Apr 5, 2012

López Obrador calls for reconciliation with EZLN to move the country forward

Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) presidential candidate Andres Lopez Obrador became the first candidate to publicly reach out to the militant EZLN movement in Chiapas. AMLO made headlines by declaring that if he were Mexico's next president, his administration would abide by the San Andres Accords- agreements that the EZLN had arrived at with the Mexican government in 1996 but which have never been respected. The San Andres Accords offer official recognition of indigenous peoples, their cultures, and their rights. AMLO, the leftist candidate, had been criticized by Zapatista leader Subcomandante Marcos in the lead-up to the 2005 elections. 

La Jornada: From the Plaza de la Paz, Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador called on the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional), or EZLN, for reconciliation in order to move Chiapas and the country forward. “I extend my hand in a sign of respect, in admiration, for those who fight for justice.”

I want to call on those who, “in 1994, due to violence, authoritarianism, and poverty, rose in rebellion; I call on all those involved in the Zapatista movement to look for ways to unite, to work together, to reconcile and look above all to improve living and working conditions in Chiapas and throughout the country,” he said in his speech.

“I also extend my hand in a token of reconciliation, to seek unity amongst all to move our people, our country, forward,” said López Obrador, eliciting loud applause.

“I repeat three words: reconciliation, progress, justice, and as justice is concerned, my commitment is to comply with the San Andrés Larráinzar accords.”

It was the first time in the campaign that any presidential candidate has reached out to the EZLN, a group with which the PRD has had differences since 2005 when Subcomandante Marcos criticized López Obrador.

Neither PAN candidate Josefina Vázquez Mota or PRI candidate Enrique Peña Nieto made any reference to the rebel group in their recent visits to the area.
Don’t forget to love thy neighbor

In front of the Cathedral of Santo Domingo, López Obrador said he had mixed feelings being in such an emblematic place for Chiapas, remembering the great bishop of Chiapas, Samuel Ruiz García, who died in 2011.

López Obrador asked the almost 10,000 people, including indigenous supporters and party activists promoting his candicacy (PRD, PR, and the Citizen’s Movement) to not forget to love their family or their neighbor, “to avoid falling into individualism, to always think of others, and to not turn away from suffering. That is real solidarity, real brotherhood.”

He also made it clear that he had no problem with the governor of Chiapas, Juan Sabines, with whom he did not meet during his visit, unlike Peña Nieto and Vázquez Mota.

“I’m not seeing him due to a scheduling conflict; we have no quarrel with anyone, and Governor Sabines is no different.”

López Obrador arrived at 4:30pm, just in time to lead the rally in San Cristobal de las Casas. When he got off the flight from Mexico City to Tuxtla Gutierrez, he hadn’t eaten anything and as soon as the event ended, he traveled to Palenque, where he will rest at his farm with his family for the Holy Days from Thursday through Sunday.

In his speech, he noted that the National Regeneration Movement (Movimeitno Regeneración Nacional) “wants justice, not revenge. That is why we fight. Not to hate, not to hold grudges. We must unite and strengthen our moral and spiritual values, that is the ‘loving republic.’”

Again, López Obrador blasted Peña Nieto - to the satisfaction of the attendees, many of whom were indigenous people who were dressed in traditional garb, reflecting their overwhelming poverty. He said, “he says he is the one who you want to elect as Mexico’s president, although that is yet to be seen. Do you really think that, given the way things are in this country, this candidate fabricated by broadcasters, who introduce him like they’re on an infomercial, will be able to solve these large and serious national problems? You need no more than see him. He embodies corruption, frivolity, and banality. Who else would think to come to one of the poorest areas of Mexico in a helicopter?”

He also criticized PVEM candidate Manuel Velasco, who is supported by the PRI to be governor of that state. “But that,” said the leftist candidate, “is also yet to be seen.”

Accompanying the PRD candidate on stage was former PRI member and current Senator María Elena Orantes, although she could not speak on stage because she is currently in the veda electoral (an electoral suspension period where campaigning is prohibited.) The Senator disagreed with the PRI process for selecting Manuel Velasci. López Obrador also demanded political and social unity between the religions residing in the state. See Spanish original

Translation by Michael Kane, Americas Program

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