“We will go to tell the Spanish people two simple things: One, we were not conquered. We continue in resistance and rebellion. Two, they don’t have to ask our forgiveness for anything,” the Zapatista women and men laid out in a statement that is a clear critique of President Lopez Obrador.
Mexico City (AP) — While Mexico prepares for various commemorations for the 500th anniversary of the conquest, and its President insists that Spain and the Vatican should ask forgiveness for those acts, the indigenous Zapatistas announced on Monday that they will make a trip in the opposite direction of the conquistadors to arrive in Madrid with three very clear messages: that they were not conquered, that they continue in rebellion, and that no one should ask forgiveness. The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), the guerilla that rose up in arms in the south of Mexico in 1994, explained in a communiqué1that it will be the women who will lead the trip that will arrive in Spain exactly five years after the fall of Tenochtitlán, the Mexica capital, at the hands of Hernán Cortes.
“We will sail from Mexican lands in the month of April of 2021… we will arrive in Madrid, the Spanish capital, the 13th of August of 2021- 500 years after the supposed conquest of what today is Mexico” but “not to threaten, reproach, insult or demand,” but rather to talk with the Spaniards. Zarparemos desde tierras mexicanas en el mes de abril del año del 2021 (…) llegaremos a Madrid, la capital española, el 13 de agosto del 2021 -500 años después de la supuesta conquista de lo que hoy es México-” pero “no para amenazar, reprochar, insultar o exigir,” sino para hablar con los españoles.
“We will go to tell the Spanish people two simple things: One, that we were not conquered. That we continue in resistance and rebellion. Two,that they do not have to ask our forgiveness for anything. Enough of playing with the distant past to justify, with demagogy and hypocrisy, the current and ongoing crimes,” continues the communiqué in reference to the assasination of fighters for social justice, or “the genocides hidden behind the megaprojects.”
The statement by the EZLN, a guerilla that, though it opted for social activism and self-determination decades ago, never surrendered its weapons, is a clear criticism of President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador, of the capitalist system, and of all of the nationalisms and assertions of supremacy that exist in today’s world.
Last year, López Obrador had asked the Pope and the King of Spain that they asked forgiveness for the crimes committed by the conquistadors, and the Catholic Church five centuries ago, an idea rejected by the Spanish government, and which sparked indignation in the European country, among other things, because it happened in the midst of a tense electoral campaign marked by nationalisms.
Last week the Mexican head of state insisted on the issue and stated that he trusted that there would be a “change in attitude, and that with humility, an apology would be offered, a forgiveness thinking of leaving behind this confrontation, and uniting us.”
The Zapatistas, however, reminded in their communiqué the illustrious names of culture, of politics, or defense of human rights, and asserted that “neither the Spanish State nor the Catholic Church have to ask our forgiveness for anything.”
“We will not eco the phonies that ride our blood, thereby hiding the hands that are stained with it,” they added.
In the journey of the indigenous Mexican peoples, that will take place on the 20th anniversary of the caravan that took the Zapatistas to the Congress in Mexico City, they will also visit distinct points in Europe, which were not specified.
This article was originally published in Spanish by Sin Embargo on October 6th, 2020. https://www.sinembargo.mx/06-10-2020/3872524 This English interpretation has been republished by Schools for Chiapas.
- Note: EZLN Communiqués are regularly translated into several Colonial languages, that can be found at http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx