Freedom and Justice for San Marcos Avilés and
Francisco Sántiz López”
The renowned fighter for social justice and director of the Peruvian publication Lucha Indígena (Indigenous Struggle), Hugo Blanco, issues this important and beautiful statement as part of the “Worldwide Echo in Support of the Zapatistas: Freedom and Justice for San Marcos Avilés and Sántiz López” Campaign. The central task of the first phase of this campaign is to educate and raise consciousness at the international level regarding the severe repression and violence being carried out against our Zapatista sisters and brothers. In this letter addressed to “A quienes buscan un mundo libre” – or “To those who search for a free world” – our compañero Hugo consummates this task by offering us the gift of memory, as he throws light on the historical, economic, and political context in which this nightmare unfolds. With impassioned words, he makes clear the true reasons and forces which seek to do away with, what he calls, this “zone liberated from neoliberalism, where the people govern themselves.”
With great pleasure, we share with you, compañer@s, Hugo's letter in its entirety:
To those who search for a free world
In 1994, at the full glorious height of the neoliberal system that oppresses us, a voice of rebellion arose, the Zapatista movement in Chiapas, Mexico.
Naturally Salinas, the then president, launched a bloody military offensive thinking to rapidly crush the rebellion. Not so, the indigenous fighters resisted. The people of Mexico were outraged at the bloodshed and demanded an end to the attack.
The U.S. government was alarmed, because with the number of Mexicans and Chicanos who had been and were being oppressed in their territory, there was a danger that the Zapatista armed uprising might spread to the seat of the empire. Therefore they ordered the Mexican government to stop the attack, an order which, of course, their subject obeyed. The rebels announced that they were obeying the people of Mexico, who were ordering the war to stop, and suspended the armed conflict.
The government offered talks, the Zapatistas accepted. With the democratic spirit they have, they would not wish to be the ones to speak on behalf of the indigenous Mexicans; they called on indigenous and indigenists from across the country to set out the indigenous demands. This task was completed, and their arguments were so convincing that the government commission had to accept many of them. Both parties signed what were called the "San Andrés Accords." As these had to be in the form of a law to be approved by parliament, a commission was appointed with the task of putting them into the appropriate format. The commission completed its work and submitted it to both parties; the Zapatistas accepted, but the government did not. Instead they filed another document, thus betraying the agreements they had signed. The members of the chamber [of deputies] gave in to this outrage and agreed to discuss and approve the government document. Therefore, the Executive, supported by parliament, betrayed the agreement.
The military government made a treacherous attack on the Zapatistas, trying to liquidate the leadership of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN). They failed. But, (whoever is the current president), they do not abandon their intention of making this island of freedom that exists in the world disappear.
Do not forget that the first international gathering of those oppressed by the neoliberal system which is crushing the world was called by the indigenous Zapatistas, and took place in the mud of Chiapas, years before the World Social Forum
Recently the attacks on Zapatista communities have been increasing, the chief and fiercest ones are those being suffered by the Zapatista autonomous community of San Marcos Avilés. The Good Government Junta ‘Towards Hope’ and the Good Government Junta ‘Heart of the Rainbow of Hope’ have also reported attacks.
These attacks and the continued detention of Francisco Sántiz López and Alberto Patishtán Gómez, are the spearhead of the attack to crush the zone liberated from neoliberalism, where the people govern themselves through the Good Government Juntas. This is seen as the great enemy by the transnational corporations (the 1% of humanity that crushes the 99%), as they are a living example of the fact that "Another World is Possible", "A World where Many Worlds Fit".
We hope that the insurgent rebel movement in Mexico, # yosoy132, understands that their essential task is to defend the island of freedom that is in their own country; if they crush the Zapatistas, # yosoy132 will be easily crushed.
Let us fight in the defense of San Marcos Avilés and against other attacks in the area. Let us fight for the freedom of Francisco Sántiz López and Alberto Patishtán Gómez.
It is in the direct interests of humanity to defend the island of freedom that is the Zapatista area.