Saturday, August 05, 2006

Oaxaca, Mexico: APPO ups the ante, teachers' union sent to the back of the bus

The APPO (Asamblea Popular del Pueblo de Oaxaca) has announced that they will increase pressure on the state and federal governments by bringing the state of Oaxaca to its knees, "economically and institutionally". This announcement seems to cement the fact that the APPO is now calling the shots and the SNTE, the striking teachers union, has been relegated to a subservient role.

The announcement was made by yet another APPO spokesman from whom I have not heard before, one Rogelio Pensamiento. Sr. Pensamiento detailed the following actions that the APPO will take or has already taken:
  • All city and state government offices in the city will be blockaded, including the Congress, the governor's offices, the courts, the finance and tax offices, the mayor's and city council's offices, the water company, the jails, state and city transportation departments and state and city Planning and Development offices.
  • Mobile brigades have been formed to sweep the city to enforce the blockades and promote civil disobedience.
  • The state highway blockades which were detailed here will be re-installed on August 7.
  • The state runs a really neat program called, officially, "Mobile Brigades" which are comprised of trucks and trailers of various designs and sizes. These Mobile Brigades travel throughout the city and state bringing medical, dental, hygiene, vaccination, psychological, library and other services to neighborhoods, colonias, barrios and outlying towns and villages. These vehicles will be hijacked by APPO and the programs shut down. In fact, APPO will give priority to hijacking those vehicles.
  • APPO will send its unofficial mobile brigades to hijack city and state Transit Police and Preventive Police vehicles. The APPO spokesman insisted that the vehicles would be hijacked with as "little damage as possible" and an "inventory would be taken of each vehicle" (1 steering wheel - check; 4 wheels - check; 1 roof - check; etc.).
  • APPO will force a busfare reduction from the current 3.5 pesos to 2 pesos. The spokesman used the word "promover" which can be translated as "to promote" or "to force", depending. Take your pick.
  • APPO will blockade "all transnational businesses", including food, restaurant and automobile companies. They are already blockading the Coca Cola bottler and would have to move against Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Bodega Aurrera (Wal-Mart), VIPS (Wal-Mart), McDonalds, Burger King, Pizza Hut, KFC, Sears, Ford, GM, VW, Chrysler, Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi, Renault, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Hyundai, Isuzu, Kia, Mazda, Seat, Suzuki, Toyota, Peugeot, Bridgestone, Pirelli, Goodyear, Firestone, B.F. Goodrich, Michelin and Budget Rent-a-car just to name a few off the top of my head. I don't think APPO really understands the scope of "transnational businesses". Plus, they would have to blockade all the Chinese motorcycle dealerships here, of which there seems to be one on every block.
  • APPO will block all accesses to the city, which, I suppose, would include the airport.
  • APPO will blockade all gasoline stations, shutting down city transportation.
  • APPO will establish open air flea markets at all the "commercial centers", meaning the malls and shopping centers (Two for five? Man alive!)
  • APPO will blockade the sale of any foreign-made goods.
  • APPO will break into the former government palace on the Zócalo, now a museum, and use it for their headquarters. The teachers' union has been threatening to do this for some weeks, but now that the APPO is in charge, it will become a reality.
  • APPO will "promote" the dispatches of telegrams to the federal Senate in Mexico City demanding the firing of the governor. Of course, you'll have to walk to the telegaph office and you won't have any money to pay for the telegram once you get there, but that's a subject for another day. APPO forgets that Western Union is a "transnational" business which must be blockaded and also that WU got out of the telegram business 2 or 3 months ago, but that's a bridge to cross another day as well.
  • APPO will erect "monumental announcements" on the mountainsides around the city demanding the resignation or firing of the governor.

After all of this, Sr. Pensamiento (Mr. Thought) thought to declare that the APPO is not in agreement with the agreement announced yesterday that they would begin burning city buses if the governor did not go "in a very short time".

UPDATE: Notimex is reporting that 2 government-owned trucks have been torched by "groups associated with APPO and SNTE". I have no details because I don't have an account with Notimex and can get only the headlines.

Sr. Pensamiento thought to add also that the APPO is "separating" itself from any acts of vandalism or other criminal acts which he blames on government infiltrators.

Sr. Pensamiento voiced further thoughts that the APPO "respects the freedom of expression of reporters" who were doing their jobs and would not take over any news outlets. He did not specify what APPO would do with the 5 that it has already occupied or shut down nor did he address yesterday's "Memorandum of Agreement" which promised to occupy and/or shut down any media outlet that disagreed with the APPO/SNTE uprising.

Sounds like it might be time for Governor Ruiz to resign and, as he's leaving town, pass 25,000 federal troops on their way into the city.

UPDATE II: I found the complete Notimex report on the torched government vehicles at La Crónica. It appears from the report that the vehicles were property of the water company in the town of Huautla (wah-OOT-lah) which is some 250km from Oaxaca. The group blamed for the destroyed vehicles is the FUH (Frente Unión Huautleco (wah-oot-LAY-coh)). They also seem to have stolen two dumptrucks full of powdered chlorine, destined for water treatment, which is extremely hazardous. The water company is asking that they either return the trucks or allow specialists to unload the chlorine in order to avoid injury. I don't know too much about this stuff but a water company spokesperson says that it is explosive if it gets too hot.

For its part, a spokesman for the FUH denied burning any vehicles and blamed it on the government, declaring that the state was trying to declare war on Huautla. The FUH has maintained a blockade of the Huautla city government building in solidarity with the striking teachers in Oaxaca City since June 14.

A state government spokesperson says that APPO has now hijacked at least 100 official vehicles across the state, as well as at least two trucks belonging to Telmex.

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

TAGS: , , , ,

No comments: