Thursday, November 30, 2006

Mark in Mexico: Email of the day


Mark's Email of the day, if you didn't already deduce that from the post's title (above).

I will offer corrections, translations where necessary and comments, all in bold, italicized form.

From: Olivier Dubois,

You are such a pendeho (pendejo (cuckold) - a vile insult in macho Mexico) Mark..(Why 2 periods when one is correct, Oliver?)

How fucking inconscious (unconscious) are you...? (Why 3 periods before the question mark when none should be there, Oliver?)

The APPO are thugs...? (Ixnay on the puntos, Oliver.)

Students, women, some big guys... Did you felt (feel) intimidated... (?)

Couldn't get at (to) the market or something...(?) Also, this interrogatory lacks a clear subject. It might be A-ok to use in speech, sloppy but not an offense worthy of a firing squad. However, in written English, even poorly written English, it is not acceptable. Try "You couldn't . . ."

Such condescendence (condescension) for the people... (I'm really starting to hate all those ". . .", Oliver. However, since this Email has more spots than a 16th century Conquistador afflicted with smallpox, I won't mention it again.)

Let me ask a question ? (This is in the imperative mood, Oliver, not the interrogative. So, no question mark is required nor is it correct to use one. If, indeed, the sentence was intended to be in the interrogative mood, then an interrogative introducer would have to be used along with the attendant personal pronoun; "May I . . .," and my answer would be, "Hell, no.")

How integrated are you to (into) the place you live in...? (Final preposition is improper. "Live" is an intransitive verb, and, in this case, not a phrasal verb. And always remember this, Oliver. A preposition is a word you never end a sentence with.)

Not that much en...? (, eh.)

You feel good hanging with expats and upper class Oaxaquenos (Oaxaqueños with the "ñ") aren't (don't) you...?

You don't mix (in) much with the real Oaxaca don't (do) you...? (Double negatives are a no no, Oliver.)

You like keeping your distance from people who don't think like you...? You
feel good in your little language school, your safe little world... (Dot, dot, dot; What is this, Morse Code, Oliver? Did I say that I was not going to mention that again?)

You see some people being openly shot in the street and you can't find anything better to say than weird...? (He was shot in a bus, Oliver. If he had been shot in the street I would have declared, "Jeepers creepers!)

You (you're) fuckin (fucking) weird... This is called Fascism and it is already in your town.

I have friends who never participated in in (One "in" will do, Oliver. This is called "redundancy".) any APPO activities who are being raped in penitentiary (You have to use the article "a" here or pluralize the noun to "penitentiaries", Oliver.) and being tortured right now... (Pick wiser friends in the future, Oliver.)

Just for being cute and walking at the wrong place at the wrong time... (I must assume you are talking about the moron that pushed the stolen shopping cart brimming with soft drink bottles filled with we-don't-know-what along the PFP line at the dumpster on Macedonio Alcalá. He was not being cute, Oliver, he was being stupid. And, quite the contrary to your assertion, he was in exactly the right place at exactly the right time to help kick off the operation which has resulted in the wreckage formerly known as APPO.)

Shame on yourself (you) for openly revealing where people are hiding... Or trying to...(I was about number 217 on the list of sources to reveal that Fat Man Flavio Sosa was hiding out, along with many of his cohorts, at the church Nuestra Señora de los Pobres, corner of Heróico Colégio Militar and Heróica Escuela Naval Militar (I think), 7 full blocks (or so) north of the baseball stadium and 2 blocks south of the Gigante supermarket -- look for the bell tower -- the bad guys are in the annex on the east side of the building, Oliver.)

It's one thing not to agree with someone and it is another thing to facilitate their executions... Have they ever done anything to you personally...? (They destroyed my most convenient source of Double Whoppers with Cheese.
"I want him DEAD! I want his family DEAD! I want his house burned to the GROUND! I wanna go there in the middle of the night and I wanna PISS ON HIS ASHES!"

Al Capone (Robert DeNiro) in The Untouchables (1987).
Then they cost my children 2 weeks of school, during which time I had to stay at home with the little monsters.
"I'm not only gonna kill him, but I'm gonna kill his wife, all his friends, and burn his damn house down."

William Munny (Clint Eastwood) in Unforgiven (1992).)

When I think I shook your hands back in the days...(Shook my hands, as in both hands? Did we kiss? Did you save the last dance for me? Are you lonely tonight?

Such shame... (Shame shame? Shame on you? A crying shame? A real shame? Or maybe this shame?

Still, Peace...


(Peace this, Oliver.)

Mark in Mexico, Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, Mexican arts and crafts, alebrijes and collectibles, Colt Single Action Army .45 Buntline Special
Single Action Army Colt .45 "Buntline Special", a weapon that existed only in legend.

Note: Not spell-checked because my spell checker would have been hung up on all the polka dots for four hours.

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Oaxaca, Mexico: Strange Days and I can't find Flavio Sosa

Mark in Mexico is just back from a visit to Nuestra Señora de los Pobres church where I went in search of Flavio Sosa. I didn't see hide nor hair of him. I stood below the church's annex where the Fat Man and his cohorts are supposedly holed up and he didn't bother to even come to a window and give me a wave. All of the curtains are pulled tight, that's for sure.

I'm not sure why he and the rest of the APPO leadership chose this particular spot to seek refuge. The church sits at the corner of two busy boulevards. What's more, sitting directly diagonal to the church is a federal courts building. I'm sure that after this past Saturday evening's APPO rampage which targeted both federal and state courts buildings, the federal judges wouldn't mind a few PFP detectives underfoot, watching the church. Beside the federal court building is another empty building currently for rent. I would imagine there are a few dozen PFP types in there, also watching the church 24/7.

I cruised around the streets checking parked cars and only spotted one guy in an SUV that might have been PFP, but he was parked directly in front of the annex and he was alone, so that's doubtful.

There have been some strange occurrences in the past couple of days, all very close to my office. Either yesterday or Tuesday, the date is unclear, a full busload of passengers (35-50 people) was stopped just 3 blocks from my office in broad daylight, at 10:30 am. A car with 6-8 men inside pulled over in front of the bus and blocked it. Three or four of them got out and forced their way onto the bus. The driver pulled a revolver, a very rare event. In fact, I have never seen nor heard of an armed bus driver before.

He failed to get off a shot however, and was dragged out of his seat and thrown to the floor. Then, in full view of the horrified passengers, he was shot twice in the back. Some passengers forced the rear door of the bus open and fled. Others crouched down in their seats and hoped for the best. One lady said that she witnessed the first shot, then just covered her face with her hands and prayed.

The men then dragged the wounded and bleeding driver out of the bus, threw him in the car, and off they sped. Passengers reported that a woman with a cellphone and riding a motorcycle was also involved. When the men fled with the wounded driver, one of them hopped on the motorcycle with the woman and they rode off together.


Then, just a few minutes later, at the medical school at San Felipe Hospital at the Fountain of the 7 Regions, just 5 blocks from my office in another direction, a "student" was beaten and then snatched right in front of the school's main entrance. The "student", aka "El Gato", is a known APPO thug. When other students tried to come to his aid, the three men who were doing the beating and snatching fired a few rounds in the air to scare off the would-be rescuers, and then they made their getaway, accompanied by the bleeding "El Gato".

Minutes later, the commander of the Policía Ministerial himself, Manuel Moreno, arrived at the school to lead the investigation. Very strange. Minutes after that, the State Attorney General, Lizbeth Caña, arrived at the school. Stranger still.

Then, the next day when the virulent anti- Governor Ruiz newspaper Noticias de Oaxaca reported this incident, it spelled the Attorney General's name thusly: Lizbeht Cañada. What's with that? The "Lizbeht was an obvious typo but what's with the "Cañada"? And Noticias, in a more usual and typical fashion, described Manuel Moreno's presence as "supposedly to investigate" the incident and Caña/Cañada's presence as "very curious".

The dirty war has begun.

Several people in a group today told me that one person very high on the list of those to fall is the rector of Juarez University. Because he is a non-violent type, he won't be "disappeared" or beaten and kidnapped. But every action, decision, purchase order and work contract that Francisco Martínez Neri has made or authorized to be made in the past, present and future will be examined with a fine toothed comb to find some reason, real or imagined, to bring him down. And you know how these things go (think Patrick Fitzgerald / Scooter Libby). If they try hard enough they'll come up with something, even if it's pure fiction.

I would imagine that El Gato and an APPOite bus driver both wish a fine toothed comb was all they had to worry about right now.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Mexico City: Yankees scouts checking out southpaw in Mexican Congress

The PRD (AMLO's party) has vowed that Felipe Calderón will not be allowed to take the oath of office as President of Mexico on December 1. As part of their strategy, they intended to take over the dais in the Mexican House of Deputies where Calderón is to be sworn in. The PAN (Calderón's party) was aware of this and was ready and waiting to stop them. Chaos ensued.

As you watch the video, you will not have the opportunity to see Violeta Lagunes, 35, LHP. She was on the dais when the PRD rushed it. She started firing glasses of water at the PRD deputies. When she ran out of water glasses, she began flinging high hard ones at them with full bottles of water. The Yankees, hard up for decent left-handed pitching, will probably offer her several millions to move to NYC in 2007.

Mark in Mexico, Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, Mexican arts and crafts, alebrijes and collectibles, Deputy Violeta Lagunes, Puebla (PAN), hurling full water bottles at PRD Deputies who attacked the dais in the Mexican Chamber of Deputies.
Where's that Mighty Casey? Lemme at him.

Now, I know what you guys are looking at, but perhaps you ladies can stay on track and appreciate what appears to be a split seam fastball headed towards the noggin of one PRD deputy or another. And if you study her facial expression just a bit, it looks like she is thoroughly enjoying herself. Splat! Bonk! Whack!

As we draw ever closer to December 1, folks in Mexico are becoming more nervous by the day. There are 117 confirmed invitees attending the presidential swearing-in, including the heads-of-state of Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Colombia, Honduras, Costa Rica, Perú, Panamá and Ecuador as well as George Bush, Sr. and The Governator hisself. The fear, of course, is another embarrassment for Mexico on a par with the little emperor, AMLO.

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Oaxaca, Mexico: Lots of news to report

First, it looks like Mark in Mexico's internet connection has been repaired. It's up and running like 100 kb/s should (knock on every available scrap of timber in the house).

Second, Cinco Señores is still open, lots of PFP convoys circling Juarez University to make sure it stays that way. And if anything should send a chill down the spines of the APPOites, the Policia Ministerial has forces accompanying the PFP. The PM was formerly known as the Policia Judicial, a fearsome group and for mostly all the really bad reasons. At least they are under the command of the PFP and not yet running amok in the streets. I watched 5 pickup loads of police in a convoy in front of Plaza Oaxaca today. The first 3 were full of state police and the last 2 were full of PFP, there to protect them, I guess. Har, har.

At this hour, the few remaining members of the APPO gang inside the university are defiantly and futiley firing rockets into the air as a demonstration that their Bics still have some gas and their supply of kitchen matches has not yet been exhausted by the PFP.

Fat Man Sosa's brother was caught trying to escape the city by air. They nabbed him at the airport. He flew out all right. He flew out on a PFP jet to a prison in Matamoros, Tamaulipas. Last Friday night they caught Sosa's cousin and now they've got his brother. At last word Granny Sosa was still on the run.

At 4:00 this afternoon, APPO's "student coordinator", Cuauhtemoc Pérez, and another fine young man who could only be identified as "Juan N", abandoned by the APPO leadership which is now in hiding just 5 blocks from my office, padlocked Juarez University Radio and skeedaddled. They had called in a Notary Public to record the momentous occasion of turning over the radio station to the university's rector, Francisco Martínez. With the padlocking of the installation, Radio Universidad ceased transmissions because Martínez can`t find the keys.

Actually, Martínez says it will take two weeks of repairs to get the station up and running again. The faulty transmissions of the past few weeks were blamed on goverment "jamming" rather than the morons who were trying to run it. Martínez said that the ceding of control of the radio station was an agreement made between the university and the thugs to avoid the PFP entering the university and taking the station by force. That thought must have had the old rector's knees a'knockin' and his rect..., never mind.

Kleenexes all around for our weepimg friends at Narco News and Indy Media.

Arriving a day late and a dollar short, President Fox today warned "if the nonconformists persist in criminal activities, all the force of the law will be applied to resolve the conflict." Listen here, Zorro (that's "fox" in Spanish, if you don't get out much), the PFP just hit the "nonconformists" right in the teeth with everything but the kitchen sink. Maybe Fox's Current Events Tutor has had the last couple of days off.

The Washington Post is also struggling to keep up with current events.
In the past few months, a large federal police force has tried, and failed, to corral the armed bandits and hordes of protesters occupying the city of Oaxaca.
That's about as inaccurate a description of events in Oaxaca as can be imagined. The federal police force has only been here since October 29, just a tad shy of "past few months". And, of course, the armed bandits and hordes of protesters are nowhere to be found. The rest of the WaPo article is, unfortunately, pretty much correct.

The PFP did not struggle too much on the day they entered the city. There were several nasty fights, to be sure, but the PFP took the territory that it wanted to take. The failure came when the PFP divided its forces and tried to take Cinco Señores and Avenida Universidad. That fight was lost. So the PFP decided to sit back inside the Zócalo and wait for APPO to come to them. And the APPOites did just that and got their butts kicked, several times.

It kind of reminds me of a line in the otherwise forgettable movie, Passenger 57, a Wesley Snipes vehicle. Snipes had escaped the custody of two sheriff's deputies, throwing them down a flight of staris, if I recall. When the chagrined deputies had to report to their boss, the county sheriff, that they had lost Snipes, the sheriff chewed their butts. One of them made the unfortunate vow, "We'll go get him." The sheriff snapped, "What? So he can get more practice kickin' yer dumb asses?"

Fat Man Flavio Sosa, who, as I mentioned earlier, is hiding just 5 blocks away from my office in La Iglesia de los Pobres, is begging for someone to please, please talk to him. "There is still time to negotiate," he says ("before I get busted and hauled off for a 30 year stretch," he means). Fat Man's problem is that, while there may still be time, there are few takers. Maybe I'll cruise down there tomorrow and "negotiate" with the Fat Man, personally. Teach him how to play checkers, maybe.

Correction: The Fat Man is hiding in "Nuestra Señora do los Pobres", Our Lady of the Poor, not the Church of the Poor. I've only driven or walked past this church 1000 times and still couldn't get the name right. Bonehead.

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Oaxaca, Mexico: APPO's meeting with Interior "canceled due to transportation problems"

APPO had claimed since yesterday morning that the Secretary of Interior (SEGOB) had agreed to a meeting which was to have taken place yesterday at 11:00. It turns out that, according to APPO, the meeting had to be canceled because SEGOB "had trouble traveling to the meeting site".

Florentino López, today's spokesman for APPO, said that maybe a meeting could be scheduled for today, or maybe next week after Calderón is sworn in as new president. (Or maybe never?)

APPO had said that it would "agree" to a meeting only if the "minimum security arrangements" were put in place to guarantee that its leaders not be arrested. Even that demand has been dropped. Sayeth Florentino, "necessary measures have been taken to avoid arrests but we know that if they (PFP) have decided to do it, nothing will stop them." In other words, no guarantees of safe conduct to and from meetings which may never have been scheduled at all and may never take place.

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Oaxaca, Mexico: Cinco Señores cleared

The PFP arrived at the Cinco Señores barricades on the Periferico and Avenida Universidad at 3:30 this morning to find them abandoned by APPO. More than 150 workers arrived shortly thereafter with front-end loaders, forklifts, dumptrucks and high pressure water hoses to start the cleanup.

I am at an internet cafe directly in front of Juarez University watching as cars, trucks and buses pass for the first time since the PFP entered the city in late October. I have walked the entire length of Avenida Universidad taking photos, including some inside the university. There is not an APPOite in sight. No flags, no banners, no masks, no rockets, nada. The university is open but I don't know how many of their colleges are holding classes this morning.

The APPOites fired rockets into the air as they abandoned the barricades and spread out throughout Colonia Cinco Señores, fleeing the approaching PFP. By the time the PFP arrived at the barricades, the APPOites were gone.

I've got a good bunch of photos but I cannot post them from here. I still owe all you people the photos from, er, Monday PFP deployment which I have been promising you for 2 days. APPO has been vandalizing Telmex boxes for two weeks or more and, while telephone service seems uninterupted, internet connections are shaky to non-existent.

Mark in Mexico, Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, colectibles, arts and crafts,  Oaxaca, Mexico:  Cleanup in Cinco Señores begins
My former Official bus (El Universal photo)

I can tell you this. Mark in Mexico walked the entire length of Juarez University's outer wall and found not one pockmark in the walls and gates from bullets. It has been APPO's, Narco News' and Indy Media's claims for weeks that "paramilitary gunmen" have been driving past the university late at night firing at the APPOites inside. I did not believe those stories then and now I can tell you now that they were false, unless the "paramilitary" forces' weapons were loaded with blanks or they were blasting away with squirt guns.

Some weeks ago, before a big march to the downtown, a Tech University student inside Juarez University was shot at about 6:30 in the morning. Narco News and Indy Media inmediately reported that he had been shot in one of the "paramilitary" drive-bys. Mark in Mexico reported that he had been shot during a gunbattle between rival gangs of APPO thugs inside the university. I report, you decide.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Oaxaca, Mexico: Mark's struggles with the Mexican media

In this post yesterday appeared the following attributed to Gustavo López, one of many "spokesman for APPO":

López says the PFP "may leave",
"Whenever they want, at whatever time they want, with the necessary conditions of security for their transfer, but only after establishing some preliminary measures such as an end to repression, an immediate end to persecution and an end to the harrassment of the Oaxacan people."
This was taken from a report appearing in Reforma. Today, Reforma modifies this just a bit. Firstly, Reforma says that López was talking about APPO leaving for Mexico City to negotiate with Interior, not the PFP leaving Oaxaca. Reforma has edited the quote from López like this:
"Whenever they (Interior) want, at whatever time they want, with the necessary conditions of security for their transfer (to DF), but only after establishing some preliminary measures such as an end to repression, an immediate end to persecution and an end to the harrassment of the Oaxacan people."
The strike is mine to show you the key missing word, "their" and the emphases are mine. That changes the meaning just a bit, no? I cannot even find the original version of Reforma's report from yesterday. I didn't link to it because none of my readers have a subscription to Reforma and the link would not have worked for you anyway, but I surely could use that link today. My bad.

I don't know which version to believe. Reforma offers no explanantion of the modified quote and wholly different meaning.

Reforma also reports that the rally yesterday at Juarez University, the one that was substituted for the big march and re-installation of the APPO camp at Santo Domingo, was only attended by 100 people. I hope this is true. But it could have been 10 or 1000, who knows. I should think that if APPO had been able to scrape up 1000 people, they would have come out of the university and headed for Santo Domingo. With 100, however, they decided to stay put.

Now comes this story from El Universal. This appeared last night and I didn't report it because I was incredulous. I remain incredulous this morning because it is not being trumpeted by any other news source that I can find.

El Universal quotes a Florentino López, who may or may not be one and the same Gustavo López, as saying that APPO does, indeed, have a meeting scheduled today, in Oaxaca, with a representative from Interior, Undersecretary Arturo Chávez Chávez. The newspaper says that the meeting is scheduled for "between 10 and 11 this morning at an as yet unannounced location." There is no mention of any security arrangements or guarantees which would seem to be important in light of the fact that there are outstanding arrest warrants against all of APPO's leaders and spokespersons, including both Gustavo and Florentino, even if they're the same guy.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Oaxaca, Mexcio: Guerrillas threaten to attack, M in M looks for hole in which to crawl.

Well, well, well. Now comes forth yet another guerrilla "army" which has threatened not only to "enter the fight" by committing "armed attacks" but also to swallow APPO. This is a very interesting development and has Mark in Mexico searching for a hole into which he might crawl and pull it in after him.

This is some tough translation here so please bear with me.

This new group calls itself "La Tendencia Democrática Revolucionaria-Ejército del Pueblo", TDR-EP in Spanish. And here I thought that "tendencia" meant the excise tax you paid to get your plates renewed -- which hardly anybody bothers to pay in Oaxaca. Oops. That's "tenencia". No, "tenencia" is janitorial services. Oh, well, I'll try. As best I can translate it, one of the following would be an apt English version of the name for the gorillas in this guerrilla army:

The Army of the People with a Revolutionary Democratic Bent - APRDB
The Army of the People Tending Towards Revolutionary Democracy - APTTRD
The Army of the People Bending Democracy in a Revolutionary Manner - APBDRM
The Army of the People Whose Druthers are Democratically Revolutionary - APWDDR

You see where this is heading.

Since "pueblo" can also be translated as "village", we could have:

The Army of the Leaning Village of Democratic Revolution - ALVDR
The Village's Army Whose Predilection is Towards Revolution, Democratically Speaking, of Course - VAWPTRDSOC
The Village People - VP's

More seriously, this part of the guerrillas's declaration is very curious: the guerrilla communique said that it would be forming a new group called APPM, Asamblea Popular de los Pueblos de México, into which would "flow" the EZLN (the Zapatista National Liberation Army in Chiapas), APPO, right here in our dear city, and the Convención Nacional Democrática, which is AMLO's new group.

My oh my. AMLO? I'm not convinced that AMLO wants to don cammos and traipse around in the jungle hauling a cheap, Chinese-made AK-47 . . . too many bugs and snakes. If AMLO is smart, which he's not . . . let me reword that, keeping it all in the subjunctive, ie conditional, mood; If AMLO were smart, which he's not, he would avoid this group like the plague.

And there's another problem, or curiosity, with this communique. Knowing Comandante Marcos, the voice and figurehead of the Zapatistas, as I do, he's not going to be overjoyed to hear that he's been relegated to mere division command status in an army as opposed to being the whole enchilada. So I think that the bit about AMLO and the Zapatistas is crap. And I certainly doubt that APPO is happily ceding control to a shadowy guerrilla army that may or may not even exist. However, in APPO's case, they may have no choice in light of the drubbings they have taken in the past couple of weeks.

The guerilla communique identifies its armed wing as the Comando Magonista de Liberación (Magon Command of Liberation, or CML, I guess) and says that it will begin armed attacks shortly. It blames those attacks-to-be on the presence of the PFP and "holds the elites and political leaders responsible for the escalation that will occur in the next few days."

The communique states that the - let's see if I can get this right - the CML of the TDR-EP "has been holding itself back from the fight for 6 months" and
is respectful of the popular movement and the peaceful pursuit of liberty that is happening in our lands, but that it cannot remain aloof from the acts of repression that the federal and state governments are manifesting on the people of Oaxaca.

Until now, we have merely remained ready and in a state of alert in order to avoid that the popular movement led by APPO would be suppressed on the pretext of being an armed revolutionary group, but the brutality of the neoliberal federal and state governments obliges us to raise our voices and make use of arms to contain and disuade the neoliberal offensive that cannot be tolerated by any revolutionary group.

We disassociate any and all of the social movements in Oaxaca from the politico-military actions that our Magon Command will undertake in the state until Ulises Ruiz Ortiz and his cabinet leave the government and are punished for their crimes against humanity.

And we call upon all of the different revolutionary forces in Oaxaca to fulfill their vows and take up their weapons against this common enemy."
The communique also demanded that the press stop "masking" the repression in Oaxaca. The communique ended thusly:
We advise the elites in power that, having blocked all legal and peaceful means of carrying on the fight in our country, they will be the ones responsible for the escalation of the current social and political conflict as well as the revolutionaries' military response.

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Oaxaca, Mexico: INAH says damages so far total more than 30 million dollars

INAH, Mexico's Institute of Anthropology and History, says that, so far, damages to historic sites, many supposedly protected by UNESCO as International Heritage Sites, will supercede 30 million dollars. The heaviest damage was to a house at 5 de Mayo and Morelos which was built in the 19th century. INAH says the house is fundamentally unsalvageable as a historic site. INAH said the house can be rebuilt, but all of its historic value has been lost.

INAH says that it will need more time to determine the extent of the damage, especially to the federal and state courts buildings, because of the massive number of documents that were stored in both sites that date from the 16th through the 19th centuries.

Think about that a minute you readers up there in Gringolandia. The 16th century. We have no documents stored in the United States dating back to the 16th Century, unless they be found in St. Augustine, and I doubt even there. From the 17th century we have a few, but only in a small number of cities along the east coast. From the 18th century we have a lot, but not much west of the Cumberland Gap. From the 19th century documents would begin to appear from our inexorable march to the west. But by the 19th century, say, 1830, they had been storing documents here in Oaxaca for 300 years. That may help you to put these terrible losses in some perspective.

When you start talking about losses of documents dating back to the 1500's, I don't think anyone, not INAH not UNESCO, can put a monetary value on such damage. Damage and losses like this are irreparable and irreplaceable. What's more, wall frescoes in many of the buildings were also damaged. These frescoes were painted beginning in the late 1500's through today, as this particular form of wall decoration is still quite popular.

INAH says it has launched a detailed damage assessment that will take a long time to complete. And then, of course, will come the problem of finding the money to repair and rehabilitate historic buildings, paintings and documents. In Oaxaca, Mexico, 30 million dollars is a whole lot of money.

INAH says that between 700 and 800 buildings have been damaged from one extent to another, from grafitti that must be covered or removed to completely gutted by fire. In mid-October INAH had estimated damage at 2-3 million dollars so you can see how this disaster has escalated in just the past few weeks.

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Oaxaca, Mexico: The PFP also forces APPO's political retreat

The PFP won several victories for the city of Oaxaca this past Saturday. Not only did the PFP send Flavio Sosa's thugs running for their lives, but APPO's retreat during which they caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to private, city, state and federal properties showed the true colors of this organization's leadership.

The PFP's quick and decisive reaction this morning (photos are coming, I promise) to APPO's threatened march and re-occupation of Santo Domingo forced APPO to scrap those plans within minutes after they were launched. In addition, the PFP has announced publicly that new arrest warrants have been issued against APPO leadership for the damage done to the city. These warrants are not covered by the now defunct peace treaty between APPO and Carlos Abascal, the Secretary of the Interior. This announcement has forced the APPO mafia chieftains to take refuge in Juarez University and stay hidden there.

I was shocked, shocked to learn that, once again, classes at the university have been canceled. The university rector, who has provided succor to APPO thugs since July, is learning a hard lesson that my grandfather described to me many years ago. "When you burn your ass, you've got to sit on the blister." Everytime he opens the university's gates, APPO closes them right back again. And then there's that Churchillian thing about running out of food for the crocodiles.

Now, APPO's political wing has been forced to take a giant step backwards, Simon says. APPO has insisted since the end of October when the PFP arrived that it had two non-negotiable demands. First, that Governor Ruiz Ortiz leave office. Second, that the PFP leave Oaxaca to its fate at the hands of APPO.

Now, APPO says that the demand that the PFP leave Oaxaca is, er, no longer non-negotiable. Providing, of course, that any negotiations take place at all. APPO and Sección 22 of the SNTE (remember them?) negotiated a far reaching agreement with the Secretary of the Interior back in, uh, early October, I think. This agreement, besides the profane pay raise and back pay given to the teachers, included amnesty for all the APPO criminals, both in custody and those still on the streets. After APPO immediately broke every agreement that they had made with Abascal, he stopped talking to them. Their last meeting was, if I recall, on October 9.

This cutoff in negotiations resulted in the hilarious scene in the Zócalo when APPO, lead by The Fat Man, faced off against the PFP for the first time. That confrontation lasted only about 15 minutes before APPO fled the scene without a rock being thrown. Flavio Sosa marched into the Zócalo at the head of his contingent while the PFP centurians waited on the other side. The Fat Man mounted the bandstand with cell phone in hand so that everyone could see. He ostentatiously dialed Abascal's number in Mexico City. Abascal wouldn't come to the phone. After 5 minutes of fruitless dialing, Fatso raced out of the Zócalo and his stunned supporters followed after.

Now cometh Gustavo López, consiglierre for the APPO mafiosi, to declare that the exit by the PFP is no longer "a condition" for restarting talks with Interior. Provided, of course, that Interior has any desire whatsoever to talk with a bunch of criminals now on the run.

López says the PFP "may leave",
"Whenever they want, at whatever time they want, with the necessary conditions of security for their transfer, but only after establishing some preliminary measures such as an end to repression, an immediate end to persecution and an end to the harrassment of the Oaxacan people."
That sounds like a cleverly worded suicide note. It sounds more like APPO now doesn't want the PFP to leave, and here's why.

The PFP transferred 140 prisoners from a state penitentiary where they were being held to a federal prison today. They did this because of supposed threats to the physical well-being of the prisoners by state authorities. The fear was that the state prison officials were warming up their waterboards, charging up their 12v/60 amp batteries and polishing the testicle clips.

APPO knows now that when the PFP does finally pull out of Oaxaca, it will leave law enforcement back in the hands of state and local authorities. The PFP has been making sure that the state boys have kept their noses relatively clean. When the PFP goes, APPO fears a bloodbath. The PFP is the only thing standing between the APPO godfathers and long, tortuous prison sentences or death by hit squad.

The big problem that APPO now has is that their "movement" has just about run out of gas, as well as gasoline bombs, and Carlos Abascal knows it. Why should he deign to sit down with these jerks who, back in October, took so much delight in making him look bad.


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Oaxaca, Mexico: ADO buys off APPO -- unsuccessfully

ADO is the luxury bus line that connects Oaxaca with most every city in the country. From the DF to Huatulco to Cancún, ADO goes just about everywhere. They've got good equipment and do a fairly decent job, for Mexico, of running on time and according to pre-determined schedules. And they mean to keep it that way.

Mark in Mexico, Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, Mexican arts and crafts, alebrijes and collectibles, ADO buses at the Oaxaca station. ADO security guards didn't want me taking photos of their buses. I had to step back into the street to take the photo without interference.
ADO buses at the Oaxaca station this afternoon.

One of Mark in Mexico's sources had a chat with an ADO driver a few days ago. The driver told her that ADO was protecting its buses from APPO by buying off the criminals. ADO has given prepaid bus passes to APPO leadership to distribute to its out-of-state rank and file to use for free transport to get to Oaxaca and firebomb Oaxacan's property.

All a pass holder has to do is show up at the ticket counter with the pass and a paying customer is denied a seat if the bus is full. If the bus is not full, the pass holder bypasses the ticket counter completely, goes directly to the bus, presents the pass to the driver and the driver has to assign the APPO thug an empty seat. In this way, ADO has bought protection for its vehicles.

Well, not quite all of them.

Mark in Mexico, Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, Mexican arts and crafts, alebrijes and collectibles, ADO bus burned by APPO in spite of brbes paid by ADO to APPO for protection.
Saturday night. Forgot to post the NO FUMAR signs.

Note: The photo taken this afternoon was not taken without some difficulty. When I stopped to snap it, an ADO security guard was quick to tell me, "No puede tomar fotos." I asked, "Mande?" (huh?). He repeated his stern admonition. I looked down to note that I was standing on the sidewalk which is city property and not ADO property. However, there were some faint yellow warning stripes painted on the sidewalk which I surmised meant that ADO had filed a claim to this small piece of formerly publicly owned real estate. So, I responded, "Ok," stepped backwards 3 feet into the street and proceeded to exercise my basic human right to photograph any damned buses I wished. He didn't say anything -- out loud, anyway.

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Oaxaca, Mexico: APPO disappoints me again.

UPDATED: Please scroll down. I can post but I've got no Email. PJ Media, you'll have to snag this one yourselves.

At a press conference yesterday, APPO vowed to return to Santo Domingo at 8:00 this morning to set up their third encampment around the property. APP said that it was their right to hold peaceful protests and by golly they intended to exercize said right. Mark in Mexico was there. I flipped on the Date/Time stamp on the photos so as not to be accused of posting pictures from this time last year, but something went haywire. The date appears correct but the hour is 2 hours behind. Please add two hours to the time shown as not even Mark in Mexico is dedicated enough to be out and about snapping photos at 6 o'clock in the morning.

APPO didn't show. The only people on the Santo Domingo esplanade were film crews, photographers and reporters, about a dozen in total.

Mark in Mexico, Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, collectibles, arts and crafts, Oaxaca, Mexico: APPO fails to show for new camp 006
Everyone pictured here is from the media.

Mark in Mexico, Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, collectibles, arts and crafts, Oaxaca, Mexico: APPO fails to show for new camp 009
If there is trouble, this media vehicle is a gonner.

Mark in Mexico, Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, collectibles, arts and crafts, Oaxaca, Mexico: APPO fails to show for new camp 010
This was the last car parked too close to the action.

Mark in Mexico , Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, collectibles, arts and crafts, Oaxaca, Mexico: APPO fails to show for new camp 008
The south side of Santo Domingo where the happy APPO campers would sleep. Nada.

Mark in Mexico, Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, collectibles, arts and crafts, Oaxaca, Mexico: APPO fails to show for new camp 007
The fellow in the shadows is an undercover agent. We watched each other . . . a lot.

Maybe APPO is a bit hesitant this morning because of this:

Mark in Mexico, Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, collectibles, arts and crafts, Oaxaca, Mexico: APPO fails to show for new camp 004
More men and materiel packed into the Zócalo than
I have ever seen. They are expecting something big.

Mark in Mexico, Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, collectibles, arts and crafts, Oaxaca, Mexico: APPO fails to show for new camp 003
Lots of equipment, and I mean a lot.
I could have snapped 20 photos and not gotten it all.

UPDATE I: Damn! The radio is reporting that APPO is marching from Juarez University towards the downtown. A contingent of PFP has been dispatched to Santo Domingo. I'm on my way back.

UPDATE II: Never mind. APPO has canceled the march before it had traveled 10 meters. APPO has also canceled its plan to re-install the encampment at Santo Domingo.

Marcelino Coache, APPO's spokesman for the day, said that outstanding arrest warrants for APPO leaders made any mobilization just too dangerous.

That's a good idea all around. The PFP moved out just after I left the downtown. They've got 100 or more men plus a dozen vehicles in and around Parque Llano. They've got several hundred around Santo Domingo, blocking all accesses except to pedestrian foot traffic.

The PFP does not intend to cede any territory to APPO other than what APPO currently holds; Cinco Señores and Juarez University. With all the additional manpower and equipment that I saw in the Zócalo this morning, I think the PFP intends to recover Cinco Señores. The university, however, is another matter. While it must be remembered that Governor Ruiz Ortiz is not calling the shots right now, he said yesterday that the cleaning out of Juarez University was up to the rector. If it's left up to the rector, APPO will still be in charge of Juarez University in the year 3535, if man is still alive.

I've got more photos but I'm at an internet cafe and cannot upload them from here. Give me about an hour.

On a related note, APPO's canceled march and re-installation of its encampment may be because Flavio "Fat Man" Sosa is busy today seeking new office space. Last night someone broke into the offices of "Nueva Izquierda de Oaxaca" - The New Left - and burned everything. The Fat Man ostensibly heads this fake social movement which is a part of APPO, the bigger fake social movement. Surprisingly, the Fat Man blames the governor for what appears to me to have been the purely accidental spillage of 10 gallons of gasoline on top of his desk and the inadvertant dropping of a match in the middle of it.

UPDATE III: APPO has announced that it will nnot leave Juarez University and that the university is "its last bastion." Taking refuge inside the university are Flavio "Fat Man" Sosa, Zenén Bravo, Erangelio Mendoza, Marcelino Coache among others. They have announced their intention to not leave the university because, according to Coache, they were informed by the federal government this morning that the PFP had "put down its night sticks and picked up firearms."

The APPO spokesmen said that they will put up a "human cordon" around the university radio station since the transmission equipment doesn't hit back nearly as hard as the PFP.

APPO leadership also decried the arrests this morning of 5 truckloads of supporters who were on their way into town for the canceled march and canceled re-encampment. The trucks were stopped by the PFP in Santa María Coyotepec, where the governor has his temporary offices.

APPO says that their new security plan is to not leave the univesity. APPO also promised, and they really, really mean it this time, to march on December 1 to protest the inauguration of Felipe Calderón.

UPDATE IV: Panic in the private schools!

Word swiftly flew around the city that APPO gorillas were seen hanging around some private schools in the city. Panic set in. The schools, including the one which my sons attend, started closing and calling parents to come and pick up their kids. My wife arrived at our school at 12:00 to find that the school director would not allow the gates opened for parents to drive through. She had teachers out on the sidewalk with cell phones calling into the school for the children as their parents arrived. The kids were led out by security guards and taken directly to their parent's car.

Whether this threat was real and whether the private schools will be open tomorrow is all in doubt.

I'm going to post the latest photos in another post.

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Oaxaca, Mexico: APPO explains reasons for yesterday's battle; You're really not going to believe this.

APPO spokesman Florentino López Martínez, as yet un-disappeared,
"emphasized that the violence that occurred yesterday when APPO tried to surround the PFP was the product of an offensive against the federal forces as part of a defense of the members and sympathizers of APPO."
After laughter had died down a bit, López had everyone roaring with this one:
Appo used only legitimate force in their own defense using rocks, clubs, rockets, gasoline bombs and other objects they found along the way.
Well, I can always step just outside my door and find a grocery cart full of Molotov cocktails, stumble over ball bats and clubs and I have to be careful where I toss my cigar butts to avoid setting off the casual nail-filled rocket or bomb I find lying hither and yon.

López Martínez also vowed that APPO "would not take one step back" in its fight against Governor Ruiz Ortiz. Well, he's right about that. APPO did not take one step back yesterday, they ran back about 2 miles.

For his part, Flavio "Fat Man" Sosa, in a telephone interview because he's afraid to show his fat ass on the streets, insisted that his innocents were attacked by the PFP and that none of his people were involved in any way with any arson or destruction of property.

A reporter said in a radio interview today that he thinks he witnessed the incident that touched off the street war. He was watching a group of APPO thugs standing some 150 feet away from the PFP line at the green dumpster on Macedonio Alcalá taunting the officers. A masked punk pushing a stolen shopping cart filled with soft drink bottles - the reporter said he could not tell what they were filled with -- decided to show off to his comrades. He pushed the cart down the street right to the PFP line and then turned and continued pushing it all along the line.

The astonished PFP officers looked at one another, then two of them just reached out and snagged the punk as well as his shopping cart. They jerked him through their line and, poof! just like that he was gone. When the laughing mob saw their smart-ass comrade disappear right before their eyes, they went berserk and the fight was on.


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Oaxaca, Mexico: APPO vows to return to Santo Domingo

The question, of course, is with whom? I'm not sure how many loyal supporters of the movement are left with any interest in this losing cause. APPO says that it will return to the esplanade at Santo Domingo tomorrow morning at 8:00 and rebuild its twice destroyed camp.

What exactly the PFP intends to do about this new threat is unknown. Under Mexican law, APPO has the right to demonstrate any time and almost any place, regardless of past performances and regardless of the chaos it may cause. However, there are some criteria under which the PFP may be able to deny APPO access to Santo Domingo.

APPO will arrive with a lot of women in tow to use as shields against any attempts to deny them access or dislodge them once they get there. This way, APPO can claim not only human rights violations but can accuse the PFP of attempted sexual molestation and rape every time a woman throws herself against PFP officers.

It should be interesting tomorrow morning. I'll try to be there.

After giving this a little more thought, I think the PFP would be wise to allow the camp to be set up. Then, once or twice per week, send in an armed group at 3:00 am to beat the crap out of anyone found in the camp, gather up all the tents, tarps, awnings, sleeping bags and clothes, pile it up and burn it all. APPO runs out of materiel before the PFP runs out of matches.

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Oaxaca, Mexico: APPO retreats to Juarez University -- Governor to be gagged

UPDATED: Mark takes a tour. Please scroll down.

Here are some details as being reported by the Mexican media this morning:

  • Governor Ruiz Ortiz pronounced "APPO's insurgency is finished."
    Cinco Señores is still blocked and Juarez University is in the hands of APPO. Not finished yet, I should think.
  • Governor Ruiz Ortiz announced, "There were no injuries during yesterday's confrontation. "
    The Red Cross has some 80 hospitalized, other hospitals have not yet reported in. At least 3 reporters were hurt, one seriously after being struck in the head by a tear gas grenade. Two others, Amaury Guadarrama of Cuartoscuro and Abundio Nuñez Sánchez of El Financiero, were treated after being beaten by APPO thugs and accused of being a "government spy".
  • The governor has determined that all of the problems here are caused by a "lack of federal funds and are not due to any errors on the part of his administration."

    The governor needs to be gagged for the duration.

  • The State Courts building across the street from Parque Llano has been burned out as I winessed last night.
  • At least 60 have been arrested.
    This is a significant number because The Fat Man's (Flavio Sosa's) army consists of some 300-500 thugs and 60 is a heavy loss percentage.
  • The police, I'm unclear on whose police, whether the PFP federales or the state police, have taken control of Parque Llano.
  • The APPO thugs fled for the university.
  • Teatro Benito Juarez, in front of Parque Llano, has been destroyed.
  • The Santo Domingo esplanade and garden have been heavily damaged.
    APPO punks ripped out stone to use to throw at the PFP
  • The PFP actually made two advances north on Macedonio Alcalá.
    The first advance was to clear a two-block space between the PFP and the APPO attackers, rather than just stand there under APPO's barrage. After air surveillance reported that APPO was re-grouping at Santo Domingo for another attack, the PFP moved forward again and this time they did not stop.
  • Some damage inside Santo Domingo. Estimates and photos not yet available. Many adult APPO marchers had taken refuge inside the buildings and the APPO gangs didn't dare try to destroy the church and museum with that many adults around.
  • Any reports that you read about the violence exploding because of APPO's attempts to surround the PFP are NOT TRUE.

    APPO had this pretty well planned. The marchers had begun to spread out and take their positions around the outer perimeter of the Zócalo and the PFP, maintaining a seperation of at least 1 city block. The PFP did not try to stop them as the PFP's responsibility was to hold the city center, not send mom and pop bleeding and choking back to their mountain village. But a group of APPO thugs faced off against the PFP manning the green dumpster at Macedonio Alcalá and Morelos. At 3:05, the thugs started throwing rocks and firing marbles from their slingshots. The PFP returned the rocks to sender and PFP rooftop "snipers" began a barrage from their own slingshots. If you were to go shopping for marbles today, there are none to be had in the entire city. They are, however, free for the taking off of the city's streets.

    Within minutes the APPO gunners started firing their rockets at APPO belt buckles and the brawl was on. The PFP tear gas effectively put an end to the planned encirclement by APPO marchers as the adults were forced to flee. That left the streets to the APPO thugs or the PFP, whichever was stronger. In reality, the PFP made pretty short work of the APPO thugs, who were forced to resort to vandalism, beating reporters and making macho threats and declarations as they ran for their lives.
  • The Fat Man also had to flee, but from the monsters he had helped create. He soaked himself in water and vinegar to combat the effects of the tear gas and disappeared from Santo Domingo under a barrage of rocks and insults from his own APPO thugs.
  • City cleanup crews and the PFP are out trying to sweep up the mess this morning.
  • Other crews are repainting the repainted slogans which were repainted over last week's repainting. There's been more paint used in this city in the last 6 months, to paint, repaint, repeat, than has been used here in the last 150 years. DuPont and PPG celebrate.
  • 4 hotels were heavily damaged after APPO thugs breached their entrances: The Hotel Camino Real, being reported as "sacked", Hotel Parador Dominico, Hotel Real de Santo Domingo and Hotel de las Mariposas.
  • They also burned out the Guelaguetza Travel Agency and more than a dozen shops and restaurants.
  • It's being reported that the PFP, for the first time, used rubber bullets against the rioters.
  • Tha APPO thugs broke into the churches La Merced, in the Santo Domingo esplanade, Los Siete Príncipes, Santo Domingo de Guzmán, La Compañía and El Carmen Alto y Bajo. The priests and other parishioners were unable to keep them out. They hauled in stolen carts from supermarkets filled with their gasoline bombs.
Mark in Mexico, Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, collectibles, arts and crafts,  Oaxaca, Mexico:  APPO riot November 25 2006 005
The State Courts building across from Parque Llano ablaze

 Mark in Mexico, Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, collectibles, arts and crafts,  Oaxaca, Mexico:  APPO riot November 25 2006 4
At least 15 cars are reported to have been burned in front of Parque Llano.

The above photo was taken by a photographer who was able to get closer than I. My photo from last night, however, is considered "art", at least by yours truly.

The state police (PM) under the ultimate command of the PFP, are now attempting to take control of the city's streets. That's good news, I hope.

While the photo that I published yesterday of the marchers as they approached the south side of the city makes it appear as though it was a large crowd, Reforma and La Crónica are reporting that only about 10,000 participated. That may signal the end of APPO as a "mass popular movement" as the foreign media and the visiting anarchists and communists from Indy Media and Narco News have been so fond of reporting.

I have not checked their sites yet this morning because I have been too busy for Three Stooges type slapstick humor but I would imagine they are playing this as government repression of free speech, outrageous human rights violations, cold-blooded murder, Nazi-Brownshirt-jack booted-attacks-on-innocent sociology students, and yada, yada, yada.

I can tell you this. The affair yesterday was the third such that I have witnessed here. In all three, and yesterday's was a prime example, the PFP waited behind lines it had established a month ago for the attack it was sure would come. When the attack did come, the PFP responded in kind.

The difference between yesterday's confrontation and the previous confrontations was that the PFP has taken territory and seems to intend to hold it this time.

This city may now be ready to return to some sense of normality where one can, without molestation, visit Santo Domingo, take the kids bike riding to Parque Llano and have lunch on the Zócalo. It's really too soon to tell. As far as Juarez University is concerned, the rector and the students there can all now deal with the APPO thugs whom they have been so kindly hosting since July.

The rector was whining Friday that the university has lost 20 million pesos due to canceled classes. This is the same rector who has been squealing far and wide that the police cannot enter "his" university because it is "independent" and that would be a grave violation of the constitution. Let him eat cake.


I took a stroll around town just after noon. The governor was also out but we didn't run into each other. News media now report more than 150 arrested yesterday afternoon and throughout the night. There must have been some type of operation against the APPO thugs in Parqque Llano at about 10:00 last night, but no one is reporting anything.

At a gift shop a half block from the ADO station a lady was aweeping up the shattered glass from her front window. She told me the APPo punks were chased out of the park and fled down Niños Heroes. They stopped to smash windows all along the way.

The ADO bus station was packed with people. Most of them were APPO marchers from yesterday who had originally intended to be camping around the PFP in the Zócalo. The Fat Man's thugs ruined those plans by attacking the PFP and getting the entire group booted out of the city.

There are reportedly C-130 Hercules transports landing at the airport now disgorging what are supposed to be 2000 more PFP officers. The intent now, I believe, is to attack the APPO barricades at Cinco Señores and also to enter and clean out the university. APPO is to be driven from the city. We'll see.

Mark takes a tour

Mark in Mexico, Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, Mexican arts and crafts, alebrijes and collectibles, Helicopter keeping an eye on the city.
PFP helicopter keeping an eye on the city

Mark in Mexico, Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, Mexican arts and crafts, alebrijes and collectibles, Street construction crews back at work -- and on a Sunday!
Street constrution crews back at work -- on a Sunday!

Mark in Mexico, Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, Mexican arts and crafts, alebrijes and collectibles, Mexican Navy helicopter overflying the city taking surveillance photographs and videos.
Navy helicopter taking videos and photos

Mark in Mexico, Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, Mexican arts and crafts, alebrijes and collectibles, Damage to shops, banks and other buildings during yesterday's rampage by vandals and arsonists from APPO after they got run out of the downtown and PArque Llano.
When APPO got chased out of Parque Llano last night, they struck along Niños Heroes

Mark in Mexico, Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, Mexican arts and crafts, alebrijes and collectibles, Stones and a battering ram used to break open doors and windows to the Tribunal de Poder de Judicial building in front of Parque Llano. The offices and courtrooms on the lower level were torched with gasoline bombs.
Stones from Parque Llano and a battering ram used to attack the Federal Courts building

Mark in Mexico, Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, Mexican arts and crafts, alebrijes and collectibles, 13 cars burned in the court building's parking lots.
Federal Court parking lot. There were 13 cars burned here plus more in a lot on the other side.

Mark in Mexico, Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, Mexican arts and crafts, alebrijes and collectibles, Blocking the destroyed entrance to Theater Juarez.
Stringing fence wire across destroyed entrances of Teatro Benito Juarez. All glass, all gone.

Mark in Mexico, Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, Mexican arts and crafts, alebrijes and collectibles, Peace rally at Parque Llano.
Big Rally for Peace in Parque Llano. Whenever a police convoy passed, cheers and applause.

Mark in Mexico, Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, Mexican arts and crafts, alebrijes and collectibles, The first police patrols in the city since early August
Police patrol convoys. The first in the city since early August.

The next three photos are of the offices of the Hotel and Motel Association - Asociación Mexicana de Hoteles y Moteles de Oaxaca - at Reforma and Berriozabal. A nice young lady who was sitting at the destroyed entrance awaiting the Ministerio Público (the detectives) invited me to go on in and take some photos. None of the people who worked here needed their jobs, anyway. They are all rich. And the hoteliers certainly don't need any help in attracting guests here, do they?

Mark in Mexico, Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, Mexican arts and crafts, alebrijes and collectibles, The Oaxaca Hotel and Motel Association headquarters completely destroyed

Mark in Mexico, Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, Mexican arts and crafts, alebrijes and collectibles, The Oaxaca Hotel and Motel Association headquarters completely destroyed

Mark in Mexico, Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, Mexican arts and crafts, alebrijes and collectibles, The Oaxaca Hotel and Motel Association headquarters completely destroyed

Mark in Mexico, Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, Mexican arts and crafts, alebrijes and collectibles, Santo Domingo stones removed from esplanade gardens used to hurl at PFP officers.
Santo Domingo. These 5 stones are all that remain around the outer gardens. No other discernable damage - a miracle.

Mark in Mexico, Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, Mexican arts and crafts, alebrijes and collectibles, The cleanup of the downtown has been going on since dawn.
Hosing down the street beside Santo Domingo. This was formerly part of APPO's camp.

Mark in Mexico, Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, Mexican arts and crafts, alebrijes and collectibles, macedonio Alcalá looks like nothing ever happened here. This was, however, the scene of the biggest fight.
Macedonio Alcalá, 1 block from Santo Domingo. Riot? What riot?

Mark in Mexico, Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, Mexican arts and crafts, alebrijes and collectibles, This small clothing shop sold hand sewn clothes made by Zapotec indians, the poorest of Oaxaa's poor. The clothes were either burned or had paint splashed on them.
Small shop that sold hand sewn clothing from Zapotecs. Burned out.

Mark in Mexico, Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, Mexican arts and crafts, alebrijes and collectibles, PFP gear neatly arrayed outside the Zócalo. It's all quite peaceful today.

The PFP officers manning the lines around the Zócalo were relaxed, smiling and letting everbody through. I was carrying a bag and they took a quick look inside but no hassles. They won a big one yesterday and they know it.

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Oaxaca, Mexico: Meet Earl the Pearl, APPO's communist advisor.

Quoting Earl the Pearl, "Red Pearl" ( writing in the Yahoo Group page, Oaxaca Study Action Group (OSAG) to Daniel (
APPO offers a limited, but useful parallel to the Paris Commune, the 1905 and 1917 Soviets, and other such insurgent organs of power.
Earl the Pearl goes on to argue for APPO's very own Stalin:
Centralized, hierarchical power. What if APPO does or had gone this way, making actual decisions about the conditions of life and becoming a center by which masses of exploited people exercise their priorities, their will?

Immediately, several things happen. First, people have to eat, have clothes, transportation, etc. Exchanges of goods between producers has to take place. This means some kind of planning or just letting it be done by money exchanges. If it's money with no plans, then the money accumulates in some hands and we're back to square one. Only some popularly-based plan can overcome the inequalities build (sic) into our current system. Without some plan, we have units of production competing for their 'market share', forced to accumulate resources from the production of the workers. We can see that with ESOPs here, for example. (Employee Stock Ownership Plans) Either that surplus comes by planning or be (sic) exploitation; there is no third way.

Only a plan can represent what the masses of working people actually want done with the products of our labor. Of course, a plan can alos (sic) be used to impose the priorities of a new ruling class; that's a matter of struggle. But any plan has to cover as much as possible, hence it has to be coordinated. That means leadership and responsibility. That means organization, central plans, and hierarchy.
"Organization, central plans and heirarchy". Hello, USSR.

Earl the Pearl opts for POWER.
Power mean (sic) imposing one side's will on the other. Forcing higher pay means imposing your side's will on another. Taking over land and workplaces means imposing your will on another. Breaking up the armed forces, the same, and more so.
"Taking over land and workplaces" and "imposing your will on another" and purging the armed forces. Hello Uncle Joe.

I would note that "Daniel" is a participant in Lesson Plan, a "progressive" website dedicated to excluding "neo-consevative" thought, or any thought other than socialist anarchist thought, from our public universities and colleges.

Please visit the Pale Horse Galleries online store
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by Mexican indigenous artists.

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Oaxaca, Mexico: It's on

UPDATED: Please scroll down. It has exploded!

If you just flew into Oaxaca, you're not reading this because you're stuck in the airport and you'll be there for a few hours. APPO's march started just a few minutes ago at the Government Palace at Santa María Coyotepec which effectively closes the airport highway.

If you are attempting to enter the city from Mexico City/Puebla, you may or may not be able to do that. In any event, the toll that you pay at the toll booth will go directly into the pockets of APPO.

If you are attempting to leave the city for Mexico City/Puebla/Tehuacan, turn around and come back because those highways are blocked.

If you had a meeting scheduled today with the "Voice of APPO", Cesar Mateos Benítez or Jorge Sosa, Flavio's cousin, it has been canceled. Poof! They were "disappeared" last night by PFP supersecret undercover commandos. Abracadabra. Now you see them, now you don't.

The PFP has packed up all of its sleeping and dining gear, tents, awnings, sleeping bags, extra clothing, etc. and tucked everything away out from underfoot. They've got 28 heavy trucks, 29 SUV's and pickups, 13 riot tanks, 2 backhoes (for piling up and burying bodies of women and children in mass graves, no doubt) and 2 ambulances all sitting at the ready in the Zócalo and the Alameda (the square in front of the cathedral).

They've strung barbed wire and concertina wire across 9 different approaches to the Zócalo. At the moment of writing this they have no less than 20 men stationed at each of the 9 lines with hundreds more sitting in the Zócalo, gearing up to join them.

For their part, APPO says they plan to keep better control over their people today than they were able to last weekend. This past Monday (Revolution Day), 300 APPO thugs and criminals got so far out of hand that, at one point, the now disappeared and then panicked Mateos Benitez claimed they weren't APPOites at all, but "infiltrators". Today, Marcelino Coache, member of APPO's rapidly shrinking "Press and Propoganda Commission", says that APPO's 260 "regional coordinators" will each be responsible for one respective group of this week's thugs and criminals.

Each "security brigade" will consist of an unknown number of rioters, divided into groups of five. A buddy system in quintuplet, I suppose. The regional coordinators are each making a list and checking it twice so as to preclude those pesky infiltrators who made everyone so uncomfortable last weekend, especially inside the Hotel Camino Real and those plants that were so peacefully sitting in their pots.

It will go something like this:
"Su nombre?"
"Estás un infiltradero?"
"Yo? No way, José!"
Or something like that.

We're on.

UPDATE I: First photos are in.

Mark in Mexico Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, collectibles, arts and crafts, Oaxaca, Mexico: APPO march November 25 001
Marchers on Símbolos Pátrios, south of the downtown.

UPDATE II: The marchers have arrived at the PFP circumference. There are not yet any reports of major problems.

All along the marchers' route the local merchants and businesses closed up shop prior to their arrival. Many businesses did not even try to open today.

The PFP has taken control of the rooftops both inside and outside their lines. PFP "snipers" armed with slingshots and marbles are patrolling the upper atmosphere.

UPDATE III: The APPO marchers have begun to encircle the PFP positions around the Zócalo and Alameda de León, the square in front of the Cathedral. These two central squares lie adjacent to one another to have control of one you must have control of the other.

APPO vows to besiege the PFP for 48 hours, allowing neither ingress nor egress. That's not a big deal in light of last week's now forgotten vow to besiege them 24/7 until the governor resigns and the PFP turns tail and goes home. It is still quite cool here and the temperatures will dip into the 30's (F) tonight. Unfortunately, the day dawned completely cloudless this morning and remains so. What we really needed was a cold rain. I think I'll don a feather, go outside and do a rain dance. The neighbors all think I'm nutz anyway.

UPDATE IV: A brief sidelight: Antonio Portillo Salazar, alias “El Portillo", an APPO thug imprisoned last year on vehicle theft and armed robbery charges, escaped from prison, was on the lam for a few weeks, was re-captured and tossed back into the slammer.

Now El Portillo claims that he paid a prison guard commander 100,000 pesos to allow him to slip out the back door. El Portillo has written two letters, one to the Federal Commission on Human Rights and the other to APPO. In the letter to the Human Rights Commission, El Portillo complains that his family and friends put up the bribe money and are demanding to be repaid. El Portillo claims that since he blundered into a police patrol and was recaptured, he should get his money back. The guard commander, surprisingly, cannot seem to recall this particular episode.

In El Portillo's second letter, the one to APPO, he asks APPO to surround and lay siege to the prison until the guard commander refunds his 100,000 pesos.

Mark in Mexico, Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, collectibles, arts and crafts,  Oaxaca, Mexico: APPO thug wants a refund
Even El Portillo appreciates the hilarity here.

UPDATE V: APPO marchers armed and committing acts of vandalism along the way, according to . . . APPO.

The Oaxaca daily Las Noticias is a virulently anti-government (anti- current governor, actually) newspaper that has allowed itself to become the voice-in-print of APPO and Sección 22 of the SNTE, the teachers union. What is interesting to watch here is that many of the Noticias reporters are experienced professionals who inadvertantly report what they are seeing. Then, because of their APPO sympathies, they either don't realize what is is they just reported or they try to cloak it in respectability.

Here's the link to this updated report from along the marcher's route. It's in Spanish, but I'll translate the most interesting parts.

Noticias says " . . . a brigade is painting. Using 20 different stencils with different slogans, the APPO members are protesting against globalization, multi-national businesses, the PFP as well as demanding the ouster of Governor Ruiz Ortiz."

What the reporter is saying here is that the APPOites are splashing paint on the sides of homes and businesses all along the route. That's vandalism. All of that paint is going to have to be covered or removed, eventually, at property owners' expense. And, if someone were foolish enough to try to prevent the vandalism of their property, they would most assuredly be soundly beaten or killed and their property burned to the ground. Because, you see, it is a basic human right to damage or destroy your property in pursuit of some higher cause, like cheaper tortillas and more expensive and foul tasting hamburgers because Double Whoppers with Cheese are no longer allowed to compete.

I'll go on: "Protesters are carrying rocket launchers, rocks and gasoline bombs in case they are frightened or feel intimidated along the way by the PFP." I don't think any comment from me is even needed about that declaration.

Now comes this hooter: "Sand bags, razor wire, like that used by soldiers in Irak, and anti-riot tanks serve to shield the PFP." Irak? The hell you say! I knew George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld could somehow be blamed for all this.

UPDATE VI: Ok, here we go, as if we didn't know this was going to happen. APPO gunners have begun launching rockets at the belt buckles of the PFP lines on Macedonio Alcalá (down the street from Santo Domingo). Other APPO sappers have scaled the sides of buildings and are fighting it out at medium range with PFP officers who are also on the rooftops. The PFP officers are armed with slingshots and tear gas launchers. The APPO thugs are armed with rocket launchers, slingshots and gasoline bombs. Downtown real estate continues to take a pounding.

Mark in Mexico, Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, collectibles, arts and crafts, Oaxaca, Mexico: The PFP doesn't scare me 001 (25)
Here's where the fight is now taking place, right on the other side of that dumpster.

Mark in Mexico, Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, collectibles, arts and crafts, Oaxaca, Mexico: The PFP doesnt scare me 001 (12)
These are the men now involved in the street war. That's their commander on the left.

I can hear the choppers circling overhead now as air surveillance tries to keep the ground forces apprised. The choppers will also be launching tear gas at APPO's rooftop sappers.

UPDATE VII: The APPO thugs learned a hard lesson last weekend. The PFP loaded its water cannons with chile and then shot for the eyes of the rioters. Right now, the APPO attackers are maintaining a 150 foot gap between themselves and the the PFP water cannons, just out of effective range. I don't see how the attackers can gain an advantage with this tactic. If they stay out of range of the water cannons, they have no hope of winning any territory.

UPDATE VIII:This is not good. The APPO rioters have broken into the Hotel Camino Real. Ah, man. It's the nicest hotel in the city, built inside an ex convent which was originally constructed in 1576. You can imagine the architecture, fountains, 400 year old wall frescoes and more. APPO did some significant damage to the hotel's exterior during last Monday's riot and have now gotten inside the hotel to finish the job. This is going to be a real shame. I'd think it was just about time for some gunsmoke.

UPDATE IX: The PFP is advancing!! This is good news. The PFP not only has refused to cede any ground, they are advancing north on Macedonio Alcalá. That's no solace to the employees and owners of Hotel Camino Real, which is one block east on 5 de Mayo. The PFP has advanced about a block. APPO is claiming that the situation is out of their control, again and, once again, it's "infiltrators". pardon my French on this Thanksgiving Day weekend (for y'all up there, anyway) but APPO is led by a bunch of lying sons of bitches.

UPDATE X: Or why did I opt for Roman numerals? The PFP has taken Santo Domingo! This is great news, but I don't think they'll hold it. They don't have enough men or equipment to hold this much of the city's center. Santo Domingo is 5 blocks north of the PFP's outermost defensive line. I haven't checked a map but there must be some 20-30 intersections that the PFP would have to lock down whereas, up until today, the PFP only held 9.

Still, it's a significant defeat for APPO. Most of the occupiers at Santo Domingo were, up until their camp was burned last week, peaceful, though quite naive, believers in the "movement". Since the camp was burned, it has mostly been occupied by the long haired, Birkenstock wearing Indy Media types who would hang around all day pretending to be active participants in the next great revolution, then head for the nearest cheap hotel to drug up and drop out.

Man! Reports from explosions are now almost constant.

That can only mean that the PFP is pushing the APPO rioters ever closer to Niños Heroes and, er, moi.

I can't take it anymore. It's pitch black here but I've got to go take a look. Don't tell my wife. I'll be back in an hour, God willing.

UPDATE XI: I'm back. I walked right into the middle of them. The APPO rioters have been chased out of the downtown. They've moved to the intersection of Niños Héroes and Avenida Juarez/Calz. Porfirio Díaz. They were in the process of forcing cars and trucks to stop so that they might be used for campfires.

I made a quick left turn (I was on foot) down Ave. Juarez towards Parque Llano -- Parque Benito Juarez. The park was full of them. They are all young hoodlums, punks. They were burning 3 cars in front of the Juarez Theater. A big gang of about a hundred or so was standing in the street throwing boulders, ripped out of the newly refurbished park, at the State Courts building. Other smaller groups were using poles to break open the side windows of the building and bash through the doors. There are steel bars which probably will keep them out of the building unless they really want to get in. If they get in, the damage will be horrendous. I hope the secretaries and clerks backed up all their computer files before they went home last night. I couldn't see the theater but I would imagine they have smashed down the doors and are romping around inside.

What you need to keep in mind is that there is no one to stop them. State and local police hit squads will no doubt be out and about tonight snatching anyone they can catch and taking potshots at anyone they can't. As far as any law enforcement protection for Juan Q. Public, there ain't.

I tried to get into the VIPS restaurant but the manager waved me off. I got one photo of the burning cars but it's not worth posting. The image is mostly black, indicating that this particular work of art was conceived after dusk. It appears to have a fire burning in the middle of it, indicating that APPOites, like the Neadertals before them, have discovered fire. If you would like a copy, deposit $5.00 in my PayPal account and you can have your own personal copy of 3 Burning Cars At Parque Llano (Copyright 2006). Sorry, no free previews.

I returned past the ADO bus station. It was beginning to fill up with those Indy Media, Birkenstock types. It looks like their grand adventure has ended badly. I saw maybe a dozen or so with backpacks loaded. Look out, Puerto Escondido, here they come.

UPDATE XII: El Universal had a reporter inside Santo Domingo with the Fat Man, Flavio Sosa when he lost control of his troops. He stood on a balcony and shouted at them through a bullhorn. The tete-a-tete went like this:
Fat Man: "We've got to maintain order because we are going to lose a fight like this."

Fat Man's followers: "Shut up you son of a bitch and come down and fight!"

Fat Man: "Calm down. Let's all calm down, comrades."

Fat Man's followers: "No f**king way, you fat, stupid ox."

Fat Man (to reporter): "APPO declares the situation out of control."
What's disturbing about this, besides the fact that APPO leadership can no longer control the criminal gangs that it organized and bankrolled, is that it took place "above one of the Santo Domingo gardens". That means that the APPO thugs had gotten inside Santo Domingo. This could be a cultural disaster for all of Mexico. Santo Domingo, besides being one of the most beautiful colonial buildings in the world, also houses a museum. It is filled with priceless artifacts. everything from skeletons, jewelry and sculpture from ancient Zapotec tombs at Monte Alban to Benito Juarez's desk that he used as governor and president. I don't even want to think about it.

UPDATE XIII: Reports are appearing in Notimex, El Universal and Reforma tha the PFP, realizing they had routed the gangs that confronted them, started running down the streets of the center city, chasing down and arresting everyone they could catch. The newspapers are saying that the PFP is using an especially virulent tear gas. The rioters were trying to use vinegar and Coca Cola to combat the effects but without success.

A reporter said that some moron drove a small car downtown today right into the middle of the fight. A PFP officer, fearing that the man was a rioter who was trying to run down police officers, fired a tear gas cannister at him, point blank.

It look like the PFP caught a lot of them. The gang stoning and trying to break into the State Courts Building in front of Parque Llano has set the interior of the building ablaze with gasoline bombs. What remains of the rioting thugs are now ensconced in Parque Llano and "daring" the PFP to come after them. In light of today's failures, that would not seem to be the most prudent of dares to make.

Some more photos from today's street battle:

Mark in Mexico,  Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, collectibles, arts and crafts, Oaxaca, Mexico:  APPO riot November 25 2006 1
The Fat Man's army

Mark in Mexico,  Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, collectibles, arts and crafts, Oaxaca, Mexico:  APPO riot November 25 2006 2
Look at what the PFP confronts. The PFP fights back with slingshots and marbles.

Mark in Mexico,  Pale Horse Galleries for gifts, collectibles, arts and crafts, Oaxaca, Mexico: APPO riot November 25 2006 3
Losing ground fast.

La Crónica is reporting that two reporters were hurt, one seriously when he was hit in the head by a tear gas canister. That doesn't sound good.

Note to Eunice Goetz: Everyone has to believe in something. I believe I'll have another another another drink.

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

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