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Monday, Oct. 30 Report from Oaxaca
While the global media conglomerates call this a solution to the Oaxaca Problem, and claim that the government has reestablished order and taken control of the city center, today it is obvious that they are lying.
The police have amassed quite a force here. True. The march to the city center was swift and brutal. True. The police control Oaxaca City. Absolutely false.
People took to the streets today en masse, with three separate marches converging near the Zócalo and marching past the police lines. The police occupied the Zócalo yesterday and destroyed what people had built up, but it is clear that this is not end-game, but rather a show of force designed to scare people off the streets and out of the meetings.
But it doesn´t look like it´s going to work. The people of Oaxaca have spent the last five months in the streets, and aren´t ready to give up with the symbolic fall of the Zócalo.
The more time people spend in the streets, the more accustomed they are to taking them. The more time people spend doing the hard work of creating a participatory democracy, with every night spent without sleep but with plenty of time maintaining a presence in the streets,... after five months of work and sweat and blood, people aren´t scared of the helicopters anymore. The people in the streets today refuse to be intimidated. The show of force was just that, a show. And the whole world is watching. Word is spreading of the protests in Mexican Embassies. Brad knew just about everyone in Oaxaca City before he was murdered. Now those who didn´t know his name are asking about him. The lies being printed in the corporate controled media will not go unanswered: There was no `shootout´ with armed APPO members, as reported by the Dallas Morning Star. The shooters have been indentified, regardless of what the government says. I.M.P.U.N.I.T.Y.
They aren´t interested in indentifying or prosecuting the people who shot an unarmed foreign media correspondent, because they were plainclothes police. Lame duck president Vincente Fox uses the death of Brad Will as an excuse for sending in the federal troops and the media spin it as a legitimate reason??? What world am I living in? Yes: an indymedia reporter is shot and killed by plainclothes police, and the President says federal troops will restore order. They do not march to the home of the identified murderers, however. They kill a 15 year old boy and a teacher. It´s not a surprise, but it´s a pretty transparent excuse for anyone to swallow. They´re not interested in bringing those who harass and intimidate the media to justice, because they pay people to harass and intimidate the media. The headquarters of the Oaxaca City daily `Noticias´ has been blockaded for two years by paid government thugs (`porros´). Radio Universidad is back on the air thankfully (and just recently) after an August incident in which porros poured acid on the radio transmitter in order to silence the station.
According to AP Writer Mark Stevenson,
`Oaxaca remained deeply divided between the protesters demanding Gov. Ulises Ruiz's resignation and those yearning for a return to the tranquil days when foreign tourists browsed shops and dined on the region's famous mole sauce.´
Anyone who says those days were tranquil never saw the resultsof NAFTA on the people of Oaxaca. Don´t get me wrong--there are those who welcome and even cheer the PFP (Federal Preventative Police: they seem to be preventing a popular campesino uprising). They are the reason that people have been drowning in poverty for five hundred and fourteen years. They are white, they are rich, they are conquistadores. They cheer the arrival of the PFP to put the indios back in their place, to restore the tranquil days of slavery and servitude. They are willing to shoot teachers in the streets for daring to stand up, and they are willing to shoot indymedia journalists in the streets for documenting it. I talked to two people I want to describe to you, in relation to the `deep division´ in Oaxaca. One, a woman who works in the city center, who stopped me and asked me specifically to tell the people of my country that this is not just the teachers, that this is not APPO, that this movement and this resistance is made up of the pueblo, the people. The other, a fisherman who believes that the teachers are just trying to fatten their own paychecks. I asked him is the politicians were interested in the same, and he said of course, that all people are looking out for their own interests. True to a point, but to what point are people willing to go to that end?? To murdering reporters? To imprisoning teachers?? To bulldozing barricades with notorious Catapillars?? To firing watercannons into the face of viejitos waving the Mexican flag?
How far are they willing to go??
The people of Oaxaca, for better or worse, are seeing just how far. And the people of the world will see just how far Oaxacans will go to resist, to defend their land from foreign invaders, because just as in neighboring Chiapas, this primarily indigenous state remains somewhat separate from the rest of Mexico, with more in common with Guatemala in some ways than cities further north, the unconquered and unconquerable indigenous. The `Indian Wars´ continue, and the Maya resist.