January 4, 1995
For the past five months the Commission has worked to establish its mission. Its tasks and functions have evolved. Local groups and individuals have affiliated. The Commission now has a presence in almost every region in the country as well as contacts in Canada and extensive relationships in Mexico. Apart from carrying out public education, the Commission has also worked with local media. Local committees have carried out a good bit of fundraising, most of which has gone directly to support the people of Chiapas. The last intense effort was the organization and completion of a humanitarian aid caravan which in the period of one month managed to generate three tons of food, medicine and clothing and was enormously helpful to the people in Chiapas as they faced the militarization in December.
The essence of the work of the Commission is to struggle for peace and democracy; to give people in the United States an independent peaceful option for information and coordinated action. It is symbolic of the EZLN's acknowledgement of the importance of international involvement and of peaceful civic action. Like the Democratic National Convention in Mexico, the existence of the Commission embodies the hope of the EZLN that peaceful civic action, in the United States, can deter and re-shape the intervention of the United States in the affairs of Mexico.
What kind of intervention you say? How about the latest news about the $9 billion the USA will pledge to Mexico in order to salvage its floundering peso? How about the $6 billion floated in 1988 to help the PRI overcome its fraudulent election, again in March of 94 to survive the shock of the assassination of Colosio, and the $214 million in military sales from 1988-1994? In the name of its investments, the US inadvertently continues to support the PRI, a corrupt dictatorship which has controlled the fate of Mexico for the past 65 years. This blind support denies the Mexican people the opportunity to define their own destiny.
In July of 1994 when I was named by Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos to organize for the EZLN, he pointed out to me "..if the people are interested in the success of genuine democracy in Mexico and find your work useful they will support you." Instead of commissioning a high-powered lobbyist or a public relations firm, the EZLN chose to commission a group of grassroots people with a great deal of hope, energy and commitment.
Not enough to counter the power of $9 billion you say? We believe it is the strongest and the only foundation for building an alternative vision. We believe an alternative vision must be built from the ideas and actions of the people who are being victimized by economic policies which place profits over human beings. We believe that honest people of many backgrounds and in many countries are starving for an ounce of integrity, hope, and truth. It is for that reason that the EZLN has survived in Mexico and captured the imagination of those of us in the international community. We believe that the past years of "economic re-structuring" have been devastating to the world's peoples and natural resources, and that now is the time to begin to seek out an alternative.
We believe that the narrow and belligerent ideology of the World Bank, the IMF, and the handful of billionaires in the world is beginning to run its course. We think that those of us with sufficient vision to believe that human beings are capable of a better world, must be about our business of creating, in the words of the EZLN, a new political morale and new political relationships.
In the five months of its existence the Commission has had a consistent presence in the National Democratic Convention, has made public presentations in California, New York, and Montana, has issued three urgent action alerts, and has begun to open public relations with the United Nations, the Carter Center, and Reverend Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow Coalition.
The organizing has not been difficult. With the enthusiasm and sacrifice of hundreds of volunteers all over the country the Commission has managed to cast a far-flung net of information and engagement. The financing as always, is another matter. We have many plans and needs for the New Year. We would like our newsletter to be much more frequent and well-presented. We would like to have a greater presence in the media, and make many more public presentations. We would like to establish a stronger distribution system for the videos, books, and other educational materials from Mexico. We would like to organize a translating and public information team which can get more comprehensive information to you. We would like to work closer with local committees and have a better staff capacity.
In order to grow in strength and sophistication we need your support. Please send donations of any size possible. The need to quickly build a national network and establish a public profile has far outstripped our resources. Unless we receive help from you we will be forced to close our office in February of 1995. Contributions to the Commission are tax-deductible. Help us to prepare to grow to meet the challenges of the New Year. 1995 will be an extraordinarily difficult year for the people of Mexico. Wishing you the best I remain,
National Commission for Democracy in Mexico,