January 25, 1997




The pre-military campaign of the government has begun. The Mexican federal army is saturating its barracks with troops and armaments; the military patrols have doubled in size; planes and helicopters are practicing time and again the surgical attack; the Public Ministers are preparing to count the captured and dead. The Division Leaders of Operation Rainbow have their orders sitting on their desk. They were accompanied by a presidential promise that there would be no turning back.

In the southeastern mountains the Zapatista rebels, the vast majority of whom are ndigenous people, resist and wait for answers. They have on their side reason, history and legitimacy. The armed forces of the government cast their shadow of death over the dignity that animates all of those who live and die for the--"everything for everyone, nothing for us"-- but their plans do not include surrendering.

(EZLN document, Questions, published January 24,1997)

It is important to raise another series of very practical questions: Was the payment of the debt ahead of time by the Mexican government to the United States and the International Monetary Fund done to ensure that the Mexican Stock Exchange not be impacted by the effects of a sudden social explosion in Chiapas?

Is the escalation of violence that is growing orchestrated to justify the devaluation of the peso that was recommended by experts (see the article of Ilan Semo in the January 22, 1997 La Jornada), with the intent that the devaluation be blamed on the Zapatistas and therefore avoiding damaging the image of the PRI?

(Jaime Aviles, The Village Idiot, January 25, 1997)

The national office of the National Commission for Democracy in Mexico has declared a red alert and calls on all people of conscience, commitment and faith to take action to prevent the re-initiation of a full-scale conflict in Chiapas. Conditions have severely deteriorated in recent days, and the possibility of open warfare is very real. Conditions are of the utmost urgency as it appears that Zedillo is prepared to go to war to wipe out the Zapatistas, and U.S. financial interests seem to be a driving force. We ask that all forces possible be marshaled to target both the Mexican and U.S.government as well as U.S. financial and corporate interests. Phone calls, faxes, telegrams and protests should be directed at the Mexican consulates, President Zedillo, U.S. Congressional representatives, the U.S. Secretary of State, and the heads of U.S. Fortune 500 corporations and mutual funds. These leaders must hear from the general public in the United States that no military action can be taken against the Zapatistas, that a peaceful solution to the conflict must be developed. National media also should be contacted and pressured to send reporters to the region.

Last week NCDM issued a call for protests at all of the Mexican consulates for January 31st. Broad mobilization for those actions is critical to send a message to the Mexican government from the U.S. people that the San Andres agreements regarding indigenous rights be respected.

Please join us in demonstrating that the Zapatistas are not alone, that their just and dignified struggle for democracy, liberty and justice is ours, and that we will not allow them and the hope for humanity that they create to be erased.

National Committee for Democracy in Mexico

Email: moonlight@igc.apc.org