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MEXICO | Thursday, 21 June 2007 | Views [1040]

I just met with Mauro, the coordinator with SEDEPAC, the Mexican counterpart to American Friends Service Comm. and if I thought that was intense.. this summer is going to really crazy... fun but challenging as  ever. He's a good spirit, jean jacket, crazy dance pants, wire glasses, hippie hair wraps, in his 40s. Although I followed everything he told me and was only able to respond here and there... communication is not all about language, so at least I have that on my side. He told me there is a team of people from swathmore, 25 of them, and 25 others from various parts- including a dozen folks from mexico... I got the whole break down, and I'm very excited for this challenge. The training begins monday from 10-2 break for lunch, and then from 4-8.. then we're free.. hopefully I'll rest up and see the nightlife, which I haven't explored yet.

Earlier today, I went to see more Frida Kahlo... a great show, completely packed, in a gorgeous deco-style building/musuem/arts center.

I was on my way to another museum when I was thankfully interruped by the sounds of protest... I wandered over and listened to a few speakers who were in front of a banner, to the effect of: the struggle won't stop in Oaxaca. Several people took the mic and spoke about the riches of natural resources, being ciphoned off by the govt...privatized ... the rights of teachers was the main focus, since there has been a major assault (killings, disappearances) on the teachers who have been striking in Oaxaca, negotiations and protests are still underway -- the most recent manifestation of the conflict between the people and the govt. I had my video camera with me, and hope to transcribe the whole thing. There were about 200 people present... this is likely a regular occurence...

And as I'm feeling overwhelmed by all of this, not knowing enough, always wanting to know more, I pass by an encampment, a few blocks from the casa-- Right in front of the monument of the Republic, and also in front of the ISSSTE building (social security for the state workers). They came from all parts of the country, setting up tents with their assembly number marked on the outside. Michoacan #18....

A tent city stands with photos from the otra campana, a medical tent, zapata banners, che banners... I ask someone how long this has been going on and he told me since May 10. When I asked how long are they going to stay, he told me, indefinitely.

They are about to pass a new law (which I have yet to understand what it entails, fully), but it clearly is pissing off a lot of people, to say the least. This group  (affected by the law) includes the public university teachers, and could culminate in a full strike in late August. This is only the tip of the iceberg, and I hope to return to talk with more people...

Here is a picture I found of the petitions that were sent in protest:


From what I can gather so far, it is a dirty situation with the banks that involves, probably like in the US, a potential loss of retirement and social security money for the state workers, while the friends of Felipe Calderon (or Fecal as he has been nicknamed) make out like bandits... I know this is a crude and possibly amiss synop, but it clearly is larger than Mexican politics and no doubt has ramifications for US financial institutions... which leave the people with the short end of the stick... to be continued.

Tags: culture, frida kahlo, mexico



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