Thursday, November 02, 2006

Oaxaca, Mexico: Juarez University assault update III

The avenue in front of the university is under PFP control and is being cleared of barricades. The PFP has entered the university and they are cleaning it out, building by building. If APPO's actions at Canal 9 (the radio and TV station) are any indication, the university will be hard hit by theft and vandalism.

The helicopter has moved away from my area to about a mile north and it is hovering over the university. There is little smoke from fires -- everything has been burned out or extinguished by the PFP. I still hear an occasional explosion from inside the university but, as far as the neighborhoods around the commercial centers are concerned, it's over. For the neighborhoods that surround the university, however, it's still a problem.

There was another very large fire set somewhere to the south. It looked to be on the other side of the river, east of Xoxocotlan. Thick, billowing black smoke, probably from tires. There must have been some type of cleanup action by the PFP in that area although I have heard nothing about it.

I climbed up on a neighbor's roof to watch the helicopter work. On the hillsides surrounding the valley I could see occasional flashes of bright light. My neighbor told me these are people trying to blind the helicopter pilot with mirrors. They've apparently never heard of Ray Bans. He told me that, at night, they would hold a cigarette lighter in front of their mirrors to try to down the choppers with, er, laser rays. Bic-beams. Hilarious.

It is going to take several more hours for the PFP to root out everybody hiding inside the university. From the sound of all of the ambulance sirens, there must be some casualties. No believable reports yet on the casualty figures.

There was some news footage earlier in the operation, but the people here don't like their variety shows and telenovelas interrupted by breaking news. I commented to my neighbor that, in the USA, this would be all you could see on the TV. We looked around at about 100 rooftops and only spotted about a dozen people who were trying to see the action.

We are all quite pleased that the PFP got the boulevard clear. That put a stop to all the traffic fleeing by our homes. One hefty lady strode by carrying a 3/4" piece of rebar about 2 meters long. It looked more like a spear than a club.

I may need to re-visit my neighbor's rooftop. There are two helicopters which have returned to our airspace. Something more must be going on close by.

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