Mexico has a long tradition of taking her issues to the streets. Protest is an acceptable way of airing grievances here.
Many of you have heard or been reading about the teacher’s union demonstrations and blockades over the last month that this week became a flare-up of tragic consequences as federal police and demonstrators confronted each other at a blocked toll-road station 50 miles north of Oaxaca.
This is not a post about who is right and wrong. In fact, it is against the law for foreigners to participate in any political activity here or we are at risk of being detained, losing our visas and being deported. The U.S. State Department just warned again of this in the security message it issued for U.S. citizens living in or traveling to Oaxaca.
Last night’s news reported that finally, after years of back and forth, the union leaders and government have agreed to sit down in Mexico City today and talk about their differences to see if they can come to a resolution. Ojala! (word of Arabic origin meaning God willing or let’s hope.)
Friends who work in the historic center of Oaxaca reported things were calm yesterday and there were many people out walking on the streets.
When I woke up Monday morning after an overnight in the city, I heard about the violence and possibly more demonstrations. So, I immediately got in the car and made my way back to Teotitlan del Valle, the little pueblo where I live about 40 minutes from the city. It is calm here, self-governed and never violent. For the past days, I’ve been plugged into social network and local news sites to stay current.
There’s lot of information out there, lots of pros and cons, spin and interpretation about why the teachers union is protesting. You can read for yourself and come up with your own conclusions.
For right now, let’s all hope that there is resolution to this turmoil through negotiation. If the government and the union are unable to come to terms, then outside mediation is a solution.
Is it safe here, now? Probably. And, yet, one never knows where violence will erupt. There has been plenty of it in the United States of America, too.
News Sources and Opinion Pages
- Mexico News Daily
- Washington Post (written by Post’s bureau chief in Mexico)
- Vice News (independent English-Spanish news outlet)
- Truth Out (reprinted from The Nation)
Social Media/Blog Sources
For now, I’m going to do a city reconnaissance tomorrow since I have a shopping list to check off as I get ready to volunteer at the International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico, followed by a California family visit.
Take good care, everyone!
P.S. I’m not open to moderating a forum about who’s in the right and who’s in the wrong. I am open to adding other news sources to offer perspective so that each of us can say we are well informed about the issue.