Manu Chao, Jose Saramago, Ernesto Sabato on Indigenous Counter-reform

[ZNET CHIAPAS NOTE:  The indigenous reform law was a key demand of peace negotiations between the Zapatistas and the government since 1996.  A gutted version of the law was passed in 2001 but was challenged in court.  The supreme court struck down the legal challenges to the law.  Below are some reactions by supporters of the indigenous of Mexico including noted writers Saramago, Sabato, and musician Manu Chao.  For more information on the law in question and the struggles around it, see ZNet’s Chiapas Watch.  Both of the notes below are translated by irlandesa.]


From the point of view of ethics and human respect, the decision by the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation means that the Mexican State considers the indigenous peoples to be their domestic enemies.


A State which has demonstrated little evidence of national honor in the face of the degrading demands, political as well as economic, which have come from outside, a State which has dealt indifferently, when not in complicity with, the expansion of crime and corruption of all kinds, is now the one which is using its judicial, and clearly discriminatory, power against the weakest part of the Mexican Nation.


The Indians of Mexico, who, like all their peers in America, have throughout History suffered the worst insults and the worst humiliations, have just received one more contemptuous slap in the face.  It has been given to them by the very ones who have the duty to defend them and to safeguard their interests and needs:  the State of Mexico, the government of Mexico, the tribunals of Mexico.  A dark page has just been written.


When President Fox declared, not very long ago, that he and his government wanted the Zapatista Army of National Liberation as social and political interlocutor, there was one of two things at play:  either he was unaware of the meaning of his words, which is unforgivable in a politician with his degree of responsibility, or he had this card hidden up his sleeve, which is unforgivable in any self-respecting person.


Now the government will be hiding behind a decision by the Supreme Court which, by no strange coincidence, will serve its systematic policies of exclusion of the indigenous communities.  History will not forget to note that President Fox and his government mandated a tremendous judicial error.  Now it is the turn of the Indians of Mexico to speak.




José Saramago
Ernesto Sábato

And now?


What way out?


What solutions?


The Supreme Court seems to have decided that there are none!


Ratifying a law which, one more time, does nothing to resolve the intolerable living conditions of millions of Mexicans.


That is how the door to dialogue and peace is so shamelessly shut.


Those without shame continue to pass their laws.


And, from Barcelona, I deplore it with all my heart…


— Manu Chao

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