Words of the General Command of the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacinal at the opening of the fifth Congress of the Congreso Nacional Indígena, in the CIDECI* of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, October 11, 2016
EJÉRCITO ZAPATISTA DE LIBERACIÓN NACIONAL | MEXICO
October 11, 2016.
Compañeros & compañeras of the Congreso Nacional Indígena (CNI, Indigenous National Congress),
Sister people Wirrarikarri,
Sister people Nahua,
Sister people Purépecha,
Sister people Raramuri,
Sister people Cora,
Sister people Mayo Yoreme,
Sister people Tribu Yaqui,
Sister people Popoluca,
Sister people Mixteco,
Sister people Ñahñú, Ñatho,
Sister people Coca,
Sister people Totonaco,
Sister people Mazahua,
Sister people Maya,
Sister people Zoque,
Sister people Tzotzil,
Sister people Tzeltal,
Sister people Chol,
Sister people Tojolabal,
Sister people Mame,
Sister people Binni Zaá
Sister people Chontal.
Sister people Chinanteco,
Sister people Kumiai,
Sister people Cuicateco,
Sister people Matlazinca,
Sister people Mazateco,
Sister people Mee-paa,
Sister people Mixe,
Sister people Nasaquue/Nasa,
Sister people Amuzgo,
Sister people Triqui,
The peoples, nations, tribes and barrios of the original peoples who have as their home the Congreso Nacional Indígena (CNI, Indigenous National Congress):
Compañeros & compañeras of the Sexta Nacional e Internacional (National and International Sixth):
Compañeras & compañeros of the Zapatista delegation at the Fifth Congress of the CNI:
Please receive from @ll of us a sincere greeting from the men, women, children and elders who share the name of the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN, Zapatista Army of National Liberation).
And with our greeting, please receive our respect, our admiration, our sincere love and without deceit.
First, we want to appreciate our compañeras and compañeros at CIDECI-UNITIERRA that, now as in other times, in these days offer us shelter, food and space for our listening and our word.
Compañeras, compañeros, compañeroas:
Brothers and sisters:
In these days it’s been 20 years since a light was born in the hands of the original peoples of this land called México. That light which was called and is called Congreso Nacional Indígena.
We had the honor of being present at its birth through our unforgettable compañera comandanta Ramona, where together, peoples, nations, tribes and barrios of the original peoples lit that light.
Light of organization, struggle and work and of a long road of fighting with resistence and rebellion.
During these 20 years of struggle against the evil capitalist system and its rulers, all we have received has been disdain, repression, plunder and exploitation, jailings, assassinations and disappearances, lies and manipulation.
And in this anniversary we celebrate with our sister and compañera word, as Zapatistas that we are, we want to raise up in our memory those no longer with us and who we need:
Our deceased Comandanta Ramona, the Tata Grande [revered elder] Juan Chávez, our honorary Insurgent Major Félix Serdán, compañero Ramiro Taboada, brother Efrén Capíz and the names of those whose absence today and always hurts us: the indigenous women, the indigenous youth, the original people adults and elders, our greatest men and women sages, indigenous migrants, all our disappeared, assassinated, mistreated, humiliated, prostituted, forgotten, subjected to derision, ridicule and contempt.
And with them, let us raise up to memory the injustice and impunity that, as State policy, has become the name and face of the 47 missing of Ayotzinapa.
That they sit with us women, men, all those harms, all those rages that now bring us together and that provoke us to think of doing something for those who are not present and for those who are in their stead.
That they speak through our lips; that they hear through our hearts.
That they live in our collective being.
That they know that they are accompanied by our thoughts and our action, that they feel that they are not alone.
Compañeras, compañeros, brothers, sisters:
We said 20 years ago: Nothing new will come and be born in this capitalist system for the good of us original peoples in Mexico and around the world.
Those capitalists will never look for or think a road of change for a better life for us original peoples, nations, tribes and barrios.
With the capitalist system in which we live nothing good will come for us the poor people of the countryside and the city.
In them nothing we need will be born, what we the original peoples of Mexico and world want.
We don’t expect anything from them, only injustice, exploitation and so much maliciousness against us the poor of the world.
There will be nothing for us of what we want and of what we need, in the parties that exist, nor in the so-called new ones that will come, because they are the same ones who jump from one party to another.
There were many things we saw and thought 20 years ago.
Because we have already lived this with the deaths and desperation of more than 500 years.
What this shows us or tells us is that we expect nothing from this evil system and its evil rulers, our history tells us and shows us this in the life that our grandparents, great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents lived.
That’s why 20 years ago we said that we have to construct our own path, our own destiny, where there is liberty, justice and democracy.
Because there is isn’t even one small bit for us to trust in this capitalist system in which we live.
We got to know each other through dialogue, the dialogue demanded by the people of Mexico that we dialogue with the evil system made government, which did not keep its word.
It was the evil system that showed us to not trust its words, which we have already seen for more than 500 years that it does not keep.
But our dialogue among us the original barrios, tribes, nations and peoples, did serve us, that is why we are now here as the Congreso Nacional Indígena.
To speak among ourselves the original peoples was and is very necessary today more than ever, because now the destruction carried out by capitalists against mother earth is understood and that means that we too will be destroyed, because in her we live.
To dialogue among ourselves is good for us, it helps us understand, it helps orient us on many things in the mind of our life, but only by working does it give fruit, if we do not work it there is no fruit, work is with the peoples, the fruit are peoples that works organizing itself, and struggle, striving, sacrificing itself once and as many times as is needed.
If we don’t do that work, who will?
No one will come, we know that well.
That is how we say it. There are many things we know and say; we say, for example. “To fight among ourselves does not serve us.” Another one. “Divided we have no strength.”
It is time that we not only stay at only knowing and to say it, because it is now time to see what is real in our life: injustice, misery, inequality.
Life wants us to organize ourselves to achieve what is given by us by understanding what we say; or to put into practice the steps to go correcting and improving where we were wrong.
Compañeros, compañeras of the Congreso Nacional Indígena, during these days some 20 years ago we raised our head with our body and soul and we said organize ourselves and work struggling.
Today we believe that is why precisely we are here for that, to see one another, to listen to each other, in what we have done, how we have made it. What we still need to do and how we are going to do it. Where we failed and how we are going to correct and improve.
Today more than ever we need to be united, the countryside and the city.
Our trenches of struggle, work and organization is where we live in each people and then in each nation, in each tribe, in each barrio, as original peoples.
Compañeras, compañeros, compañeroas of the National and International Sixth, we believe that our trench is the same, our trench of struggle, work and organization is where you live, in each barrio, in each school, factory, in each hospital and likewise in each city, county and state and so forth.
This can only be achieved by working and organizing yourselves, there where the how will be born, the what is to be done according to the situation in which we each live.
Compañeros and compañeras of the Congreso Nacional Indígena, today more than ever we need to continue the struggle that our ancestors carried out. Resistance and Rebellion, but now for a real change that we the poor of the countryside and the city need.
We ourselves need to build the world that we want.
Compañeras and compañeros of the Sixth in México and the world.
We who are exploited need to be together countryside and city and construct the world that we want.
We believe that our efforts should be dedicated to this, our sacrifices in work and organizing, to be able to know what to do during the necessary moment.
TODAY WE DO NOT HAVE ANOTHER WAY, other than to strap ourselves in, organizing us ourselves the original peoples in the countryside and the city.
Especially we the original barrios, tribes, nations and peoples, no longer have anywhere to seek refuge. We are attacked in the countryside and in the city; no one will have where to seek refuge.
Today we need to lift up our eyes among ourselves the exploited and organize ourselves, work and struggle to be organized together city and countryside.
Because in truth we the original peoples in the countryside and those in the city are witnesses that in the capitalist system there is nothing good or small for a better life for the original peoples and for those in the city.
Today in truth they want to destroy us finishing us off in their slavery capitalism and at the same time, finish destroying our mother earth and the natural world.
Today we need to study listening, seeing, learning sharing and practicing, where and how the evil is and where and how the good is, this should be born from us.
How we emerged from the evil and how we entered to make the good.
Study our past history, to not repeat the evil, but to correct and improve.
As powerful as the exploiters are, nothing can defeat an organized people.
Therefore compañeras and compañeros of the Congreso Nacional Indígena, compañeros, compañeras and compañeroas of the Sixth of Mexico and the world, brothers and sisters of Mexico and the world from below and to the left, get to organizing and struggling so that there is a better world, with intelligence and wisdom we will go working and building it.
Original peoples of the world, scientists of the world and artists of the world, if we organize we can save the world and build another more better world, for this we should be better strugglers.
While we look for each other and speak to each other compañeras and compañeros of the Congreso Nacional Indígena, it is our turn to be the example for the families of Mexico and the world, that there will be no one who will struggle to free is, other than we ourselves. We have to show the way.
Compañeras, compañeros, compañeroas, brothers, sisters:
That those who want to listen, listen.
That those who want to understand, understand.
Because it is time that these lands once again be seeded with the steps of the original peoples.
Now is the time that these skies become cloudy with all the colors of us who are the color of the earth.
Now is the time that the collective heart that we are, become greater still. That the struggle be home, comfort and cheer for those who feel alone and without a way out.
Now is the time of our peoples, our nations, our tribes, our barrios.
Now is the time to remind the Bossy One, his foremen and overseers, of who gave birth to this Nation, of who runs the machinery, of who grows the food of the land, of who raises up the buildings, of who opens up the roads, of who sustains the sciences and the arts, of who imagines and struggles a world so big where there will always be a place to find food, shelter and hope.
Listen well, understand this well:
Now is the time of the Congreso Nacional Indígena.
That at the core of its steps the earth trembles.
That in its dream cynicism and apathy are defeated.
That in its word the voice of those who do not have a voice rise up.
That in its look darkness is illuminated.
That in its listening the suffering of those who think they are alone find a home.
That in its heart desperation finds comfort and hope.
That with its defiance the world become astonished again.
Thank you Congreso Nacional Indígena.
Thank you for your example.
Thank you for not selling out.
Thank you for not surrendering.
Thank you for not wavering.
Thank you for your path brother, for your attentive ear, for your generous word.
And we say it clearly, our struggle is for life.
That’s what we live for, that’s what we die for, and that’s why we say
¡Long live the original barrios, tribes, nations and peoples of Mexico and the world!
¡That the color of the earth that once again becomes illuminated!
¡That the eyes and the paces of the Congreso Indígena Nacional once again rise up and of those who are in it and with it!
Thank you for your listening, your word, your heart.
From CIDECI-UNITIERRA, Chiapas, Mexico.
In the name of the elders, the children, the women and men of the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional,
Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés.
On the 11th day of the month of October in the year 2016.
Translated by the Chiapas Support Committee.
The original communiqué in Spanish is available at:
* The CIDECI-UNITIERRA is the Spanish acronym for the Holistic Center for Indigenous Training-University of the Earth.