—“Reality is a lie.” That could have been the headline of the article published in the badly named Chiapan newspaper “Cuarto Poder” [Fourth Estate] (a press outlet nostalgic for the era of the haciendas and the gentlemen carrying pitchforks and knives) when it “denounced” that the street party celebrated in support of the teachers in resistance on June 9 in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, capital of the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas, was a sham. Parachicos,[ii] dancers, musicians, [the use of] traditional dress, people in wheelchairs, marimbas, drums, whistles and flutes, the best of Zoque art, and thousands of people paid respect to the teachers’ resistance. The so-called “success” of the media war against the CNTE [National Coordinating Committee for Education Workers] can be summed up in a poster that read: “Thank you teacher, for teaching me how to struggle.” Another said, “I’m not a teacher, but I am Chiapan and I’m against the education reform.”
But what bothered the executives at “Cuarto Poder” was the one that said, in so many words, “If you made the güero Velasco[iii] governor of the desert, in a few months sand would be scarce.”
—After more than three years of promoting the supposed “education reform,” Mr. Nuño[iv] still cannot present any argument even minimally related to education in favor of what is really his “payroll adjustment program.” His arguments have been, up to this point, the same as any overseer during the era of Porfirio Diaz: hysterical screaming, blows, threats, firings, and imprisonments—the same things employed by any sad and mediocre candidate that aspires to play the role of postmodern police.
—They have beat them, gassed them, imprisoned them, threatened them, fired them unjustly, slandered them, and declared a de facto state of siege in Mexico City. What’s next? Will they disappear them? Will they murder them? Seriously? The “education” reform will be born upon the blood and cadavers of the teachers? Are they going to replace the teachers’ encampments with police and military encampments? Are they going to substitute the protest blockades with those of tanks and bayonets?
—Lessons for Nuño on terrorism: the taking of hostages (which is what the detention of members of the CNTE leadership is), for whatever kind of terrorism (by the state as well as by its fundamentalist mirrors) is a mechanism to force dialogue and negotiation. We don’t know if there above they realize it, but it turns out that the other side (the teachers) is the one seeking dialogue and negotiation. Or did the SEP (Department of Education) affiliate with ISIS and start taking hostages just to sow terror?
—There is an anecdote that circulated among the government intelligence services of the great powers. It is said that in order to win the media battle during the Vietnam War, the North American intelligence services created—that is the word specifically—scenes of resounding victories, of the growing weakness of the enemy, of the moral and material strength of the US troops. As it turns out, the strategy called “winning hearts and minds,” initially destined to be waged in Vietnam, instead had to be waged in the streets of the big cities of the United States. After that April of 1975—which echoed back to another defeat at Playa Girón [Bay of Pigs] in dignified Cuba the same month, but in 1961—a North American official said: “the problem is that we fabricate so many lies for the media that we end up believing them ourselves. We created a staging for victory that hid our defeat. Our own stridency kept us from hearing the noise of our own collapse. It’s not bad to lie; the bad thing is to believe one’s own lies.” Anyway, clearly we Zapatistas don’t know much about the media, but in our humble opinion, it’s bad business to head up a press campaign for a shameless privatization with a sad, mediocre overseer who wants to be a policeman.
—What the teachers [maestros, maestras, maestroas] do is start children off in the first steps of science and art.
[i] A derogatory term referencing those who accept gifts or handouts—often a sandwich at a rally—from the political parties in return for support.
[ii] Traditional dancers from Chiapa de Corzo, Chiapas.
[iii] Manuel Velasco Coello is the governor of Chiapas, nicknamed el güero Velasco for his whiteness.
[iv] Aurelio Nuño Mayer is Secretary of the Department of Education.