ricardo dominguez on Thu, 19 Sep 2002 17:31:15 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> Chiapas Update [2x]

[digested @ nettime]

Table of Contents:

   Letter from the White Monkeys + Remarkable Homage in DF To Heroes of Independenc
     "ricardo dominguez" <rdom@thing.net>                                            

     "ricardo dominguez" <rdom@thing.net>                                            


Date: Wed, 18 Sep 2002 07:50:13 -0400
From: "ricardo dominguez" <rdom@thing.net>
Subject: Letter from the White Monkeys + Remarkable Homage in DF To Heroes of Independence

Originally published in Spanish* by La Jornada
Translated by irlandesa

La Jornada
Tuesday, September 17, 2002.

Letter From Italy

Luca Casarini

Dear Brothers and Sisters of the EZLN:

The oppressive winds which have been blowing of late from your continent
to ours, that wind which, since September 11, has been bringing bad omens,
of death and destruction, of misery and war, brought us the news about the
decision by the so-called Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation.

Since it has to do with wind, and one has to know how to listen to the
wind, we received the words which came with it separately, and only by
listening over and over were we able to understand them.  First, the wind
brought the word "Supreme."  We asked ourselves what it meant, and a
friend of ours, a professor of words, explained to us what it meant:  
that it dominates all others, that it is sovereign, that it has the last
word.  Then, listening once again, another word was added:  "Court."  We
inquired, and immediately our learned friend responded:  court means a
closed place, a patio, or a tribunal.  We continued listening to the wind,
and we received "Justice," which means giving everyone his due and
respecting the rights of others, as our professor explained to us.  
Lastly, "of the nation" arrived, which means, it would seem, that it
belongs to the nation.

That wind cannot, however, bring good news:  it is the same one that warns
when Se~or Bush decides on a war, or when a corporation decides on the
death of some part of our planet.  It is the same one which has awoken us,
in the night, with nightmares about Palestine being occupied by tanks.  
The last time, a month ago, the wind recounted something to us about you,
about the paramilitaries who were still killing people in Chiapas, our

Now, word by word, we understood that someone, who calls himself supreme,
who is alone in a court, decided not to listen to the voices of millions
of human beings who belong to a land that belongs to them, but rather to
obey one single voice, that of power, that of the government, that of
Se~or Bush, that of the FTAA treaty, that of the Plan Puebla-Panama, which
all speak in unison, directed by neoliberalism.  Our friend the professor
asked us what that neoliberalism was, in order to be able to make such
important persons and programs all speak in unison.  We answered him with
the words which you taught us:  neoliberalism is a war against humanity, a
global and constant war, and we ran up against it in Genoa, after you had
described it so well in your tales.  It is a war which has been declared
against humanity by a sovereign which is called Empire, and which has
ordered the destruction of all the mirrors of this world, making it
impossible for anyone to be able to recover to her own image.

The Empire does not tolerate democrats, but it hates rebels.  It is
difficult for democrats, without a mirror, to understand who they are and
what is around them.  They always think that the wind is bringing images
from someone faraway, who is not like them.  They think that misery and
injustice, war and devastation, concern only a small part of the planet
Earth, of humanity, which has had bad luck.  They are in solidarity, the
democrats:  they become upset and they weep for what happens to these
unfortunate human beings, but, down deep, they respect the rules.  They
think that respecting the rules which are dictated by the Empire is going
to save them.

Rebels, on the other hand, wherever they may be, refuse to recognize the
laws of the Empire.  Many of them, since the first of January of 1994,
have learned to respect other laws, those of humanity.  The Empire wants
to drag them into war, which is their preferred terrain, because there
they are certain to win.  That is why, from Seattle to Prague, from
Gothenburg to Genoa, from Washington to Porto Alegre, some rebels, who
always speak about you, are trying to build mirrors, but not just for
themselves, for democrats as well.  They are new mirrors, built out of
wood from the selva, and they have a name:  disobedience.

In a few words, sisters and brothers, today, after having heard from the
wind the bad news which is blowing from there, we have set about building
more mirrors.  If you observe carefully, you will see the reflections of
the lights which reach us from there.  We are ready to depart, in order to
defend the land which makes the trees grow from whose wood we obtain the
mirrors.  In order to be with our people, with humanity.  In order to
build another possible world.  This is the only thing which we recognize.  
You say when, with our mirrors turned towards the Sun.  We will know how
to understand the signals.  In October, the Empire will be inaugurating
the FTAA.  In October of 2003, the WTO will meet in Cancun.  Know that we
are only white monkeys.  But we are also ready to return again, with the
color of the earth at our side.

Hasta pronto,

For the Disobedient and White Monkeys


PS:  For the Sub:  I'll provide the coffee.

Translated from the Italian to the Spanish by Alejandra Dupuy


La Jornada
Tuesday, September 17, 2002.

Remarkable Homage in DF To Heroes of Independence

Jesu's Rami'rez Cuevas

A ghost walked Mexico City during the dawn of September 16, and it covered
the main statues of the heroes of Independence with black ski-masks, red
scarves and Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) flags.  That is
how someone paid singular homage to the father of the patria and to the
insurgents who have been engaged in the heroic deeds which began in 1810.

Just 192 years after the priest from Dolores, Don Miguel Hidalgo, gave the
Grito, calling on Mexicans to rise up in arms against Spain, thirty
statues of Miguel Hidalgo I. Costilla, Jose' Mari'a Morelos y Pavo'n,
Vicente Guerrero, Ignacio Allende and Do~a Josefa Ortiz de Domi'nguez, La
Corregidora, woke up bedecked with the symbols of the struggle of the
zapatistas of Chiapas.

The same thing happened in the delegations of Tlalpan, Xochimilco,
Cuauhte'moc, Miguel Hidalgo, Iztapalapa, Gustavo A. Madero and Benito
Jua'rez.  Banners and stickers with the EZLN initials appeared on some of
the main avenues.

In the Hidalgo plaza in Coyoaca'n, market vendors who were working the
fiesta in that delegation woke up with a surprise:  the bronze statue of
Hidalgo had a black hood on his head, a red scarf around his neck, and in
one hand he was holding a black flag with a red star and the EZLN
initials. At the base of the monument, in addition to a floral offering,
some decals appeared, with the same initials of the zapatista guerrillas.

This discovery coincided with other reports of similar incidents
throughout the entire city.  In a trip by La Jornada around the main
monuments in memory of the important figures of Independence, it could be
confirmed that close to 30 statues had been decorated with those symbols.

In front of the Casa de Cultura of Magdalena Contreras, the bust of
Hidalgo, whose base was full of graffiti, was wearing the same outfit and
zapatista banners.

At the intersection of San Fernando and Insurgentes Avenue, the figure of
Hidalgo's entire body was wearing the mask, the red scarf and the
zapatista flag.  The same thing happened with the ones behind the Mixcoac
market, in Hidalgo square, and in La Bola park, in Santo Domingo.

After daybreak, in the Alameda del Sur, a group of policemen were trying
to remove the new clothes from the statue of Morelos, which had been
surreptitiously hung on him that dawn.  Watching the officers' maneuvers,
a lady who was walking her dog commented, with amusement:  "We slept with
Morelos, and we woke up with Sub Marcos."

The equestrian figure of Vicente Guerrero, in Hundido park, also had a
black ski-mask covering half his face, and a flag like the others was
hanging from the spade which he brandished.

In the plaza of San Fernando mausoleum, the slender figure of Guerrero was
similarly attired.  It was accompanied by an inscription in memory of one
of his most famous phrases:  "Live for the patria or die for liberty," the
same one which had been adopted by the EZLN from their beginning, almost
20 years ago.

A brother from the barrio who was playing with his friends in that park,
in order to forget the ravages of last night's hangover, said - while the
photographer was taking pictures of the statue of Vicente Guerrero:  
"Hey, don't paint it, they dressed Guerrero up like a zapatista.  He looks

Statues of these historic personages were decorated in a similar fashion
in the center of Tlalpan, Xochimilco, Iztapalapa, in Perife'rico,
President Mazaryk Avenue, in Polanco and Indios Verdes, among others.  A
resident of the northern part of the city, upon hearing the story, related
how, coincidentally, the letters EZLN had appeared, painted in white,
close to the Cerro of Chiqihuite.

As in Fuenteovejuna, no one claimed responsibility for the action, but
they left proof of their purpose:  paying homage to the insurgents who
have been fighting for Mexico for 200 years, dressing their images of
stone and bronze with the colors and symbols of those who today call
themselves zapatista insurgents in Chiapas.


Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2002 09:23:35 -0400
From: "ricardo dominguez" <rdom@thing.net>

MexBarb #1177

Big Trouble In Indian Country - 2-of 2


MEXICO CITY (Sept. 17th): While much of Mexico was fixated on the one year
anniversary of the 9/11 terror attack on the U.S., and the prospect of
fresh conflagration in Iraq, this nation's Supreme Court took advantage of
diverted attentions to ambush the country's 10 to 20 million Indian people
by upholding a controversial rights law railroaded through congress last

In a surprise Friday afternoon announcement September 6th, the court
declared that it had no competency to decide the constitutionality of the
law which is opposed by the indigenous peoples it is supposed to protect.  
Lawyers for the 330 Indian communities that had appealed the congressional
measure, were not notified of the justices' decision and only a handful of
reporters were present at the session to take note of the news.  Then,
having slammed shut the door on the aspirations of Mexico's Indians for
justice, the lily-white jurists went home for the weekend

The first and last Indian to sit on the nation's highest tribunal was
Benito Juarez 150 years ago.  There are no Indian members of Mexico's
federal judiciary.

The decision of the court stunned Indian activists who had been cautiously
optimistic of a favorable outcome - the high court has been increasingly
independent of the executive branch of government, if not the legislative.

330 majority indigenous municipalities and Indian organizations from the
11 states with the highest native populations in the Mexican union, had
invested the past year in appealing the constitutionality of the law which
passed congress in May 2001 with the overwhelming backing of the
once-ruling (71 years) Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and
President Vicente Fox's right-wing National Action or PAN party.  The new
law gutted a landmark agreement - the San Andres Accords - reached between
the rebel Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) and the federal
government six years ago.

The law passed by congress restricts rights of autonomy and territoriality
guaranteed by the Organization of International Labor's Resolution 169,
the benchmark document for defining what constitutes an Indian nation -
the resolution was ratified by the Mexican congress 12 years ago.  The
Indians had also appealed the congressional law on the grounds that they
were not consulted on the legislation as Resolution 169 instructs, and
that ratification by 16 state legislatures of the constitutional
amendments that are at the core of the new law, was not accomplished by a
mandated two thirds majority.

Indeed, rather than deciding the Indians' appeals on substantive issues,
the Supreme Court hid behind procedure, claiming that it had no
jurisdiction to evaluate the constitutionality of a constitutional reform
- a seeming reversal of a 1997 decision to allow a candidate barred by
constitutional reform from the ballot, to compete for Mexico City mayor.  
According to what justice Mariano Azuela later told reporters, dodging the
issue on jurisdictional grounds was a more commodious solution than
denying the Indians' appeals on their merits. The Indians' appeals were
described by court officials as the most costly and complicated in the
tribunal's history - over a million Xerox copies were generated by the
proceedings.  "They have cut down a forest for this travesty" muttered a
bitter Juan Anzaldo, a director of the National Indigenous Congress (CNI)
which coordinated the appeals. Making the San Andres Accords the law of
the land has been at the heart of the Zapatista struggle since the
documents were signed in 1996 in the Tzotzil Indian highlands of Chiapas
by 21 comandantes and representatives of then-president Ernesto Zedillo.  
The EZLN has sponsored national referendums that turned out millions of
voters in a foiled effort to impress upon the government the wide support
for the agreement, and have three times journeyed up to Mexico City to
demand that the San Andres Accords be legislated by congress. The EZLN has
made the enactment of San Andres a condition of any future peace talks
with the federal government.

In March 2001, the rebels drew hundreds of thousands of supporters to the
roadsides and plazas of southern and central Mexico as they wended their
way up to the capitol to defend the Accords before congress.  .
Nonetheless, once the EZLN had left town, PRI and PAN legislators
mutilated the proposed law by eliminating meaningful autonomy (now
relegated to state congresses), the concept of territoriality that defines
an Indian people, association of majority Indian municipalities into
autonomous regions with legal and political standing, and the collective
ownership of the land and natural resources.  With the Indian rights law
now stripped of its visionary properties, the EZLN took umbrage and the
comandantes lapsed into a 17 month-long silence that has considerably
dimmed the Zapatistas' visibility.

But the agonizing twists and turns of the battle for a valid Indian Rights
law has made the EZLN's struggle an all-Indian one, and the appeals were
taken up by many of the nation's 57 distinct indigenous peoples.  For the
past year, representatives of far-flung Indian communities have traveled
from the remotest sierras to plead their case before the high court, often
accompanied by village elders to boost arguments for conserving the old
traditions of the supremacy of the communal assembly. But the court,
tipping its hand that it would decides on the narrowest of grounds (see
Mexico Barbaro #1164), refused to hear the elders' testimony.  Undaunted,
the Indians returned time and again with their dancers and their brass
bands, copal incense, eagle feathers, and sacred ritual, all ultimately to
no avail.

"This court has made fun of us.  It has slammed the door in our face"
lamented Silvestre Campos, the representative of four Nahua communities in
Mexico state which had been on the appeals roster, at a small, angry rally
outside the Supreme Court's monumental marble and brass edifice on one
corner of the capitol's great Zocalo plaza. As Campos spoke, activists
laid out representations of 57 skulls symbolizing each of Mexico's Indian
peoples, along with a cardboard coffin and funeral candles, to dramatize
the deathblow to Indian rights.  Then a young Mazahua woman in a blouse
embroidered with vivid indigo threads, set fire to a Judas, a traditional
paper mache figure, this one unaccountably a likeness of Uncle Sam.

In Indian Mexico, anger runs in subterranean streams breaking out in
startling waves of violence when the earth can no longer contain it. Four
days after the Supreme Court decision not to decide, ski-masked Zapatistas
stomped through San Cristobal de las Casas in the Mayan highlands of
Chiapas, smashing up vehicles parked outside a hated government
intelligence agency.  35 Indian organizations meeting in Guerrero a week
after the non-decision signaled October 12th, now the Day of Indian
Resistance in Mexico, to launch new demands for the legislation of the San
Andres Accords. The marches and rallies will mark the ten year anniversary
of the continent-wide mobilizations celebrating 500 years of Indian
resistance in the Americas, which sparked a revival of indigenous
militancy throughout the hemisphere.

The Supreme Court action greenlights the PRI-PAN majority in congress to
implement 40 secondary laws that will lock their flawed Indian Rights
legislation in place.  Meanwhile, Catholic bishops, the non-government
organization community, and civil society clamor for a "reform of the
reform", and the left-center Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD)
pledges to re-introduce the original text of the San Andres Accords as
drawn up by the legislative commission that oversaw Zapatista- government
negotiations.  But the PRD only occupies 68 seats in the two houses of the
628 seat legislature.

Shut out by the three branches of the Mexican government, Indian activists
will appeal for justice to such international instances as the
Organization of American States' Inter-American Human Rights Commission,
the Organization of International Labor whose Resolution 169 the Mexican
congress's law violates, and the United Nations.  But such processes are
lengthy and frustrating and often produce only hollow moral victories. The
Supreme Court dodge has stimulated renewed international concerns, with
luminaries like Nobelist Jose Saramago, the venerable Argentinean human
rights battler Ernesto Sabato, former French first lady Danielle
Mitterand, and even the ebullient world-beat anti-globalization star Manu
Chau, all decrying the outrage - "In Mexico, the Indian is still
considered the enemy" Saramago wrote. Marches on Mexican embassies and
consulates are being plotted in Europe and the U.S.

Here at home, the tiny gathering of activists on the Supreme Court steps
is an ominous sign.  The glacial pace of the judicial process and the
frosty silence of the Zapatista comandantes has cooled off the drawing
power of the rebels' cause.  Nonetheless, fresh insurrection cannot be
discounted.  Although the EZLN's guns have been muzzled for years, other
armed bands in Guerrero and Oaxaca states which have committed to
defending the San Andres Accords, could be preparing to move.

But perhaps the most likely scenario is that Indian activists will abandon
the legal battle to embed the principles of San Andres in the Mexican
constitution, and simply declare the extra-legal autonomy of the various
indigenous nations - a resolution passed by the National Indigenous
Congress at a mammoth Michoacan conclave last year called for
self-declarations of autonomy should the principles of the Accords be
thwarted by congress.

In addition to 38 Zapatista autonomous municipalities in Chiapas, a
handful of self-declared 'autonomias' continue to function in southern and
central Mexico - the newest being San Salvador Atenco where
machete-wielding Nahua farmers recently successfully fought off government
expropriation of communal lands for a new Mexico City airport.  
Widespread declarations of autonomy are apt to stimulate a broad band of
social strife, city hall takeovers, and land "recuperations" in Indian
Mexico that are bound to cause grief for President Vicente Fox during his
four remaining years in office.

John Ross, author of "The War Against Oblivion", a seven year chronicle
of the Zapatista struggle, has been arguing for the past year that the
Supreme Court would ultimately uphold the Mexican legislature's
mutilation of the San Andres Accords.


#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: majordomo@bbs.thing.net and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime@bbs.thing.net