Friday, July 21, 2006

Oaxaca, Mexico: Anti-Americanism arrives

I just came back from what little downtown Oaxaca can be safely visited. With the big Llano park still closed for refurbishment, the flea market that usually occupies that space was placed at the north end of Macedonio Alcalá. That is the main promenade that goes past Santo Domingo all the way to the Zócalo. 100 meters of street is now filled with their booths and fairly well coated in smelly garbage.

The striking teachers and their minions have barricades up about one block out from the Zócalo and on all sides. They are forcing tourists to stop and have their bags searched. They are also demanding that tourists show identification. Their right to do this is enforced with a show of clubs, bricks and paving stones.

One half block south of Santo Domingo and across the promenade is a commercial building called Plaza Domingo. It is full of restaurants, shops, boutiques, a travel agency or two and . . . the U.S. Consular Agency. The outside wall beneath the second floor window of the Consular Agency is now decorated with at least four big 4 sq ft hand lettered signs. Two of them had been damaged by rain and I didn't take the time to try to decipher them. The other two had been lettered in idelible ink or placed on the wall after the rain had stopped. One sign said, as nearly as I can recall,
"Do you realise that every time you buy something from the Americans you help to pay for bullets, bombs and rockets that are being used against our Arab brothers? Boycott America."
The other sign said -- and you knew this was coming --
"Bush is the terrorist who is killing our brothers in Lebanon."
Seated on the sidewalk directly in front of the anti-American signage were several campesino women selling hand made whatevers. When I stopped to read the signs, they jumped to their feet to try to entice me to buy whatever it was they were selling -- right in front of a sign demanding that they boycott American goods.

It is probable that they cannot read English and do not know what the signs say. Nevertheless, it seemed to me to be just about a guarantee that they'll never sell anything to an American in front of a sign that calls for boycotting America. At least, not to this American.

Please visit the Pale Horse Galleries online store
for art, gifts and collectibles -- all hand made
by Mexican indigenous artists.

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