This article appeared in the Mexican daily La Jornada on January 3.(Translated by Duane Ediger.)

CHIAPAS, MEXICO — The Zapatista Air Force today attacked the Mexican Federal Army encampment here with paper airplanes. Some flew well and manoeuvered themselves right into the dormitories, hidden by vegetation and large black plastic sheeting. Others sputtered in flight and barely cleared the barbed wire fence.

The aircraft, white in colour and lettersized, carried written messages for the federal troops which have occupied a portion of the outskirts of this community for the last five months. The barbed wire is not the only cutting edge: “Soldiers, we know that poverty has made you sell your lives and souls. I also am poor, as are millions. But you are worse off, for defending our exploiter — Zedillo and his group of moneybags.”

The daily, persistent and almost incredible protest of the indigenous of this region against the military occupation of their lands on the outskirts of Montes Azules has sought in many ways to make itself heard by the troops, who appear to live on the other side of the sound barrier. This afternoon they took to the air in typewritten notes, originals and carbon copies.

They wrote several editions to maximally equip their contingent of Kamikaze letter-bombers. The plane is the bomb: “We do not sell our lives. We want to free our lives and those of your children, your lives and those of your wives, your brothers and sisters, your uncles and aunts, fathers and mothers, and the lives of millions of poor exploited Mexicans. We want to free their lives also so that soldiers do not repress their towns by the order of a few thieves.”

In recent nights, the military encampment has remained on alert. All night, every 25 minutes, a voice is heard saying, “Alert, alert,” among the soldiers. “So that they don’t sleep,” says Jose, a Tzeltal Maya peasant who has spent those nights in the encampment of the peasants, and during the day dream up protest options.