By: Magdalena Gómez
August 1, 2021 will be marked by the first popular “consulta” (consultation or referendum) held on a national scale, with a constitutional and legal basis, the product of four decades of struggles to open the way to forms of direct democracy. However, due to the very low citizen participation, this exercise will also be judged as a defeat for the so-called Fourth Transformation (4T), because it emanated from their initiative to consult about the probable trial of the five former presidents of the Republic in the period between 1988 and 2018.
As we know, in the process of formalizing said proposal the Supreme Court of Justice reformulated the question to be consulted in the following terms: “Do you agree or not that the pertinent actions be carried out, in accordance with the legal and constitutional framework, to undertake a process of clarification of the political decisions made in past years by political actors, aimed at guarantying justice and the rights of possible victims?”
Faced with wording considered ambiguous, controversy arose around the very need to consult about what is in the law. However, as the entire political class was involved in the electoral process, a kind of truce was opened until last June 6, knowing that August 1 was defined as the date on which the INE vote would take place: the popular consultation. Without it being forbidden to do so, the issue did not appear in the political campaigns of the parties, including Morena.
It’s important to point this out because with a period of time less than two months, debate was reopened to an unnecessary extent, because the consulta would be carried out yes or yes, but some analysts saw it as important to delegitimize this process with an explicit dedication to its promoter, the President of the Republic.
Along with the debate, teams were formed in Morena to promote the consultation, orienting it to the initial issue; that is, the trial of former presidents even when the question no longer referred them. Neither in the debate nor in Morena’s activism were arguments placed with a view to the victims of the decisions that were supposed to be clarified, to achieve the validity of this democratic exercise. Suddenly, it seemed an exclusive matter in the arena of political parties, making the very numerous groups of the movement of relatives of the disappeared invisible. At that point, on July 16, the Zapatista National Liberation Army defined a position that no one expected. He declared in a statement entitled “Why yes to the consultation and yes to the question“, that the question to be consulted does not try to judge or condemn anyone. It deals with the rights of the victims of their right to justice to the truth and, most importantly: the EZLN member peoples would participate in the public consultation on August 1 “following the uses and customs of the native peoples, with community assemblies “Even those who have a credential who go to the polls, and those who do not, the consultation will be untimely.” (The untimely is assumed after the racist stance of some officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by denying them their passports because they were not registered at birth in the appropriate times and after reflecting they realized that they are considered that way).
This news recalled the decision of supporting the National Indigenous Congress in the search for María de Jesús Patricio Martínez to appear on the electoral ballot as an independent candidate to the Presidency of the Republic in 2018. They are also surprising now because they decided to participate in the aforementioned consultation with their own forms and modes. Proof of this is that on July 31, one day before the official consultation, they published the advances in the sense that the 12 Caracols and their respective Good Government Juntas had received the minutes from 756 indigenous communities, spots and rancherías, of speakers of Maya root languages Zoque, Tojolabal, Mame, Tseltal, Tsotsil and Cho’ol on the popular consultation, which stated “Yes” in response to the question of “whether or not you are in agreement to do what is necessary to support the fulfillment of the rights of the victims and their families, to truth and justice.”
This report and subsequent ones will be delivered to collectives in the country’s victims’ movement. On the way, they realized that party members reported that the only thing ruling party officials have done is to threaten the people that, if you don’t “vote” in the consultation, they are going to “cut off” support for government programs. So, they told them to say: if you don’t want to lose your support payment, go and vote “Yes.” The old practices! While their opponents point to the 4T and the President of the Republic as defeated, the EZLN already initiated the National Campaign for Truth and Justice.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Tuesday, August 3, 2021
Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee