Third Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle
One year after the Zapatista uprising, today we say:
“The motherland lives! And she is ours! We have been disgraced, it is true; our luck has been bad many times, but the cause of Mexico, which is the cause of the people’s rights and justice, has not succumbed; it has not died and it will not die because there still exist committed Mexicans, in whose hearts burns the sacred fire of patriotism. Wherever in the Republic weapons are clenched and the national banner flies, there, as well as here, will exist, with vitality and energy, the protest of Right against Force. Understanding well the gullible man who has accepted the sad mission of being the instrument for enslaving a free people: his vacillating throne does not rest on the free will of the nation, but rather on the blood and cadavers of thousands of Mexicans who have been sacrificed without reason and only because they defend their freedom and their rights. Mexicans: those who have the disgrace to live under the dominion of the usurpers, do not resign yourselves to putting up with the yoke of oppression that weighs on you. Do not delude yourselves with the perfidious insinuations of the followers of the consummated deeds, because they are and have been always the followers of despotism. The existence of arbitrary power is a permanent violation of people’s rights and Justice, which neither the passage of time nor arms can ever justify, and whose destruction is necessary to honor Mexico and humanity. I declare myself: in action and deeds, just as resolute as in the first day.”
Benito Juarez, January 1865, Chihuahua
To the people of Mexico: To the peoples and governments of the world: Brothers and sisters:
The first day of January of 1994 we released the “First Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle”. The 10th of June of 1994 we released the “Second Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle”. First one and then the other were inspired by the fervor of the struggle for democracy, liberty and justice for all Mexicans.
In the first one we called upon the Mexican people to take up arms against the bad government, as the principal obstacle to the transition to democracy in our country. In the second one we called Mexicans to a civic and peaceful effort. This was the National Democratic Convention, which was to achieve the profound changes that the nation demanded.
While the supreme government demonstrated its falseness and haughtiness, we, by one gesture after another, dedicated ourselves to showing the Mexican people our social base, the justness of our demands and the dignity that motivated our struggle. Our weapons were laid down, and were put aside so that the legal struggle could demonstrate its possibilities…and limitations. In the “Second Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle” the EZLN attempted, by all means, to avoid the re-initiation of hostilities and to look for a political, dignified and just solution to resolve the demands contained in the 11 points of our program for struggle: housing, land, work, food, health, education, justice, independence, liberty, democracy and peace.
The pre-electoral process in August 1994 brought hope to many sectors of the country, that the transition to democracy was possible by means of the electoral process. Knowing that elections are not, in the current conditions, the road to democratic change, the EZLN accepted being put to one side in order to give legal political opposition forces the opportunity to struggle. The EZLN pledged its word and its effort, then, to seeking a peaceful transition to democracy. In the National Democratic Convention the EZLN sought a civic and peaceful force. One which, without opposing the electoral process, would also not consumed by it, and that would seek new forms of struggle which would include more democratic sectors in Mexico as well as linking itself with democratic movements in other parts of the world. August 21 ended the illusions of an immediate change through peaceful means. An electoral process that is corrupt, immoral, unfair and illegitimate culminated in a new mockery of the good will of the citizens. The party-State system reaffirmed its antidemocratic vocation and imposed, in all parts and at all levels, its arrogance. In the face of an unprecedented level of voter participation, the Mexican political system opted for imposition and cut off, therefore, the hopes for the electoral process. Reports from the National Democratic Convention, the Civic Alliance, and the Commission for Truth brought to light what the mass media had hidden, with shameful complicity: a gigantic fraud. The multitude of irregularities, the inequity, the corruption, the cheating, the intimidation, the robbery and the lying–they made the elections the dirtiest ones in Mexico’s history. The high absentee rates in the local elections in Veracruz, Tlaxcala, and Tabasco showed that skepticism would reign within civil society in Mexico. Not satisfied with this, the Party/State system repeated the fraud of August, imposing governors, mayors and local congresses. As at the end of the 19th century, when the traitors held “elections” to justify the French intervention, today it is said that the nation greets with approval the continuation of an authoritarian imposition. The electoral process of August 1994 is a State crime. They should be judged as criminals and held responsible for this mockery.
On the other side, gradualism and hesitation appear in the lines of the opposition who accept a perception of this great fraud as a series of small “irregularities”. A great dilemma in the struggle for democracy in Mexico reappears: the civic struggle bets upon a transition “without pain”, a final blow which will light the road to democracy, and only prolongs the agony.
The case of Chiapas is only one of the consequences of this political system. Ignoring the longings of the people of Chiapas, the government repeats its dosage of imposition and domination.
Confronted by a broad movement of repudiation, the Party/state system opts to repeat to society the lie of its triumph and to exacerbate the confrontations. The present polarization in southeastern Mexico is the responsibility of the government and demonstrates its incapacity to resolve, at their roots, the political and social problems of Mexico. Through corruption and repression they try to resolve a problem that can only be solved when the legitimate triumph of the will of the people of Chiapas is recognized. The EZLN has maintained itself, until now, at the margins of the popular mobilizations, even though they have been subjected to a great campaign of defamation and indiscriminate repression.
Waiting for signs of the government’s willingness to accept a political, just and dignified solution to the conflict, the EZLN watched, powerlessly, as the best sons and daughters of the dignity of Chiapas were assassinated, jailed and threatened. The EZLN watched as their indigenous brothers in Guerrero, Oaxaca, Tabasco, Chihuahua and Veracruz were repressed and received mockery as an answer to their demands for a solution to their living conditions.
During all of this period the EZLN resisted not only the military blockade and the threats and the intimidations by federal forces; but also resisted a campaign of slander and lies. As during the first days of 1994, they accused us of receiving foreign military support and financing; they tried to force us to give up our flags in exchange for money and government posts; they tried to delegitimize our struggle by reducing the national problem to a local indigenous context.
Meanwhile the supreme government prepared a military solution for the indigenous rebellion in Chiapas and in the nation despair and impatience arose. Covered by an expressed desire for dialogue that only hid the desire to liquidate the Zapatista movement through asphyxiation, the bad government let time and death run rampant through the indigenous communities in the country.
Meanwhile the Revolutionary Institutional Party, the political arm of organized crime and drug traffickers, went into its most acute phase of decomposition, by resorting to assassination as the method of solving its internal conflicts. Incapable of a civilized dialogue within its own party, the PRI bloodied the national soil. The shame of seeing the national colors usurped by the emblem of the PRI continues for all Mexicans.
The government and the country again forgot the original inhabitants of these lands. Cynicism and laziness returned to take possession of the sentiments of the Nation. Along with their rights to the minimal conditions of life with dignity, the indigenous peoples were denied the right to govern and govern according to their own reason and will. The deaths of our members become useless. Seeing that they did not leave us with any other alternative, the EZLN risked breaking the military blockade that surrounded it, and marched with the help of other indigenous brothers, who were fed up with the despair and misery and tired of the peaceful means. Seeking at all costs to avoid bloodying Mexican soil with the brothers’ blood, the EZLN saw itself obliged to call the Nation’s attention anew to the grave conditions of Mexican indigenous life. We called attention especially to those who supposedly had received government help, and yet continue living in the misery that they inherited, year after year, for more than five centuries. With the offensive in December 1994, the EZLN sought to show, to Mexico and to the world, its proud indigenous essence and the impossibility of resolving the local situation without simultaneous profound changes in the political, economic and social relations throughout the country.
The indigenous question will not have a solution if there is not a RADICAL transformation of the national pact. The only means of incorporating, with justice and dignity, the indigenous of the Nation, is to recognize the characteristics of their own social, political and cultural organization. Autonomy is not separation; it is integration of the most humble and forgotten minorities of contemporary Mexico. This is how the EZLN understood the issue since its founding, and this is how the indigenous communities who make up the leadership of our organization have defined it.
Today we repeat: OUR STRUGGLE IS NATIONAL We have been criticized for asking for too much. We, the Zapatistas, it is said, should be satisfied with the handouts that the bad government offers us. Those who are willing to die for a just and legitimate cause have the right to ask for everything. We Zapatistas are willing to give up the only thing we have, life, to demand democracy, liberty and justice for all Mexicans.
Today we reaffirm: FOR EVERYONE, EVERYTHING, NOTHING FOR US! At the end of 1994 the economic farce with which Salinas had deceived the Nation and the international economy exploded. The nation of money called the grand gentlemen of power and arrogance to dinner, and they did not hesitate in betraying the soil and sky in which they prospered with Mexican blood. The economic crisis awoke Mexicans from the sweet and stupefying dream of entry into the first world. The nightmare of unemployment, scarcity and misery will now be even more wearing for the majority of Mexicans.
1994, the year that has just ended, has just shown the real face of the brutal system that dominates us. The economic, political, social and repressive program of neo-liberalism has demonstrated its inefficiency, its deceptions, and the cruel injustice that is its essence. Neoliberalism as a doctrine and as a reality should be flung into the trash heap of national history.
BROTHERS AND SISTERS:
Today, in the middle of this crisis, decisive action by all honest Mexicans is necessary in order to achieve a real and profound change in the destinies of the Nation.
Today, after having called first to arms and later to a civic and peaceful struggle, we call the people of Mexico to struggle BY ALL MEANS, AT ALL LEVELS, AND IN ALL PARTS OF THE COUNTRY, for democracy, liberty and justice, by means of this…
III DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE
We call upon all social and political forces of the country, to all honest Mexicans, to all of those who struggle for the democratization of the national reality, to form a NATIONAL LIBERATION MOVEMENT, including the National Democratic Convention and ALL forces, without distinction by religious creed, race or political ideology, who are against the system of the State party. This National Liberation Movement will struggle from a common accord, by all means, at all levels, for the installation of a transitional government, a new constitutional body, a new constitution, and the destruction of the system of the Party- State. We call upon the National Democratic Convention and citizen Cuahtemoc Cardenas Solorzano to head up this National Liberation Movement, as a broad opposition front.
WE CALL UPON THE WORKERS OF THE REPUBLIC, THE WORKERS IN THE COUNTRYSIDE AND THE CITIES, THE NEIGHBORHOOD RESIDENTS, THE TEACHERS AND THE STUDENTS OF MEXICO, THE WOMEN OF MEXICO, THE YOUNG PEOPLE OF THE WHOLE COUNTRY, THE HONEST ARTISTS AND INTELLECTUALS, THE RESPONSIBLE RELIGIOUS MEMBERS, THE COMMUNITY- BASED MILITANTS OF THE DIFFERENT POLITICAL ORGANIZATIONS, to take up the means and forms of struggle that they consider possible and necessary, to struggle for the end of the Party-State system, incorporating themselves into the NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION if they do not belong to a party, and to the National Liberation Movement if they are active in any of the political opposition forces.
For now, in keeping with the spirit of this III DECLARATION OF THE LACANDON JUNGLE, we declare:
- FIRST– that from the federal government custody of the Motherland be taken. The Mexican flag, the justice system of the Nation, the Mexican Hymn, and the National Emblem will now be under the care of the resistance forces until legality, legitimacy and sovereignty are restored to all of the national territory.
- SECOND–The original Political Constitution of the United Mexican States is declared valid, as written on the 5th of February of 1917, with the incorporation of the Revolutionary Laws of 1993 and inclusion of the Statutes of Autonomy for the indigenous regions, and will be held as valid until a new constitutional body is installed and a new constitution is written.
- THIRD–We call for the people of Mexico to struggle for recognition for “the transitional governments to democracy”. These shall be social and political organizations, as they are defined by the distinct communities for themselves, which maintain the federal pact agreed upon in the 1917 Constitution, and which are included, without regard for religious creed, social class, political ideology, race, or sex, in the National Liberation Movement.
The EZLN will support the civilian population in the task of restoring the legality, order, legitimacy and national sovereignty, and in the struggle for the formation and installation of a national transitional government for democracy with the following characteristics:
1. The liquidation of the system of Party-State and really separates the government from the PRI.
2. The reform of the electoral law in terms that guarantees: clean elections, legitimacy, equity, non-partisan and non- governmental citizen participation, recognition of all national, regional and local political forces, and that convenes new general elections in the federation.
3. The convening of a constitutional body for the creation of a new constitution
4. The recognition of the particularities of the indigenous groups, recognizing their right to inclusive autonomy and citizenship.
5. The re-orientation of the national economic program, putting aside lies and deceptions, and favoring the most dispossessed sectors in the country, the workers and the peasants, who are the principal producers of the wealth that others appropriate.
BROTHERS AND SISTERS:
Peace will come hand in hand with democracy, liberty and justice for all Mexicans. Our path cannot find a peace with justice which our dead demand, if it is at the cost of our Mexican dignity. The earth does not rest; it walks in our hearts. The mockery to our dead demands that we struggle to wash away their shame. We will resist. The oppression and the arrogance will be overthrown.
As with Benito Juarez in the face of French intervention, the Motherland marches today at the side of the patriotic forces, against the anti-democratic forces and authorities. Today we say:
The Motherland lives! And she is ours!
Democracy! Liberty! Justice!
From the mountains of Southeastern Mexico
Clandestine Indigenous Revolutionary Committee–General Command of the Zapatista National Liberation Army Mexico