Monday, February 12, 2007

Oaxaca, Mexico: Oaxaca's observatory vandalized and abandoned

Yet another victim of the violence that wracked the city and state from May through the 25th of November is the vandalized and heavily damaged observatory, officially known as the Observatorio Astronomico Canuto Muñoz Mares, located, I think, atop the Cerro de Fortin - the big hill you probably drive around on the northwest corner of the city. This observatory, or at least the telescope therin, was a gift from the city of Palo Alto, California in 1972.

The observatory was attacked, vandalized and stripped of anything that could be carried away at the same time that the Guelaguetza amphitheater was vandalized and burned. According to the Oaxaca daily El Imparcial,
The vandalism and sacking of the observatory by the teachers and other political groups that participated in last year's conflict jsut about destroyed it completely, says the Society (Sociedad Astronómica de Oaxaca), and the city governmet has taken no action to retore it.
Now, the competing daiy, Noticias, which is the virulently anti-government print voice of APPO and the striking teachers and which just could not bring itself to denounce the violence against innocent citizens and institutions, played this just a bit more discreetly. Noticias says,
The lenses and telescopes were the most expensive items lost during the socio-political conflict through which Oaxaca lived.
Noticias says that the director of the city's social development said that "deterioration was inevitable" (meaning it was caused by age) and that he didn't know the total cost of the "sacked" components, broken windows, smashed doors, lost files, etc.

Noticias also immediately changes the subject to two other locales which are in need of repair/restoration due to being abandoned by, er, everybody. Those are another observatory and a library which nobody has ever heard of and probably never will.

Noticias reports the city official as saying that the observatory restoration is well on its way, is 90% complete and should be finished in "a month to a month and a half."

That's not what the director of the Astronomical Society told El Imparcial. He says that the society has just now solicited the city council to do something about the observatory to save it and that the director of social development still has to get a budget approved. So, who to believe?

Newspaper War!!!

I don't believe anything I read in Noticias but you make your own decisions.

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