Saturday, August 20, 2005

Marcos Rejects Promoting Abstention

Originally published in Spanish by EFE
Translated by irlandesa

El Universal
Dolores Hidalgo, Chiapas
Saturday, August 20, 2005

Marcos Rejects Promoting Abstention

“Subcomandante Marcos,” leader of the zapatista guerrillas, stated today that his new political proposal does not support any candidate for the Presidency of Mexico in the 2006 elections, but neither does it encourage abstention.

The masked leader today initiated the third of six meetings with social organizations which are seeking a broad front of the left. The meeting is being held in the community of Dolores Hidalgo (Chiapas, south), in what was previously a finca and which is now in the hands of rebel indigenous.

When the six meetings, which are being held on weekends, are concluded, in mid-September, the zapatistas will be undertaking a trip throughout the country in what has been called “The Other Campaign,” a rebel version running counter to the contest between the political parties which are seeking the presidency in the 2006 elections.

Marcos appeared in this community on horseback, with a stepped up guard of eight armed insurgents, in order to meet with 88 organizations and social movements, mostly from the Federal District, which make up a collective of more than 300 persons.

The rebel leader, who has directed strong attacks against the leftist Revolutionary Democratic Party (PRD), stated at the beginning of the meeting that, while he is not calling for voting for any candidate, neither is he calling for abstention.

“You’re free to vote for whomever you want,” he said, and he noted specifically that those who join in with the zapatistas in “The Other Campaign” won’t be compromising their electoral principles.

The leader of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation did, however, attack the three main Mexican political parties which, he said, are without any sense of principles programs or plans.

He criticized the governing party, the National Action Party (PAN) for having maintained the neoliberal model of its predecessor, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which he said was counting on the peoples’ “lack of memory.”

The PRI was in power for seven decades until it was defeated at the polls in 2000 by Vicente Fox, the standard-bearer for the PAN.

Marcos was adamant in his criticisms of the PRD and its main figure, the former mayor of the capital, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who is currently leading in the polls for the presidential election to be held on July 2, 2006.

The leader of the EZLN has called PRDs “traitors” and has accused López Obrador of having the same social economic model administered by President Carlos Salinas (1988-1994).

Attending the meeting in the community of Dolores Hidalgo were, among others, representatives of the Communist Party of Mexico, university organizations and the Francisco Villa Popular Front.