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Palabra del Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional


Twelfth part: Fragments. Fragments of a letter written by Subcommander Insurgent Moises sent, a few months ago, to a geography distant in space but close in thought:

Twelfth part: Fragments
Fragments of a letter written by Subcommander Insurgent Moises sent, a few months ago, to a geography distant in space but close in thought:

“Sixth Zapatista Commission.

April 2023


Because then it would be something like, in the face of the terrible storm that is already hitting every corner of the planet, even those who thought themselves safe from all evil, we did not see the storm.

I mean, we don’t just see the storm, and the destruction, death and pain that it brings. We also see what comes next. We want to be the seed of a future root that we will not see, which will then be, in turn, the grass that we will not see either.

The Zapatista vocation, if someone pushes us to a laconic definition, is “to be a good seed.”

We do not intend to leave for inheritance a conception of the world to the next generations. Neither to inherit our miseries, our resentments, our pain, our phobias, or our philias. Nor for them to be a mirror with a more or less approximate image of what we assume is good or bad.

What we want to leave for inheritance is life. What other generations do with it will be their decision and, above all, their responsibility. Just as we inherited life from our ancestors, we took what we considered valuable, and we assigned ourselves a task. And, of course, we take responsibility for the decision we made, for what we do in order to accomplish that task, and for the consequences of our actions and omissions.

When we say that “It is not necessary to conquer the world, it is enough to do it again”, we move away, definitively and irremediably, from the current and previous political conceptions. The world we see is not perfect, not even close. But it is better, without a doubt. A world where everyone is who they are, without shame, without being persecuted, mutilated, imprisoned, murdered, marginalized, oppressed.

What is that world called? What system supports it or is dominant? Well, that will be decided, or not, by those who live there.

A world where the desires to hegemonize and homogenize learn from what they caused in this time and other times, and fail in that world to come.

A world in which humanity is not defined by equality (which only hides the segregation of those who “are not equal”), but by difference.

A world where difference is not persecuted, but celebrated. A world in which the stories told are not those of those who win, because no one wins.

A world where the stories that are told, whether in intimacy, or in the arts, or in culture, are like those that our grandmothers and grandfathers told us, and that teach not who won, because no one won and, therefore, nobody lost.

Those stories that allowed us to imagine terrible and wonderful things and in which, between the rain and the smell of cooking corn, coffee and tobacco, we managed to imagine an incomplete world, yes, clumsy too, but much better than the world that our ancestors and our contemporaries have suffered and are suffering.

We do not intend to leave for inheritance laws, manuals, worldviews, catechisms, rules, routes, destinations, steps, companies, which, if you look closely, is what almost all political proposals aspire to.

Our goal is simpler and terribly more difficult: to leave life for inheritance.


Because we see that this terrible storm, whose first gales and rains are already hitting the entire planet, is arriving very quickly and very strongly. So, we don’t see the immediate. Or yes, but according to what we see in the long term. Our immediate reality is defined or in accordance with two realities: one of death and destruction that will bring out the worst in human beings, regardless of their social class, their color, their race, their culture, their geography, their language, their size; and another of starting over, from the rubble of a system that did what it does best, that is, to destroy.

Why do we say that the nightmare that already exists, and that will only get worse, will be followed by an awakening? Well, because there are those, like us, who are determined to look at that possibility. Minimal, it’s true. But every day and at all hours, everywhere, we fight so that this minimal possibility grows and, although small and unimportant –just like a tiny seed—, it grows and, one day, it becomes the tree of life that will be of all colors or won’t be at all.

We are not the only ones. In these 30 years we have leaned out into many worlds. Different in ways, times, geographies, own stories, calendars. But equal only in the effort and the absurd gaze placed on an untimely time that will happen, not because of destiny, not because of divine design, not because someone loses so that someone wins. No, it will be because we are working on it, fighting, living and dying for it.

And there will be a meadow, and there will be flowers, and trees, and rivers, and animals of all kinds. And there will be grass because there will be roots. And there will be a girl, a boy, a child who will be alive. And the day will come when she/he will have to take responsibility for the decision she/he makes about what to do with that life.

Isn’t that freedom?


And we will tell you the story of the indigenous woman of Mayan roots, over 40 years old, who fell dozens of times while learning to ride a 20-wheeled bicycle. But also, got up the same number of times and is now riding a 24 or 26-wheeled bicycle and, with it, she will reach the medicinal plants courses.

Of the health promoter who will arrive on time, to a remote community without a paved road, to administer anti-viper serum to an elderly man attacked by a nauyaca viper.

Of the indigenous, autonomous authority who, with her ‘nagüa’ and her ‘morraleta’, will arrive on time to an assembly of “as women that we are” and will be able to give the talk on feminine hygiene.

And that, when there was no vehicle, gasoline, driver or passable road, to the extent of our development and possibilities, health would reach a champa in a corner of the Lacandon jungle.

A champa where, around a stove, raining and without electricity, the education promoter will arrive, also by bicycle, and, among the smell of cooked corn, coffee and tobacco, she will hear a terrible and wonderful story, told in the voice and tongue of an old woman. And in that story there will be talk about Votán, who was neither man nor woman nor “otroa”. And it was not one, but many. And she will hear her say: “that is what we are, Votán, guardian and heart of the people.”

And that, already at school, that education promoter will tell the Zapatista boys and girls that story. Well, more like the version that she will make of what she remembers having heard, because it couldn’t really be heard, due to the noise of the rain and the muffled voice of the woman who was telling the story.

And about “the cumbia of the bicycle” that some musical youth group will create and that will relieve us all from hearing “the cumbia of the frog” for the umpteenth time.

And our dead, to whom we owe honor and life, perhaps will say “well, we have finally entered the age of the wheel.” And at night they will look at the starry sky, without clouds to hide it, and they will say “Bicycles! From there, the spaceships follow.” And they will laugh, I know. And someone alive will start a tape recorder and a cumbia will be heard that all of us, the living and the dead, hope is not “la del moño colorado.” 


From the mountains of the Mexican southeast.
In the name of the Zapatista boys, girls, men, women and ‘otroas’.
Subcommander Insurgent Moisés.
General Coordinator of the “Tour for Life”.
Mexico, April 2023.”

These fragments are taken from the original, and with the authorizations of the sender and recipient.
I attest.

The Captain.
November 2023



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