Zapatista Communique Feb 24

Robert Johnson (johnsorl@COLORADO.EDU)
Tue, 28 Feb 1995 02:02:59 -0700

/* Written 10:06 PM Feb 24, 1995 by moonlight in igc:reg.mexico */
/* ---------- "EZLN Communique (Jornada 2/24)" ---------- */
Jornada pg. 3 Feb. 24
*EZLN: the government plans to corner us in the mountains*
*There are no signs of the military pressure diminishing*

Hermann Bellinghausen, correspondent, Los Altos, Chiapas,
Feb. 23

According to the Zapatista National Liberation Army, all
that the government is doing is " to gain time to bring in
its soldiers, and to corner us more in the mountains. There
is no sign of a decrease in the military pressures."

In a dramatic declaration, read before a group of reporters
by an official of the EZLN who asked to be identified as
Nicodemo, we heard the first response of the Zapatistas to
the proposal of the government. The complete text, written
by hand, said the following:

"All that Zedillo says is a lie. All that they are doing is
to gain more days and time to bring in more soldiers and to
be able to corner us more in the mountains.

There is no sign that the military pressures have been
reduced. Every day they move deeper into the jungle. They
do not allow even the civilians to come down from the
mountains to look for food. Zedillo wants to murder us. He
is killing children by having them trapped in the mountains
without any food.

We again say to Zedillo that he is mistaken if he thinks
that he has conquered us. The EZLN will continue resisting
until there are signs of a withdrawl by the federal army,
and we are not going to give up.

It is clear that what Zedillo is doing is to force us to
start shooting so that he can better justify the war he is
conducting against the people and therefore be able to shoot
back at the people. But we aren't going to do that. The
land is ours, we live here, and we will resist."

Nicodemo, and an escort who was not identified, with his red
bandana over his face, as the rebels have become accustomed
to doing now that they are cornered, perhaps surrounded,
quickly appeared, sprung up in the road, just as had
occurred a year ago, before the dialogue in San Cristobal,
when the Zapatistas did the same, in order to conduct fast
and tense meetings with the press.

It did not appear to have rained in a long time. The
landscape creaked like a dry twig. The hills were dirt dry,
and the cornfields were cadaverous, ready to be burned.

In the areas near San Cristobal the presence of the Mexican
Army is abundant but discrete. The county seats of Los
Altos are virtually occupied by the Army, but for the moment
it is not notable. In the spots around the area, soldiers
can be seen playing basketball, getting haircuts, or
drinking sodas in the store of some local guy, very

The houses have white flags with the word peace flying from
long poles. This cat is a cat.

In the unexpected turn where Nicodemo spoke, a great silence
is heard; as in the "city sleeping" of Marcel Schwob: "this
country in which the silence appears to grow, there was no

The Zapatista official insisted that the situation of the
communities in the jungle is more precarious. "They are
getting near," he said, "and there is more risk for the

In addition, in Los Altos there had been, at the beginning
of the year, an epidemic of pneumonia among the families who
are hiding in the mountains, when the Mexican Army made its
advances in December. Nicodemo confirmed that four children
have died.

The end was as abrupt as the beginning. He said goodbye, and
that we should leave, and they left. To return to the
"curse of silence" which Schwob spoke of, in his vigil?