Thursday, May 12, 2005

The real Mexico

This is the real Mexico. The Mexico you don't see in the movies, at Cabo San Lucas nor Acapulco nor Cancún nor Puerto Vallarta.

As predicted here, the hardest hit victims of the outrageously powerful thunder/hailstorms that hit the Mexican state of Oaxaca last week (May 4) find themselves alone, abandoned and without any relief. In a full page story in yesterday's Noticias (Oaxaca's independent daily), titled ¿Cuál ayuda a damnificados? (What help for the displaced?), reporter Pedro Matias reports from the small village of San Antonio De La Cal, State of Oaxaca. There are 6 photos accompanying the report which demonstrate some of the damage suffered by the village and its inhabitants. It is pretty raw stuff, including houses partially destroyed and uninhabitable, a grandmother with 4 children standing in her living room amidst destroyed furniture and dried mud on the floor that looks to be up to a foot thick, contaminated water still standing in dirty pools here and there and furniture being used outside of houses because the houses are too badly damaged to re-inhabit.

The quotes from the inhabitants are about what you would expect to hear. They say they have received no help nor even a visit from the presidente municipal (kind of a county commissioner or maybe a ward boss), some political hack, no doubt, named Sixto Santiago, nor from the various and sundry municipal, state or federal health agencies. A doctor named Efraín Marcos Reyes Martínez has visited them twice, and says that the grandmother pictured with the 4 kids in one photo is suffering from vomiting and diarrhea due to the contaminated water (as well as diabetes) and must be hospitalized or she will die. But there is no one to move her to a hospital nor anyone to take care of her grandchildren while she is gone nor anyone to pay for her treatment. They say they have waited for eight days for government help to remove the mud and the dead animals trapped in it, bring them water, help them reconstruct their damaged or destroyed homes and bring them food so that they might survive. And speaking of governor Ruíz, one said, " When he came to us asking for our votes he claimed to be united with us. Now we need his help and his aid. Now we will see if he will fulfill the words and the promises that he made to us."
Don't hold your breath.

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