Zapatista March Prompts Cardinal´s Appeal

Archbishop Reminds of Need for Gospel Values

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MEXICO CITY, MAR. 12, 2001 ( Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera was one of the first voices to be heard in reaction to Sunday´s march of the leftist Zapatista rebels in the heart of the Mexican capital.

The rally turned into a political event which drew 75,000 people, according to CNN estimates. It took place after Subcomandante Marcos and other Zapatista leaders made a 16-day march from San Cristóbal de las Casas, in the state of Chiapas. The marchers crossed a total of 12 Mexican states to bring their plea for Indian rights to the national Congress.

“We have come to demand that the Mexican Constitution recognize us, and our way of life, and that we be respected” because “we will no longer tolerate ridicule and contempt, we will never again remain silent,” Commander Tacho, one of the guerrillas, told the crowd.

In statements at the end of Sunday´s Mass, Cardinal Rivera Carrera, archbishop of Mexico City, referred to the hope of the nation´s bishops, expressed in an appeal following the Zapatista march, “to reach peace as soon as possible” in Chiapas.

Cardinal Rivera called on all the different forces of the country to “avoid all shows of power, resentment and insults to obtain the reconciliation of Mexicans.” He cautioned: “Although worthy of respect, and with very worthy elements to be taken into consideration, the criteria of one group cannot be applied to a whole nation.”

He added, “Beyond the spectacular and euphoric [dimensions] of the caravan, and without falling into superficiality or naiveté, it will be especially important to awaken the Mexican conscience to the urgent need for criteria and Gospel principles for the construction of the worthy, just, and developed Mexico that we all want.”

“The Indian invocation ´never again a Mexico without us´ must be accompanied by another: ´Never again a Mexico without Christ, without the Gospel, without the serious and responsible contribution of believers,´” the cardinal concluded.

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