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Poor Oaxaca

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Update wed:
Well, I hope the governor is good and embarrased after overstating the damage in Oaxaca and drawing intense international media attention. He has now issued a statement saying that 11 people are missing, no confirmed dead and 3-4 houses buried. Shhiishh!

Oaxaca has been inundated with two feet of rain in the last two weeks with record rainfalls for a month before that. The New York Times carried this report this morning:

A hillside collapsed onto a village in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca early Tuesday, burying houses in mud and stones and trapping hundreds of people as they slept, state authorities said.

As many as 300 houses in the village of Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepec may have been buried in the landslide, said the state governor, Ulises Ruiz.

Rescue workers trying to reach the village with earth-moving equipment have been hampered by blocked roads in the remote area, which has been pounded by incessant rains. “We hope to reach in time to rescue those families who were buried by the hill,” Mr. Ruiz told Mexican television.

This is about 50 miles from Oaxaca City where I live. And the latest news report on CBC says they couldn’t even land one helicopter there today (!!)
People in Oaxaca are forming help centers and are asking for donations. This appeared in the Oaxaca group on couchsurfing:

Up to us a lot more responsibility now with the tragedy that has befallen the people of Tlahuitoltepec, Mixe. They can overcome this sadness is in large part on all of us! Let’s help these people with great history, traditions and poverty.

In my facebook profile for me, Rodrigo Guzman, I have the account number to which they can make donations, so you can donate nonperishable food, bottled water, beans, rice, sugar, canned goods, can opener, antiviral drugs, clothes in good condition, covers and mattresses in any of the collection centers that are opening throughout the state.

The other tragedy of the moment has to do with the Trique indigenous communities in the Mixteca region north of Oaxaca City.

Three years ago, the indigenous Trique municipality of San Juan Copala, in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, declared itself autonomous from the government. Since that time they have faced severe repression, with community members being kidnapped, raped and assassinated by two state-backed paramilitary groups in an attempt to destroy the autonomous project. Two caravans bringing food and water to the town were driven back with several people murdered…one a Finnish human rights worker. The people have been driven out of their town and taken over by Oaxaca government allies.

Join Friends of Brad Will along with guests from Movement for Justice in El Barrio, to learn more about San Juan Copala, including a short documentary and video-message from residents of the autonomous municipality.

Friends of Brad Will is a national network working for justice for Brad Will, an American independent journalist murdered by state paramilitaries in Oaxaca in 2006.

As if all that wasn’t bad enough, a bridge to the Oaxaca airport has collapsed caused people to have to walk in and out.

Wish me luck driving down in mid-October.

El Grito 2010

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

EVERY 100 years, Mexico seems to have a rendezvous with violence as again the country gathered on Wednesday night for the ceremony of the “grito” — the anniversary of the Revolution…the call to arms that began the war for independence from Spain in 1910.

As they have on every Sept. 15 for 200 years, Mexicans gathered together in the central squares of our cities and towns, even in the smallest and most remote villages. At midnight, they heard a local governing official re-enact the grito uttered by Miguel Hidalgo, the “father of the fatherland.” They shouted, jubilantly, with genuine feeling: “Viva México!”

Euphoric cries were mixed with a flashy Mexico City military parade, a counter-bicentennial gathering, fresh outbreaks of narco-violence in different parts of the country and goads of symbolism that embodied the past, present and future of a nation of more than 100 million people. As the historic day faded, Hurricane Karl bore down on the state of Veracruz, already battered by this summer’s torrential rains.

At a ceremony in the town of Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato, the unassuming place where Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla launched the 1810 rebellion that resulted in Mexican independence 11 years later, President Felipe Calderon was greeted with a sprinkling of obscenities and unusual shouts. Some members of the audience reportedly yelled out “Viva El Chapo,” or “Long Live El Chapo,” in apparent reference to fugitive drug lord Joaquin Guzman Loera. “Death to the Bad Government!” also was heard.

Later, Calderon presided over a Mexico City military parade of about 23,000 Mexican army and navy personnel, including members of elite anti-narco units. While air force jets flew overhead, military delegations from 17 countries were on hand for the historic commemoration.

What’s that all about?!!!

The participation of a Federal Police contingent was an unusual feature of this year’s parade. As the emerging front-line force in the so-called drug war, the Federal Police headed by Genaro Garcia Luna is the institution favored by Mexico City and Washington to take over combat of organized crime from the army and the navy.

Meanwhile in Oaxaca more than 2,000 police and military personnel are guarding entry to the Zocalo as a security measure. Wed night was the Grito, and Thursday was the parade.

Against whom are they guarding? All we know is the ambulant vendors, the unions and protesters.

In Oaxaca El Grito belies a different kind of violence…one instigated by the PRI (the powerful party in control for the last 80 years) to pit one group of Trique indigenous people against another group seeking autonomy as the government had promised years ago. [read on]

Why Are Americans Loud

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010
A bit of information about the formation of the individual and national consciousness of people in the U.S. Sorry for length, but this is mostly for people who are not "United Staters." :)) We all know that the US was settled by ... [Continue reading this entry]