Oaxaca in Recovery? Let’s Hope So.

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.

Templo Santo Domingo at sunset, Oaxaca, Mexico

Templo Santo Domingo at sunset, Oaxaca, Mexico

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.

(Part 1 Video above from The Real News and interview with Center for International Policy, Mexico City’s Laura Carlsen) with commentary about neo-liberalism in proposed education reforms in Mexico.

For complete video — Parts 1 and 2 + transcript, click here.

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

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.

16 responses to “Oaxaca in Recovery? Let’s Hope So.

  1. Thanks Norma- your links are very helpful. We are planning our trip for October – including cooking class with Reina! I know how financially difficult it was on the people of Oaxaca during the last major upheaval- and I hesitate to cancel my trip knowing that there will be hardship if we all do that. But of course, I’ll pay attention to what is happening and whether it is advised to be there at that time, but my inclination is to come.

    • Hi, Claudia, so glad your trip is planned and I hope that you feel it’s okay to come, when the time comes. We all hope for peace and tranquility here. And, it has felt much calmer since a week ago. Blessings, Norma

  2. ANOTHER POINT OF VIEW Police terror in Oaxaca against the teachers

    • I’m in the center of Oaxaca City now and spent last night here after a day of walking around, doing errands, getting a haircut, visiting friends for dinner. All the normal things both tourists and residents would do. I publish the link to Another Point of View, from Patricia Scott and thank her for sharing this. All information is important for making wise judgments and coming to informed conclusions.

  3. Thank you for the information. We leave on friday for a long planned trip to Oaxaca… we will be there almost all summer. We thought seriously about canceling, but we cannot change the dates of our tickets without spending an additional $1000 US. And when would we change them to, anyway? There is no way of knowing when it is likely to be calm. Some friends of mine report food shortages; others report that all is normal in their neighborhoods. I’m just hoping there is no blockade on the highway from the airport!

  4. Norma, this is very well written on your part. I applaud you for staying out of the mediatic gunfire – no right, no wrong side. I completely agree, just like you and I have usually agreed on political issues.
    These issues will be resolved by the authorities because it is not in their best interests to have the country ‘up in arms’ due to the teacher’s union. We have a presidential election in two years and it is vital to have these issues dealt with and laid to rest so that all parties that are contending for the presidency can campaign under the best of (calm) circumstances.
    Big hug, my friend, and keep us all posted on your wonderful trip to Santa Fe! Elena

    • Elena, you are a woman in the know! Mexican to the core with a penchant for wisdom and savvy, living a bilingual and bi-cultural life. Thank you for speaking up and adding your hopes that things calm down. Besos.

  5. Excellent post, Norma. Thank you….
    I am glad that the transcript included mention of the unprecedented, terrible health care ‘ reform’, that will deprive most poor people of even the basic care they had under Seguro Social.
    From TeleSur: ( if not ok to include this, I apologise- and please just delete my post).
    “The group #YoSoyMedico17, which is comprised of doctors, pediatricians, surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses, has been joined by more than 200,000 physicians from 32 states in opposing the so-called Universal Health System reform by Peña Nieto. The medical professionals say the measure is a “disguised way of privatizing health in Mexico,” and said doctors were not consulted on the reform, according to Animal Politico.”

    • Today I learned what neo-liberal education reform is in The USA and Mexico. In the US we call them Charter Schools, run like corporations where the Principal/CEO gets a $200k+ a year salary and teachers are fired without cause. I wonder what the Mexico model would look like.

  6. stay safe amiga…

  7. Thank-you, Norma. I knew of demonstrations but not that they turned so violent. I am glad for your sources

  8. Thank you Norma … for an unbiased, informative post.
    Miss you,
    Merry & Noki in Santa Fe

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