According to Reforma, the Canadian Embassy has warned its citizens about the problems in Oaxaca. Reforma says that the warning is on the embassy's website, but damned if I can find it. So I'll have to translate this report to American from the current Mexican which is a translation from the original Canadian, along with my own critical comments, parenthetically speaking. May the force be with me:
"It is advised to exercise maximum caution if you travel to the city of Oaxaca, especially in the center of the city. Since June 14, striking teachers have carried on protests in the city which have resulted in violence and injuries," stated the alert.I drove into the city today and walked around the Santo Domingo area. The local folk are doing their best to drum up some kind of interest in what's left of the canceled festival. I found a great number of booths set up but nothing like last year. During the festival there is a huge tianguis - tee AHN geese (flea market) - set up in the Llano - YAH no - (Parque Benito Juárez). Because of the seriously behind schedule refurbishment of this big park, the tianguis has been moved to Macedonio Alcalá, just north of Santo Domingo.
"Small groups of protesters are ensconced in the Zócalo of the city and their presence has caused the festival to be canceled," the Canadian consulate advised.
The alert advised Canadian tourists to be cautious, follow the local news (tough to do if you're not fluent in Spanish), pay attention to the instructions of local officials (if you could find any) and indicated that other states are also experienceing troubles.
"Protests have also occurred in the states of Guerrero, Michoacán y Zacatecas. More protests are possible," (this is Canuck-speak for "No frikkin´ doubt about it.") added the communique.
I found a Zapotecan Alebrije artist from San Martín de Telcajete whom I know who had just arrived and gotten set up. She was more than worried about the sales of her crafts in light of 50% vacancy rates at the hotels across the city. I told her I'd check back in a few days and see how she was doing. She asked me why I hadn't been back for a month to see her and I told her, "I don't ever know if I'll be able to get through the teachers' blockades to leave the city, and then I don't know if I'll be able to get back." She said, "Tienes razón." (You're right.)
What I did not see in the areas of the city that I visited today was even one single solitary policeman. Not one, anywhere. No one else had seen a cop either as was obvious by more anarchy on the streets than usual. In Mexico, as any of you who have had the dubious pleasure of operating a motor vehicle on the streets, highways and biways fully know, anarchy reins, trafficwise.
So what is the government - state or federal - going to do about this? Nothing.
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TAGS: Oaxaca, Mexico, Guelaguetza Festival