I've got to get something posted and it is taking me forever to get these photos posted. So, I'll continue adding photos but here is your first look at the scenes of the confrontation between the PFP and APPO yesterday. Keep checking back as I add photos. I've got about 30.Ok, I'm back from El Centro (downtown). Sure enough, it's gone. Wow! I mean everything is gone. Wiped clean. Erased. Disappeared.
Before setting out on this IM (Impossible Mission, if you don't get out much), I donned a diguise which I hoped would prevent any untoward violence to be committed against me that might cause unacceptable leakage of my precious bodily fluids.
Mark in Mexico's disguise: "No soy Americano. Soy Canadiense. No me pegues, por favor."
Translation: "I'm not an American. I don't eat at McDonalds. I hate Double Whoppers with Cheese, doubly. F*ck the Yankees. I'm Canadian. Parlez vous francais? Please don't hit me."
Note to commenter La Boricua: Let me know if you find any more, er, computer errors. Thanks.
I set off and the first place I passed on the way was the VW dealership across the street from the beisbol stadium. I watched yesterday as its windows were being decorated for Christmas by a holiday throng of 300 APPO merry makers. Maybe they all went APPO-bobbing later. Ugh. Terrible pun. Sorry.
Holiday messages from APPO: Die Ulises. Ulises get out. F*ck the PFP. Etc.
Not a real good shot of all the paint but I was on a bus headed downtown and it's the best I could do. I did see some grafitti that brought a chuckle. "Ulises bomita mierda." That's vomita, with a "V", morons.
driver's burnout and wheelie trying to escape yesterday's mob.
This little shop a block from Santo Domingo had its hanging plants ripped off of the wall and smashed on the sidewalk. The owner of the shop must have been mistaken for a "rich" person.
The Flower Pot War. These are across 5 de Mayo form the Camino Real Hotel.
The thugs smashed the pots and then hurled the pieces through hotel room windows.
This hotel is the classiest in the city. It was hit hard by yesterday's mob. They tried to smash through the windows and doors to throw gasoline bombs inside the rooms. I watched one group of 6 APPO thugs using a battering ram against this door, unsuccessfully. It looked like they had knocked down or pulled down a telephone pole to use. I haven't seen anything like that since Kirk Douglas sicced his Vikings on an English castle. They finally gave up and fire-bombed the door itself but the damage was only superficial. Very interesting that the gasoline bombs did not do more damage. The press here always refers to them as "gasoline bombs" but I have doubts after seeing so little damage that they cause. I'm wondering if they're not actually using rubbing alcohol. Even kerosene would seem to cause more damage than this.
This 2nd floor hotel room door was burned out by a fire bomb.
A first floor room. The mob smashed the glass but couldn't get the door broken open.
Another first floor room. You can see the flower pot shards used to smash the glass.
This glass was all etched with Oaxacan scenes. It was really pretty -- and expensive. Not at all like the cheap 1/10th inch thick plate glass covering the windows of the humble abode of Mark in Mexico, through which a cold winter blast now whistles.
I did a lot of dancing around to get these photos. I didn't want to git kilt. There is a large number of people milling around or just standing around Santo Domingo and the esplanade. All wondering, no doubt, "Where's all my shit?" I took photos from the north, south and the west. I just did not have the courage to brazenly walk directly to the front of the esplanade, in full view of a couple of hundred surly APPO campers who will be freezing their butts off tonight (if they stay, which is doubtful).
First, the "before" view. This photo was taken last week from behind PFP lines, about 4 blocks south of Santo Domingo. The tree in the center of the photo stands directly in front of the Santo Domingo esplanade. Look below the tree at all the color. Those are the tents, awnings and tarpaulins of the APPO encampment.
I'm one block closer, outside PFP lines. Look below the tree. Nada. It's all burned.
Another look from the south on Macedonio Alcalá.
The little shop on the left is lucky to still have their flower
pots. They must have pulled them inside during the riot.
The same view but a cleanup crew was now hard at work.
My back is to Santo Domingo, just two blocks away.
A shot from the west of the esplanade. There is nothing left of the APPO camp.
From the south just two blocks from the esplanade.
Look at the street lamp pole in the center of the photo.Just to the right you'll see a guy in a yellow jacket with his hands in his pockets. He's watching me. Now look to the left and you see another person in a dark jacket striding forward. He's watching me also. I amscrayed. But I was followed.
From the north just 1/2 block from the esplanade.
There are not supposed to be any cars at all on the promenade. APPO sawed off the decorative poles that block vehicle access to the promenade to more conveniently reach their no longer extant campground. The pickup in the center of the picture was another being loaded with anything salvageable from the encampment. On the left, where the tree meets the corner of the Santo Domingo wall, is the only APPO banner left in the entire area, at least that I could see. I would guess that it was brought in and hung this morning.
Approaching the Zócalo.
They are hosing down the streets, bringing in the water in tank trucks.
The east side of the Zócalo.
There were a lot of people in and walking through the Zócalo. One could listen to the chatter and laughter. An amazing difference in attitudes from just a couple of days ago. I walked all around the Zócalo and did not see even one armed PFP officer, whereas two days ago I saw dozens. Hmmm. The PFP officers were much more relaxed. I spoke to several and got smiles from all around. Double hmmm.
Toboggan Cap is up there somewhere in front of me. Here is where I turned to the right to see what he would do. We met on the other side.
The west side of the square looking north at the cathedral.
The west side of the square looking south.
As you can see in all the photos, the restaurants have all reopened and have all of their tables back on the patios. There are not too many customers because it is quite cool and still a bit early in the morning.
I spotted 8 tourists entering this sightseeing van.
I looked at them and they looked at me. We were all probably thinking the same thing: "Idiots."
A state government "Mobile Unit".
This one says, " . . . For the Development". I'm not sure what that is but it may be some type of adult education service. Most trucks are more self-explanatory, like "Servicio Médico" or "Dentista".
The "government palace" that the ignorant foreign press is so fond of calling this building is actually a museum. After a month-long teachers strike in 2005 with the requisite occupation and bespoiling of the Zócalo, the governor moved out along with everybody else. The governor had two specific goals in mind. He hoped that the 2006 striking teachers (the teachers have stopped work and occupied the Zócalo every year for 31 consecutive years) would follow him out of town. Barring that, at least he would be able to get in and out of his office every day. Sorry, Guv, it didn't work as planned.
But the former government palace was refurbished and a quite nice museum was under development inside. The ground floor exhibits were finished and work had begun uptairs when the 2006 version of the striking teachers arrived. After APPO took over from the teachers, they smashed all the windows on the ground floor and most on the upper floor as well. They broke into the museum and completely destroyed it.
One thing APPO is fond of doing is invoking the name of Benito Juarez to justify their actions. The whole west wing of the museum was dedicated to Benito Juarez. Hundreds of his letters, decrees, proclamations, quotations and the like were on display. Everything is gone now. The PFP is camped out all along the front of the building but I found this window directly outside one of the salons where documents from the Juarez years were on display. I was able to climb up on the window bars and get two shots of the salon's interior. There is nothing left of the Benito Juarez legacy that was displayed inside.
Well, alsmost nothing left. The APPO vandals did leave this message behind for the governor's police that were defeated in the Zócalo..
The pessimistic indecision of a militaty commander in times of war means a battle is lost.
Better government, better teachers.
That's all, folks.
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by Mexican indigenous artists.
TAGS: Oaxaca, Mexico, Oaxaca teachers strike, APPO, PFP