of the Executive - you could have chosen the path of dialogue and negotiation. You could have given signals of de'tente. You could have carried out what you signed in San Andre's. You could have reached peace.
You did not do so.
You chose, rather, the double strategy of feigning a willingness to dialogue and of continuing the path of violence. In order to achieve that, you tried to repeat the history of the Chinameca betrayal (February 9, 1995), you squandered thousands of millions of pesos trying to buy the consciences of the rebels. You militarized the indigenous communities (and not just in Chiapas). You expelled international observers. You trained, equipped, armed and financed paramilitaries. You persecuted, jailed and summarily executed zapatistas (remember Unio'n Progreso, June 10, 1998) and non-zapatistas. You destroyed the social fabric of the chiapaneco countryside. And, following the slogan of your putative child, the Red Mask paramilitary group ("We will kill the zapatista seed"), you ordered the massacre of children and pregnant women in Acteal on December 22, 1997.
We could understand why, being able to follow the path of dialogue, you opted to make war against us. It could have been because they sold you the idea that you could take us prisoners, that you could defeat us militarily, that you could achieve our surrender, that you could buy us, that you could deceive us, that you could make the Mexicans forget us and our struggle, that you could make people from other countries give up their solidarity with the indigenous cause. In short, that you could win the war against us. That we could understand. But, Senor Zedillo, why Acteal? Why did you order the assassination of children? Why did you order your henchmen to finish pregnant women off with machetes who, wounded or terrified, were unable to escape the massacre?
What, in fact, did you not do in order to finish off the zapatistas?
But were they finished off? They slipped through your ambush of February 9, 1995. They rebelled once more against your failure to fulfill the San Andre's Accords. They escaped from your military siege as often as they wanted. They resisted your ferocious offensive, directed by the 'croquetas' Albores, against the Autonomous Municipalities. Over and over again they demonstrated with mobilizations that their demands had the support of millions of Mexicans. No, the zapatistas were not finished off.
And not only were they not finished off. In addition, they spread throughout the world. Do you remember the times that you had to leave, surreptitiously, through emergency exits, events being held in other countries, while zapatista solidarity committees were protesting your Chiapas policies? Is there any ambassador or consul who has not reported to you with desperation the actions carried out by international zapatistas at Mexican government events and buildings abroad? How often was your foreign affairs service estranged because of the failure to carry out the San Andre's Accords, for the militarization of Chiapas and the lack of dialogue with the zapatistas? And, when you ordered the expulsion of hundreds of international observers, did solidarity actions throughout the world diminish?
And what do you have to say to me about Mexico? Instead of remaining "limited to 4 chiapaneco municipalities," zapatismo spread to the 32 states of the federation. It became worker, campesino, indigenous, teacher, student, employee, driver, fisherman, rocker, painter, actor, writer, nun, priest, sportsman, housewife, neighbor, independent unionist, homosexual, lesbian, transsexual, soldier, sailor, small and medium-sized business owner, street vendor, handicapped person, retiree, pensioner, people.
Such were these 6 years, Senor Zedillo. Being able to choose between peace and war, you opted for war. The results of this election are obvious: you lost the war.
You did everything you could to destroy us.
We simply resisted.
You are going into exile.
We will still be here.
You came to power through a crime which still continues unpunished. And your administration has been filled with unpunished crimes. In addition to carrying forward the privatization policies of your predecessor (and now open enemy), Salinas de Gortari, you disguised as law that other crime which is called FOBAPROA-IPAB, which involves not just poor Mexicans "rescuing" the rich and making them richer, but also causing that heavy burden to affect several future generations.
For more than 70 million Mexicans, the country's purported economic solidity has meant poverty and unemployment. While you have been scrupulously attending to the invasion of foreign capital, medium and small businesses were disappearing in the national market. During your term of office, the borders which divide government and organized crime were erased, and the continuous scandals caused serious problems in the press: it was impossible to deduce which news stories belonged in the political section and which in the crime blotter: "suicides," former governors on the run, prosperous businessmen who were "only" tortured, police officers "specialized" in fighting organized crime taking over universities.
Today, the same as your predecessor, you are leaving with those who worshipped you, served you, and who served themselves, having now become your worst enemies, prepared to pursue you. And so, Senor Zedillo, you will know, beginning tomorrow, what it is to be pursued day and night. And it will not last for only 6 years. Because, beginning tomorrow, the line will be very long of those who want to make you pay for what you owe them and for insults.
It is clear that we were right when, 6 years ago, the zapatistas told you welcome to the nightmare. But, now that you are going, is it over yet?
Yes and no.
Because, for us, the nightmare with you is ending today. Another could follow it, or the dawn could finally appear, we do not know, we shall do everything possible so that it will be the morning which flourishes. But for you, Senor Zedillo, the nightmare will only continue...
Salud, and it does not matter where you hide, there will be zapatistas there as well.
>From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.
Mexico, November of 2000.
PS - By the way, before I forget: a year ago, in September of 1999, you sent us an open letter thorough your Secretary of Government (and current candidate for the presidency of the PRI). I believe the letter was called "One More Step To the Abyss," "A More Ignominious Step," "A More Cynical Step", or something like that. In it, only 3 years late, your government was supposedly responding, with lies, to the conditions which we had set for the renewal of dialogue in September of 1996! The open letter was an attempt, more than deceiving us, of tricking national and international opinion. Something which it certainly did not achieve. Whatever it was, the lying letter told us we would be pleased with what was stated there, and it invited us to return to dialogue. It would be discourteous on our part to let it go without a response, especially now that you are leaving (finally!). Excuse the delay, but allow me to take advantage of these lines in order to respond. Our answer is: NO!
You are welcome
Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN ______________________ Translated by irlandesa