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Mexico: Day 3: Thousands of Zapatistas Join National ‘March for Peace’

This post is part of our special coverage Mexico's Drug War.

Subcomandante Marcos sent a letter [en] earlier this month to show solidarity with poet Javier Sicilia and his call to all Mexicans to protest on May 8, 2011, to demand a change of strategy towards the fight against drug trafficking in Mexico.

Early on Saturday, May 7, on the third day of #marchanacional (national march), Emilio Osorio (@oemilio) tweeted photos of the peaceful and silent demonstration of the EZLN (Zapatista Army of National Liberation) in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas.

Around 20,000 Zapatistas marched [es] all the way to the center of San Cristóbal, where Comandante Tacho read a letter [es] from Subcomandante Marcos:

NO SE TRATA DE VER QUIÉN ES INDÍGENA Y QUIÉN NO.

NO SE TRATA DE VER QUIÉN ES MÁS RICO O MÁS POBRE.

NO SE TRATA DE QUIEN ES DE IZQUIERDA, DE CENTRO O DE DERECHA.

NO SE TRATA DE SI SON MEJORES LOS PANISTAS O LOS PRIÍSTAS O LOS PERREDISTAS O COMO SE LLAME CADA QUIEN O TODOS SON IGUALES DE MALOS.

NO SE TRATA DE QUIEN ES ZAPATISTA O NO LO ES.

NO SE TRATA DE ESTAR CON EL CRIMEN ORGANIZADO O CON EL CRIMEN DESORGANIZADO QUE ES EL MAL GOBIERNO.

NO.

DE LO QUE SE TRATA ES DE QUE PARA PODER SER LO QUE CADA QUIEN ESCOGE SER, PARA PODER CREER O NO CREER, PARA ELEGIR UNA CREENCIA IDEOLÓGICA, POLÍTICA O RELIGIOSA, PARA PODER DISCUTIR, ACORDAR O DESACORDAR, SON NECESARIAS LA PAZ, LA LIBERTAD, LA JUSTICIA Y LA VIDA.

IT IS NOT ABOUT WHO IS AND WHO IS NOT INDIGENOUS.

IT IS NOT ABOUT WHO IS RICHER OR POORER

IT IS NOT ABOUT WHO IS FROM THE LEFT, RIGHT OR CENTER.

IT IS NOT ABOUT WHO IS THE BEST, THE PAN OR PRI OR PRD OR WHATEVER THEY ARE CALLED BECAUSE THEY ARE ALL JUST AS BAD.

IT IS NOT ABOUT WHO IS A ZAPATISTA OR WHO IS NOT.

IT IS NOT ABOUT BEING WITH ORGANIZED CRIME OR WITH DISORGANIZED CRIME WHICH IS THE BAD GOVERNMENT.

NO.

WHAT THIS IS ABOUT IS THAT TO BE ABLE TO BE WHAT EACH ONE HAS CHOSEN TO BE, IN ORDER TO BELIEVE OR NOT BELIEVE, TO CHOOSE AN IDEOLOGICAL, POLITICAL OR RELIGIOUS BELIEF, TO DISCUSS, AGREE OR DISAGREE, PEACE, FREEDOM , JUSTICE AND LIFE ARE NECESSARY.

Zapatista Women in San Cristóbal de las Casas. Image by @oemilio

Zapatista Women in San Cristóbal de las Casas. Image by @oemilio

The march arrived at the National University (UNAM) in Mexico City in the evening. Students received everyone with water and apples, as well as food for the participants of the caravan. A booth with free oranges and water that was collected through donations, was available during the whole event.

Spirits were high and participants got to meet many of the families that are claiming justice for their killed or missing sons and daughters. I spoke to Rosalia, whose 16-year-old daughter Fernanda was assassinated two years ago. Rosalia joined the crowd silently to listen to the testimonies of other parents on the stage where the orchestra performed Mozart's Requiem in memory of more than 35,000 deaths and more than 8,000 people missing during these four years of the ‘War on Drugs’.

Fernanda's Mother. Image by Geraldine Juárez.

Fernanda's Mother. Image by Geraldine Juárez.

Student Adriana Morlett disappeared after going to check out a book from the library in the National University, exactly one year ago on May 7 [es]. Her father was present and claimed angrily:

¡Vivos se los llevaron, vivos los queremos!

You took them alive, we want then alive!

Students also read a speech in solidarity with the march, demanding education, protection and that politicians stop using femicides as political spoils. Students also denounced the increase of militarization in Mexico, citing Ciudad Juárez as an example, and said this war is “an economic war between cartels”.

Otilio Cantú from Monterrey explained [es] he is joining this national protest because he wants justice and is making an effort to keep trusting institutions:

El único crímen que cometío mi hijo fue levantarse a las 5 de la mañana para ir al trabajo y tener una camioneta blanca. Una personal normal no dispara 15 balas.

The only crime that my son committed was to go to work at 5am and have a white truck.  A normal person does not shoot 15 bullets.

I spoke briefly with Julián Le Barón from Chihuahua, an important organizer of this protest who has been marching all the way from Cuernavaca since the first day.

I'm from the north and this is a sea of people for me. Everybody in Chihuahua is very afraid; they don't go out of their houses. Some people think I'm putting others in danger because I speak out, but others came with me. Tomorrow we will present a National Accord that can hopefully set the start to rebuilding the country and we want to sign it in Ciudad Juárez, the place that has suffered the most.

Julián Le Barón in the National University of Mexico. Image by Geraldine Juárez.

Julián Le Barón in the National University of Mexico. Image by Geraldine Juárez.

Poet Javier Sicilia gave a press conference early on Sunday, May 7 before continuing on his way to the main square in Mexico City with the #marchanacional:

We need to have the guts to do it, to unify, to transform.

This needs to have its own place in the media. Not me.

I'm a citizen. I'm only one voice.

This post is part of our special coverage Mexico's Drug War.

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