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From: "irlandesa redux" <irlandesa_irl {AT} hotmail.com>
To: chiapas-i {AT} eco.utexas.edu
Subject: Marcos on Windows and Reality
Date: Fri, 31 Mar 2000 17:31:40 GMT

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
_______________________
Translated by irlandesa


EZLN Communique'
March 21, 2000.

To: Germa'n Dehesa
Mexico, DF

Don Germa'n:

I have been wanting to write to you for some time.  I have been reading you 
for quite a while (always, of course, assuming the Reforma reaches the Selva 
Lacandona), attentively and with amused seriousness (there is such a thing, 
no?).  Now, reading your column of Thursday, March 16, I see that you have 
generously turned an attentive ear to our words.  I shall try to not go on 
too long.  Sale y vale.

You ask first: "What has the Zapatista Army of National Liberation done to 
preserve the Selva Lacandona?"

I answer:  pass laws and see that they are carried out.  As you could not 
know (because the government has presented the autonomous municipalities as 
secessionist), the autonomous authorities of the zapatista indigenous 
communities in the Selva Lacandona have passed a law prohibiting "the 
grazing, cutting down and burning of the high mountain (the compa~eros use 
the word "high mountain" to refer to the wooded areas, differentiating them 
from fields – planted lands – and from "acahuales," lands with low growth, 
invariably thorns, thistles, lianas and other parasitic plants).  The 
communities have not been content with establishing and promulgating this 
law.  They have, in addition, taken charge of seeing to its compliance and 
to punishing its lack of observance.  The penalties for these crimes are 
extra community work and fines.  And, it's carried out.  In this manner they 
have not only halted the destruction of the wooded areas of the Selva 
Lacandona, but they have also managed to partly modify the patterns of 
planting in the communities. In order to confront the fires which 
proliferate at this time of the year, the villages have a system of 
communication and signals so that they can come to each other's aid if a 
fire spreads.  The result?  There are tens of thousands of expert 
"firefighters" in the zapatista areas.  This, and more, is what the 
indigenous are doing, Se~or Dehesa, in order to protect the land that is, 
for them, not just a means of survival, but also the place of memory, of 
culture, of history.  This is what those indigenous are doing, who are 
rebels against a government that refuses to honor its word and which – in 
response to their demands for justice – has sent tens of thousands of 
soldiers who – believe me, Se~or Dehesa – do not come to Chiapas to plant 
the little trees you saw in San Miguel de los Jagu:eyes, but rather to plant 
the terror that you will only see in the faces of the men, women, children 
and old ones who have the misfortune of having, on their lands, a soldiers' 
barracks, several bars, at least one brothel and no respect for civil 
authority.

I am telling you this, Se~or Dehesa, not because I want to "convert" you 
into a zapatista or to recruit you.  I am doing so because you are as 
intelligent as your words reflect (and, more, there is brilliance that 
cannot even be revealed by words).  It is obvious that their inviting you to 
San Miguel de los Jagu:eyes (and not to Acteal, or Amador Herna'ndez, or 
Amparo Aguatinta, or TaniPerla, or Roberto Barrios, or to other sites of 
military "reforesting") was not done innocently, and that you understand 
that.

Since, I am sure, you are broadminded and eager to learn of the different 
images of the same reality, I am inviting you to come to Chiapas incognito.  
Go to Comita'n and take an air taxi there to the community of Amador 
Herna'ndez.  From the air, just as you arrive, you will be able to appreciate 
the brutal felling of trees by the soldiers stationed there for their 
heliports, as well as the amount of  woods deforested in order to clear the 
"firing fields" for their machine guns.  If you land and manage to penetrate 
the military fortification, you will be able to se the drums of defoliants 
in their warehouses and the flame-throwers which, along with mortars and 
light machine guns, form part of their arsenal.

Go to Amador Herna'ndez, you will not be received by any Secretary of State 
or by any "high command" of the zapatista guerrilla, nor will you be 
attended to by any public relations director.  Indigenous Tzeltal men and 
women will receive you, they will show you their destroyed fields of crops, 
their contaminated water sources, the pitfall traps with sharpened stakes 
inside, the walls of branches and cut trees, behind which the soldiers hide 
so that they do not have to see the words the indigenous men and women show 
them every day demanding their withdrawal.  Come, Se~or Dehesa, you have 
nothing to lose and, perhaps, much to understand.  You could (it is a 
suggestion) bring Madame Loaeza (who also wants to make the trip) along with 
you.  I am certain that she could come up with a good disguise that would 
allow both of you to pass unrecognized, and you could, in that way, confirm 
the "other" reality of the federal soldiers in the Selva Lacandona.

Because those soldiers whom Se~or Aguilar Zinser sees (and applauds), 
"caring for" the forests of the Selva Lacandona, are the accomplices of the 
talamontes (the large trucks with clandestine wood have free passage at the 
military checkpoints in the Ca~adas).  They are the same ones who raped 
indigenous women in the community of Morelia. The same ones who summarily 
executed indigenous in Ocosingo.  The same ones who are training 
paramilitaries (whose greatest "forest" task is the massacre of children, 
women, men and old ones at Acteal), who convert schools and churches into 
barracks (visit the north of Chiapas), who prostitute the indigenous women 
(talk with the PRI women of San Quinti'n), who steal newborns in the "brand 
new" hospital of old Guadalupe Tepeyac in order to sell them (completely or 
in parts) on the black market in the United States.  Who plant, traffic in 
and consume drugs (let them show you the areas around the barracks at 
Guadalupe Tepeyac, San Quinti'n, TaniPerla, Ibarra or La Soledad, to mention 
a few).  Who protect drug traffickers on their routes to the American Union 
(after 1995, the year of the "recovery of national sovereignty," the South 
American cartels recovered the springboard they had lost with the EZLN 
uprising).  Who have introduced alcohol into the communities (you can 
observe the military convoys escorting trucks with alcoholic beverages).  
The same ones who are persecuting, threatening, beating, jailing, raping and 
killing Mexican indigenous (in any community which has the misfortune to 
have a barracks close by) who, as far as I understand, are worth the same 
(or less) than any little tree.

Come, Se~or Dehesa, come and see and talk and ask that they show you what 
they have inside the army barracks in the community of San Quinti'n (at the 
door of the Montes Azules biosphere). There you will be able to see the 
efficient modern dungeons designed to torture indigenous, the tunnels for 
"disappearing" persons without leaving any traces for human rights 
observers.  Come, look and listen.

Come, and you will see that there are two programs for the future:  the 
government's and the indigenous'.  Ours seeks "to create the conditions for 
our good people of the countryside to recover their strength:  their 
history, their ways of thinking, their dignity, their respectability, their 
initiative" (Dehesa, G.  Reforma, Friday, March 17, 2000), and that which is 
not present in the election campaign.

Do not believe me, Se~or Dehesa, believe what your eyes see and your ears 
hear.  If your trip is not possible, pay no attention to what that I am 
writing here.  Look, instead, at the hundreds of reports from 
non-governmental organizations, from scientists and researchers, from the UN 
High Commissioner for Human Rights.  All of them recommend the army's 
withdrawal from Chiapas.  And it is not because they want to see the forests 
destroyed.  It is because they do not see the soldiers planting little 
trees, but, rather, violating human rights.

Good, Se~or Dehesa, I hope I have limited myself to the number of pages that 
I imagine your column takes up.  As to the rest, do not believe that about 
email.  The only effective means of communicating with the EZLN General 
Command is still provided by a pair of boots, somewhat worn-out, for sure, 
but still serviceable.  I do not know if you will publish this, or what the 
tone of your response will be.  Whatever it may be, know that you have, at 
the least, two readers (including La Mar) in the mountains of the Mexican 
Southeast who, despite their not sharing many of your opinions and values, 
laugh quite happily at your wit, your incisiveness and your joy.

Vale.  Salud, and the tree that matters is the one of the morning.

>From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.

Mexico,  March of 2000.


Cheeky PS.   I forgot, you also asked:  "How many trees has Marcos planted?" 
  I answer you:  Without counting the little orange tree that graces the 
doors of the EZLN General Command, one could say that I have only planted 
one other tree.  It is a very odd tree.  Not just because its planting has 
required the support of thousands of men and women for several generations. 
Not just because its nurture involves much pain and, it is only fair to say, 
many smiles.  No, Se~or Dehesa, the tree we are planting here is odd because 
it is a tree for everyone, for those who have not yet been born, for those 
whom we do not know, for those who will be when we have been lost behind the 
corner of any calendar.  When our tree grows, under its shade will sit the 
great and small, whites and darks and red and the red and the blue, 
indigenous and mestizo, men and women, the tall and the short, without those 
differences mattering, and, above all, without any of them feeling less or 
worse or ashamed for being as they are.  Under that tree there will be 
respect for the other, dignity (which does not mean arrogance), justice and 
liberty.  If I were pushed to define that tree briefly, I would tell you 
that it is a tree of hope.  If, some morning on the map of Chiapas, instead 
of an immense green area broken up by the blue lines of rivers and streams, 
signs of oil wells are seen, and uranium mines, casinos, exclusive 
residential areas and military bases, then that will mean that those 
soldiers, who you say are caring for the Selva Lacandona, will have won.  It 
will not mean that we have lost, just that we are taking longer to win than 
we had thought…


PS PROPOSING ANOTHER WINDOW

(Off the record:  La Realidad)
(Postscript to Letter 6c )

March of 2000

To: Don Pablo Gonza'lez Casanova.
UNAM, Mexico

"Windows are like cookies:
they are tasty and nourishing."

Don Durito of the Lacandona.

Don Pablo:

I am sure that the epigram at the top of this letter will seem strange to 
you, and its author even more so.  It is not easy to explain, but I will try 
to do so. Everything began when…

Above, the sky stretches from horizon to horizon.  It is stretched so much 
that its skin rips, and light can be seen through the tatters.  There is 
very little wind.  Even so, a fleeting breeze brings me the echoes of some 
voices.  I climb down from the Ceiba and walk towards a little light covered 
by trees.  It appears to be a small gathering or some such.  I approach and 
"in order to distinguish between the voices of the echoes, I stopped and 
listened, among the voices, to just one." The Mad Hatter and the March Hare 
are sharing tea while discussing a poll with La Mar which says that 90% of 
human beings prefer to celebrate their non-birthdays and to give up birthday 
parties.  These things only happen in the mountains of the Mexican 
southeast.  I am of the 10% who prefer to celebrate their birthdays, and so 
I was left without tea and without discussion.

However it may be, it is now getting to be the 21st on all the calendars, 
and for lack of tea there will be coffee and animal cookies.  And, speaking 
of little animals, Zedillo's expanded cabinet (that is, his own and the one 
called – ostentatiously – Labastida's "campaign team") is abounding in their 
increasingly less respectable statements.  And it is not that the 
respectable has lost respectability, what is happening is that the number of 
Mexican men and women who are paying attention to what the Supreme One is 
saying is dwindling rapidly.

Durito, who, charges like a politician trying to get nominated when cookies 
are spoken of, appears at one of the edges of the table.  I was writing a 
response to Don Pablo Gonza'lez Casanova (more of a postscript), when Durito, 
throwing eye patch, wooden leg and hook aside, exclaims-asks-demands:

"Did someone say cookies?"

"I didn't say them, I wrote them.  And don't get excited because they're 
animal ones, and, as far as I'm aware, they aren't among your favorites."

"Why do you always mix politics up with things as noble as cookies.  
Besides, I know where there are some" Pancremas" put away."

I immediately stopped writing.

"'Pancremas?'  Where?"

"Nothing, nothing.  If there's no tea, there's no cookies."

"But Durito…Okay, let's negotiate:  I'll help you to work on the sardine 
ca…er, excuse me, the galley, and you tell me where the 'Pancremas' are."

Durito thinks about it for a minute.  Then he asks:

"Does that include washing the deck and bailing out the water in storms?"

""It includes it," I say, seeing that right now the sky has no room for 
clouds, and so I don't have to worry about any storms.

"Follow me," says Durito, and, getting down from the table, he embarks on 
the march in the mountains.

I took the lamp, although the moon made it unnecessary.  We did not walk 
far.  Durito stopped in front of a Huapac and pointed to one of its 
branches.  "There," he said.  I looked towards where he was pointing and I 
saw a little bag hanging.  It must have been an old "mailbox," left some 
time ago by one of our units..  Durito sat down at the base of the tree and 
began to smoke.  I interpreted his silence and climbed the tree, undid the 
bag and climbed down with it.  Upon opening it I saw that there indeed was a 
package of "Pancrema" cookies, and a pair of "AA" batteries, a lamp that was 
already oxidized, an old worn book by Lewis Carroll (Through the Looking 
Glass), a zapatista song book…and a book of political theory whose author is 
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos!

I do not remember having written any book on political theory. In fact, I 
don't remember having written any book, period.  Certainly the idea of a 
long work, expounding on what the zapatistas think about politics, has been 
going round my head, but nothing has been decided.  I began leafing through 
the book while Durito did a good job of polishing off the cookies.  When I 
turned around, there were no longer even any crumbs left of the "Pancremas."

"You finished them all off?" I reproached him.

"You should be grateful to me.  They were more rancid than the "new" PRI"  
Durito looked at me and added:  "I can see that something is bothering you. 
You can confide in me, my dear disconcerted nose."

"It's that I've found this book in the mailbox.  How is it possible to find, 
in an old mailbox in the mountain, a book that hasn't been written yet?"

"The solution to your problem is in the other book."

"Which?  The Lewis Carroll one?"

"Obviously!  Take a look at Chapter 5."

And so I did.  I'm not very sure, but I believe the answer would be in the 
following dialogue between Alice and the White Queen:


"That is the result of living backwards," the White Queen said kindly.  "At 
the beginning it always makes one feel a little confused."

"Live backwards!" replied Alice, greatly surprised.  "I have never heard of 
such a thing!"

"But there is a great advantage in that:  our memory works in both 
directions."

"I'm sure that mine only works one way," Alice observed.  "I cannot remember 
things before they happen."

"That is a sad memory that can only work backwards," the Queen answered.

"What kinds of things do you remember best?" Alice dared to ask.

"Oh, the things that happened within two weeks," the White Queen responded 
negligibly.

Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass.  Chapter 5


"So I have in my hands a book that hasn't been written yet?" I said.

"That is so.  We are in one of those areas called a "window."  I looked at 
him in surprise.

"Yes," Durito says.  "Windows.  Or, in those places where one can look at 
the other side, whether at what has happened, or at what is going to happen. 
  Here, for example, you can see what Zedillo's administration has been, and 
also see the chaos which it is leading to.  Now the only stable thing is 
instability.  There will be all kinds of problems."

"Well it seems they are already happening.  You can already see the stock 
market is sky high, and, I don't understand very well, economic indices 
assure there will be no "December error."

"That's because it will happen in another month."  Durito seems to take 
notice of my perplexity, because he almost immediately adds:  "You should 
understand."  Durito looks at me doubtfully and corrects himself:  "Okay, 
you should try to understand that…look, better that you read what I'm 
writing."  Durito hands me some written pages where it says:

POINTS WHICH TRY TO EXPLAIN WHAT IS JUST GOING TO HAPPEN WHEN THEY ARE JUST 
GOING TO HAPPEN.

Macro-economic indices:  Cosmetic Cover-up

In an election year, in addition to candidates, lies abound.  One of the 
biggest is the one that sings the  praises of an economic growth that is not 
to be seen anywhere.  Blind to what the common people are suffering, 
government officials exhibit figures which say more in what they don't say.  
The high macro-economic indices are nothing but a cosmetic cover-up for 
concealing the reality:  the growth in poverty and in the number of poor in 
the country.  In response to the evidence that no one believes them, the 
government puts the achievements and the applause for the rapid and 
tumultuous sale of Mexico into the mouths of the large financial centers.  
While at business and government meetings (the most powerful club of the 
nation's criminals), they congratulate each other for the increased profits, 
in Mexico's streets and countryside survival becomes an everyday battle, and 
the price increases of basic products and services are reflected in the 
tables (less food and of poorer quality), in the streets (unemployed and 
under-employed are growing), in the small businesses (misery and closing), 
and in the countryside (emigration to the cities and to the American Union 
increases).

And, even so, the macro cosmetics present serious shortcomings. At the 13th 
Congress of the National College of Economists, the Zedillisto Secretary of 
Commerce (Herminio Blanco) encountered criticism of his publicity campaign.  
Enrique Dussel, UNAM researcher, told him:  "The 3100 maquiladoras and 300 
largest national and foreign companies are 0.12 of the country's businesses, 
and they create only 5.6% of the jobs." (El Universal, February 9, 2000, 
Financial Section, reportage by Lilia Gonza'lez and Alberto Bello).  Noting 
that large corporations had not created a productive chain with small and 
mid size industries (which are the primary source of employment in Mexico), 
the researcher had the sense of humor to point out to Se~or Blanco:  "These 
are facts, not globalphobia." (Ibid.).

In the great fraud called the "North American Free Trade Act" (product of 
the great Salinas lie), the future is now being projected with the signing 
of a free trade agreement with the European Union.  With a liking for modern 
cover-ups, the European governments are extending their hands to Zedillo 
without caring that his is covered with indigenous blood, without noticing 
that his government is the one that has the most ties with drug trafficking, 
and closing their eyes to the lack of democracy in our country.  The 
European Union's flexibility can be understood, what is at stake is a slice 
of the pie that is called, still, "Mexico."  Due to the marvels of 
globalization, a country is measured by its macro-economic indices.  The 
people?  They do not exist, there are only buyers and sellers.  And, within 
those, there are classifications:  the small, the large and the macro.  
These latter ones buy or sell countries.  At one time they were governments 
of Nation States, today they are only merchants in search of good prices and 
lucrative profits.  The political class and their recruits:  the army, the 
media, intellectuals, international bodies.

If we have said before that the political class is increasingly less 
political and increasingly more business oriented, in an election year 
cynicism achieves levels of a publicity "boom."  The ones that "matter" are 
not the governed, rather those who contribute to, or make difficult, the 
exercise of power.  Called upon by the Mexican political class, the high 
clergy, the army, the electronic media, the intellectuals and international 
bodies become "the great electors."  Their respective parcels receive the 
regime's benefits, more conspicuously during an election.  Citizens remain 
at the margins, and their demands are reduced to surveys of electoral 
preferences.  The statements, counter-statements and comments among 
themselves belong to the so-called "leaders" of an opinion that is 
increasingly closer to an agreement among cronies, and increasingly removed 
from a serious debate about ideas and programs.

The high clergy advances, with purported divine backing, on terrestrial 
intrigues.  Teaming up with those in power and/or those who aspire to power, 
the Catholic hierarchy sees with satisfaction that its words have influence 
and bearing on government policies.  While the lay State is nothing more 
than a shameful date on the calendar, the clergy and politicians break bread 
and salt and share complicity and shame in public and private meetings.  It 
is not a mutual respect between different arenas, no.  It is a symbiosis 
that allows some bishops and cardinals to be closer to the Mexico of power 
than to the common, everyday Catholics (the great majority of Mexicans).  
The Reform Laws?  Excuse me, my eminence:  isn't that the name of a street?

In another space, other "bishops" and "cardinals" – but from the 
intellectual right – are fighting to occupy the space left by the supreme 
pontiff, Octavio Paz.  If one could, in some way, measure Paz' stature as an 
effective intellectual with and for the power, it is measuring it by the 
dwarves who are fighting over his legacy.  The last great intellectual of 
the right died with Paz, those who followed him might be of the right, but 
they are far from being intellectuals.  Even so, the hierarchies of the 
intellectual right in Mexico have their acolytes and, if it were to become 
necessary, their soldiers.  In recent days, the intellectual front against 
the university movement suffered a serious setback.  The blow came from a 
university professor - an intellectual and from the left - called Pablo 
Gonza'lez Casanova.  The UNAM researcher demonstrated something fundamental:  
legality cannot replace legitimacy, and, in the case of the UNAM conflict, 
"legality" (since other intellectuals have demonstrated that the entrance by 
the Federal Preventative Police into UNAM was illegal, as the legal 
complaints against the imprisoned students are illegal) was converted into a 
means by which the senselessness of the violence received an honorary 
doctorate from the largest university in Latin America.

If being a leftist was already something unforgivable in Gonza'lez Casanova, 
the fact of his working in congruence with his ideas was now too much.  The 
"cardinals" of intelligentsia sent their pawns (it seems that some of them 
even have first and last names) to go after Don Pablo.  Even though they had 
lost the battle, the intelligentsia of the right did not do their utmost for 
that failed skirmish.  Their decisive battles are not in the arena of ideas 
(they would most certainly lose), nor against progressive intellectuals.  
No, the ground to be conquered, the one they want, the one which some of 
them are already enjoying, is at the side of the "prince," at the edge of 
his table, whispering praise into the ears of the great gentlemen of 
politics and of money.  Nonetheless, they have to do something to 
differentiate themselves from the buffoons swarming around the government 
palace. That is why they do their magazines and their television programs.  
The dead letters they etch, their intellectual connections and their open 
areas are not targeted at anyone but themselves.  In these places they make 
comments to themselves, they read themselves, they "critique" among 
themselves, they greet themselves, and, in so doing, they say to each other: 
"We are the conscience of the new power, we are necessary because we say we 
are necessary, the Power needs someone to set their economic interests and 
its costs to prose, what makes us different from the buffoons is that we do 
not tell jokes, we explain them."

In this dwarf-like world of dwarves, the surface is a chessboard where 
bishops, kings, queens, pawns, knights and rooks conspire at the tops of 
their voices.  Everyone knows who is going to win, that is not what is 
important, but rather which square they occupy and for how long.  The uproar 
deafens each of them, but the machine works.  There are seven decades of a 
political system that is now being called the "new PRI."  The noise of the 
machine does not resemble that of gears grinding, it is more and more like a 
publicity "spot."

The problems begin when pieces enter that do not belong on that chessboard, 
when some strange object jams the gears, or when some interference obstructs 
the omnipotent "buying and selling"…

The National Agenda to the Entertainment Section?

The fundamental soundbox of this Mexico of the powerful is in the electronic 
media.  However, far from being merely an echo of what the political class 
says, television and radio take on their own voice, and, without anyone 
questioning them, they become the primary voice.  The great problems of the 
country do not define the national agenda, for that matter neither do the 
political leaders.  No, election campaigns and government agendas go along 
with radio and television programs.  The electronic media does not broadcast 
news, it creates it, feeds it, makes it grow, annihilates it.  The 
differences among the partisan choices during elections are not based on the 
programs for the nation which they are proposing, but in the time slots they 
manage to secure in the media.

The "ratings" which matter are not the viewing public, but rather in what 
they can reach in the political class.  The greatest part of the statements 
and declarations by the main political actors is not addressed to real 
situations, but rather to lead news stories.  Thus the "up to the minute" 
issues covered by the media are those that they have selected to be such.  
In the great theater of Mexican politics, the politicians are the actors 
and, simultaneously, the spectators.  Radio and television carry out the 
roles of screenwriter, producer, lighting, stage setting and box office.

If it is increasingly difficult to speak of a single Mexico, it is 
impossible during an election period.  The existence of two countries is 
palpable:  the one that exists in the headlines and the one that takes place 
"off the record," outside the news stories and the exclusives.


Off the Record:  Reality

While radio and television try hard, ineffectively, to present an image of 
"normalcy" at the Autonomous National University of Mexico, the enthusiasts 
for the "Rule of Law" being exercised against social fighters find 
themselves surprised that the entrance into the CU by Wilfredo Robledo's 
paramilitaries and the detention of hundreds of university students did not 
"solve" the conflict in the seat of higher learning.  The university 
movement is not over, nor is the pretender, De La Fuente, the rector.  The 
selective and piecemeal release of the student prisoners (at great pains to 
leave a few still in jail) has not discouraged the struggle for the demand 
for free education and for a truly democratic and decision-making university 
congress.  At times disconcerted, the university movement remains firm in 
its demand for freedom for the political prisoners, free education and the 
congress.  Radio and television, irritated, try to make sure that the 
headlines belong solely to those have paid for air time.  The rest should be 
relegated to the police blotter or used as "filler."  Who cares about the 
parents who are bleeding to death in order to demand the release of their 
children, if Esteban (Guajardo) Moctezuma and Emilio Gamboa are fighting on 
Labastida's team?  The same media which were horrified over the CGH's 
vocabulary, get excited about the "crap-drunk-hush" of the election 
campaigns and about the abundant exchange of digital signals among the 
candidates.

But, if Reality takes place mostly outside the programming, every once in a 
while it takes a bite out of the Mexico of above, and it ruins economic 
macro-indices, news programs and candidates' agendas.  In a corner of the 
other Mexico, a community decides to do without tele-novels and news shows, 
it confronts the police and defends a rural teachers school.  In El Mexe, 
Hidalgo, the protagonists are not education students, nor the police who 
went to crush them.  They are the people.  People who had no space allotted 
them in the  news other than in the police blotter, a point in the 
candidate's rally, a number in the amount of tortillas and drinks to be 
given out during the campaign swing.  As they appear, they disappear.  An 
avalanche of statements bury the fundamental fact (the "Ya Basta!" firmly 
exercised) and one other thing.

Chiapas? It might be on the agenda of the UN or of other national and 
international non-governmental organizations, but not on the national one. 
In order to avoid that, the Croquetas Albores spares no expense.  In one 
year, the Croquetas Albores has spent 28 million pesos in order to avoid 
Chiapas being the bad note on the news(Proceso Sur, Number 1, March 4, 
2000).  The man with the checkbook is the much loved son of TV Azteca:  
Manuel de la Torre, who just yesterday was destroying rural schools with his 
"helicopter buzzes."  And today he is trying to round up journalists as if 
they were cattle.

While the governor insists he has made great economic investments in 
Chiapas, he "forgets" to say that that the greatest expense was made on 
publicity, paid journalistic notes, hush money in order to silence 
"disagreeable" news and in order to improve the federal army's battered 
image.

Between Albores' barking and Rabasa's braying, the army is taking up new 
attack positions, its garrisons are being ostentatiously reinforced, planes 
and helicopters are increasing their overflights, and the war continues, now 
keeping a prudent distance from press headlines.

The zapatista indigenous insist on the value of the word:  the women in San 
Cristo'bal on March 8, the March 21 coordinadoras, the residents of Amador 
Herna'ndez, those from Amparo Agua Tinta, the Tzotzils of Los Altos, the 
Tzeltales of Las Ca~adas, the Chols and Zoques of the North, the Mames of 
the Sierra, all of them remembering once again that there is a word that the 
government did not honor, the San Andre's Accords, and that there is no 
peace, nor justice, nor dignity for the Mexican indigenous.

Far from the front pages, from the electronic news programs, the Mexico of 
the people takes place in resistance, in patient waiting, in hope…

What are they waiting for?

I return the pages to Durito, asking him:

"That 'what are they waiting for?', Is it a question, a demand or a 
prophecy?"

"Go to the window," Durito tells me.  I do so and I look and I do not 
believe it.

"So…? Who would have thought?"

"That is how it is.  Windows are like cookies:  they are tasty and 
nourishing," says Durito, while beginning the return…

With those words, Durito ended his talk of that dawn, Don Pablo.  When I 
returned to the hut, I re-read your letter and began writing these lines.  I 
should try to explain to you that we zapatistas see ourselves not just in 
the window of the left that you note in your text.  We believe we have 
opened another window, a window within the window of the left, that our 
political proposal is more radical than those which appear at your window 
and that it is different, very "other" (note: I did not write "better," just 
"different").  And I suppose that this letter was in order to explain to you 
(and to others) what it consists of, according to us, that other window that 
we zapatistas have opened.

But it so happens that everything will be in that book that I have not yet 
written, but which can be read in one of the "window" areas that are in the 
mountains of the Mexican southeast.  And so you will have to wait until that 
book is written (which is nothing if not optimistic) and has been published 
(which borders on ingenuousness).  Meanwhile, Don Pablo, you have all of our 
best wishes and, if possible, may your next letter be accompanied by some 
"Pancrema" cookies (better if they are not rancid).  Perhaps then I can 
convince Durito to take me to the damned "window" again.  Because, as for 
the book which I have not yet written (but which, I suppose, I shall write), 
I only managed to read the dedication, and I didn't get any further because 
a damp tenderness prevented it.

Vale, Don Pablo.  Salud and, when seen well, a window is nothing more than a 
broken mirror.

>From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.

Mexico, March of 2000.





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