Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Chaos in Oaxaca - Germany falls to Italy

The situation in Oaxaca is normal -- FUBAR. Or SNAFU, if you prefer. The one-day moratorium on "scheduled activities" by the striking teachers apparently ended at dawn this morning. They marched out of the downtown in small groups with the following targets in mind (not an all-inclusive list, by any means): Gigante supermarkets, McDonalds at Plaza del Valle, Sam's Club, McDonalds at the stadium, Plaza Oaxaca which includes the Soriana supermarket, Fabricas de Francia department store and the big movie theaters, Plaza del Valle which includes Sears, another Gigante and more movie theaters. They set up tarps and park themselves in front of all the entrances, effectively shutting down the businesses, shopping centers and malls. This is not unexpected.

What was unexpected, however, was their commandeering the usual assortment of city buses and blocking the big intersection of Periferico and Universidad. This time they took a few more busses and blocked the nearby sidestreets which made circumnavigating the blockades much more difficult. It took me 1 1/4 hours to make a 20 minute trip by zig-zagging back and forth across the city and I have decided to park it. No word on whether they continued the pillaging of downtown department stores.

At about 4:00 pm they discontinued blocking the businesses and everybody started to reopen. The blockaded intersections, however, remain blocked. The police response, after several hours of delay, was to station an officer or two at intersections preceeding the blockades to try to turn traffic away. Thanks.

At 1:30 am this morning, the teachers released 5 soldiers who were in civvies and had been taken prisoner by the teachers at about 6:30 pm yesterday. Some 15 soldiers, all in civvies, had infiltrated the teachers' tent city in the downtown. They were recognized by their distinctive haircuts (no hair at all) and were attacked by the teachers. 10 managed to escape but 5 were held for some 7 hours before being released to the Red Cross (Cruz Roja). I'm not sure why there were 15 soldiers wandering around downtown but if they were on a secret mission, it was impossible. Local military commanders have disavowed any knowledge of their activities. Don't quote me on this, but I think the names of the 5 were; Tomás Cruz, Etano Junta, Raymundo Ferrero, Jefe Juan Andertonio and Geraldo Maguirre.

On a brighter note, however, Italy repaid Germany for SS-Sturmbannführer Otto Skorzeny's rescue of Il Duce by beating the German World Cup team 2-0 in the first overtime period. Er, that took place in Europe, not here in Oaxaca.

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