Monday, July 24, 2006

Oaxaca, Mexico: Monday morning update: Buses still being persecuted

Note: Some type of problem with is making it very difficult to post today. I don't know what's going on but posting may be delayed or even non-existent. I'll do my best.

At 5:00 this morning students inside the Benito Juárez University grounds burned a city bus parked there. Teachers/students/APPO thugs stationed outside the university gates would not allow firefighters to enter to put out the blaze. Students have taken to the airwaves on Radio Universidad to call for "more radical action" against the state. A voice which identified itself as a student said,
"We're not going to gain anything with marches and blockades. We must take over the government offices, Channel 9 (the state-owned TV channel) and any radio stations that are against us. If the teachers don't want to do this then we'll have to do it ourselves."
The respected newpaper Reforma from Mexico City seems to be aware that the teachers' union is not wholly responsible for some of the violence now occurring in the city. Reforma names "student groups, APPO, human rights groups and revolutionaries" as the proponents of and major actors in the violence taking place all over the city. That would be my take on it, also. The teachers' union started something that it no longer can control.

Yesterday, there was some guy identified as a "campesino" who apparently had some beef with the state's Human Rights Commission. According to what I have heard and read, he had been parked outside their offices for the past 3 days trying to gain an audience with the director of the commission. Failng that, at some point yesterday he threatened to set fire to his car. Municipal police were called and they hauled him away. 200-300 students then marched on the Municipal Police headquarters downtown, broke down the doors, took the Municipal Police commander and one other officer hostage and released 4 prisoners being held in the jail. But the campesino they were trying to free was not there. I would imagine that he had been chewed out by the cops and set free before the student mob arrived. They released their two hostages about an hour later in front of the Juárez University law school, which is also downtown.

Students who are associating themselves with the APPO announced a "polical act" which they will make in front of the Gueleguetza Amphitheater, already heavily damaged, sometime today. They'll then march to the Zócalo to demand the resignation of the state's governor. This should be interesting.

APPO, which is trying to organise and conduct a "Guelaguetza Popular" and got rained out Saturday, now says that they are reconsidering the planned location of their probably doomed festival. I saw a sign painted on a wall downtown that will give you an idea of how these people think.
"Tourists get out. No international commerce in Oaxaca".
They seem to think that these poor people can support themselves and one another without any income from the only industry that Oaxaca can offer; tourism. There is nothing else here. No factories, no plants, no industry, nada. They seemingly have no idea from where the money is to come to pay for, for example, their radio station. Who do they think pays for all of this? I saw a figure the other day that Oaxaca contributes 1.5% of the federal budget. There are 31 states and the Federal District in Mexico. Oaxaca has the ninth largest population but is next to last in percent of federal contributions. Hello, is anybody home? What this state desperately needs more than anything else is INTERNATIONAL COMMERCE, and lots of it. What the students and revolutionaries are demanding is charity. Not muy macho, that.

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