Friday, August 25, 2006

Oaxaca, Mexico: U.S. State Department says it's best to stay away

With hotel occupancy rates at 10%, most folks figured this out long before the State Department went public with a warning.

The warning states, in part,
U.S. citizens traveling to Oaxaca City should consider carefully the risk of travel at this time due to the recent increase in violence there.

The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City has received reports of robberies and assaults in areas of the city not normally known to pose a high crime risk. In light of these increasingly violent demonstrations, U.S. citizens should carefully consider the risks of traveling to Oaxaca City at this time.
Uh, I can vouch for that last part.

We continue the daily exercise of blockades, 12 private radio and TV stations taken over by the anarchists, another teacher shot dead, a government employee shot dead (this latter is being reported by, among others, Oaxaca Charlie, as a teacher - not true), bringing the death toll to 4 since this all started in May. The night before last, a Telcel cellular phone customer service center, very close to my home where 2 young children were sleeping, had its front door and windows shot out, was entered and had about 80 cell phones stolen along with some video game controllers. I am searching the internet for a reasonable explanation of how the importance of shooting up a cell phone company and the stealing of cell phones and video game controllers contributes to this laudable battle against the state governor, oppression, U.S. hegemony, Wal-Mart and Big Macs. Just so that I can understand.

The police, what few there have been for the past month, have all been pulled off the streets. Every night the anarchists stack tires and construction materials stolen from nearby sites and set fire to it all in the streets. They then stand guard throughout the night at these bonfires located at various strategic points around the city. We've got now about a dozen city buses burned and I don't know how many other government owned vehicles. I'm starting to lose count.

The striking teachers' union, the SNTE, and the umbrella support group, the APPO, have now begun to disagree over whether to negotiate or not with the federal government. The teachers say that the governor must go before any talks take place. The APPO has agreed to negotiate with the federal government. Negotiate what?, I would ask. Supposedly the APPO exists to support the SNTE in labor negotiations with the government. What the APPO wants to negotiate, I don't know. Why the government would even talk to the APPO, I don't know. But it appears that it is going to.

Yeah, I know. It's Oaxaca.

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