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TO: Latin America, in the sad south of the American continent, Planet Earth, seventh planet in the solar system, if you are arriving from beyond, in other words, if you were coming from that star up there, no not that one, the other one, and were traveling towards the sun the same way as one would travel towards the interior, with fear and hope.

FROM: Insurgent Subcomandante Marcos


Chiapas, Mexico

Suppose it were not true that there is no alternative possible. Suppose that impunity and offense were not the only future. Suppose that the rickety borderline that separates war dorm peace might possibly not be continually weakened. Suppose that some foolish romantics were to believe that there can be a different world and a different way of life. Suppose, what is more, that these foolish romantics were to also believe that there a others that think the same way. Suppose the inadmissible, that these various crazy fools wanted to establish contact. And just suppose that they suppose that from their encounter something very reasonable might emerge. Wouldn't you want to be part of such a mad encounter of suppositions? Yes? Or no? Suppose your answer is no, then be serious; don't bother with these next few paragraphs, but simply make a note in the margin of this letter saying mistaken recipient. And don't even bother to return to sender.

Suppose your answer is yes, then put this letter to good use; use it to make a fire, for example, or an airplane, or a paper doll. Something that is at least worth a smile. Suppose that besides wanting to attend such an encounter, you actually intend to do so, then read on.

If you haven't by now given up on so much talk of encounters that you have confronted in this letter, you may be interested to know that the American Continental Encounter For Humanity and Against Neoliberalism, will take place in La Realidad (Reality). Just consider that. Now that we are submerged in suppositives, suppositions, and suppositories, let's suppose that you are considering attending. Supposedly then you'd want to know when and how.

We'd like you to accept our invitation so that on upcoming days in the month of April, history can be activated and shaken, and made to work, by your accompanying us at the American Continental Encounter For Humanity and Against Neoliberalism. We shall be, as dictated by the laws of the times, in La Realidad, one of those corners in the southeast of Chiapas, where pain becomes transformed into hope, thanks to a complicated formula of dignity and rebeliousness.

The days? They happen to appear on the calendar as April 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8. The year? The year we are suffering, 1996.

How? The how consists of certain details we won't elaborate on here so as to not cause indigestion or to inflict harm on our newly encountered setting of encounter such as encountered in this Invitation to an Encounter. Until such time as the necessary details reach the hands of the Organizing Committee . . . if they can be encountered.

So supposing, at least, if someone wanted to find you, you could then hide, . . . or find the one looking for you, because in this type of encounter, believe me, one must take the initiative. Pack up what you need, for example, a pencil (in case you might want to write something), paper of various colors (if for no other reason than to make paper dolls, should nobody be paying attention to you), a decent amount of string (in case you loose yourself in the encounter and must make your way back to -- back to where?), and patience and discretion.

We're experts at waiting, but will you be coming?

So much for that. Good health and, now that we're talking about encounters, let's hope that we shall encounter history,before history encounters us.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast. Mexico, March 1986

P.S.: You of cold air and formal invitations: Don't you admire the seriousness with which this breaker of laws issues an invitation to an exceedingly important international encounter? Don't you think it at least deserves a response, a no, a yes, and I don't know, with that response to be sent by the only means that guarantees its arrival,by paper airplane? Don't worry, the wind will serve as pilot, and your answer will reach us . . . . if it can find us . . .

Insurgent Subcomandante Marcos Zapatista Army of National Liberation Chiapas, Mexico



As one more of the many efforts to build a world based on the human values of democracy, liberty, and justice for all, the ZAPATISTA ARMY OF NATIONAL LIBERATION has called together the First Intercontinental Gathering For Humanity and Against Neoliberalism.

This Intercontinental gathering will take place from July 27 to August 3 of the current year and will be preceded by a preparatory gathering to be held on each continent. The Interamerican Gathering for which the Insurgent Subcomandante Marcos is extending a personal invitation to you will take place from April 3-8 in the indigenous community of La Realidad in the state of Chiapas, Mexico.

We are all aware of the short notice and limited preparation time for all the invited participants, but above all we are also keenly aware of the urgency to construct a truly different project, a true alternative to the system which has left millions of human beings without a home, without land, without work, without food, without health, without education, without liberty, without justice, without independence, without democracy, without peace, without a present and without a future.

The EZLN first gained national and international recognition on January 1st, 1994. Without using, but without surrendering their arms, this mostly Indian army has been fighting for over two years to peacefully obtain the right to a life with dignity for all. The Indian people of Chiapas are offering you the opportunity to participate in this unique exchange of knowledge, ideas and experiences, the chance for everyone to find out how each country lives under neoliberalism, but also to let everyone know how to fight against the system, and for humanity in every corner of the world.

We urge you to accept this invitation, and we look forward to your participation at the Interamerican Gathering in April. If this should prove to be completely impossible, we urge you to accept the invitation to participate in the Intercontinental Gathering during the last days of July and the first days of August in Chiapas, Mexico.

We need an immediate answer to the questionnaire and to the invitation the Subcomandante Marcos has made in the name of the EZLN, both of which are here enclosed.

Urgently awaiting your reply,

The Organizing Committee of the Interamerican Gathering for Humanity and Against Neoliberalism

Ofelia Medina Flora Guerrero Paulina Fernandez

Rodrigo Medellin Rebeca Yoma Gina Ogarrio

Mexico, March 8, 1996



In view of the time restrictions, instead of sending out invitations and waiting for the answers, the Organizing Committee for the Interamerican Gathering for Humanity and Against Neoliberalism asks you to collaborate by sending us your answers to the following questions as soon as possible:

1. Name:_________________________________________________________

2. Organization to which you belong:____________________________________

3. Do you accept the invitation made by the EZLN? Yes_____ No_____

4. Will you assist the Gathering of the American Continent from April 3-8, 1996 in the indigenous community of La Realidad in the state of Chiapas, Mexico? Yes_____ No_____

5. Will you assist the Intercontinental Gathering from July 27-August 8, 1996, in Chiapas, Mexico? Yes_____ No_____

6. If you cannot assist personally would you be willing to send a message, a text, or a video dealing with the main theme of the gathering? Yes_____ No_____

7. Will you present a written document at the gathering? Yes_____ No_____

8. In which work session would you prefer to register the theme of your document?

I.Economic Aspects_____ II.Political Aspects_____

III.Social Aspects_______ IV.Cultural Aspects_____

9. Can you make a voluntary contribution for the expenses of the gathering?

Yes_____ No_____

$US 30.00_____ $US 60.00_____ $US 90.00_____

Please send your answers to the following numbers in Mexico City: Telephone and fax: 52-5-511-2581 Telephone and fax: 52-5-606-1434

or by E-mail to either of the following addresses:

Organizing Committee of the Interamerican Gathering for Humanity and Against Neoliberalism

Ofelia Medina Flora Guerrero Paulina Fernandez C. Rodrigo Medellin Rebeca Yoma Gina Ogarrio

Mexico, March 8, 1996


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