As the president of Mexico menacingly threatened harsher intervention in Chiapas, thousands of Mexicans met in Queretaro Feb. 3-6 to further consolidate and strengthen the progressive movement.
"The conflict in Chiapas represents a constant threat," said President Ernesto Zedillo. He warned that "other strategies" would be pursued to end the conflict.
Zedillo's bellicose statement comes right on the heels of a $50-billion bailout of the banks given to Mexico by the U.S. government and the International Monetary Fund. Some weeks ago National Public Radio reported that representatives of the banks and investment firms put forward military intervention as a condition for the bailout.
But the progressive movement gathered some 4,000 people the first weekend in February, in the third such convention since last August. Its members noted that the real threat in Mexico right now is the danger of the loss of Mexico's sovereignty.
The real threat is possible military intervention by the Mexican government against the Zapatista National Liberation Army.
The objective of the convention held in Queretaro was to form the National Liberation Movement. Maria Jimenez, a representative of the National Democratic Commission from Texas, tells Workers World that this objective was successfully achieved.
According to Jimenez, the EZLN proposed the formation of this broad national movement whose main objective is to defeat the PRI, the ruling party in Mexico.
The National Liberation Movement will be composed of the National Democratic Convention, the Cardenas movement and the EZLN. The Queretaro meeting called for a "Week of Struggle," with the date to be finalized later.
Jimenez says the danger of military intervention is very high. Cattle ranchers and the agricultural industry are issuing dangerous denunciations against the EZLN complaining about the loss of profits. Landowners say nearly 2,000 estates have been seized by the peasant movement.
Spokespersons for the National Liberation Movement are calling on progressives in the U.S. to oppose military intervention. From Mexico City, Jose Alvarez y Casa told Workers World that the movement here is as key as the movement that opposed the war in Vietnam.
The threat of military intervention has not daunted the EZLN or those fighting for justice. A spokesperson for El Tiempo, the progressive newspaper in Chiapas, said the movement's objective "is to destroy the PRI by political means, not by armed means.
"The Zapatistas are the guarantors that, if we fail, they will relaunch their fight like before."
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