Sunday, October 29, 2006

Oaxaca, Mexico: When the fight starts, it will be at Juarez University

Ah, youth. Those kids! What'll they think of next?

What they are thinking and doing right now is preparing for a confrontation with the federales. I just walked down towards the university and it doesn' look nice. Students, or those masquerading as students, have hijacked 8 vehicles that I could see from the south. I would assume they have done the same to the north. Buses, trucks and trailers have been jijacked and are being used to block Avenida Universidad, from Plaza Oaxaca (Soriana/Fábricas de Francia)) to the university. One of the vehicles is a propane gas tanker, property of Gas de Oaxaca. Its tires have been punctured.

The "students" are mostly masked, striding up and down the boulevard with chests puffed out, demonstrating their willingness to suffer grievious injury or death in support of their cause, whatever of that remains. Caos reigns in and around the plaza's parking lot. Cars and taxis driving around in circles trying to find a way out. Why people are out driving around in the face of this rather well publicized scrum, I do not know.

The "students" have set up barricades up and down the boulevard, blocking both north and southbound traffic. About every 50 meters or so the road is blocked with vehicles, tires, stacks of firewood or boulders. They began setting fire to the tires about 30 minutes ago. The federales have a helicopter in the air circling above the university, planning their approach.

The almost wholly peaceful entrance into the city by the federal forces looks likely to turn violent at the university. I could get no photos. It's just too dangerous. I am highly alergic to the sight of my own blood.

I'm going to take another walk down there now and see what's happening.

Just to keep the record straight, the PFP and other federal forces are not being welcomed like the Americans arriving in Paris (after De Gaulle allowed us in, that is). While everyone I have talked to is pleased that this may finally be coming to an end, no one is particularly pleased that federal forces have entered the city to effect that termination. Suspicion of both federal and state governments runs very high here and probably for good reason.

Fed forces marshalling south of Etla.
The two vehicles in the center are anti-riot tanks and
have snow plows mounted on the front. The water tanker
to their right is there to replenish the water cannons.

Military helicopter used for surveillence.

Some citizens object to the feds' presence. The signs, left to right, read:
"PFP get out"
"Until the fall of URO" (the governor)
"Oaxaca is not an army barracks. Army get out. Get out of Oaxaca URO and take your coterie with you."
"Oaxaca is not an army barracks. Army get out. Have pity on your own children. URO get out."

I hear gunfire or maybe rockets from the university. I gotta go.

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


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