MESSAGE FROM THE ZAPATISTA NATIONAL LIBERATION ARMY 100 YEARS AFTER THE ASSASSINATION OF GENERAL EMILIANO ZAPATA
ZAPATISTA NATIONAL LIBERATION ARMY
To the relatives and friends of Samir Flores Soberanes:
To the Amilcingo Resistance Assembly:
To the Peoples’ Front in Defense of Land and Water Morelos-Puebla-Tlaxcala:
To the National Indigenous Congress:
To the Indigenous Government Council:
To the national and international Sixth:
To the Networks of Support for the CIG and Networks in Resistance and Rebellion:
To those who struggle against the capitalist system:
Sisters and brothers:
Compañeros and compañeras:
Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés writes you in the name of the Zapatista women, men, children and elderly. The word that we send you is collective and it falls to me, as the EZLN spokesperson, to write it.
For the same reason, from the mountains of the Mexican southeast, the embrace that is not only mine but of all the Tzotzil, Chol, Tojolabal, Zoque, Mam, Mestizo and Tzeltal Zapatista peoples arrives today in the dignified lands of Emiliano Zapata and his successors –as was and is Samir Flores Soberanes, our brother and compañero in the struggle in defense of life.
Receive it, sisters and brothers, because it’s an embrace that we, the Zapatistas of the EZLN give you because we respect and admire you.
We have not been able to be present together with you, which is what we would have wanted. The reason is very simple and has the banner of the bad government: Because in our mountains and valleys the presence of the military, police, paramilitary, and spies, ears and informants has increased. The flyovers of military planes and helicopters, as well as artillery vehicles have reappeared, like in the times of Carlos Salinas de Gortari; of Ernesto Zedillo, political tutor of the current head of the Executive Power; of Vicente Fox after the betrayal of the San Andrés Accords; of the psychopath Felipe Calderón, and the tie and cigar thief Enrique Peña Nieto. The same, but now with more frequency and greater aggressiveness.”
And the patrols and flyovers don’t follow the drug trafficking routes, or those of the overwhelmed caravans of migrant sisters and brothers who flee from a war that refuses to say its name… to enter another that hides behind a talkative and quarrelsome federal executive. No, that death threat travels through the air and land of the indigenous communities that have decided to stay in resistance and rebellion in order to defend the land, because in it is life.
Now, additionally, members of the Federal Army and Air Force go into the mountains and appear in the communities saying that war is coming and that they are just waiting for orders from the “very top.” And some pass themselves off as who they aren’t and never will be, according to them knowing the supposed “military plans” of the EZLN. Perhaps they ignore that the EZLN says what it does and does what it says… or maybe because the plan is to mount a provocation and later blame the EZLN. The same method as Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León, and his lackey Esteban Moctezuma Barragán, now in charge of ambushing the democratic teachers.
The reality is that the current bad government is just like the previous ones, only it uses a different justification: today the persecution, harassment, and attacks on our communities are “for the good of all” and are carried out under the flag of the “Fourth Transformation.”
But that’s not really what we wanted to write you about today. After all, any denunciation is quickly discredited by the president’s insistence that it comes from “radicals of the conservative left,” which just means that anyone who hasn’t been paid off and dares to criticize the supreme government doesn’t even qualify as “bourgie.” He’ll either say that or whatever random idea he came up with that morning, later to be celebrated by his followers on social networks (supposedly “modern” only because their fanaticism is digital) who have the same arguments as all those who applaud the excesses of tyrants around the world and who exemplify the words of Emiliano Zapata Salazar: “Ignorance and obscurantism have never produced anything other than flocks of slaves for the tyranny.”
What is currently happening in these Chiapan lands is just more of the same, the same things we have been subjected to over the past 25 years, and we repeat here what we have said before: those who occupy those positions above are all the same, and today we can say this literally—they are the exact same people as always. Reality washes away the makeup they try to use to simulate change.
Sisters and brothers:
Compañeros and compañeras:
We see that your resistance is great. We say this not only because you have resisted precisely as those above celebrate a great betrayal—that which assassinated Emiliano Zapata Salazar yet failed to stop the cause that lives and persists throughout centuries and throughout the territory that we still call Mexico: Zapatismo. We also say this because your resistance, your struggle for life, is inspiring for any honest person in the world. It’s not a play for money, cushy jobs, or gifts. It is for the generations to come—if indeed the arrogance of the Ruler does not triumph and destroy all of our communities.
Thus your struggle not only merits support and admiration, but should be replicated all over the planet where nature and those who inhabit it are destroyed under the flag of “order and progress.” There are times when a cause is materialized in a person—a man, woman, or other—and thus that cause takes on a name, birthplace, family, community, and history. That was the case for Emiliano Zapata Salazar, and it is the case for Samir Flores Soberanes, who they tried to buy off, to force to surrender, and to convince to abandon his ideals. He didn’t, so they killed him. He did not give in, give up, or sell out.
Those who were relieved by his murder and who carried out a supposed “referendum” in mockery of that tragedy thought that everything ended there, that the resistance against that megaproject—criminal like all megaprojects—would be washed away by the tears of those who will miss their brother and compañero.
They were wrong, just as Carranza and Guajardo were wrong when they believed Zapata met his end in Chinameca.
In the same way, the current president is wrong when, in an ostentatious display of ignorance of the history and culture of the country it claims to “rule” (the well-worn book on his bedside table is not Who Governs, but rather Who Rules), it paints Francisco I. Madero and Emiliano Zapata Salazar as friends. Just as Madero wanted to buy Zapata off, the bad government wanted to buy off Samir and the communities in resistance using aid programs and “development” projects and other lies.
Those communities and Samir responded by continuing the work of resistance, something that would have made Emiliano Zapata proud. He used to say that he could not be bought off with gold, and that here in Morelos there are still men—we would add “and women and others”—who have integrity.
The ignorance and arrogance that characterize the current head of the bad government aren’t new, either. Nor is his court of admirers, a bunch of shameless crooks who rewrite history to suite the tyrant’s moods and present him as the culmination of history. They applaud him and repeat, in a display of unrestrained sycophantism, whatever idiocy comes out of his mouth. He issues a decree that neoliberalism has ended and his coterie quickly rearranges facts, statistics, and development projects to hide them behind the scenes of the so-called “Fourth Transformation”—really just the continuation and intensification of the most brutal and bloody epoch of the capitalist system.
What’s more, the gaggle of admirers that the tyrant has convoked is filled with lackeys of all sorts and states of indecency who live, and kill, to meet the real or assumed desires of the acting overseer.
For this reason the president does not need to issue orders to kill, disappear, denigrate, insult, imprison, fire or evict anyone who does not pay him their respects.
All he has to do is announce on stage, in the mainstream media or on social networks that he will exercise what he calls his “right to respond,” and his lackeys see to it that the desires of their lord and master are carried out.
But all tyrants become fearful when the people raise a just and humane cause such as yours (which is also ours). They think that by killing the leadership and most prominent individuals they will also snuff out the cause itself.
We do not know who murdered our compañero Samir, but we do know who singled him out, who, shrieking hysterically, put a target on his back so that mercenaries anxious to please the head of the armed forces would carry out the sentence dictated on that stage-cum-tribunal.
There was no “right to respond” for Samir Flores Soberanes, nor will there be such a right for the peoples resisting the death project that is the “Morelos Integral Project,” a megaproject whose only purpose is profit for big capitalists based in Italy and Spain, the latter of which has been asked to seek forgiveness for the conquest it began 500 years ago and which the bad government [in Mexico] continues today.
You know all of this already, sisters, brothers, compañeros, compañeras. But we repeat it here because of the rage we feel over Samir’s murder and the arrogance of those above who think they “rule” when they do not even govern.
We are enraged by the fact that those below are offered only disdain in the form of hand-outs disguised as aid programs and threats if they do not bow down, while those above, who will tomorrow betray those whom today they fawn over, receive smiles, champagne toasts and soothing declarations.
Compañeros and compañeras:
Sisters and brothers:
We know that this bad government, like previous ones, wants to co-opt the image of Emiliano Zapata Salazar in the hopes that the defense of the earth, which for the original peoples is the name of life itself, will die along with him.
But we also know what is most important, what really counts: we the original peoples will continue to resist and rebel.
It doesn’t matter if they call us “conservatives,” or, as they called the Zapatistas of the Liberation Army of the South 100 years ago, “bandits.”
Like those before it, the current bad government and its “modern” lackeys can call us whatever they want. Our word and our silence are much greater than their hysterical shrieking.
The Zapatista struggle will live on, and the original peoples will live on.
In cities and rural areas across the planet there are groups, collectives, and organizations of women, neighbors, artists, young people, scientists, workers, employees, teachers, students and others [otroas] who are rising up in struggle.
What matters is not their size, but their resolve. Together with them, and with respect and solidarity, it is necessary to build a global network of rebellion and resistance against the war which, if capitalism triumphs, will mean the destruction of the planet.
Bad governments will come and go, but the color of the Earth will live on and with it the colors of those who refuse cynicism and resignation, who do not forget or forgive, and who are keeping count of the insults, injuries, imprisonments, disappearances, deaths, and sentences to oblivion.
In that collective thought and collective heart, the world that today agonizes in death throes will be reborn.
Tyrants of all stripes will be brought down together with the system they serve.
And there will finally be life on Earth; life as it should be—that is to say, free.
Until that time arrives, we will tirelessly carry out every day the struggle embodied in the lives of Emiliano Zapata Salazar and Samir Flores Soberanes.
And in that daily struggle our rallying cry will be made real: Zapata and Samir live! And the struggle continues for…
¡TIERRA Y LIBERTAD! (LAND AND LIBERTY!)
From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast
Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés.
Mexico, April 2019