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Palabra del Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional

Ago012021

First results of the Popular Referendum

First results of the Popular Referendum
Zapatista Sixth Commission
Mexico

July 31, 2021.

To the victims and families of victims in Mexico:

To the organizations, groups, collectives and individuals who support the victims:

We present the first results we have received from the Popular Referendum[I]:

  1. As of 13:00hrs on July 31, 2021, the twelve Zapatista caracoles and their respective Good Government Councils have received the official decisions of 756 small towns, villages, communities and rancherías [rural farming communities] where the following Mayan languages are spoken: Zoque, Tojolabal, Mam, Tzeltal, Tzotzil and Ch’ol. The decisions come from Zapatistas, CNI communities and partidista [political party-affiliated] communities which came together in “extemporaneous”[ii] community assemblies, which is to say that they do not have an official, legal existence.
  2. The 756 originary communities have said “YES” in response to the question of whether they agree that whatever is necessary should be done to respect the rights of the victims and their families to truth and justice.
  3. What we have noticed up to now is that in many areas, the INE [National Electoral Institute] did not translate the referendum into Mayan languages. The INE did not explain what the referendum is about and in some places it simply dropped off ballot boxes without explaining to the townspeople what they are.
  4. The Zapatista communities did the work of explaining the importance of participating in the referendum and what the referendum is about. They did this in both partidista and CNI communities, and they did this in the communities’ mother tongues.

To our surprise, some partidistas communities where there are no Zapatistas held and continue to hold assemblies, and they have sent and continue to send their results to the Good Government Councils.

The partidista communities have thanked the Good Government Councils for explaining the referendum, and have said they will go to the polls tomorrow and will send us the count of how many people from their communities participated in the referendum with their official ID cards.[iii]

The gap created by the absence of representatives of the Mexican government and its institutions is being filled by “extemporaneous” individuals who took it upon themselves to translate the referendum into their originary languages and to explain what the referendum is about and its importance.

Not only did no one from the INE show up to explain anything: no one in any government capacity deigned to even try to go to any community (even though the government is supposedly the interested party in the referendum because their overseer ordered it).

The only thing the government officials have done is threaten people by saying that if they don’t go “vote” in the referendum, then their government support programs will be “cut.” They were sent to say: “If you don’t want to lose your cash handouts, go and put down ‘yes.’”

In addition, the government is lying because when it tells people to just go and vote “yes,” it says that the referendum is about whether to take the former presidents to trial.

Instead of explaining things to the people, they resort to threats and lies.

All that was needed was a bit of self-respect and political work.

  1. Even though according to the Mexican state they do not exist, the thousands of “extemporaneous” indigenous communities embrace the thousands of families of the victims of the decisions made at different levels of government in recent years.
  2. Although we do not legally exist according to the Mexican government, we ask you all – victims, families, and organizations that support them – to accept this embrace from those who have spent centuries (up to the present day) being victimized by the “decisions of political actors” of all governments across the entire political spectrum.

When we have the complete results, we will ensure they are shared with those who struggle for truth and justice for the victims and their families.

With this communiqué we announce that the Zapatista communities, as of July 31, 2021, are initiating their participation in the National Campaign for Truth and Justice.

That is all.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.
Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano
Zapatista Sixth Commission for the National Campaign for Truth and Justice
Mexico, July 2021

****

I The single question asked in the referendum is: “Do you agree that appropriate actions should be taken within a constitutional and legal framework to begin a process of clarifying the political decisions taken in the past by political actors, with the horizon of guaranteeing justice and respect for the possible victims’ rights?” An earlier draft of the referendum question circulated by AMLO named Mexico’s five most recent presidents in lieu of the indirect allusion to “past political actors.” For background on the referendum see this article in English: https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/mexico-holds-referendum-whether-probe-ex-presidents-2021-08-01/

II “Extemporaneous” is an allusion to the difficulty that Zapatista delegates to the Journey for Life have had obtaining passports through the Mexican Secretary of Exterior Relations (SRE): the Mexican government refers to non-official birth certificates, which is all that many rural-born Mexicans have, as “extemporaneous” or “untimely” and requires a great deal of additional documentation in order to be able to get a passport. See https://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2021/07/16/la-extemporanea-y-una-iniciativa-nacional/

III Not all community members may have a government-issued ID.

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