|ricardo dominguez on 26 Aug 2000 20:56:25 -0000|
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|[Nettime-bold] Interview with Pablo Salazar, New Governor of Chiapas|
Originally published in Spanish by La Jornada
Translated by irlandesa
Tuesday, August 22, 2000.
Pablo Salazar: My Victory Is a Blow Against Southeast Governors' Syndicate
Says Chiapas Conflict Is Not "Inter or Intra-Community"
Luis Herna'ndez Navarro
Pablo Salazar, the man who broke up the PRI in Chiapas and organized a
broad civic-electoral movement, will be the next governor of the state. In
an interview with La Jornada, he discusses how, between seven and nine on
the night of election day, the State Electoral Commission's computer system
almost crashed. He also said that his victory will affect not only the
PRI, but also the political aspirations of the southeast governors'
The senator rejects those legal reforms approved during Governor Roberto
Albores Guille'n's administration whose purpose was to strip the contents of
the San Andre's Accords, and he says he will review and overturn them if
necessary. He said his election will not resolve the causes which gave
rise to the EZLN uprising, and he will not lend himself to reducing the
dimensions of the conflict, although he will work tirelessly to facilitate
The next governor wants to be the man of the transition in Chiapas. Among
his objectives are promoting a reform process which will culminate in a new
Constituyente and a new Constitution.
The PRI's Losing Bet
[LHN]: Salazar's election victory changed the relationship of forces
within the PRI. From the outset, it was a strong blow against the
aspirations of Roberto Madrazo and the southeast governors' syndicate.
"We said from the beginning that there was more at stake in Chiapas than
our election. The PRI wanted to resolve their internal struggles here.
They put everything on it. When I beat the PRI, I beat Sami David, but I
also beat Roberto Madrazo. Our victory here has a larger dimension. We
didn't just beat the PRI candidate. We beat a political group which wanted
to take over this part of the country. Our victory gives new encouragement
to the democratic struggle throughout the area. The next state that is
going to fall into the hands of the opposition is Tabasco."
[LHN]: Could this have been affected by the rapidity with which the news
channels announced the exit polls recognizing your victory?
"You lived through it, as a close witness, a temptation that was present on
August 20. From seven to nine at night - I don't know if it was the
governors' syndicate, I don't know who - there was a very difficult moment
when the system could have even fallen. What are we talking about? Of the
resistance to accepting our victory, because they knew what the
implications of that were."
[LHN]: Between August 21 and December 8 - the date on which you take
office - a dangerous interregnum will be opening. There is the danger of
provocations or destabilizing actions. What is Pablo Salazar thinking of
doing in order to avoid them or to confront them?
"First, I'm encouraged by the fact of knowing that the government of
Chiapas and the PRIs themselves are beginning to understand that it's not
just them against the world, that there's a new reality in the country,
that the next federal government will not be PRI. That any attempt to
destabilize the state will not earn them any political profits. That they
don't have any guarantee of impunity. There are commitments which I take
seriously. The Secretary of Government has given full guarantees that
there will be a climate of calm in Chiapas until the transfer of power.
The responsibility is the federal government's and in the state government
itself. The latter has already assumed its defeat, politically, and it has
committed itself to enter into a process of delivery-reception over the
next few months."
[LHN]: Pablo Salazar will have to govern with a PRI-majority Congress and
with the majority of the municipalities in the hands of the 'tricolor.'
What will your relationship with them be like?
"We are going to have to prioritize the building of accords with them.
They are a reality that is here. The other thing is that they are without
a national leader. The next president does not belong to the PRI. Nor
does the future governor. It's going to be very interesting to see how
they behave without a leader, without a direction. We don't want to be a
replacement. We are going to favor consensus. We're already in talks with
[LHN]: During Albores' government, there were a series of constitutional
and legal reforms related to indigenous law and culture, redistricting and
amnesty for paramilitaries. Many observers have pointed out that these are
opposed to the San Andre's Accords, and that they are very far from helping
to create a climate of de'tente. What is Pablo Salazar thinking of doing in
response to these givens?
"I have explicitly committed myself to reviewing and sending back - within
the powers of the Executive - everything whose purpose was to strip the
contents of the San Andre's Accords. At the time, I was opposed to
unilateral redistricting. I will promote an in-depth review of those
actions, and even, if its necessary, I'll promote new drafts."
[LHN]: Pablo Salazar is today a man without a party. He comes helped by
eight political parties, but he doesn't belong to any of them. How are you
going to manage governing? Are you thinking of forming a regional party?
Will some of those already existing be incorporated?
"I'm thinking about being a governor of transition and ending like all
transitions end. We want to finish this entire impulse for reform with a
new Constitution and new Constituyente. If I want to be a governor of
transition, I should remain without a party. I have made a public
commitment to the society of Chiapas that I won't become affiliated with
any of them [parties]. I do not believe being affiliated is bad, but it
stigmatizes, and I don't want to bias the role of governor. What we want
to do is to leave a foundation, so alternation can be seen as a reality and
so new kinds of relationships between society and government can be
established. That is going to be helped quite a lot by the next governor's
not being affiliated with any party."
[LHN]: Who will be the next Espinosa Villarreal of Pablo Salazar's
"We're not going to come in with an attitude of revenge. But, as it's been
said over and over again, the next government will have to give a clear
accounting. I'm not going to send anyone to the courts. The one who goes
will be going because his accounts aren't clear. One has to go into all
rebuilding processes with a constructive mind, but in Chiapas
reconciliation is not a matter of making a fresh start. I'm not coming to
start a witch hunt. Those who are bad know it. They'll have to figure out
how to make their accounting. We're not going to accept anything that's
not clear. There will absolutely not be any impunity."
[LHN]: It's been said that Pablo Salazar's election victory resolves the
conflict with the EZLN. What will Pablo Salazar do in response to
"As long as the causes for which they rose up still exist, they will still
have reason, even more so if they are a group which has sought the
political path, and if it was the institutions themselves which had closed
that path off to them. Our presence does not take away the EZLN's raison
d'e^tre. Far from it, the new government of Chiapas gives zapatismo reasons
to find interlocutors who will facilitate the recovery of dialogue
[LHN]: Who is the EZLN's interlocutor? The federal government? The state
"The federal government. I have said it, I reiterate it, and I'll say it
to the end. It is also quite clear to me that a principal actor in the
process should, in addition, be the Cocopa. I know the peace process in
Chiapas as few others do. I know what the temptations are. I know what a
government should do and what it should not do. It is clear to me what I
have to do. I am not going to lend myself to the politics of reductionism.
The idea of reducing the dimensions of the conflict have been underlying
since it began. Also underlying has been the temptation to reduce it to an
inter or intra-community conflict. If it had been an inter-community
conflict, we would not have appealed to the full Congress of the Union,
there would not have been a federal law, the actors would not have been
described in that very law. The EZLN's interlocutor is the federal
government. The conflict must be re-measured. The EZLN is a national
actor. It's true that, militarily, their presence is focused in Chiapas,
but their repercussions are national and international. I'm not going to
go into that dynamic."
Neither Mediator Nor Messenger
[LHN]: If Pablo Salazar is not going to be an interlocutor, will he
perhaps be an intermediary?
"Nor do I want to be a mediator or messenger. I want to be a facilitator
of peace. There could have been many steps taken towards peace in Chiapas
by just having a good government. But this has not happened. We have had
a state government which has acted as a tyrant towards the communities: it
has wreaked violence on them, it has dismantled them, it has beaten them,
it has attacked them. That is not going to be our role. We are going to
seek relationship with the communities. Many zapatista communities will be
willing to be part of the development process, always and when they define
the how and the with-whom. The next government will be willing to seek the
channels of interlocution with them. A new relationship must be built
between government and society, but this is not going to take place
overnight just because we won the election. Credibility must be built.
Destroying the EZLN is not my obsession, not on my agenda. Sadly, the PRIs
did intend that, it was their aim, and that brutally affected the
relationship with the communities."
[LHN]: Does the government come with commitments to local power groups?
"None. Not even with the parties. I don't have commitments with them that
have to do with power quotas. I didn't receive any money from caciques or
from wealthy businessman demanding concessions. The political parties
didn't make me sign any agreements in exchange for giving them positions.
The process in Chiapas was unique."
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