December (II)

translated by irlandesa

DECEMBER:  the Federal District, the Twelfth Etapa

(Second Image:  Mexico DF, the December of Acteal, or Why the Basque Question)

Stone and cloud continue traveling throughout the city and those projects which, one can see, are geared towards raising up another city for the powerful, one which will subjugate the other cities.

In order to ensure this, López Obrador has imported from the chaotic and brutal north the so-called Zero Tolerance Plan (and, along with it, comes Robo Cop Giuliani and his praetorian guard).  The plan is based on an article by criminologists G. I. Kelling and J. Q. Wilson, from 1982:  “Broken Windows.”  According to the article, there are circumstances which are favorable for the appearance and development of crime:  “There is an abandoned lot, weeds grow, someone breaks windows, adults no longer scold children for making noise, and the children, their adventures thus encouraged, become rebellious, families move out, garbage begins piling up, people begin drinking in front of stores, a drunk falls on the sidewalk and he can stay there until he recovers, beggars go around bothering passersby, and if there are beggars, tomorrow the thieves will arrive, and then the murderers.”

Did you follow the logic?  With this “impeccable” reasoning, the police do not go after big criminals, but instead they go after children and young people who could turn into beggars and drunks, who could, in turn, become thieves and murderers.  If you find some similarity with the “preventive war” doctrine which is fueling the Bush-Blair-Aznar war against Iraq, it is because you are not thinking well, since this is the “city of hope.”  Although, of course, individual rights will be reduced with this plan, conservative thinking will be advanced and all neighborhood solidarity that does not involve Public Ministry will be suspected of being “organized crime.”

What it ultimately involves is building a “security fence” around the city of Power, a “preventive fence” which must, in order to fulfill its task, exclude or confine the poor of this city, who are the ones which make the metropolis live and run.

Along with this one, López Obrador is working on another project:  an agreement with the big money of industry and commerce.  In order to obtain their blessing, the head of the Government is offering up a city under social and police control, and one which also has the necessary infrastructure for the new metropolis, where the rich will not be the ones on top, they will be the only ones.

These are the steps:  first, it is noted that it is necessary to stop the construction of housing in delegations in the DF periphery.  Then it is stated that it is essential to repopulate delegations in the center.  The Historic Center board is immediately created, headed by Carlos Slim Helú.  Then, three mega-projects are promoted:  the “financial corridor” (Reforma), the Alameda project and the Historic Center project.  Finally, it is announced that Carlos Slim is buying up land and old buildings throughout this area.  And so low cost housing will stop, under the pretext that it is no longer possible to continue growing towards the periphery.  At the same time, three delegations will be models of what the Global City will be.  The level of investments, education, medical services, communications services, and, of course, public security, will be in great contrast with the rest of the delegations.

Carlos Slim Helú, the richest man in Mexico and in Latin America, is not behind all of this, but in front of it.  In a kind of unauthorized biography (“Carlos Slim.  Retrato inédito.” Ed. Océano), journalist José Martínez Mendoza (who previously wrote a biographical sketch of Carlos Hank González) presents a profile of Señor Slim, who prides himself on being a self made man, a man who has carefully cultivated the image of having started at the bottom.  But he is probably referring to the bottom floor of his mansion, because Slim entered the list of great millionaires after having bought Teléfonos de Mexico (Telmex) for 400 million dollars, when its value was 12 billion dollars.  Who was the seller?  Carlos Salinas de Gortari.  Ever since 1984 – when he became associated with other businesspersons in Libre Empresa SA (LESA), which would buy para-state businesses – Slim has been working “amicably” with politicians.  And afterwards he did not limit his circle to PRIs, but broadened it to include PANs and PRDs, critical intellectuals and artists, media directors.

Sharing the same intelligence and pragmatism, Slim and López Obrador quickly “clicked” in a way that is unusual between politicians and businessmen.  But they both know that theirs is not friendship.  They are neighbors in Cuicuilco, they have common interests and, as dealers, they feign cordiality while zealously reviewing their accounts and, at the end of every meeting, look in their wallets to make sure nothing is missing.

There are not a few intellectuals and politicians who pride themselves on having a friendship with Carlos Slim Helú.  Some of them boast of “advising” the most powerful gentleman in Latin America.  But Señor Slim does not have “advisors” nor “friends,” he has employees.  It is just that some of them don’t know it.

One of them is Señor Felipe González Márquez, the former president of the Spanish government and currently escort of big European money.  Señor González makes frequent trips to Mexico in order to share with his “friend” Slim his taste for good food, growing bonsai, photography and billiards.  But it was years previously, in 1995, and through Slim Helú, that Felipe González, as president of the Spanish government, became “friends” with another person:  Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León.  In order to arrive at that time period, let us first visit the immediate past:

In the month of September of 2002, hours prior to the ruling by the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation on the indigenous counter-reform being made public, the EZLN (Zapatista Army of National Liberation) learned what the ruling would be and its meaning:  the three branches of the Union had joined together in order to decree the definitive cancellation of the path of dialogue and negotiation as a solution for the zapatista uprising.

We began working on one of the options which we had been considering since the end of 2001:  attempting at an international level what had failed at the national level.  And so the EZLN would send a delegation to Europe, for the purpose of appealing to international organizations and, supported by those in Mexico and in the world who sympathize with the indigenous cause, attempt to achieve the recognition of indigenous rights and culture.  It was to be a march similar to the one in 2001, but with a fundamental difference:  in the 2001 mobilization, the EZLN had limited itself solely and exclusively to the indigenous issue.  In the international march, that issue would be linked with struggles which exist throughout the world, in particular with those which have to do with the recognition of differences, resistances and rebellions, and most especially with opponents to the preparations for war which were already getting underway against Iraq.

We had thought that Europe would be a land where international warmongering could be counterposed, removing its logic, and this could radiate to the rest of the world.  It was not that we felt we had the ability to cause this international movement, but that it would be possible to contribute, along with other forces which were already active in social Europe, to getting something up and running.  We had thought that it would be the opportunity for participating more directly in the building of a world where all worlds fit.  In sum, we would not be going to Europe “on our best behavior,” our words would be those of rebellion.  The problem, of course, was how, and when, to go.  That is where we were when, on November 2, 2002, the Day of the Dead, a person made contact with the Comandancia General through a messenger.

In compliance with what had been agreed, we were not able to say much about this person, only that he was quite close to the circles of political and economic power between the years of 1993 and 1996.  After laying out the conditions as to discretion and secrecy, the person’s message stated, more or less, that he had information which might be useful to the EZLN.  And now I am citing verbatim:  “If you are interested, let me know.  It has to do with Acteal.”  It was not the first time that dissident people in the government had sent us information, sometimes true, sometimes false, and so we ordered him to say that he could send us what he knew.  This is what he revealed:

In the months following February of 1995, after the failure of Zedillo’s betrayal of the EZLN, along with the military offensive which accompanied it – and the theater of Raúl Salinas de Gortari’s detention having been exhausted – Generals Renán Castillo (military chief and de facto governor in Chiapas) and Cervantes Aguirre (Secretary of National Defense) were insisting on the need to activate paramilitary groups in order to confront the zapatistas (Renán Castillo had studied with the North Americans, and Cervantes Aguirre was enjoying a torrid honeymoon with his US counterpart, and so the option known at that time as “Columbia” had the backing of the North American State Department).

Zedillo however, was not done deciding.  In that same year of 1995, an individual from the Spanish government appeared.  A “close friend of the President,” said the one who had passed us the information, “who attended meetings which were not strictly social, but where matters of State were touched upon.”

At one of those meetings, Zedillo commented on the zapatistas and the problem represented by doing away with them, since they had public opinion on their side.  The individual from the Spanish government said that what he had to do then was to destroy the legitimacy of the zapatistas, and then strike.  Zedillo reminded the individual about the history of February 9 and its consequences.  The Spaniard clarified that he was not talking about that, but that, if the zapatistas were fighting for the indigenous, he had to make it look as if they were fighting against indigenous.  In Spain, said the one from that country, we have created some groups in order to counteract the Basque independence movements.  Zedillo said that he knew about the GAL (Anti-Terrorist Liberation Groups) and that there had been an investigation in order to determine governmental responsibilities in the kidnapping and assassinations of ETAs.  The Spaniard was not embarrassed, and he pointed out that killing and kidnapping assassins was not a crime, but a favor done for society.  He added that the GAL had done other things, such as carrying out attacks which were later attributed to ETA.  Zedillo asked whether the king knew about that.  The Spaniard responded:  “The king knows what suits him, and he pretends he doesn’t know what doesn’t suit him.”  He added that nothing had happened, just a few days of scandal in the press and now, since no one was going to delve more deeply when the dead are terrorists, that there are serious decisions which must be made for reasons of State.

Zedillo pointed out that that was of no use here, because the zapatistas were not terrorists.  “Make them terrorists,” the Spaniard said, and continued:  “What you have to do is to create an armed group of indigenous, have them confront the zapatistas, they fight, there are dead, the army comes in and establishes peace among all of them, and there you are.”  The Spaniard went on:  “We could lend you a hand with some advisors, some experience.  Of course we hope for some cooperation from your government in exchange, like the extradition of ETAs who are living in your country.”  Zedillo said that he wasn’t certain they were members of ETA.  “That’s not a problem,” said the Spaniard.  “We’re in charge of what they are.”  The Spaniard added that his government could also help the Mexican government in commercial negotiations with Europe, and he ended his argument with a sentence:  “Come on, Ernesto, if we Spanish are experts in anything, it’s in exterminating indigenous.”

That is the information which we received.  The rest could be quickly inferred:  Zedillo ordered the activation of paramilitary groups, the Spanish government gave advice and the Mexican government increased the extradition of alleged ETA members.

On December 22, 1997, a paramilitary group headed towards confrontation with zapatistas.  The zapatistas withdrew in order to avoid a clash among indigenous, and they warned non-zapatistas about the threat.  Las Abejas, unarmed and confident that nothing would happen to them because they were neutral, stayed.  The carnage began and ended, while police officers and soldiers waited patiently to go in and “establish peace” in the “confrontation” between indigenous.  The truth was discovered almost immediately thanks to the media.  The news went around the world and shook every noble human being.  In Los Pinos, Zedillo only repeated:  “Why children and women?”

With the blood of Acteal still fresh, interviewed by Mexican journalist Luis Hernández Navarro (La Jornada, March 10 1998), Felipe González had this to say about the killings:  “That always creates a tremendous commotion.  We live in that media globalization which causes a stir.  Mexico has the nobility which means that something like this is an explosive new story and it creates concern.  Much more serious situations in other areas don’t merit newspaper front pages, or they don’t manage to cross those barriers of communication.”  And so everything is a problem of exaggeration by the media…

Was Felipe González Márquez the person who talked to Zedillo about GAL, paramilitaries and the extradition of Basques?  Was it someone from his government?  Some recollections torn from the pages of previous calendars:

1995:  In Spain, the Conflicts Tribunal authorized Felipe González’ government to not turn over documentation tied to the Anti-Terrorist Liberation groups.  Founded on July 6, 1983, the GAL were responsible for more than 40 attacks resulting in 28 deaths, between 1983-1987.  In October of 1995, Ernesto Zedillo met privately with Felipe González in Bariloche, Argentina, during the fifth Latin American Summit.

In 1996, January:  Those accused of carrying out the “dirty war” against ETA complain that the entire matter of the GAL is a conspiracy aimed at “defeating” the then President Felipe González.  The PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers Party) keeps José Barrionuevo, former Minister of the Interior – indicted, along with former Secretary of State Security, Rafael Vera, for his terrorist activity – on their list of candidates for deputy.  Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León travels to Spain on his first state visit to that country.

In February:  Jaime Iribarren, parliamentary representative of Herri Batasuna, is detained, accused of having burned a digging machine.  Also detained at that time is Jon Idígoras, Batasuna leader, on the orders of Judge Baltasar Garzón, who wanted to tie him to the Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) organization.  Part of Idígoras’ “criminal” record is having sung a nationalist song during a visit by King Juan Carlos to Guernica in 1981.  A video circulates in which ETA members suggest a negotiation proposal with the Spanish State.  Felipe González rejects polls which show the Popular Party (PP) leading the PSOE.  In March, González’ PSOE loses the elections to Aznar’s Popular Party.  Spanish singer Raphael expresses his hopes for Aznar:  “I’m certain that he will know how to do justice to Franco’s memory.”

July of 1996:  Spanish justice condemns José Koldo Martín Carmona, deported from Mexico in November of 1995, to 122 years in jail.  Along with Lourdes Churruca, Koldo was accused of three attacks which did not produce any victims.  During the same time period, three young Basque persons were tried for having set fire to a police van.  The sentences requested for them ranged from 111 to 592 years in prison.

This same year, the book “Roldán-Paeza, the Swiss Connection,” was released, by journalist Juan Gasparini.  The book revealed certain aspects about corruption inside Felipe González’ government, especially as concerns Luis Roldán, the former director of the Guardia Civil.  Among the corrupt businesses is the Siemens company.  One of their lawyers, Ulrich Kohlí, in addition to selling anti-personnel mines to Saddam Hussein, laundered money for the Salinas de Gortari family.  Felipe González comes to the defense of his “friend,” Carlos Salinas de Gortari, praising his policies.

1998, July:  José Barrionuevo and Rafael Vera, tied to the GAL, are sentenced to 10 years in prison.  During the trial, Felipe González appears as a witness, and he alludes, on various occasions, to reasons of State as justification for specific serious decisions in critical situations.

In March of 1999, a news photo (La Jornada. Pedro Valtierra) shows Zedillo greeting Felipe González, under the complacent gaze of former Israeli prime Minister Shimon Peres.

In October of 2000, Zedillo dines with Felipe González in an upscale restaurant in the Polanco district, in Mexico City.

On October 25, 2001, journalist Raúl Trejo Delarbre, in “Society and Power,” points out that PRISA (Spanish) and Televisa (Mexican) have formalized the entry of Spanish money into Mexican radio.  In attendance are President Fox and the presidents of Televisa and PRISA, as well as Carlos Slim Helú, Felipe González Márquez and Lino Korrodi, thus violating Article 31, Section VI, of the federal law.  Also present was Juan Luis Cebrián, author of the book on Felipe González, The Future Is No Longer What It Was, and chief executive of PRISA.

In February of 2002, Zedillo makes his second official visit to Spain.  During dinner with Aznar, Zedillo recalls his meeting with the current president of the Spanish government in late 1994, and he expresses gratitude for Spain’s help in the Free Trade Agreement negotiations between Mexico and the European Union.  The king and Aznar express their thanks to Zedillo for Mexico’s “collaboration” in the extradition of alleged ETAs.

Throughout Ernesto Zedillo’s administration, 1994-2000, various Basque citizens were deported to Spain, accused of belonging to ETA.  Amnesty International has testimony that they were tortured.

In December of 2002, Judge Baltasar Garzón comes out in defense of the king, Felipe González and José María Aznar, whom he practically describes as “national heroes of democracy.”

In February of 2003, Aznar travels to Mexico in order to meet with Vicente Fox.  The media puts out that the trip is owing to the fact that the Spaniard will try to convince the Mexican to support the war in Iraq.  The truth is otherwise:  Aznar is coming to Mexico in order to convince Fox to not let the zapatistas travel to Spain.

(Information taken from the Mexican newspaper La Jornada, 1996-2003, journalists Pedro Miguel, Luis Javier Garrido, Marcos Roitman, Kyra Núñez, Jaime Aviles, Armando G. Tejeda, Rosa Elvira Vargas and Luis Hernández Navarro.  News agencies: AFP, ANSA, EFE, Reuters, IPS, AP).

Having gathered this information, the EZLN decided that the project of going to Europe should begin on Spanish soil and touch on the Basque Country issue.  They thought in that way to posit the obvious questions which would evolve from this and the responsibilities of the Spanish government.

Thus is answered the question which so many people asked:  “Why is the EZLN getting involved in the Basque Country issue?”  It was the Spanish government that involved the Basque issue in the indigenous struggle in Mexico, not us.

We zapatistas then considered it our duty to go to Spain, in order to demonstrate to the king, to Felipe González, to José María Aznar and to Baltasar Garzón, that they were lying about the “if the Spaniards are experts at anything, it’s at exterminating indigenous,” given that we are still alive, resisting and rebel.

We would not have been able to provoke a massacre in Spain, but we could provoke a debate.  And so we thought up the An Opportunity for the Word initiative.  There was, in addition, the problem that the Basque issue was considered taboo among progressive forces, and it could only be touched upon in order to condemn ETA’s terrorism, carefully ignoring two things:  one, the State terrorism, and the other, that ETA is not the only force fighting for the sovereignty of Euskal Herria.

We were not unaware of the fact at that time that touching on the Basque issue could cause uneasiness, but we believed that it was our duty to do so.  In addition, the zapatistas had other questions which were waiting to be answered.  On November 17, 2002, in the presentation of the Mexican magazine, Rebeldía, we warned about the duty, and we hinted at where our word was going to be directed.  Days later, we launched a provocation whose principal objective was Felipe González.  We failed to provoke González, but, in his place, wounded in the ego, fell Judge Baltasar Garzón.  The letter to the Madrid Aguascalientes noted that the zapatistas intended to go to Europe and to touch on the Basque issue.  Later, what happened, happened.

The EZLN never proposed mediating the Basque conflict, let alone telling the Basques what they should or should not do.  We only asked for an opportunity for the word.

Our proposal may have been stupid or naïve, or both, but it was never dishonest, nor did it mean to be lacking in respect.  That is not our way.

That was the zapatistas’ intention, without deceit or back room agreements.  We had thought to make the information which we had received public as we moved along through the legal demands in front of international bodies.

That is why, faced with the criticisms which we received from all sides – regarding why we were getting involved in something of which we were unaware –  we responded that we knew more about the Basque issue than many people thought, to wit, the Basque Country-Chiapas connection, that is, the connection between the terrorism of the Spanish State and of the Mexican state, international terrorism in fact.

We are revealing what we know at this time because we have “decided to cancel our trip to the Iberian peninsula.”

Our initiative was honorable and honest (we have our own history as moral guarantor), but it was quickly enveloped in the condemnation and lack of understanding from those who call themselves progressives, who, pressured by the media, did not want to wait to see the dénouement.  For them, we have only heart-felt reproach and nothing more, because malice is not fueled against those who, while capable of being petty, have been generous on other occasions.

The right did their work, and it benefited the proposal, since, by demonizing it and demonizing us, it was made known, and an unprecedented debate was provoked.

From the side of the “left,” someone dared, in a despicable and petty manner, to suggest that the EZLN’s distancing itself from ETA had been a condition of the Spanish government for allowing the trip by the zapatista delegation to Iberian lands.  Our distancing ourselves from the terrorism of the left is not new, it goes back to the founding of the EZLN, almost 20 years ago, and even earlier.

If we must refrain from participating in the An Opportunity for the Word encuentro, it is not because the criticisms, reproaches or petty accusations are keeping us awake.  It is because we cannot, in terms of our own ethics, participate in an encuentro which does not have the support of ALL the nationalist forces of the Basque Country, and which runs the risk of turning into a tribunal which judges those who are not present, instead of being a space for discussion and reflection on the paths of the Basque Country.

The responsibility for not having managed to convene the Basque forces is solely and exclusively that of the EZLN, in particular of he who is their spokesperson: Marcos (without military rank, for those who do not like that).  Our words (our way, as we say), instead of convening, wounded many honest and noble people in the Basque Country.  Although that was not our intention, that is what happened.  We truly regret it.

We wish to sincerely apologize to all those persons in the Basque Country whom we hurt.  Hopefully someday you might honor us with your forgiveness, because forgiveness among brothers does not disgrace.

Regarding the challenge to debate which was made to us by Judge Garzón, we have waited enough time.  Judge Garzón, despite being the challenger, has preferred to remain silent.  He has, thus, demonstrated that he is good for interrogating tortured prisoners, for being photographed with victims of terrorism and for engaging in self-promotion campaigns for the Nobel Peace Prize, but that he does not dare debate someone who is halfway intelligent.  And not because one might be more skillful with words, but because Garzón throws down laws when there is a lack of reason.  Previously we had accused Garzón of being a grotesque clown.  It isn’t true.  He is just a windbag and a coward.

We would especially like to thank the organizations of the Basque independence left, Herri Batasuna and Askapena, who were the only ones which responded positively to our initiative (or at least the only ones who let us know), as well  as those people, individually or collectively, in the Basque Country, in the Spanish State, in Italy and in Mexico who received our proposal with interest and honesty.

Perhaps some day our words will learn to reflect the affection, the respect and the admiration we feel for the Basque people and for their political and cultural fight.

Perhaps someday that encuentro might take place, and, giving the word a chance, the paths might meet to the tomorrow of independence, democracy, liberty and justice, which the Basque people, and all the peoples of the world, deserve.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos

Mexico, February 24, 2003.

Day of the Mexican Flag.

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