March 9, 2001
Preparations are being finalized for the departure of a Chicano/Mexicano delegation, to Mexico where it will be participating in the Ejercito Zapatista de Liberación Nacional's (EZLN) march into Mexico City, which began this last February 25. Most of the delegation will be departing this Thursday and will be returning from Mexico City on Tuesday March 13. While in Mexico City, the delegation will be staying and operating out of the Hotel Catedral.
The delegation plans to participate in the following Zapatista sponsored events: Friday, Zapatista caravan and events at Milpa Alta, D.F.; on Saturday, caravan from Milpa Alta to Xochimilco, D.F.; and Sunday March from Xochimilco into Mexico City's Zocalo. On Monday, some members of the delegation will be meeting with leaders from the Democratic Revolution Party (Partido de la Revolución Democrática, PRD). The focus of the meetings will be a dialogue on issues impacting Mexicanos in the United States and on developing an "acercamiento" with the PRD.
Organized under the auspices of the National Alliance for Human Rights, a networking advocacy entity, the twenty-three-person delegation includes persons from California, Texas, Utah, and Washington and is comprised of scholars, organizational representatives, students, and community leaders. Included in the delegation are representatives of various organizations, Comite Pro-Uno (Maywood), La Coordinadora (National), League of United Latin American Citizens (National), Mexican American Democrats (Texas), Mexican American Political Association (California), Culpulli (San Bernardino), National Chicano Moratorium (Los Angeles), La Union del Barrio (San Diego), La Voz de Aztlan (Los Angeles), Inland Empire Latino Lawyers Association (San Bernardino/Riverside), Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (UCR), Los Dorados del Valle (High Desert).
According to the delegation's facilitator, Armando Navarro, Professor at the Department of Ethnic Studies, University of California, Riverside, "The Zapatista Peace March is truly an unprecedented historical event that could very well shape the present and future politics of Mexico, which will have implications for all of us here in the United States."
Navarro added, "Mexico is at a crossroad, a critical juncture, particularly the administration of Vicente Fox, where the options are peace or an escalation of the present internal war."
The primary purpose of the delegation's participation in the Zapatista Peace March is to demonstrate their solidarity with the Zapatistas and to wholeheartedly support their three demands for peace, which are: (1) Removal of the Mexican military from seven bases in Chiapas, (2) Release of all Zapatista political prisoners, and (3) Support the San Andreas Peace Accords.
"The delegation's participation in the Zapatista Peace March is an illustration of the growing nexus between Mexicanos and Chicanos in the United States and those in Mexico struggling for social justice and human rights," concluded Navarro.