What does a Pedagogy of the Land consist of?

December 14, 2011

Here, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Remembering that a theory, a pedagogy, a popular education must always take into account its context. This context is local, regional, national, and transnational, all at the same time.

This land has a history which needs to be taken into account and this is the starting point. Start from where the land begins… where it is at.

This is indigenous land. This is land that can tell many stories, if we only listen. It is also land that has been colonized and settled on by many peoples, and we cannot negate their stories either. It is not a matter of looking at only one story or one series of stories, but bringing them all into discussion with each other. Have the ancestors speak to each other and learn from what they have to say.

At first, the stories may not make a harmony… more of a cacophony, but told enough times and listened to, stories have a way of interweaving… From that, we will learn.

Six Nations. Iroquois Confederacy. Mohawk, among others. I have planted your corn with my hands, and have taught my niece to do so, in land on the West Coast. I wanted to bring your stories together with the stories of the Zapatistas, whose legacy and present and land I honoured by planting their corn seeds nearby, also on that plot on the West Coast.

Now, I have come to the land of the Six Nations, and there is a reason I am here. To work on developing a Pedagogy of the Land, with others, because it is needed. That interweaving of stories and of legacy & present of different lands and peoples is essential if we are to move forward, transform.

The Mayan and other indigenous peoples say that these are times of change and transformation. The winds are blowing… calling to us. But there will only be change and transformation when we make it so, let it in, by telling and listening to the stories… and learning from them, and basing our action and heart on this.

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Bringing the Zapatistas Home: From La Realidad to Ramona’s Garden, Vancouver—Linking the Zapatistas, Popular Power and Food Justice

October 27, 2011

Written as Editorial for Under the Volcano Festival Program – August 2009

I plant the Zapatista corn seeds in the ground, alongside black and orca beans and varied types of squash. Milpa rebelde. Rebel cornfield. Cornfield in resistance. Right here in Vancouver, at a local community garden plot. We call it Jardin de Ramona (Ramona’s Garden), in honour of the late Comandanta Ramona from the Zapatista movement in Chiapas, Mexico.

Building the global movement for social and economic justice means learning from and acting in solidarity with Third World movements for popular power, indigenous autonomy, food sovereignty, with a clear anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist way of organizing. An “other” way of doing politics, one that is from the people, below and to the left, as the Zapatistas say.

Zapatismo’s Popular Power: To govern by obeying (“Mandar obediciendo”)

Since the Zapatistas cried out “Ya Basta!” on January 1, 1994, as NAFTA came into effect (and even 10 years prior, in the underground), the Zapatistas have built popular power, their own autonomous way of building power from and by the people. In 2003, the Zapatistas created the Caracoles and the Juntas de Buen Gobierno (“Good Government Councils”). Each of the five Caracoles, the Zapatistas’ autonomous regions (La Realidad, La Garrucha, Morelia, Oventic and Roberto Barrios), house a Junta de Buen Gobierno (JBG), the local government or alternative justice system for the region. The JBGs consist of youth, men, women and elders who govern by obeying what the people of the region tell them to do. Zapatistas and non-Zapatistas come to the JBG to resolve problems in their daily life.

The Zapatistas’ also popular power lives in their school system—they have primary and secondary school systems, EPRAZ, Zapatista Autonomous Rebel Primary Schools, and ESRAZ, Zapatista Autonomous Rebel Secondary Schools, where students engage with praxis (practice and theory) as a fundamental part of their education. These schools prepare children and youth within the communities to continue building the Zapatista movement, through sharp analysis and concrete skills, such as alternative media skills, alternative health skills, agro-ecological skills, wood-working skills, among other skills.

The Zapatistas also have autonomous health clinics at the Caracoles. They practice agro-ecology that respects the earth and people, which includes planting non-GMO corn, and keeping seed for many centuries. This sacred and ancient corn in resistance reaches 14 to 16 feet, towering over anyone; and reminding us of both its power and our own as people who can build and sustain transformative movements.

Bringing Zapatismo Home

So, what does organizing locally inspired by Third World movements look like? Through the Organizing Centre for Social and Economic Justice and Justicia for Migrant Workers BC, I organize with others through a model that involves organizing people that are not already organized, that aren’t already activists or organizers, but are the people that are actually most affected by the injustices and violence created by our capitalist and neoliberal system and society. Sometimes this is called grassroots organizing or direct-contact organizing; and goes beyond organizing events or protests, although these are part of what organizers and workers do together. The goal is to develop leadership among all of us; those who are most affected, those who are organizers that are committed to social and economic justice. Leadership can mean being visible and using your voice or it can mean being key in making decisions that impact other workers’ lives; and getting other people to be part of the struggle, and move towards a collective vision and action for change.

We build the idea of popular power by building leadership, skills and capacity among the grassroots, person by person; and envisioning and carrying out concrete actions for transformation—this can include the latest campaign we’re working on through the Labour Committee, on Wage Theft and Wage Slavery—where 17 undocumented workers who were unpaid are organizing to get the money and justice owed them. This also includes the work we do around food justice—whether it be through FACTS with the buying club or community kitchens or the Organizing Centre’s Ramona Garden, where by collectively planting Zapatista corn and other food, we not only act in solidarity with social movements in the Third World, but also learn skills that meet our needs here. We’re feeding ourselves; or at least learning to do so. While continuing the other crucial organizing work; of challenging the powers that create injustice. We stand up to the bosses who would have us feel disempowered as workers; we stand side by side with migrant and immigrant workers and low-wage workers in general.

Bringing in / Remembering the Context of the Struggle

We cannot forget the recent massacre and additional killings in San Juan Copala, Oaxaca, as part of the chain of killings perpetrated by the Mexican state and its official and unofficial instruments. Simply put, President Felipe Calderon’s narco-government state apparatus. In many states, paramilitary forces (trained and armed by the federal and state army and police forces) harass and kill community members. This is the case in Chiapas, where the paramilitaries/pseudo-NGO OPPDIC (Organization for the Defense of Indigenous and Campesino Rights) harass Zapatista communities and displace them from their land, only to request that same land from the government.

Just like locally we cannot forget or ignore the constant move to the right, in outright tactics, dismantling of public services, violent crackdown on dissent, criminalization of the most vulnerable—such as migrant communities of colour—and an attack on our most fundamental rights—including our right to speak out, protest and to fight for a just and dignified life and world.

Connecting Struggles; Connecting Strategies, from the Small to “Other” Government Level

While planting Zapatista corn seeds in Vancouver will not transform our society or capitalism by itself, by acting in solidarity with and challenging our own practice in organizing at the small and larger levels, we can learn from the Zapatistas and other autonomous movements that build popular power and work towards creating it locally.

How do we imagine popular power living out in Vancouver? What does a government who governs by obeying the people look like? What does a people’s health clinic look like? A people’s education system? People’s agro-ecology?

Answering these questions with concrete and sustained collective strategizing, organizing and actions will move us closer towards building our own popular power, perhaps inspired by the Zapatistas, but based on our own reality. We can go from planting seeds to building ‘other’ institutions or ‘other’ government, run by us—the people.

Roots Trip: Practicing what I believe in – Going to NYC to follow my Great-Oma

August 3, 2011

Roots Trip. This is the trip I was drawn to take. A trip to New York. It doesn’t at first sound like much. But, digging deeper it signifies digging into my past, the past of a family that doesn’t seem to dig much. Are some things best left forgotten, never asked? Like – who was my Opa’s mother? Why was she a single mom? They – the family – made a story up about how she, Gertrud, had followed the father of her child, Waldemar to the US. But the facts I found don’t match. They debunk that family myth.

The facts state that he, Waldemar, the father of her child, my Opa, died before she even went to the US, and that she in fact went to see her cousin Clara, who had already gone to the US to live for over 7 years before returning back to Germany, and surely telling my Great-Oma, Gertrud, all about her time in New York.

Gertrud arrived in New York in one of the now ritzier parts of town – on Manhattan, just a couple blocks from Central Park on the West Side.

So, I decided that I would follow this desire within me to follow Gertrud, my minor Odyssey. I knew that in searching out Gertrud’s path, I would better understand my own path. Although what physical information I could find was minimal after almost 100 years after her arrival to Ellis Island, I knew that I would find something deeper. I knew this because it mattered very much to me that I cared this much about someone no one really seemed to care about. My Great-Oma. A single mom. And apparently herself the daughter of another single mom, Anna.

Justice Begins by Being on the Ground with and as the People

May 11, 2011

While I definitely agree there are many different areas where one can be a warrior, I am not convinced that an office is where I can be one. I have learned some incredibly valuable lessons in the past 9 months, which feel more like a year. And these I carry with me, as without them there is no way I would be ready for the next incredibly important and beautiful step in my life.

I had something like a feeling vision over the past few days… I could feel what would happen, and what I would feel in the next few months, or perhaps years. I very clearly visualized an opening in myself and in my life for this next stage…

I am open to being with the people more closely, which includes my most loved ones, those that are, have been, will be. All at once.

I am coming back to who I am and what I do. I will work on the land, I will work producing food, I will be in touch with people in pueblos not just cities. I will do what I have always wanted to do. I have a plan for the next few months, which is exciting, and I see it involving my roots, the land, my ancestors, my future, very clearly. Thank you for the challenges that I have encountered. Thank you for the obstacles that have been placed, for only through them have I understood what I cherish the most.

From Campesinos to SAWP workers to H-2A workers and back to Campesin@s

April 21, 2011

It’s been over twelve years that I have supported and been with campesino and indigenous movements in a conscious way. It started with the Zapatistas, then I went to be with and learn from a variety of movements in Guatemala (CUC, CNOC, HIJOS), Brazil (MST, Via Campesina), Ecuador, Mexico (Atenco, Comite Libertad Justicia y Verdad Jacobo y Gloria), and in Canada (Palestinian, South Asian, Indigenous, Bolivian, Chilean, Mexican, Guatemalan, Filipino, etc).

I started with an interest in campesino and indigenous struggles, with that strong connection to the land and for dignity. I wanted to bring it home, so I connected with and started to work with and organize migrant farm workers, mainly Mexican. To make a long story short, I then came to Mexico to try to work from this side on issues that I know need to have a transnational practice and theory. I manage a bi-national project that documents abuses against Mexican H-2A workers in the US, educates these actual and potential workers on their rights under this visa system, redresses abuses against them, and hopes to make policy change. But is this enough? I attempt to connect with colleagues and campesinos to talk about and implement alternatives to migration, so that systems and programs like that of the distribution of H-2A visas and the SAWP do not have to exist.

To me it’s clear that temporary foreign worker programs are not the answer. They have never been. They remain deeply in the control of not governments, but even worse, in the hands of employers, recruiters, and those in the political structure, and now, in the hands of organized crime and trafficking networks. Workers do not exercise real control over their own migration, even though it is sometimes presented as it is them making a choice to migrate. Some choice! Would you choose to work long hours in the sun without water, indebt yourself and your family for a chance to make some money, risk your life with unprotected exposure to pesticides? Yet, many do. Out of a necessity to provide for their families. They do not see an alternative. I must sound like a broken record to my colleagues–we need to talk about and implement alternatives to migration. It feels like a pipe dream. But it’s the only dream I want to really work on. Having real alternatives to migration means being able to exercise the right to migrate and the right to NOT migrate. It also has a lot to do with campesino rights, the right to work one’s own land. Seems like that right to produce for one’s self and one’s family is more and more of a pipe dream. But, it shouldn’t be that way. While being a campesino may not be glamourous, being an indentured migrant farm worker is no glamourous.

I feel compelled to work harder on being part of creating alternatives to migration. I do accept that it is not enough to work on that side of the equation, because in Mexico (as in other places) migration is still very much a reality for a majority of the population. Yet, I would like to hear a different cassette playing in the minds and hearts of Mexican women, men and children. Rather than hearing “I have to head North,” I would like to hear “I want to stay here because I want to be with my family, my community and build and produce for ourselves, and exchange what we have with other families and communities. Sure, it might be nice to visit El Norte, but not to stay and not because I have to.”

Revisiting the Creation and Implementation of a Pedagogy of the Land

April 21, 2011

It has been well over 6 years since I wrote my Masters Major Paper (similar to a Thesis, minus one outside committee review), entitled Living Dreams: Creating revolutionary educational environments: The political education of the Brazilian Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST), with sub-text LA EDUCACIÓN POPULAR ES MÁS QUE UN TALLER POPULAR EDUCATION IS MORE THAN A WORKSHOP. It seems necessary to re-visit some of what I wrote, since it is still relevant.

What does a Pedagogy of the Land offer us in our current moment, and what am I doing to contribute to it? Key question, what am I doing?

I feel idealistic as I look back at that paper and what I wrote and what I hoped for. I hoped that it would help me and others build a movement for the land in Canada, where I was born, and also contribute to movements in Mexico that I am a part of. But have I given enough life to those learnings?

Since 2004 when I submitted the final version, I have co-founded Justicia for Migrant Workers BC–which is definitely in line with some of the vision of creating a pedagogy of the land. I have also co-founded the Organizing Centre for Social and Economic Justice, which has had at some level also contributed to a pedagogy of the land, within a larger revolutionary pedagogy. Not a lot of what we have had has been systematized, so perhaps not all of the learning that could be had from these processes has been drawn out or is being passed on, but it exists. I have connected to and supported movements in the South, most notably the Zapatistas in Mexico, Atenco also in Mexico, among others.

More to come… Seems very worthwhile to document more of the work and learnings I have been collectively part of.

Catalogue of Zapatista Products Available

March 24, 2011

For those of you who live in Vancouver, BC, Canada or in the vicinity (or even in Canada elsewhere), I have put together a catalogue of some Zapatista products available for sale. If you make an order, I can take it back with me when I am in Vancouver in late June, and if you are not in Vancouver, I can mail it to you (I charge you the shipping).

If you live in Mexico City, contact me and we can arrange to have you see the Zapatista products…

Thanks for your support of these amazing communities! Viva Ramona!

A Fragment of a Letter to Don Luis Villoro, beginning the correspondence about Ethics and Politics By Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

February 23, 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

[Part 2 of the 4 that make up the first letter, which will appear in its entirety in the next issue of Rebeldía magazine | http://revistarebeldia.org%5D

As Mexican native peoples and as the EZLN, we have something to say about war. Above all if it is carried out in our geography and in this calendar: Mexico, in the beginning of the 21st century…

II. MEXICO’S WAR FROM ABOVE
“I would welcome almost any war because I believe that this country needs one.”Theodore Roosevelt.

And now our national reality is invaded by war. A war that is not only not far away from those who were accustomed to see war in distant geographies or calendars, but also one that begins to determine the decisions and indecisions of those who thought that wars were only in the news and in places so far away like…Iraq, Afghanistan,…Chiapas.

And in all of Mexico, thanks to Felipe Calderón Hinojosa’s sponsorship, we don’t have to look towards the Middle East to critically reflect on war. It is no longer necessary to turn the calendar back to Vietnam, the Bay of Pigs, always Palestine.

I don’t mention Chiapas and the war against Zapatista indigenous communities, because it is known that they aren’t fashionable (that’s why the Chiapas state government has spent so much money so that the media no longer puts it on war’s horizon, instead, it publishes the “advances” in biodiesel production, its “good” treatment of migrants, the agricultural “successes” and other deceiving stories that are sold to editorial boards who put their own names on poorly edited and argued governmental press releases).

The war’s interruption of daily life in current-day Mexico doesn’t stem from an insurrection, nor from independent or revolutionary movements that compete for their reprint in the calendar 100 or 200 years later. It comes from, as all wars of conquest, from above, from the Power.

And this war has in Felipe Calderón Hinojosa its initiator and its institutional (and now embarrassing) promoter.

The man who took possession of the title of President by de facto wasn’t satisfied with the media backing he received, and he had to turn to something else to distract people’s attention and avoid the massive controversy regarding his legitimacy: war.

When Felipe Calderón Hinojosa made Theodore Roosevelt’s proclamation that “this country needs a war” his own (although some credit the sentence to Henry Cabot Lodge), he was met with fearful distrust from Mexican businessmen, enthusiastic approval from high-ranking military officials, and hearty applause from that which really rules: foreign capital.

Criticism of this national catastrophe called the “war on organized crime” should be completed with a profound analysis of its economic enablers. I’m not only referring to the old axiom that in times of crisis and war, the consumption of luxury goods increases. Nor am I only referring to the extra pay that soldiers receive (in Chiapas, high-ranking military officials received, or receive, an extra salary of 130% for being in “a war zone”). It would be necessary to also look at the patents, the suppliers, and the international credits that aren’t in the so-called “Merida Initiative.”

If Felipe Calderón Hinojosa’s war (even though he’s tried, in vain, to get all Mexicans to endorse it) is a business (which it is), we must respond to the questions of for whom is it a business, and what monetary figure it reaches.

Some Economic Estimates It’s not insignificant what’s at stake:

(note: the quantities listed are not exact due to the fact that there is not clarity in the official governmental data. which is why in some cases the source was the Official Diary of the Federation [the federal government’s official publication], and it was complemented by data from [government] agencies and serious journalistic information).

In the first four years of the “war against organized crime” (2007-2010), the main governmental entities in charge (the National Defense Ministry–that is, army and air force–, the Navy, the Federal Attorney General’s Office, and the Ministry of Public Security) received over $366 billion pesos (about $30 billion dollars at the current exchange rate) from the Federal Budget. The four federal government ministries received: in 2007 over $71 billion pesos; in 2008 over $80 billion pesos; in 2009 over $113 million pesos; and in 2010 over $102 billion pesos. Add to that the over $121 billion pesos (some $10 billion dollars) that they will receive in 2011.

The Ministry of Public Security alone went from receiving a budget of $13 billion pesos in 2007 to receiving one of over $35 billion pesos in 2011 (perhaps because cinematic productions are more costly).

According to the [federal] Government’s Third [Annual] Report in September 2009, in June of that year, the federal armed forces had 254,705 soldiers (202,355 in the Army and Air Force and 52,350 in the Navy).

In 2009 the budget for the [Ministry of] National Defense was $43,623,321,860 pesos, to which was added $8,762,315,960 pesos (25.14% more), in total: over $52 billion pesos for the Army and the Air Force. The Navy: over $16 billion pesos; Public Security: almost $33 billion pesos; and the Federal Attorney General’s Office: over $12 billion pesos.

The “war on organized crime’s” total budget in 2009: over $113 billion pesos.

In 2010, an Army private earned about $46,380 pesos per year; a major general received $1,603,080 pesos per year, and the Secretary of National Defense received an annual income of $1,859,712 pesos.

If my math is correct, with 2009’s total war budget ($113 billion pesos for the four ministries) could have paid the annual salaries of 2.5 million Army privates; or 70,500 major generals; or 60,700 Secretaries of National Defense.

But, of course, not all that is budgeted goes towards salaries and benefits. Weapons, equipment, bullets are needed…because those that they already have don’t work anymore or they’re obsolete.

“If the Mexican Army were to engage in combat with its over 150,000 weapons and its 331.3 million cartridges against an internal or external enemy, its firepower would only last on average 12 days of continuous combat, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s estimates for the Army’s and Air Force’s weapons. According to the predictions, the gunfire from 105mm howitzers (artillery) would last, for example, 5.5 days of combat if that weapon’s 15 grenades were shot continuously. The armored units, according to the analysis, have 2,662 75mm grenades.

In combat, the armored troops would use up all of their rounds in nine days. In the Air Force, it is said that there are a little over 1.7 million 7.62mm cartridges that are used by the PC-7 and PC-9 planes, and by the Bell 212 and MD-530 helicopters. In a war, those 1.7 million cartridges would be used up in five days of aerial fire, according to the Ministry of National Defense’s calculations. The Ministry warns that the 594 night vision goggles and the 3,095 GPS used by the Special Forces to combat drug cartels “have already completed their service.”

The shortages and the wear in the Army and Air Forces’ ranks are evident and have reached unimaginable levels in practically all of the institution’s operative areas. The National Defense [Ministry’s] analysis states that the night vision goggles and the GPS are between five and thirteen years old, and “they have already completed their service.” The same goes for the “150,392 combat helmets” that the troops use. 70% reached their estimated lifespan in 2008, and the 41,160 bulletproof vests will do so in 2009.

(…)

In this panorama, the Air Force is the sector most affected by technological backwardness and overseas dependency, on the United States and Israel in particular. According to the National Defense Ministry, the Air Force’s arms depots have 753 bombs that weigh 250-1,000 lbs. each. The F-5 and PC-7 Pilatus planes use those weapons. The 753 that are in existence would last in air-to-land combat for one day. The 87,740 20mm grenades for F-5 jets would combat internal or external enemies for six days. Finally, the National Defense Ministry reveals that the air-to-air missiles for the F-5 planes only number 45, which represents only one day of aerial fire.” — Jorge Alejandro Medellín in “El Universal”, Mexico, January 2, 2009.

This was made known in 2009, two years after the federal government’s so-called “war.” Let’s leave aside the obvious question of how it was possible that the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, could launch a war (“long-term” he says) without having the minimal material conditions to sustain it, let alone “win it.” So let’s ask: What war industries will benefit from the sales of weapons, equipment, and vehicles?

If the main promotor of this war is the empire of stripes and cloudy stars (keeping note that, in reality the only congratulations that Felipe Calderón Hinojosa has received have come from the US government), we can’t lose sight of the fact that north of the Rio Grande, help is not granted; rather, they make investments, that is, business.

Victories and Defeats

Does the United States win with this “local” war? The answer is: yes. Leaving aside the economic gains and the monetary investment in weapons, vehicles, and equipment (let’s not forget that the USA is the main provider of all of this to two contenders: the authorities and the “criminals.” The “war on organized crime” is a lucrative business for the North American military industry), there is, as a result of this war, a destruction/depopulation and a geopolitical reconstruction/rearrangement that benefits them.

This war (which was lost from the moment it was conceived, not as a solution to an insecurity problem, but rather a problem of questioned legitimacy) is destroying the last redoubt that the Nation had: the social fabric.

What better war for the United States than one that grants it profits, territory, and political and military control without the uncomfortable body bags and cripples that arrived, before, from Vietnam and now from Iraq and Afghanistan?

Wikileaks’ revelations about high-ranking US officials’ opinions about the “deficiencies” in the Mexican repressive apparatus (its ineffectiveness and its complicity with organized crime) are not new. Not only amongst the people, but also in the highest circles of government and Power in Mexico, this is a certainty. The joke that it is an unequal war because organized crime is organized and the Mexican government is disorganized is a gloomy truth.

On December 11, 2006, this war formally began with “Joint Operation Michoacan.” Seven thousand soldiers from the army, the navy, and the federal police launched an offensive (commonly known as the “michoacanazo”) that, when the media’s euphoria passed, turned out to be a failure. The military official in charge was Gen. Manuel García Ruiz, and the man in charge of the operation was Gerardo Garay Cadena of the Ministry of Public Security. Today, and since December 2008, Gerardo Garay Cadena is imprisoned in a maximum security prison in Tepic, Nayarit, accused of colluding with “el Chapo” Guzmán Loera.

And, with each step that is taken in this war, the federal government finds it more difficult to explain where the enemy is.

Jorge Alejandro Medellín is a journalist who collaborates with various media outlets–Contralinea magazine, the weekly Acentoveintiuno, and Eje Central, amongst others–and he’s specialized in militarism, armed forces, national security, and drug trafficking. In October 2010 he received death threats because of an article where he pointed to possible between drug traffickers and Gen. Felipe de Jesús Espitia, ex-commander of the V Military Zone and ex-chief of the Seventh Section–Operations against Drug Trafficking–during Vicente Fox’s administration, and in charge of the Drug Museum located in the offices of the Seventh Section. Gen. Espitia was removed as commander of the V Military Zone following the tumultuous failure of the operations he ordered in Ciudad Juarez and for his poor response to the massacres committed in the border city.

But the failure of the federal war against “organized crime,” the crown jewel of Felipe Calderón Hinojosa’s government, is not a destiny that the Power in the USA laments: it is a goal to reach.

As much as corporate media tried to present resounding successes for legality, the skirmishes that take place every day in the nation’s territory aren’t convincing.

And not just because the corporate media have been surpassed by the forms of information exchange used by a large portion of the population (not only, but also the social networks and cell phones), also, and above all, because the tone of the government’s propaganda has passed from an attempt to deceive to an attempt to mock (from the “even though it doesn’t appear as though we’re winning” to “[drug traffickers are] a ridiculous minority,” which pass as barroom boasting for the president).

About this other defeat for the written, radio, and television press, I will get back to that in another missive. For now, and regarding the current issue, its enough to remind people that the “nothing’s happening in Tamaulipas” that was extolled by the media (namely radio and television), was defeated by the videos shot by citizens with cell phones and portable cameras and shared on the Internet.

But let’s get back to the war that, according to Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, he never said was a war. He never said it, right?

“Let’s see if this is or isn’t a war: on December 5, 2006, Felipe Calderón said: “We work to win the war on crime…”. On December 2007, during breakfast with naval personnel, Mr. Calderón used the term ‘war’ on four occasions in a single speech. He said, “Society recognizes in a special manner the important role our marines play in the war my Government leads against insecurity…”, “The loyalty and the efficiency of the Armed Forces are one of the most powerful weapons in the war we fight…”, “When I started this frontal war against crime I stated that this would be a long-term struggle,” “…that is precisely how wars are…”. But there’s more: on September 12, 2008, during the the Commencement Ceremonies of the Military Education System, the self-proclaimed “president of employment” really shined when he said war on crime a half a dozen times: “Today our country fights a war that is very different from those that the insurgents fought in 1810, a war that is different from that which the cadets from the Military College fought 161 years ago…” “…it is the duty of all of Mexicans of our generation to declare war on Mexico’s enemies… That’s why, in this war on crime…” “It is essential that all of us who join this common front go beyond words to acts and that we really declare war on Mexico’s enemies…” “I am convinced that we will win this war…” (Alberto Vieyra Gómez. Agencia Mexicana de Noticias, January 27, 2011).

By contradicting himself, taking advantage of the calendar, Felipe Calderón Hinojosa neither corrects his mistakes nor corrects himself conceptually. No, what happens is that wars are won or lost (in this case, lost) and the federal government doesn’t want to recognize that the central focus of this administration has failed militarily and politically.

Endless War? The Difference Between Reality… and Videogames
Faced with the undeniable failure of his warmongering policies, will Felipe Calderón Hinojosa change his strategy?

The answer is NO. And not just because war from above is a business, and like any other business, it is maintained as long as it is profitable.

Felipe Calderón de Hinojosa, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, the fervent admirer of [former Spanish Prime Minister] José María Aznar, the self-proclaimed “disobedient son,” the friend of Antonio Solá[1], the “winner” of the presidential elections by a half a percentage point thanks to Elba Esther Gordillo’s alchemy[2], the man of authoritarian rudeness that is close to a tantrum (“Get down here or I’ll make them bring you down here!”[3], he who wants to cover up the murdered children in the ABC Daycare Center in Hermosillo, Sonora, with more blood[4], he who has accompanied his military war with a war on dignified work and just salaries, he who has calculated autism when faced with the murders of Marisela Escobedo[5] and Susana Chávez Castillo[6], he who hands out toe tags that say “members of organized crime” to little boys and girls and men and women[7] who were and are murdered by him because, yes, because they happened to be in the wrong calendar and the wrong geography, and they aren’t even named because no one keeps track, not even the press, not even the social networks.

He, Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, is also a fan of military strategy video games.

Felipe Calderón Hinojosa is the “gamer” “who in four years turned the country into a mundane version of The Age of Empire–his favorite videogame–,(…) a lover–and bad strategist–of war.” (Diego Osorno in Milenio, October 3, 2010).

It is he who leads us to ask: Is Mexico being governed videogame-style? (I believe that I can ask these sorts of controversial questions without them firing me for violating an “ethics code” that is determined by paid advertising[8]).

Felipe Calderón Hinojosa won’t stop. And not only because the armed forces won’t let him (business is business), but also for the obstinacy that has characterized the political life of the “commander-in-chief” of the Mexican armed forces.

Let’s remember: In March 2001, when Felipe Calderón Hinojosa was the parliamentarian coordinator of the National Action Party’s federal deputies [in Congress], that unfortunate spectacle took place when the National Action Party (PAN) did not let a joint indigenous delegation from the National Indigenous Congress and the EZLN take the podium in Congress during the “March of the Color of the Earth.”

Despite the fact that he was making the PAN out to be a racist and intolerant political organization (which it is) by denying the indigenous people the right to be heard, Felipe Calderón Hinojosa stood firm. Everything told him it was an error to take that position, but the then-coordinator of the PAN deputies refused to cede (and he wound up hiding, along with Diego Fernández Cevallos and other distinguished PAN members, in one of the chamber’s private halls, watching on television as the indigenous people spoke in a space that the political class reserves for its comedy sketches).

“No matter the political cost,” Felipe Calderón Hinojosa would have said at the time.

Now he says the same, although now it’s not about the political costs that a political party assumes, but rather the human costs that the entire country pays for that stubbornness.

At the point of ending this missive, I found the statements of the US Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, speculating about the possible alliances between Al Qaeda and Mexican drug cartels. One day prior, the undersecretary of the United States Army, Joseph Westphal, declared that in Mexico there is a form of insurgency lead by the drug cartels that could potentially take over the government, which would imply a US military response. He added that he didn’t want to see a situation in which US soldiers were sent to fight an insurgency “on our border…or having to send them to across the border” into Mexico.

Meanwhile, Felipe Calderón Hinojosa was attending a rescue simulation in a simulated town in Chihuahua, and he boarded an F-5 combat plane and he sat in the pilot’s seat and joked with a “fire missiles.”

From the strategy video games to the “aerial combat simulation” and “first-person shots”? From Age of Empires to HAWX?

HAWX is an aerial combat video game where, in a not-so-distant future, private military companies have replaced governmental militaries in various countries. The video game’s first mission is to bomb Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, because the “rebel forces” have taken over the territory and threaten to cross into US territory.

Not in the video game, but in Iraq, one of the private military companies contracted by the US State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency was “Blackwater USA,” which later changed its name to “Blackwater Worldwide.” Its personnel committed serious abuses in Iraq, including murdering civilians. Now it has changed its name to “Xe Services LLC” and is the biggest private security contractor the US State Department has. At least 90% of its profits come from contracts with the US government.

The same day that Felipe Calderón Hinojosa was joking in the combat plane (February 10, 2011), and also in the state of Chihuahua, an 8-year-old girl died when she was hit by a bullet from a shoot-out between armed people and members of the military.

When will this war end?
When will “Game Over” appear on the federal government’s screen, followed by the credits, with the producers and sponsors of the war?

When will Felipe Calderón be able to say “we won the war, we’ve imposed our will upon the enemy, we’ve destroyed its material and moral combat abilities, we’ve (re)conquered the territories that were under its control”?

Ever since it was conceived, this war has no end, and it is also lost.

There will not be a Mexican victor in these lands (unlike the government, the foreign Power does have a plan to reconstruct-reorganize the territory), and the defeat will be the the last corner of the dying National State in Mexico: the social relations that, providing a common identity, are the base of a Nation.

Even before the supposed end, the social fabric will be completely broken.

Results: the War Above and the Death Below
Let’s see what the federal Ministry of the Interior reports about Felipe Calderón Hinojosa’s “not-war”:

“2010 was the most violent year during the current administration, accumulating 15,273 murders linked to organized crime, 58% more than the 9,614 registered during 2009, according to statistics published this Wednesday by the Federal Government. From December 2006 up to the end of 2010 34,612 murders were counted, of which 30,913 were reported as “executions”; 3,153 are listed as “clashes” and 544 are listed as “homicides-attacks.” Alejandro Poiré, the National Security Council’s technical secretary, presented an official database created by experts that will show, beginning now, “monthly disaggregated information at the state and municipal level” about violence in the whole country.” (Vanguardia, Coahuila, Mexico, January 13, 2011)

Let’s ask: Of those 34,612 murders, how many were criminals? And the more than one thousand little boys and girls murdered (which the Secretary of the Interior “forgot” to itemize in his account), were they also organized crime “hitmen”? When the federal government proclaims that “we’re winning,” against which drug cartel are they referring to? How many tens of thousands more make up this “ridiculous minority” that is the enemy that must be defeated?

While up there they uselessly try to tone down this war’s murders with statistics, it is important to note that the social fabric is also being destroyed in almost all of the national territory.

The Nation’s collective identity is being destroyed and it is being supplanted by another.

Because “a collective identity is no more than an image that a people forges of itself in order to recognize itself has belonging to that people. Collective identity is those features in which an individual recognizes himself or herself as belonging to a community. And the community accepts this individual as part of it. This image that the people forge is not necessarily the persistence of an inherited traditional image, but rather, generally it is forged by the individual insofar as s/he belongs to a culture, to make his/her past and current life consistent wit the projects that s/he has for that community.

So identity is not a mere legacy that is inherited, rather, it is an imagine that is constructed, that each people creates, and therefore is variable and changeable according to historical circumstances.” (Luis Villoro, November 1999, interview with Bertold Bernreuter, Aachen, Germany).

In a good part of the national territory’s collective identity, there is no (as they wish us to believe) dispute between the national anthem and the narco-corrido [“narco-ballad”] (if you don’t support the government you support organized crime, and vice-versa.

No.

What exists is an imposition, by the force of weapons, of fear as a collective image, of uncertainty and vulnerability as mirrors in which those collectives are reflected.

What social relationships can be maintained or woven if fear is the dominant image which which a social group can identify itself, if the sense of community is broken by the cry “Save yourself if you can”?

The results of this war won’t only be thousands of dead… and juicy economic gains.

Also, and above all, it will result in a nation destroyed, depopulated, and irreversibly broken.

(…)

Alright, Don Luis. Cheers, and let critical reflection inspire new steps.

From the mountains in the Mexican Southeast.
Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.
Mexico, January-February 2011.

Translated by Kristin Bricker

Translator’s Notes:
[1] Antonio Solá is a Spaniard who was in charge of Felipe Calderón’s “Image” during his presidential campaign.
[2] Elba Esther Gordillo is the despised (and arguably self-imposed) president of the National Education Workers Union (SNTE), one of the largest unions in Mexico. Critics argue that thanks to Gordillo, the teachers’ vote gave Calderón the 0.5% advantage he needed in the 2006 elections.
[3] In October 2007, Calderón visited Villahermosa, Tabasco, to inspect flood-damaged areas. He helped fill sandbags for a few minutes, then yelled, “Get down here or I’ll make them bring you down here!” to observers on a bridge. He then sent the military to get them so that they would help fill sandbags.
[4] On June 5, 2009, the ABC Daycare Center in Hermosillo, Sonora, caught on fire, killing 49 children and injuring another 76, all between five months and five years old. The daycare caught fire when an adjoining file warehouse belonging to the Sonora state government caught on fire. A lack of fire alarms, fire extinguishers, and emergency exists lead to the enormous loss of life. The children’s parents continue their fight for justice and accountability.
[5] Marisela Escobedo fought for justice in the disappearance and murder of her daughter, Rubí. Rubí’s boyfriend admitted to murdering her and directing authorities to her body, but he was released for lack of evidence. Marisela campaigned unsuccessfully to have him imprisoned until she herself was assassinated in front of the Chihuahua municipal palace on December 16, 2010.
[6] Susana Chávez Castillo was a poet from Chihuahua who coined the slogan “Not one more [murdered woman]” (“Ni una más”). She was mutilated and murdered in January 2011.
[7] Mexico is in the midst of a “false positives” scandal in which soldiers murder civilians and then the government issues press releases arguing that the dead were members of organized crime who attacked the soldiers. Such is the case of five-year-old Bryan and nine-year-old Martin Salazar, shot by soldiers at a checkpoint and accused of being members of organized crime; and US citizen Joseph Proctor. Soldiers murdered Proctor at a checkpoint and then planted a weapon in his hands to argue that he had opened fire on the soldiers…except that the gun was registered to the soldiers, and not even Rambo can drive a minivan and shoot an assault rifle at the same time.
[8] Radio and TV journalist Carmen Aristegui, a critic of Calderón, was fired in February 2011 for having asked on air if Calderón has a drinking problem.

Source in Spanish: Enlace Zapatista
http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2011/02/14/sobre-las-guerras-fragmento-de-la-carta-primera-del-sci-marcos-a-don-luis-villoro-inicio-del-intercambio-epistolar-sobre-etica-y-politica/

Source in English (Translated by Kristin Bricker)
http://mywordismyweapon.blogspot.com/2011/02/about-wars-fragment-of-first-letter.html

COMUNICADO del CCRI-EZLN sobre la muerte de Don Samuel Ruiz

January 27, 2011

Por quienes han dejado este mundo, pero siguen vivos de otra forma! Vivan los y las compañeras zapatistas muertas! Viva Don Samuel! Viva el EZLN! Viva el CCRI!

*                               *                           *                          *                            *                              *                          *

COMUNICADO DEL COMITÉ CLANDESTINO REVOLUCIONARIO INDÍGENA-COMANDANCIA GENERAL DEL EJÉRCITO ZAPATISTA DE LIBERACIÓN NACIONAL.
MÉXICO.

ENERO DEL 2011.

AL PUEBLO DE MÉXICO:

El Comité Clandestino Revolucionario Indígena-Comandancia General del Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional manifiesta su pesar por la muerte del Obispo Emérito Don Samuel Ruiz García.

En el EZLN militan personas con diferentes credos y sin creencia religiosa alguna, pero la estatura humana de este hombre (y la de quienes, como él, caminan del lado de los oprimidos, los despojados, los reprimidos, los despreciados), llama a nuestra palabra.

Aunque no fueron pocas ni superficiales las diferencias, desacuerdos y distancias, hoy queremos remarcar un compromiso y una trayectoria que no son sólo de un individuo, sino de toda una corriente dentro de la Iglesia Católica.

Don Samuel Ruiz García no sólo destacó en un catolicismo practicado en y con los desposeídos, con su equipo también formó toda una generación de cristianos comprometidos con esa práctica de la religión católica. No sólo se preocupó por la grave situación de miseria y marginación de los pueblos originarios de Chiapas, también trabajó, junto con heroico equipo de pastoral, por mejorar esas indignas condiciones de vida y muerte.

Lo que los gobiernos olvidaron propositivamente para cultivar la muerte, se hizo memoria de vida en la diócesis de San Cristóbal de Las Casas.

Don Samuel Ruiz García y su equipo no sólo se empeñaron en alcanzar la paz con justicia y dignidad para los indígenas de Chiapas, también arriesgaron y arriesgan su vida, libertad y bienes en ese camino truncado por la soberbia del poder político.

Incluso desde mucho antes de nuestro alzamiento en 1994, la Diócesis de San Cristóbal padeció el hostigamiento, los ataques y las calumnias del Ejército Federal y de los gobiernos estatales en turno.

Al menos desde Juan Sabines Gutiérrez (recordado por la masacre de Wolonchan en 1980) y pasando por el General Absalón Castellanos Domínguez, Patrocinio González Garrido, Elmar Setzer M., Eduardo Robledo Rincón, Julio César Ruiz Ferro (uno de los autores de la matanza de Acteal en 1997) y Roberto Albores Guillén (más conocido como “el croquetas”), los gobernadores de Chiapas hostigaron a quienes en la diócesis de San Cristóbal se opusieron a sus matanzas y al manejo del Estado como si fuera una hacienda porfirista.

Desde 1994, durante su trabajo en la Comisión Nacional de Intermediación (CONAI), en compañía de las mujeres y hombres que formaron esa instancia de paz, Don Samuel recibió presiones, hostigamientos y amenazas, incluyendo atentados contra su vida por parte del grupo paramilitar mal llamado “Paz y Justicia”.

Y siendo presidente de la CONAI Don Samuel sufrió también, en febrero de 1995, un amago de encarcelamiento.

Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León, como parte de una estrategia de distracción (tal y como se hace ahora) para ocultar la grave crisis económica en la que él y Carlos Salinas de Gortari habían sumido al país, reactivó la guerra contra las comunidades indígenas zapatistas.

Al mismo tiempo que lanzaba una gran ofensiva militar en contra del EZLN (misma que fracasó), Zedillo atacó a la Comisión Nacional de Intermediación.

Obsesionado con la idea de acabar con Don Samuel, el entonces presidente de México, y ahora empleado de trasnacionales, aprovechó la alianza que, bajo la tutela de Carlos Salinas de Gortari y Diego Fernández de Cevallos, se había forjado entre el PRI y el PAN.

En esas fechas, en una reunión con la cúpula eclesial católica, el entonces Procurador General de la República, el panista y fanático del espiritismo y la brujería más chambones, Antonio Lozano Gracia, blandió frente a Don Samuel Ruiz García un documento con la orden de aprehensión en su contra.

Y cuentan que el procurador graduado en Ciencias Ocultas fue confrontado por los demás obispos, entre ellos Norberto Rivera, quienes salieron en la defensa del titular de la Diócesis de San Cristóbal.

La alianza PRI-PAN (a la que luego se unirían en Chiapas el PRD y el PT) en contra de la Iglesia Católica progresista no se detuvo ahí. Desde los gobiernos federal y estatal se apadrinaron ataques, calumnias y atentados en contra de los miembros de la Diócesis.

El Ejército Federal no se quedó atrás. Al mismo tiempo que financiaba, entrenaba y pertrechaba a grupos paramilitares, se promovía la especie de que la Diócesis sembraba la violencia.

La tesis de entonces (y que hoy es repetida por idiotas de la izquierda de escritorio) era que la Diócesis había formado a las bases y a los cuadros de dirección del EZLN.

Un botón de la amplia muestra de estos argumentos ridículos se dio cuando un general mostraba un libro como prueba de la liga de la Diócesis con los “transgresores de la ley”.

El título del libro incriminatorio es “El Evangelio según San Marcos”.

Hoy en día esos ataques no han cesado.

El Centro de Derechos Humanos “Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas” recibe continuamente amenazas y hostigamientos.

Además de ser haber sido fundado por Don Samuel Ruiz García y de tener una inspiración cristiana, el “Frayba” tiene como “delitos agravantes” el creer en la Integralidad e Indivisibilidad de los Derechos Humanos, el respeto a la diversidad cultural y al derecho a la Libre Determinación, la justicia integral como requisito para la paz, y el desarrollo de una cultura de diálogo, tolerancia y reconciliación, con respeto a la pluralidad cultural y religiosa.

Nada más molesto que esos principios.

Y esta molestia llega hasta el Vaticano, donde se maniobra para partir la diócesis de San Cristóbal de Las Casas en dos, de modo de diluir la alternativa en, por y con los pobres, en la acomodaticia que lava conciencias en dinero. Aprovechando el deceso de Don Samuel, se reactiva ese proyecto de control y división.

Porque allá arriba entienden que la opción por los pobres no muere con Don Samuel. Vive y actúa en todo ese sector de la Iglesia Católica que decidió ser consecuente con lo que se predica.

Mientras tanto, el equipo de pastoral, y especialmente los diáconos, ministros y catequistas (indígenas católicos de las comunidades) sufren las calumnias, insultos y ataques de los neo-amantes de la guerra. El Poder sigue añorando sus días de señorío y ven en el trabajo de la Diócesis un obstáculo para reinstaurar su régimen de horca y cuchillo.

El grotesco desfile de personajes de la vida política local y nacional frente al féretro de Don Samuel no es para honrarlo, sino para comprobar, con alivio, que ha muerto; y los medios de comunicación locales simulan lamentar lo que en realidad festinan.

Por encima de todos esos ataques y conspiraciones eclesiales, Don Samuel Ruiz García y l@s cristian@s como él, tuvieron, tienen y tendrán un lugar especial en el moreno corazón de las comunidades indígenas zapatistas.

Ahora que está de moda condenar a toda la Iglesia Católica por los crímenes, desmanes, comisiones y omisiones de algunos de sus prelados…

Ahora que el sector autodenominado “progresista” se solaza en hacer burla y escarnio de la Iglesia Católica toda…

Ahora que se alienta el ver en todo sacerdote a un pederasta en potencia o en activo…

Ahora sería bueno voltear a mirar hacia abajo y encontrar ahí a quienes, como antes Don Samuel, desafiaron y desafían al Poder.

Porque est@s cristianos creen firmemente en que la justicia debe reinar también en este mundo.

Y así lo viven, y mueren, en pensamiento, palabra y obra.

Porque si bien es cierto que hay Marciales y Onésimos en la Iglesia Católica, también hubo y hay Roncos, Ernestos, Samueles, Arturos, Raúles, Sergios, Bartolomés, Joeles, Heribertos, Raymundos, Salvadores, Santiagos, Diegos, Estelas, Victorias, y miles de religios@s y seglares que, estando del lado de la justicia y la libertad, están del lado de la vida.

En el EZLN, católicos y no católicos, creyentes y no creyentes, hoy no sólo honramos la memoria de Don Samuel Ruiz García.

También, y sobre todo, saludamos el compromiso consecuente de l@s cristian@s y creyentes que en Chiapas, en México y en el Mundo, no guardan un silencio cómplice frente a la injusticia, ni permanecen inmóviles frente a la guerra.

Se va Don Samuel, pero quedan muchas otras, muchos otros que, en y por la fe católica cristiana, luchan por un mundo terrenal más justo, más libre, más democrático, es decir, por un mundo mejor.

Salud a ellas y ellos, porque de sus desvelos también se nacerá el mañana.

¡LIBERTAD!
¡JUSTICIA!
¡DEMOCRACIA!

Desde las montañas del Sureste Mexicano.
Por el Comité Clandestino Revolucionario Indígena-Comandancia General del EZLN.

Teniente Coronel Insurgente Moisés.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos.
México, Enero del 2011.

The EZLN and the Other Campaign deny involvement to all forms of kidnapping

January 9, 2011

Dear friends and compañer@s:
Please spread this information to your contacts, to clear up this accusation against the Zapatistas and what may appear as grounds for justifying any attack and aggression against them.
En solidaridad desde Mexico. In solidarity, from Mexico City.

Schools for Chiapas
Zapatista Projects Chiapas Travel Photo Galleries Resources Get Involved About Us Store

The Mayan communities of Chiapas and their supporters in “The Other Campaign” are being accused of kidnapping a prominent right-wing Mexican politician. An articulate denial of the kidnapping charges published in Spanish by the Zapatista movement argues that this accusation is another pretext for aggression in Chiapas. However this denial has been poorly circulated in English. 

Therefore, we ask you to please forward the link below of this new English translation of the Zapatista document as broadly as possible:

http://www.schoolsforchiapas.com/english/archive/documents/1129.html

Please post this truthful word on the Internet, send it throughout the blogosphere, tweet it, text it, Xerox it, fax it, iPod it & iPad it, snail mail it, paste it to walls, send it to your local alternative media, and most importantly talk about it with your family and friends. Do whatever you can and do it TODAY!

What’s important is that everyone understand unequivocally that the Zapatistas just DIDN’T DO IT! The dangerous accusation that Zapatistas kidnapped Diego Fernandez de Cevallos compliments and deepens a significant increase in tensions throughout Chiapas.

“Schools for Chiapas” is seriously alarmed at the continuing aggressions against the autonomous, Mayan communities of Chiapas, Mexico and encourages all reasonable people to do what they can to stop the spread of these malicious, unfounded rumors and accusations.

The original Spanish language denial is published on the web page of Enlace Zapatista at:

http://www.enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2011/01/02/se-desmiente-vinculacion-de-el-ezln-y-la-otra-campana-con-cualquier-secuestro/

The well-known center of Oventic, Caracol II, The Central Heart of the Zapatistas in Front of the World, has long been open for anyone to visit and speak with representatives of the movement. Today those representatives are in silence and preparing for new attacks against their communities.

Clearly the lies about Zapatista kidnapping which are being widely propagated in the media represent one such attack. From our personal experience with autonomous Mayan schools, we know that it is absurd to suggest that the Zapatista movement kidnapped El Jefe Diego. The accusation itself is written in a contradictory and blatantly fraudulent manner.

However the more a lie is repeated, the bigger and more powerful it becomes. Therefore, we ask you to help us stop this lie; we ask you to help us spread the truth and help protect the autonomous, indigenous communities of Chiapas, Mexico.

Remember ~ post this truthful word on the Internet, send it throughout the blogosphere, tweet it, text it, Xerox it, fax it, iPod it & iPad it, snail mail it, paste it to walls, send it to your local alternative media, and most importantly talk about it with your family and friends. Do whatever you can and do it TODAY!

Por y para las niñas y los niños,
Schools for Chiapas / Escuelas para Chiapas
http://www.schoolsforchiapas.org
info@schoolsforchiapas.org

 

The EZLN and the Other Campaign deny involvement

to all forms of kidnapping

On January 1, 2011 some National and International newspapers began to circulate a story, based on a note received by the Spanish news agency EFE from “a faithful member of the insurgent forces of the EZLN”, which attributed responsibility for the kidnapping of Diego Fernandez de Cevallos to the EZLN. The confused story spread by the Spanish news agency also accused several collectives of the Other Campaign of being co-conspirators of the aforementioned kidnaping, and cited various web pages and old communications, in public circulation and available to all on the web, as places to seek evidence for this accusation against the Zapatistas.
Well ok, the “communication” made its way to the inbox of our web-page in its complete form and, one way or another, it also arrived in the hands of different journalists who reported and published it.  Suffice to say, the letter on which the story is based should make it completely obvious to any reader that linking the origin of the letter to the EZLN is impossible.  Come on!  Inconsistencies abound throughout the document and it is clear that whoever wrote it was seeking prominence, generating confusion and serving the interests of power.

The Other Campaign is a civil, pacifist and political movement.  It has been this way since it’s inception and it has moved and acted as such throughout these long years.  It has never resorted to kidnappings to obtain resources nor to make political statements.

Similarly, it is well known that the EZLN has demonstrated, in its’ history and practices throughout 27 years, from its inception until this day, it does not carry out kidnappings.  It is against their principals.  For this reason, the EZLN has neither the development nor the organizational structure nor the physical infrastructure to undertake these types of actions. From the year 1994 when the Zapatistas declared a cease fire, in order to give an opportunity to construct a just and dignified peace, they have kept their word. This can not be said about the Mexican government that has politically, economically, and militarily attacked from the 1st of January in ’94 until this day.

Because of this, it is clear, and once again we reiterate, that neither the EZLN nor the Other Campaign carry out kidnappings.  Neither the EZLN nor the Other Campaign kidnaped Diego Fernandez de Cevallos.

If anyone sympathizes with or considers kidnapping politically correct, they have no place in the Other Campaign.  The “Warrior Ballam” as he calls himself and to whom we have already referred has already had his 15 minutes of fame.  Some reporters reprinted fragments of his writings and placed them on their front pages.  You can enjoy them.  In the meantime, the communities of Zapatista indigenous suffer a new increase in aggressions as a result of this type of opportunistic political incident.  This is the true danger brothers and sisters; we will continue to be vigilant regarding this new provocation against our Zapatista companions.

Por Enlace zapatista, Javier Elorriaga, Sergio Rodríguez Lascano.
México, a 2 de enero del 2011.

Se desmiente vinculación de el EZLN y La Otra Campaña con cualquier secuestro

El día 1 de enero del 2011 comenzó a circular en algunos diarios nacionales y extranjeros, a partir de la agencia de prensa española EFE, una nota en la cual se dice que “un fiel integrante de las fuerzas insurgentes del EZLN” atribuía, mediante un comunicado, el secuestro de Diego Fernández de Cevallos al EZLN. En la confusa nota difundida por la agencia española se acusa también a distintos colectivos de La Otra Campaña de ser copartícipes de dicho secuestro, así como se refieren a varias páginas electrónicas y comunicados antiguos, de libre circulación, a disposición de cualquiera en la red, como sitios en donde buscar las pruebas para dicha acusación contra los zapatistas.

Pues bien, al correo de nuestra página llegó también completo, el “comunicado”, tal y cual llegó a los diferentes medios que hicieron y publicaron con él su nota. Bastaría con que pusieran el escrito que les llegó completo para que cualquier lector viera que es imposible que tenga un origen relacionado con el EZLN. Vamos, es incoherente a todo lo largo de su redacción, es claro que quien lo hizo no hace sino buscar protagonismo, generar confusión y servir a los intereses del poder.

La otra campaña es un movimiento político, civil y pacífico. Así ha sido desde su convocatoria y así se ha movido y actuado a lo largo de estos años. No recurre por lo tanto a secuestros para obtener recursos ni para hacer propaganda política.

Asimismo, es para todos sabido, que el EZLN, y su historia y práctica durante 27 años, desde sus inicios hasta hoy día, lo demuestran, no realiza secuestros, esto va en contra de sus principios. Por lo mismo, el EZLN no ha desarrollado ni la estructura organizativa ni la infraestructura material para este tipo de acciones. Desde el año de1994 en que los zapatistas decretaron el cese al fuego ofensivo, para darle una oportunidad a la construcción de la paz justa y digna, ha cumplido su palabra, no así el Estado mexicano que los ha agredido política, económica, militarmente desde el 1 de enero del 94 hasta nuestros días.

Por todo esto es claro, y reiteramos una vez más, que ni el EZLN ni la Otra Campaña realizan secuestros. Ni el EZLN ni La Otra Campaña secuestraron a Diego Fernández de Cevallos.

Si alguien tiene simpatía o considera que políticamente es correcto practicar el secuestro, no tiene lugar en la Otra Campaña. El “guerrero Balam” como se autonombra quien mandó el comunicado al que nos hemos referido ya tuvo sus 15 minutos de fama, algunos medios retomaron fragmentos de su escrito y lo pusieron en sus primera páginas. Puede disfrutarlos. Mientras, las comunidades indígenas zapatistas sufrirán una nueva escalada de agresiones como resultado de este tipo de ocurrencias oportunistas y policiacas. Este es el verdadero peligro compañeras y compañeros, estemos pendientes ante esta nueva provocación contra los compañeros zapatistas.

Por Enlace zapatista, Javier Elorriaga, Sergio Rodríguez Lascano.
México, a 2 de enero del 2011.