[News] Marcos Letter to Don Fermi'n Herna'ndez - PRD

Anti-Imperialist News News at freedomarchives.org
Tue Aug 16 08:36:57 EDT 2005

Originally published in Spanish by the EZLN
Translated by irlandesa

Zapatista Army of National Liberation

August 8, 2005

To:  Don Fermi'n Herna'ndez
From:  SupMarcos

Don Fermi'n:

Greetings from all of us.  We have read with interest and respect your letter
which, along with others, El Correo Ilustrado of La Jornada published today.
We would ask for your patience and nobility in reading these lines we're
writing you, and, hopefully, which La Jornada, generous as always, will 
publish so
that you and others, who, like you, are feeling disconcerted by what we're
saying and doing, might be able to learn more about why we're doing what we're
doing.  Please note that I'm not trying to convince you to support us or to
abandon your convictions (which I sense are deep and consistent), we are only
asking you, you and others, to try to understand, to understand us.

There are, in effect, many compas who, like you, have supported the zapatista
struggle for indigenous rights and culture.  Without being on the stage or
having their pictures on the front pages, people like you made possible, first,
for the war to be stopped;  later, that we were listened to;  later on you
helped us in all the peaceful initiatives which we undertook over these last
almost 12 years with the goal of recovering for the indigenous their place 
in this
Nation.  Not all, but many of those persons, like you, are in the PRD or
sympathize with that political organization.  In addition, they are now hopeful
and determined that Lo'pez Obrador and the PRD will win the Presidency of the
Republic, and, with that, things will change in our country with a 
government of
the left.  There are some people like you (believe me, because of what I'm
going to say further along, there are very few) who feel identified with the
acronym of the PRD and, at the same time, with the EZLN's struggle, and 
they feel
that both struggles should walk together or, at least, to agree on the basics.
  And they feel not only that it's not contradictory to be PRD and to support
zapatismo, but it's also logical.  And not just to support zapatismo, but to
support any of those struggles, large or small, which are raised in our country
for democracy, liberty and justice.  Then they become angry, irritated or, in
the best of cases (which I believe is your case, Don Fermi'n), they become
disconcerted, and they ask what is going on.  Well, Don Fermi'n, what happened,
happened.  Let me tell you:

In 1994 some leaders of the PRD, invited by us, came here.  Don Pablo Go'mez,
for example, came.  Today, Se~or Go'mez is coordinator of the federal PRD
Deputies, and he has stated that the PRD could not have betrayed the EZLN 
"we've never signed anything with Marcos, because he's never wanted any
agreement" (similarly, AMLO's replacement in DF, Alejandro Encinas - while 
awaiting the showing of the video in which he has the starring role - has said
that there's no betrayal because we've never been allied - the PRD and the

Well, Don Pablo Go'mez came then, and he spoke with us.  He told us he
supported the struggle of the zapatistas, clarifying pointedly that he did 
not agree
with the armed struggle.  That our cause was just, and he would do whatever
possible to see that our demands found a just and peaceful solution.  Given 
Se~or Go'mez is now saying, instead of believing in his word, we should have
asked him to sign a paper with that commitment, because then he could argue, in
effect, that he never committed himself to the fight for indigenous rights
and culture (note: with that struggle, and not with the armed struggle), and,
given that he never signed any document, you can't talk about betrayal.

And it was not only Don Pablo Go'mez.  Other individuals also came here.  For
example, Se~or Cuauhte'moc Ca'rdenas Solo'rzano (at that time PRD candidate for
the Presidency of Mexico, and, for a long time, the natural and unquestioned
leader of the PRD, in addition to being, then, a referent for the peaceful
struggle for democracy, liberty and justice for all Mexicans).  We spoke 
with Se~or
Ca'rdenas, and he committed himself the same as Se~or Go'mez had done.  We did
not, of course, sign any paper with that commitment.

Many more came, almost the entire top brass of the PRD (the majority without
having been invited, but as "gatecrashers" when Ca'rdenas Solo'rzano, whom we
did invite, came), and they always said, stressing that they weren't in
agreement with the armed struggle, that they would support the struggle of the
zapatista indigenous.  In 1996, I don't remember what we were doing in San 
de Las Casas, but we were meeting then with Jesu's Ortega and a few others who
were accompanying him.  They told us the same thing.  No, they didn't sign
anything either.  Around that time we also met with Lo'pez Obrador, who was 
the president of the PRD, who told us the same thing and who didn't sign any

Then, in this regard, it could be said that all those who are now saying that
the EZLN cannot talk about betrayal by the PRD because nothing was ever
signed, are right.  In any event, the error is ours, because we should not have
believed in their spoken word.  You see that one always learns.  Now we have
learned this:  nothing matters to the PRD that hasn't been filmed...excuse me,

Fine, but it so happened, as you will remember, there was a dialogue with the
federal government, and accords were reached, the San Andre's Accords.  At
that time, those political parties with deputies and senators formed a 
that was called the "Commission of Concordance and Peace," the Cocopa.  Fine,
then, the Accords were signed, but they were not carried out.  The Cocopa's
work was to help secure an agreement between the EZLN and the federal
government, and so it offered to prepare a legislative proposal that would 
those accords regarding constitutional reforms.  In the Cocopa at the time 
among others, the current distributor in Chiapas for the laminate factory
"Zintro Alum," Luis H. A'lvarez and the current Secretary of Tourism, Rodolfo
Elizondo, both from PAN.  There were also, from the PRI, Jaime Marti'nez 
Veloz and
Pablo Salazar Mendiguchi'a.  For the PRD, there were the now deceased Don 
Castillo and Juan N. Guerra, along with other PRD members.  For the PT there
was Jose' Narro.

I mention them in particular because they were the legislators with whom we
had the most direct contacts and because, except in the case of Don Heberto
Castillo, they can refute or confirm what I'm now going to tell you.

Well, the Cocopa members met, and then they did indeed hit a wall, because
Zedillo didn't want to fulfill the accords, and the EZLN didn't want to return
to negotiate what had already been agreed.  They then thought a new proposal
had to be made, one that was neither Zedillo's, nor the EZLN's.  They met with
us and presented us what would then become known as the "Cocopa Indigenous Law
Proposal."  They told us it was all they could do, and that if the EZLN and
Zedillo didn't accept it, they just wouldn't be coming back anymore and,
consequently, they would resign from the Cocopa.  We accepted.  Zedillo 
first said
yes, and then no.  What happened afterwards is already known, and I'm not going
to repeat it, but it so happens that I found the original of that proposal
here, and that document does indeed have the signatures of the PRD legislators.
Perhaps Don Pablo Go'mez, Alejandro Encinas and the bunch of yobs from the PRD
hierarchy (at the time I'm sending this, I'm reading the statements from the
pathetic Cota), who have been making statements left and right now disclaiming
those signatures.

Look, Don Fermi'n, the PAN then backed out, and their legislators voted
against the proposal - which they had already approved, you understand.  After
everything, that Right has increasingly betrayed the democratic principles 
brought them into being as an electoral force.  Their contempt for the
indigenous (and all humble people in general) is so deep-rooted that it 
could be in
their declaration of principles without contradicting any of them.  As for the
PAN and for the Right which finds within it a space for striking the history of
Mexico over an anvil - one can only expect stupidity dressed in name-brand
suits...and crimes concealed behind them.  You'll see when the PAN candidate
begins his campaign:  Fox will look illustrious compared with that silly, 
little man.

The fact that the PRI would go back on what it had agreed was nothing but a
confirmation its history:  the prostitution of politics;  having created the
sentence that "politics is crime perpetrated by other methods" and 
confirming it
with the blood of their opponents...and their cohorts;  Herod's law as a
statement of principles;  racism elevated to a constitutional 
level.  Whether the
PRI candidate is Monti'el or Madrazo, nothing will change of that party's "uses
and customs":  it will continue to be the political arm of organized
crime...and those who graduate from the PRI  then move on to the PRD, 
depending on how
the polls go during the election campaigns and on who wins the election.

But for the PRD to betray its word was something we didn't understand then.
We could have understood that they would have had no interest in keeping their
word WHICH THEY SIGNED with the EZLN (they already clarified the fact that
they didn't fulfill what they said they spoke), after all, we're just some
"damn" uppity indigenous.  But we didn't understand why they ignored the entire
mobilization which took place concerning the Cocopa proposal, why they looked
down on the Indian peoples and indigenous organizations (some of them close to
the PRD) who had embraced the demand for the constitutional recognition of
indigenous rights and culture.

We didn't understand, Don Fermi'n, but we hoped.  Perhaps someone was going to
go to the trouble of explaining to us and giving us some reason, even if they
were absurd (something like that currently fashionable:  "if we had
recognized indigenous demands, we would have played into the Right and to 
Salinas, in
addition to opening the door to the return of Madrazo and the PRI, that's why
we didn't keep our promise"), but no.

Even so, we thought, as they then said that the PRD bases - those who say
they are also zapatistas - were going to protest and to mobilize and demand, at
the very least, the removal of those PRD legislators who had committed that
larceny.  But nothing happened, Don Fermi'n.  It was said there was a tactical
error, but the PRD continued legislating against the Cocopa Law.  Still nothing
happened.  We thought no way, the "zapatista" PRD bases certainly have their
reasons for not doing anything.

We were left wounded then, with that sensation of having been mocked once
again (that sensation which is known quite well below), frustrated, because we
had concentrated all our energy into that effort...and we had asked many 
people like you Don Fermi'n, but you're not PRD, to do the same thing along
with us.  Then we thought we had committed an error, and never again were we
going to count on anything from any State institution or from the political
parties who fight to run them.  As you know, we withdrew in order to 
strengthen our
indigenous autonomy, and the Caracoles and Good Government Juntas were

And then what happened, happened:  the PRD government of Zinacanta'n cut off
the water to some support base compa~eros in that municipality.  The compa~eros
went to the Good Government Junta, and the Junta sought agreement through
dialogue.  The PRDs refused, and the Junta found a way to send them 
water.  Look,
Don Fermi'n:  it wasn't decided to send a zapatista military unit to defend
them from the PRD government, it was decided to send them water.  The PRDs
mocked the compa~eros, telling them they were alone, that no one paid them any
attention, that for the PRD government what the zapatistas were doing in making
autonomy meant nothing to them.  And so time passed.

Then the compa~eros thought they would have a march to carry water and in
order to demonstrate that the zapatista support bases of Zinacanta'n were not
alone and that they walked with the support of the entire EZLN.  They consulted
me, and I recommended strict vigilance so that none of the compas, who were 
as we say, "caliente," would get into a fight with the others.  Just carrying
water and saying they weren't alone.  The march arrived, they delivered the
water and made their speech (read about it, Don Fermi'n, you can find it in La
Jornada on the days following the march, April 10, 2004, and say whether or not
it was an invitation to reach agreements).  As the compa~eros were
withdrawing, they found the road blocked with logs, and, as they were 
taking them away,
the shootout began.  The compa~eros' order and discipline permitted a
withdrawal, and prevented it from turning into a massacre, but several 
received gunshot wounds.  None of the wounded, Don Fermi'n, were from 
but from other zapatista municipalities, and they were there in order to carry
water to their brothers in struggle, not to attack PRDs.

One of the wounded has a bullet in his head.  Yes, he still has it there.
One millimeter more to one side or the other, and he would have died.  And
that's not all.  The doctors left the bullet, because even attempting to 
remove it
could cause his death.  The compa walks around like that, with a bullet in his
head.  But, do you know what?  Don Fermi'n:  that bullet wasn't fired by
paramilitaries from the PRI or by the clandestine commandoes of the YUNQUE (or
PAN), but by persons from the PRD, from the PRD government.  Many things 
were said
at that time (the Chiapas government, demonstrating that stupidity isn't the
prerogative of one political faction, said that the zapatistas had staged a
provocation), but nothing happened.

We waited to see if the zapatista PRD bases were going to go and protest, but
nothing happened.  There was just one letter (it can be found in El Correo
Ilustrado in La Jornada during those days), Don Fermi'n, from a PRD brother who
condemned the incident, in addition to a lukewarm statement from the state PRD,
and that was it.  Nothing.  The PRDs continued in the government in
Zinacanta'n, they were candidates for the PRD in the last election, they 
continue in
Power and they were the first to form one of the "citizens nets" in support of

And do you know how that whole matter started in Zinacanta'n, why the PRD
government cut the compa~eros' water off?  Well, because the zapatista support
bases didn't want to take the jobs the PRDs offered them, because, the 
said, explaining the rejection, "zapatistas don't fight to become the
government."  It was in order to pressure them to take the jobs that they 
cut off the
water.  Yes, Don Fermi'n, the PRDs attacked us with gunfire because we didn't
want government jobs.

Fine, but it wasn't just the PRD vote against the recognition of indigenous
rights and culture, nor just the attack in Zinacanta'n.  It so happened that,
months before, in another region, one we call the "Border Selva," and where La
Realidad is located, an indigenous, who was not zapatista, presented a denuncia
for theft against someone else, who was also not zapatista.  The autonomous
authority investigated and determined that the theft had occurred.  The
criminal, who admitted his guilt, was detained, and it was determined that 
he would
remain imprisoned until he repaid the victim the amount that had been stolen.
You can see, Don Fermi'n, in La Jornada of that time period, how it was:
non-governmental human rights organizations went to La Realidad, and they 
that the detainee had not been tortured, he was found to be in good health
and none of his rights had been violated.  Well, it so happened that the PRD
CIOAC of that region decided that what the Junta had done was bad.  No, Don
Fermi'n, they didn't go talk with the Junta.  What they did was to kidnap 
compa~eros (some of whom were not zapatistas but belonged to another
organization), and they held them in a truck that belonged to the 
Junta.  They tortured
the kidnap victims, and they kept moving one of them, a zapatista compa~ero,
from one place to another ("so the EZLN wouldn't rescue him"), under 
conditions.  No, it wasn't the police.  No, neither was it the army.  Yes,
they were PRDs.  They left them all beat up.  Then the state government
intervened and paid the amount that had been stolen.  The detainee was 
freed, and the
accuser's demand for justice was met.  You know what zapatista humor is like,
and the compa~eros changed the name of the truck (it's a custom to give names
to vehicles), and now it's called "Kidnapped."  What I'm telling you, Don
Fermi'n, wasn't a matter of hours, but days.  I could tell you of similar 
and harassment by the PRD ORCAO in the municipalities of Ocosingo and
Altamirano.  Was there any statement from the PRD?  Any protest by the PRD 
bases over
what their party compa~eros had done against us?  No.

Let's add them up, Don Fermi'n.  Let's add up and face the consequences of
everything that happened:  the injustices;  the silence in the face of 
of  "not playing into the Right";  looking the other way because, at the end
of the day, "they're just damn Indians"; the tactical and strategic
calculations of "everything goes" in order to reach Power, even though they 
do the same
thing they say they're fighting.  Ask yourself, Don Fermi'n, ask if the PRDs
living inside zapatista territories have been attacked with firearms, ask 
if they
have been kidnapped and tortured.  You will see they have not.  You will see
that we did not respond to those attacks with violence.  We responded with
patience.  We waited.

You see now, Don Fermi'n, that to us you are not "a poor idiot," but a
sincere, noble and constant person, who feels that there's something bad in 
all this
that's going on.  And, yes, something is bad, but it's not what's happening
now.  Perhaps now you'll see why we're mad, indignant, furious.

As for the rest, Don Fermi'n, you shall see that, if we're wrong, we shall
apologize to you and to everyone we'll need to apologize to.  You, and 
know that that is how we are, that when we're wrong, we say so quite clearly.
Because perhaps we are wrong, and we should indeed be betting everything on
one person, and even on a political party that has done everything to us that
it has done to us.  Perhaps we should keep waiting for what we now think we
have to build from below to come from above.  Perhaps we were wrong to denounce
that we have been deceived, attacked, mocked.  If all this happens, you will
see us state publicly that we committed an error, and we will apologize to all
those we hurt with our word (and never with bullets, kidnappings and torture).
But, meanwhile, we shall continue expressing the feelings of our peoples, the
rage and indignation in the face of the PRD's cynicism and lack of memory.
And so, excuse us, Don Fermi'n, we're going to continue being a nuisance.

Another thing, Don Fermi'n.  We understand that some media, whenever we say
anything, place more emphasis on what we say against the PRD and AMLO.  And you
know what?  They want to rein in Lo'pez Obrador.  They don't like that he goes
about so freely, rocking in his hammock while his accomplices cover for him.
And, on the other side of the coin, ALMO wants to rein in the media, make them
over in his own fashion.  They both use what they have at hand:  the media
looking for the PRD's weak points (which, incidentally, are many), and Lo'pez
Obrador finding all criticisms to be a plot by Salinas de Gortari, the PRI and
the Right.  That's how it is.  But you'll see that they'll end up getting it
sorted, they always end up getting it sorted.  Then you'll see that everything
about the "other campaign" is no longer important news.  It will end up on the
"inside" pages, it will turn into a "little lost note" there, and then it will
disappear completely, far from what someone called the "public."  Then the
"other campaign," and with it the Sexta, will continue in its determination to
construct another way of doing politics, to build a national program of
anti-capitalist struggle and to fight for a new constitution.

Anyway, that's what we're going to be up to, Don Fermi'n.  The election
campaigns are going to take place, and that's where we'll be.  Perhaps 
Lo'pez Obrador
is going to campaign where you live.  If you can, ask him if he's going to
privatize the electricity industry, oil, water, social security, education.
Lo'pez Obrador is going to tell you he's not going to privatize.  Of course,
you're going to be happy, and you're going to think "Damn, Comanche, you're 
  But don't stop there, Don Fermi'n, and keep on asking.  Ask him what he's
going to do then, and AMLO is going to respond that he's going to "promote
investment."  You're going to keep thinking, and you're going to be turning 
little word over.  Then you're going to investigate what "co-investment" means,
and you're going to find out that that's what it's called when the State puts
one part of the money into an industry, and private capital puts in the other
part.  But keep on, you'll also see that also means that one part of that
industry is the property of the State, and the other part is private property.
Then you're going to understand that it's not going to be privatized all at 
but piece by piece.  In other words, one piece of the Patria is going to be
sold, then another, and another, and another, until nothing is left.

Listen, Don Fermi'n, if you're able to approach AMLO, also ask him, if he says
that all criticisms are coming from Salinas de Gortari, the PRI and the
Right,  why, then, is he surrounded by salinistas, ex-PRIs and 
Rightists.  And ask
the PRD leaders why they've turned the party into a recycling machine for the
worst of the PRI, one more circus ring for those who jump to the beat of the
budget.  Ask AMLO why, if many people assume his program is leftist, his
""Alternative Project for the Nation" is not.  Ask him why he supports Marcelo
Ebrard for the DF government if he's not leftist.  Ask him why he's 
offering the
gringos and the businessmen a centrist government, "facilitating private
investment" (favoring the rich), and to the rest he's telling them that 
he's leftist
(favoring the poor).  Ask him, perhaps he might indeed respond to you - why,
when we pointed all that out (and many other things), he responded that he was
happy, sleeping in a hammock so he wouldn't be embarrassed.

Afterwards, the elections are going to be over, Don Fermi'n, and we'll be
there.  Perhaps the majority of the Mexican people will support Lo'pez 
Obrador and
the PRD with their votes.  If they don't recognize the victory, you and many l
ike you will mobilize, and, believe me, we will be by your side, shoulder to
shoulder, fighting against that injustice and denouncing it, just like we did
with the desafuero.  But perhaps they'll win, and the victory will be
recognized.  Perhaps they'll make it to the Presidency of Mexico.  Perhaps 
it will
happen that Lo'pez Obrador lied to the gringos and to the businessmen, and 
he's not
going to carry out what was promised.  Perhaps then a great transformation of
the country will indeed be initiated, a transformation of the left.  Then
what can I tell you, Don Fermi'n, then there's going to be a lot of commotion,
joy, fiesta.  Perhaps then you might see there, in your town, a little poster
with an invitation to a meeting for the "other campaign."  And you're going to
hear that there are men and women going about, asking the people what their
struggle is like, how they organize, what they think of the world, of our 
of their place.  Perhaps you'll go see what it's about.  Perhaps you'll see
me there and stand in front of me and say to me "Comanche, I am Don Fermi'n of
that letter."  I'm going to look at you, and I'm going to smile.  You're going
to smile as well, and you're going to tell me:  "Damn Comanche, you were
wrong."  And I'm going to tell you:  "Damn Don Fermi'n, I was wrong."  And 
you nor I are going to be offended by the "damn" stuff.  And we're going to
give each other a big hug, and we're going to smile, the both of us, together,
and we're both going to be happy:  you, because we were wrong, and we, also
because we were wrong.

But listen, Don Fermi'n, is it true that if we are not wrong, you and those
who are like you, are not going to remain silent if indigenous rights aren't
recognized, if they attack us, if they kidnap us, if they torture us, if 
the PRD
officials don't fulfill what they promised, if they continue selling our
Patria, completely, or in pieces, if corruption and betrayals continue?  Is it
true, Don Fermi'n, that you're not going to just do nothing, arguing that 
you can't
play into Salinas, the PRI and the Right?  Is it true, Don Fermi'n, that
you're not going to leave us alone again, like you've left us since 2001?

Vale.  Salud and I'm not sending you an embrace because I know you're angry,
and so it remains on hold.

 >From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

Mexico,  August of 2005

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