Zapatista Rebels To Return To Peace Talks
- News for Anarchists & Activists:
Zapatista rebels have decided to return to peace talks
December 3, 2000
Mexico's Zapatista rebels have decided to return to peace
The move follows the new administration's withdrawal of
troops from key areas in the southern state of Chiapas,
where Zapatista rebels led a bloody uprising six years ago.
The Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) took up arms
on New Year's Day 1994, demanding improved rights for
Mexico's 10 million indigenous people.
Peace talks broke down in 1996 after the government declined
to ratify the San Andres peace accords, brokered after
months of tough negotiations.
Mexico's new President Vicente Fox, on being sworn in on
Friday, said the first project he would send Congress would
be a law implementing the San Andres accords, which would
grant indigenous communities more autonomy, and the right to
their own customs, languages and traditions.
"There will never again be a Mexico without you. In Mexico
and in Chiapas, there will be a new dawn," said Mr Fox, 58.
Mr Fox, of the conservative National Action Party (PAN) won
the presidential elections in July, thereby casting off the
71-year stranglehold on the national government by the
ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).
Critics had long accused the PRI of keeping the impoverished
southern Chiapas state and its Indians in the Dark Ages,
prolonging a feudal system established after the Spanish
Conquest of the 1500s.
Welcome the dawn
The Zapatista leader, Subcomandante Marcos, faced mutiny
within his own movement in October for refusing to hold
talks with the then-president-elect Fox, who made a number
of public overtures to resume direct dialogue between the
rebels and government.
On Saturday, however, he seemed prepared to "welcome the
dawn" of new relations between the government and the
rebels, in response to Mr Fox's declarations at his
He said: "The war is not over yet, but the door is open."
Subcomandante Marcos said he would travel to Mexico City to
urge Congress to pass the bill granting rights to indigenous
Mr Fox also plans to sign a technical co-operation agreement
with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson,
which was rejected by the administration of former President
A draft of the accord made available to the news agency AFP
* strengthening government agencies dealing with human
* training forensic doctors capable of investigating torture
* a national dialogue on the plight of indigenous Mexicans.
Mr Fox, a former Coca-Cola executive, has promised to lead
Mexico with a government marked by "transparency" and
"accountability" and make the plight of the country's poor a
central concern of his administration.
Mexico Zapatista To Restart Talks
December 2, 2000
By Will Weissert
Associated Press Writer
LA REALIDAD, Mexico -- The leader of Mexico's Zapatista
rebels said Saturday that he would come out of hiding in the
southern jungle and travel to Mexico City to restart peace
talks that have been stalled since 1996.
The ski-masked Subcomandante Marcos made the statement a day
after Mexico's new president ordered a push for peace,
pulling back some troops from Zapatista strongholds and
sending a rebel-backed Indian rights bill to Congress.
In a news conference deep in the southern Lacandon Jungle,
Marcos said he was still distrustful of President Vicente
Fox, whose inauguration on Friday ended a 71-year string of
presidents from the same party. However, he said, Fox's
first actions were encouraging, "a sign of better
compromises to come."
Smoking a pipe through his ski mask and with an AR-15 rifle
strapped to his back, Marcos said he would travel in
February to the capital with his top commanders in an effort
to ensure that Congress approves the Indian rights bill. He
said it would be his first time out of the jungle in 15
"We will go and we will see what happens," he said. "We are
leaving to do the work our companions are counting on us to
do: to bring this war to an end."
Comment from the government was not immediately available.
The Zapatistas walked out of talks with the government of
outgoing President Ernesto Zedillo four years ago when he
balked at the language of the Indian rights bill proposed by
a Congressional committee.
The bill, backed by the rebels, was supposed to implement
the only substantive agreement so far between the two sides,
which have maintained a wary cease-fire since January 1994.
The Zapatistas, a leftist, predominantly Indian group, also
have repeatedly demanded a pullback of the tens of thousands
of troops in the areas where the rebels are influential.
Fox, in his first action as president, sent the rejected
Indian rights bill to Congress for approval, and ordered
troops to withdraw from sensitive spots in Chiapas and to
"The new dialogue begins with deeds, not words. The new
dialogue speaks with the sincerity of actions," read a
communique signed by Fox's interior secretary, Santiago
Creel, and his Chiapas aide, Luis H. Alvarez.
In La Realidad, Marcos said he approved of Alvarez as a
negotiator. As a federal senator in 1996, Alvarez had
helped negotiate the Indian rights bill.
Marcos said Fox's actions showed good will, but that he was
distrustful of the pro-business president.
Marcos said he wouldn't let the new president turn Mexico
into "a giant department store ... where human lives and
natural resources are bought and sold as the market
Then he addressed Fox directly:
"During your campaign, you have said time and again that you
are willing to reopen dialogue. Zedillo said the same thing
... then launched a major offensive against us."
The rights bill would grant Indian communities more control
over their territory and the right to make laws and elect
officials according to their traditional customs. The
Zedillo administration had opposed the part about land
control, saying it endangered national sovereignty.
Marcos said the Zapatistas aren't interested in seizing
power. He said if the war were to end, they would form a
political organization, but not a political party.
Asked why not, he said: "First of all, because we'd lose."
With Saturday's meeting, the offbeat rebel leader proved
that he can still draw a small army of international
journalists to this muddy mix of rusted roof shacks and
outhouses with little more than a pledge to show up.
His presence still commands the attention of his country and
the world, even almost seven years after he led a rebellion
that lasted less than two weeks.
Fox made Chiapas a priority of his new administration, and
during the campaign had bragged - in what was much
criticized as bravado - that he could solve the Chiapas
problem in 15 minutes.
While he may be prone to exaggeration, Saturday's
developments showed more progress than the previous
government had made in at least four years.
The communique from Fox's government said the withdrawal of
troops and the lifting of checkpoints would "generate a
climate favorable to renewing negotiations" to end the
Military and immigration officials had used the checkpoints
to prevent movement of weapons in a region where clashes
between pro- and anti-Zapatista factions are common.
They also tried to hamper support for the rebels. Foreign
backers of the rebels were sometimes deported on grounds of
interfering in local politics after being stopped at the
The government said it ordered the checkpoints dismantled
and the troops out of the camps alongside those checkpoints.
But reporters on Saturday found many soldiers were still
stationed in the roadside camps.
Creel, traveling with Fox in the neighboring state of Oaxaca
on Saturday, told The Associated Press that the soldiers
would eventually withdraw.
Fox Orders Withdrawal of 53 Checkpoints in Three Chiapas
December 2, 2000
Elio Henríquez, correspondent and David Aponte.
President Fox ordered the Mexican Army to withdraw the 53
checkpoints it has been maintaining in Los Altos, the North
and the Caqadas of Chiapas, several official sources
Since yesterday morning, Mexican Army forces who had been
located in different places in Chiapas received instructions
to lift their camps and highway checkpoints and to assemble
in their barracks, noted a communiqué from the Department of
Government in Mexico City.
The document, signed by the head of the department, Santiago
Creel Miranda, and the commissioner for the Negotiation of
Peace in Chiapas, Luis H. Alvarez, noted that "the purpose
of this action is to reiterate the government's full
readiness to meet, in the shortest possible time, with
representatives of the EZLN, and in that way create a
favorable climate for renewal of negotiations for a solid
and lasting peace in Chiapas."
General Carlos Enrique Adán Yabur, commander of the 31st
Military Region with headquarters in Rancho Nuevo,
municipality of San Cristobal de las Casas, explained that
the control points, which had been set up at different times
in order to enforce the Federal Firearms and Explosives Law,
were withdrawn Friday afternoon and evening.
Adán Yabur reported that the order which was received was to
withdraw the control and search positions, known as
checkpoints, but he denied any other kind of mobilization.
He said that the positions located in Guadalupe Tepeyac,
Vicente Guerrero and Nuevo Momón, in the municipality of Las
Margaritas, as well as the one at Rancho Nuevo, had already
According to Federal Highway Police sources, the checkpoint
which had been located in the military region of Rancho
Nuevo - the one closest to San Cristóbal - was "dismantled"
at 9:00 PM, and "the only thing they [the soldiers] said was
that they had orders to assemble and to allow free transit."
At that hour, the soldiers began turning off the lights and
other equipment which they used 24 hours a day.
Another town which the soldiers left was Amador Hernández,
where last August there was a confrontation with rocks and
sticks between EZLN sympathizers and military police,
leaving seven slightly wounded.
Adán Yabur refrained from commenting about any
repositioning, since he had no knowledge in that regard, and
he reiterated that the above-mentioned positions were the
ones which had already been eliminated, which does not mean
that the Army has taken new positions.
In the country's capital, the Coordinator for National
Security, Adolfo Aguilar Zinser, confirmed the withdrawal of
troops in the conflict zone in Chiapas.
Prior to entering the Bosque of Chapultepec in order to
participate in the banquet being offered by the head of the
Executive for his guests at Castillo Palace, the official
said: "Yes, I am aware of this, Don Luis H. Alvarez
(Commissioner for Peace) and Santiago Creel (Secretary of
Government) have commented on it."
In another interview, Aguilar Zinser noted: "In effect it is
taking place at this moment (the withdrawal). We already
have reports of the withdrawal of positions that the Army
has been occupying."
In his role as Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Fox
established the repositioning of troops on the eve of the
EZLN's stating its position regarding the new administration
the PANista has headed since yesterday, stated Fox
government officials initially, who requested anonymity.
Meanwhile, the Enlace Civil organization indicated that
troops are gathering around San Quintín - 25 kilometers from
La Realidad, where the EZLN will be holding its press
conference today - in Maravilla Tenejapa and in the 31st
Military Region headquarters in Ocosingo.
Just this Tuesday the Commissioner for the Negotiation of
Peace in Chiapas, Luis H. Alvarez, released the news to La
Jornada of the imminent withdrawal of troops in Chiapas,
because the presence of troops in the state is excessive.
Alvarez indicated that, since chiapanecos feel "harassed,"
the Army would be withdrawn to positions where "social peace
would be guaranteed, but they would not act as an additional
element in disturbing it."
After President Fox presided over the parade presented to
him by the armed forces in Campo Marte, the Under Secretary
for National Defense, Mario Palmerín, was questioned on the
issue. He confined himself to responding that it is an issue
that "belongs directly to the General Secretary" Ricardo
Clemente Vega García.
Yesterday, during his inaugural speech, President Vicente
Fox reported that his first government act in legislative
matters would be sending the Congress of the Union next
week, "as a legislative proposal, the document drawn up by
the Cocopa which summarizes the San Andrés Accords," which
were signed by the previous government and the EZLN, but
which the head - until last Thursday - of the Federal
Government had refused to ratify.
Originally published in Spanish by La Jornada. Translated by
The Website of Lord Weÿrdgliffe:
The Dan Clore Necronomicon Page:
"Tho-ag in Zhi-gyu slept seven Khorlo. Zodmanas
zhiba. All Nyug bosom. Konch-hog not; Thyan-Kam
not; Lha-Chohan not; Tenbrel Chugnyi not;
Dharmakaya ceased; Tgenchang not become; Barnang
and Ssa in Ngovonyidj; alone Tho-og Yinsin in
night of Sun-chan and Yong-grub (Parinishpanna),
-- The Book of Dzyan.