19th Day--C.Rodriguez statement

Wed, 8 Mar 1995 11:19:04 EST

she is in Washington, DC. This is going to be a big story, if it
ever breaks into the media. Best regards, John Lozier, Morgantown,
West Virginia.
***----------------------> Original Mail From <----------------------***
National Commission for Democracy in Mexico <moonlight@igc.apc.org>

/* Written 5:15 AM Mar 8, 1995 by moonlight in igc:reg.mexico */
/* ---------- "19th Day--C.Rodriguez statement" ---------- */
March 6, 1995


For a while there I shared the fate of Carlos Salinas
de Gortari who declared a hunger strike in an attempt to
"clear his good name". It was a great irony, but not
particularly surprising.
Such is their demogoguery these days. Who are they?
Salinas and the forces he represents, those which traffic in
drugs and slaves (the new slaves, the ones who belong to the
New World Order, the ones who don't know the real names or
faces of their bosses). Their demagoguery includes tactics
like hunger strikes, sit-ins and civil disobediance as well
as rhetoric about peace, democracy and family values.
Salinas and his people know the art of public manipulation.
Salinas, however, captured the world's headlines almost
immediately. The children in the Lacandon jungle whose
involuntary hunger has now killed them don't get a mention,
not a a moment's thought--the faceless, nameless ones who
will now return to the earth from which they came.
What an obscene time we live in. One-fifth of the
world's population is 60 times more wealthy than the poorest
one-fifth. And you guys who keep track of such things should
share with me the amount of wealth the United States
consumes because I'm sure it's more than 6% of the world's
population consuming 50% of its wealth. Such is our
consumption that many of us spend our time in the gym
panting and sweating --trying to work off the extra pounds
which sicken and deteriorate our bodies.
What an imbalance. Sader still is that those of us who
are honest enough to be ashamed of that fact, let our
remorse run away with our better judgment and we run off to
other lands to try to ease the shame. But this cannot be
about personal shame, this has to be about collective shame.
And we cannot run off to other lands. We have to stay here
if our shame is born out of decency and not egotism--we must
together stop our government.
What a task,huh? To think of Chicanos and African-
Americans and white people and everyone else working
together--moving beyond the historical grievances with each
other. (Forgive me, if in my list I left some group out. We
seem to have such a tenuous hold on our identity that we
assume a typographical error is a political position..My
God, how many hours do we spend discussing what to call one
another anyway??)
Add up those hours we spend finding a good name for
ourselves. Add to it the amount of hours we spend
critiquing the system and the ones we spend feeling
helpless. I think we can all learn something from this
mathematical experiment. The hours add to zero, and that
may add up to a lot of counselling and therapy but it
doesn't add up to any fight for freedom, my friends.
We're slaves you see. Those who aren't slaves to their
mortgages are slaves to their organizations, are slaves to
their individual shame and guilt, are slaves to their
national identity, or slaves to their sophisticated
analysis. But we don't know the taste of freedome (unless
shopping malls qualify).
Ask the insurgentes what freedom is. They will tell you
that one stopos being a slave when one loses the fear of
death. They will tell you that moral courage is the only
weapon we have. That as long as we dilly dally with our
sensitivities and insecurities and call upon law degrees,
and fancy resumes, and judgments about the quality of our
fight we cannot fight. As long as we insist on our VCRs and
health insurance, and paid vacations the weapon of moral
courage is lost to us, because we are lost to ourselves. We
will continue to be slaves in a gilded cage.
Special products of the United States. Empty
automatons punching the remote control seeking a slice of
human experience in one-dimensional images, because we're
too frightened to look at who we are and how we live. We
can, of course, do as the wealthy Haitians do. We can build
a monstrous wall on our borders. Then each of us can, in our
homes, live behind a wired fence, protected by guard dogs
and shrouded behind thick curtains of darkness. That way,
some of us can live out our lives in relative comfort, and
the hell with the next generation. They can deal with the
mounds of public debt and garbage, the orphans, the streams
of immigrants running from dictatorships our own government
is protecting.
I know you think I'm raving. It's out of balance,
though, folks. We cannot escape the destruction we condone.
We'll have to deal with it one way or another, sooner or
later. And it will not change until we fight it--yes, us
slaves in our gilded cage.
My days are filled with dizziness and nausea now. The
rage seems to compensate and I still work 14 hour days,
writing, planning and doing interviews. I'm on the plane to
Washington, D.C. now. I'm told that it is hopeless. That the
State Department has total confidence that the PRI
government has changed. Raul Salinas has been imprisoned,
they say--it signals an end to government with impunity.
Chiapas remains none-existent to them--only so many Indians
to murder before they get their hands on the oil. These
lives are dispensable in the consummation of a private
The Mexican government will get more desperate. It is
March 6th. They have 3 weeks to find the EZLN. They could
care less that there are unarmed civilians in the mountains.
Better for them that they die; that the EZLN lose face, that
its social base, desperate with hunger and sickness weaken
and fall. Better for them that these communities disappear.
They will, in these next three weeks, attempt to isolate and
devastate the EZLN.
Then the rains will come. The tanks will be immoveable
and the guns will rust. Then it will become that protracted
war which will be as devastating and as cruel as any in
So, on this day I plead with you once again. This is
the opportunity of those of us committed to non-violence to
stop a war. To denounce economic policies which we know to
be a dismal failure. To pick up our only weapon, our moral
No more scraggly demonstrations which fade away into
nothing. Take one action a week. Act upon our priorities:
Denouncement of human rights abuses, humanitarian aid, media
exposure. Do one thing and do it well. If all you can do is
to spend all your time convincing one prominent person to
denounce the human rights abuses then do it.
Each of us will be like raindrops. Some bigger than
others, some which unify sufficiently to become sheets of
water. But there must be enough of us to become a
torrential rain. And we must be sufficiently convinced so
that the rain does not stop. It gathers strength, it pounds
away slowly at the annals of power, until its constant,
consistent force begins to wear it down. The conflict in
Mexico is not just about Chiapas. It is about the violence
of poverty and injustice. It is not a separate "issue" which
does not affect us. It is about our privilege at the
expense of everyone else.
Los watcho. Wish me luck in the colds of the northeast. Cecilia Rodriguez.

P.S. I did not send this soon enough to get the benefit of
your good wishes. Outside the Baltimore airport we were
stopped by five police cars, including an undercover agent.
The charge was driving 65 in a 55 mile an hour speed zone,
and illegal crossing of two lanes (?). The consequence was
an hour and a half detainment, a body search of all of us,
and a search of the vehicle by a dog. We were informed we
were being detained, because the dog had sniffed something.
My purse was searched at least four times, and they leafed
through my passport several more. It was cold and wet and at
the end we were let go without any further comment. It is
really cold in Washington D.C.
***---------------------> End of Original Mail <---------------------***