Friday, September 29, 2006

Oaxaca, Mexico: Dumb and dumber

The 2 day work stoppage which began yesterday to great fanfare has proved to be a complete failure. Everything from taco stands to supermarkets, Sears to Scotiabank and hardware stores to pastry shops were functioning as usual. Buses and taxis were running and the big movie theaters were open.

I initially misunderstood the driving force behind this particular work stoppage (there have been others). This one is a protest against the economic losses incurred since May due to the insurgency gripping the state. This work stoppage is actually being promoted by the various chambers of commerce. They are demanding that the federal government step in to bring law and order to the streets so that people can once again safely shop til they drop. Their chosen method was to call for all businesses to close up for two days so that people couldn't shop at all.

Hmmm. Seems perfectly logical to me. You are angry over low levels of sales so you close up for a couple of days which brings sales levels to zero. This kind of reminds me of the Muslims who riot in the streets and lop off a few heads in response to being accused of promoting violence. Or the folks who complain about the high price of oil whilst on their way to an anti-nuclear power plant demonstration. Or this new "October 11" group I read about just today who plan to mobilize against Target stores to protest the sales of all items made of plastic. These deluded folk will communicate by cell phones which are 95% plastic and navigate to and from various Target outlets in automobiles whose entire interiors are composed of 80% plastic by weight and 99% plastic by volume.

Not to be outdone by the boneheads running the state's business chambers, now comes the head of Governor Ruiz Ortiz's security staff, one Roberto Negrete, to offer wads of cash to reporters from the daily, "Reforma". They've got him on tape being ever so jolly in trying to pass around bills to the reporters to "cover their taxi expenses or just for their wallets or whatever." Of all the reporting staffs of all the newspapers in all the world not to try to bribe publicly, Reforma reporters would be right there at the top of the list. Reforma is now gleefully reporting this incredibly inept miscue and has made the tapes available for your listening pleasure.

Perhaps he was thinking, "Gee. I think I'll try to take the poor governor's mind off of the current, ongoing, getting-worse-by-the-day social and economic disaster by creating a mini-firestorm to add to his list of troubles which is now approaching biblical proportions in length and complexity." Or maybe he had merely left his thinking cap home for the day, I dunno.

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