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domingo, diciembre 17, 2006

Oaxaca, Deafening Silence

(cross posted from

Is this my last blogging about Oaxaca?

Taking a step America can't quite make in Iraq, the Mexican Central Government has declared victory in Oaxaca, folded its tents and gone away. According to the New York Times:
The federal riot police ended their weeks-long occupation of the Mexican tourist city Oaxaca’s center on Saturday, having weakened a protest movement trying to oust a state governor.

But the arrest of several protest leaders has weakened the movement, and the frequency and size of demonstrations has fallen.

The federal police boarded trucks and rolled out of the city before dawn, handing security to the state police. The federal agents were headed for a nearby air base where they would remain until further notice, a state spokeswoman said.
The police are really going away. Not. The LA Times says that
More than 4,000 federal police seized the plaza from protesters in October, five months after they had taken it over to demand the resignation of Oaxaca state Gov. Ulises Ruiz.

About 2,000 officers would remain in a military base outside the city in case trouble flares again, authorities said.

It's been about two weeks since Flavio Sosa, a leader of APPO, was arrested. And two weeks since the barricades came down and the graffiti were painted over. It's been two weeks since Radio Universidad stopped broadcasts to the demonstrators. Over the weekend, some 42 demonstrators were released from Nayarit, leaving about 100 still imprisoned there.

There were stories some time ago that the federal police would investigate the death of the nine people killed in Oaxaca during the demonstrations. But those stories have now vanished along with the hundreds of Oaxacenos who remain disappeared. This should probably have been expected:
Ruiz's Party of the Institutional Revolution (PRI) controls the judiciary and the office of the attorney general in Oaxaca. And at the federal level, President Felipe Calderon and his National Action Party (PAN) depend on an alliance with the PRI to maintain power.
Meanwhile, APPO, the demonstrators' organization, told El Universal
the force´s removal meant "a first step that helps towards strengthening dialogue with federal authorities."
And so, events in Oaxaca now enter the realm of entropy. APPO grows weaker. Ruiz stays in office. The state authorities act on or threaten reprisals. The federal authorities pull back. Those of us North of the Big River yawn, read the Sunday Times travel section, and either scout for or dream about a warm winter vacation. It's as if the events in Oaxaca were like last year's Hurricane Wilma. Gone, and about to be forgotten.

So, with the season ripe for tourism, let the mist surround Oaxaca and let the forgetting begin. Let the tourism bloom!