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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Sometime last night, the recently inaugurated mural by the Tlacolulokos was defaced. And we are left asking, why?

The message, purportedly by anarchists (given the presence of their symbol) is calling the artists “Oaxaca indigenous traitors.” Due to their collaboration on the mural with the Canadian government??? I don’t know. But what I do know is that I am sad and angry at this attack on the right of artists to create without censorship or intimidation.

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The headline in NVI Noticias announced, despite an increase in COVID-19, the federal government declared that, as of tomorrow, Oaxaca will move from semáforo amarillo (yellow traffic light)…

Art by Berza and ARCH on the Calle Constitución side of El Tendajón.

… to semáforo verde (green traffic light).

Mural signed by Hiko in Barrio de Xochimilco.

Inquiring minds are wondering if the downgrading of COVID-19 risk has anything to do with the upcoming elections on June 6.

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March 8 is International Women’s Day. In the words of a recent article by Nancy Rosenstock, a woman I knew back in the day, “In these challenging times, all women — from those of us who were involved in second-wave feminism to those just entering the struggle — need to come together as equal fighters and chart a course forward.”

We may have come a long way, but the struggle for equal rights, respect, freedom from violence, and control of our own bodies continues and the women of the walls of Oaxaca are not silent.

Many of the images also carry a written messages. Below, Nuestros sueños no caben en sus urnas / Our dreams do not fit in their ballot boxes carries an indictment against the capitalist political parties.

The next one lets the symbols of the ancestors speak.

From a women’s graphic campaign that seeks to express “what our bodies go through every day and what we are seeking when we scream: Vivas Nos Queremos / We Want Ourselves Alive.

And, a promise that women will not be silenced and will march forward Sin miedo / Without fear.

Then there is the mural, La Patria / The Homeland, which adorns the wall of a school in Barrio de Jalatlaco. La Patria, originally a painting by Jorge González Camarena of an indigenous woman surrounded by patriotic imagery, graced the covers of textbooks from the 1960s into the 1970s.

To honor and celebrate International Women’s Day, on March 8, La Mano Magica Gallery/Galería inaugurates an exhibit of women artists, Exposición de Arte Colectiva Mujeres Artistas, curated by Mary Jane Gagnier, at their gallery in Oaxaca and online on their Facebook page.

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The walls of Oaxaca have a theme going on…

I think they have been watching too much “el norte” news!

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Today, March 8, women around the world are celebrating International Women’s Day with marches, forums, exhibitions, and more. The mass media is filled with stories about extraordinary women and companies catering to women are using references to International Women’s Day in their advertising, though, I might add, very few mention its revolutionary past.

However, it isn’t today’s demonstrations, expositions, and other special events that has women in Mexico talking. It is the call for women to disappear for a day to protest the staggering amount of violence perpetrated against them. Government statistics report that 3,825 women met violent deaths last year, 7% more than in 2018. That works out to about 10 women slain each day in Mexico, making it one of the most dangerous countries in the world for females. Thousands more have gone missing without a trace in recent years.

Using the hashtags #ParoNacionaldeMujeres (National Women’s Strike), #UnDíaSinNosotras (A Day Without Us), and #UnDíaSinMujeres (A Day Without Women), organizers have reached out to the women of Mexico that on Monday, March 9, nothing moves: Don’t go out, don’t shop, don’t go to school, and don’t consume — become invisible, simulating the thousands of women who have been murdered or disappeared.

As three female legislators wrote in an article expressing their support for the strike, Women are responsible for about half of the compensated economic activity in the country, and relied upon disproportionately for unpaid work in the home, which is roughly equivalent to 15% of Mexico’s GDP. In exchange, our rights are impaired or ignored. Women have become the protagonists of thousands upon thousands of stories of violence and impunity at the hands of men who, in public and in private, feel they have a right to decide over our lives and our bodies…. That and many, many reasons more are why Mexico’s women will march in protest on March 8, and stop everything – stop working, stop asking, stop accepting – on March 9.

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I’m visiting family and friends in el norte and trying not to get caught up in the constant barrage of ignorant, disgraceful, and infuriating news coming out of Washington D.C.  However, sometimes it can’t be ignored.

This is all I have to say…

(If you don’t know and can’t figure out what “pendejo” translates to in English, click HERE.)

Another mural by Lapiztola on the side of the Palenque Mal de Amor outside Santiago Matatlán.

 

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Armed with their art, the women of Armarte OAX have taken to the streets to raise their voices in struggle.

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And, they aren’t alone in Oaxaca…

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In the early evening of International Women’s Day, thousands of women “reclaimed” some of the most dangerous streets of the city demanding an end to street harassment, punishment for rapists, the cessation of violence against women, and safe abortion.

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Struggle, the other “women’s work.”

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The zócalo is a sea of red today.  It is the 38th anniversary of the founding of the Movimiento Unificador de Lucha Triqui (MULT) — one of the organizations of Triqui from the Mixteca Baja region of Oaxaca. They have come to (yet again) present their demands to the government.

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For background (in English) on the plight of the Triqui in Oaxaca and the many who have been forced by violence in their communities to migrate to California, check out David Bacon’s article, Can the Triquis Go Home?  Unfortunately, I don’t think much has changed since it was written in 2012.

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It’s been fifty years since two African American US Olympic medalists, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, cast their eyes downward and raised clenched fists on the medals’ stand during the playing of the “Star Spangled Banner” (national anthem of the USA) at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.  Boos and racial epithets were hurled from the stands, both were kicked off the US team, ordered to leave the Olympic Village, and, upon returning to the USA, they received hate mail, death threats and experienced harassment.  However, their gesture became iconic and their stance against racial injustice is celebrated the world over, including Oaxaca.

Taller de Gráfica Experimental de Oaxaca, Calle La Noria at Melchor Ocampo, Oaxaca de Juárez

“I don’t have any misgivings about it being frozen in time. It’s a beacon for a lot of people around the world. So many people find inspiration in that portrait. That’s what I was born for.” –John Carlos (The man who raised a black power salute at the 1968 Olympic Games)

What most of the world didn’t see or hear about — because it was conspicuously absent from the covers of the country’s major newspapers — was that two weeks before, in what came to be known as the Tlatelolco Massacre, somewhere between 300 and 2,000 peacefully protesting students in Mexico City were murdered by Mexican military and police forces.

The echos from 1968 continue today…  Colin Kaepernick continues to be castigated and denied employment as an NFL football player for taking a knee during the playing of the “Star Spangled Banner” and 43 student teachers from Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos in Ayotzinapa, whose bus was ambushed in Iguala, Guerrero four years ago, continue to be missing.

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Four years and two days ago, 43 student teachers from Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero were disappeared in a violent attack on their bus in Iguala.  They still haven’t been found, their families still grieve, and anger surrounding the lack of truth, transparency, and justice continues.

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“For mothers who mourn empty graves for children who never returned”

In June of this year, a federal court ordered the creation of a truth and justice commission to undertake a new investigation but the current government has appealed the order.  However, two days ago, on the anniversary of their disappearance, Mexico’s new president-elect, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), met with relatives and representatives of the missing students and vowed to discover the truth and implement the court order.  Expectations are high, but skepticism remains.

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Yesterday, feeling angry, horrified, and ashamed and, with less than a week’s notice, 50+ citizens of the USA gathered on the sidewalk below the U.S. Consular Agency office in Oaxaca to protest the inhumane, unconscionable, and illegal actions by “our” government regarding refugees seeking asylum.

Yes, illegal actions!  The following is courtesy of Fact Sheet No.20, Human Rights and Refugees from the United Nations Human Rights, Office of the High Commissioner:

These rights are affirmed, among other civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, for all persons, citizens and non-citizens alike, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which together make up the International Bill of Human Rights.

(a) “No one shall be subject to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile” (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 9);

(b) “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.” (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 14);

(c) “Everyone has the right to a nationality” (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 15);

(d) “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State” (Universal Declaration of Human rights, article 13; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, article 12).

What is even more heartbreaking and infuriating, is WHY asylum seekers feel they have no choice but to leave the only homes most have ever known to make a perilous journey of thousands of miles to present themselves at the U.S. border.  Hint:  It’s not “the economy, stupid!”

And, lest you fear that these refugees are MS-13 wolves in sheep’s clothing:

1. MS-13 Is Not Organizing to Foil Immigration Law
2. MS-13 Is Not Posing as Fake Families at the Border
3. MS-13 Is Sticking Around, but It’s Not Growing
4. MS-13 Is Preying on a Specific Community, Not the Country at Large
5. Immigration Raids and Deportation Can Only Go So Far

From the recent article published in ProPublica, I’ve Been Reporting on MS-13 for a Year. Here Are the 5 Things Trump Gets Most Wrong.

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Last night, AMLO’s victory brought the sights and sounds of celebration to Oaxaca.

Fireworks exploding in night sky

This morning, Mexico’s World Cup loss to Brazil brought the sights and sounds of silence to the city.

Young man in Mexico soccer jersey sitting

The highs and lows of life in Oaxaca over the course of twelve hours.

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Despite Mexican elections tomorrow and the Mexico vs. Brazil World Cup elimination game on Monday, the walls of Oaxaca will not be silenced.

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The latest from the walls of Gimnasio Universitario Centro Histórico of UABJO (Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca city center gymnasium) on Av. José María Morelos.

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It began this morning, as la Selección mexicana took the field in Russia for game three of their Group F stage.  Even with two victories under their belt and leading their group, the people of Mexico held their collective breath.  During the game, you could hear a pin drop in Oaxaca.  I swear, the buses that usually grind their gears and emit clouds of exhaust on Crespo, were few and far between.  El Tri held off a tenacious Swedish team in the first half, but it all fell apart in the second and the green, white, and red lost.  The Mexican World Cup team and the country had to rely on South Korea to knock Germany out of the Copa del Mundo and assure Mexico goes on to the next round.  Every tenth person I passed this afternoon seemed to still be sporting the team jersey, but nobody was smiling.

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Oaxaca de Juárez — June 27, 2018, 7:00 PM

Today is also the last day of electioneering in Mexico — no more campaign materials are to be distributed, no more surveys disseminated, and no more robo campaign calls (gracias a dios).  Mexicans go to the polls on Sunday, July 1 for Mexico’s biggest election in memory.  Not only is a new president to be elected, but also 500 members of the Chamber of Deputies, 128 members of the Senate, 8 governors, and the mayor of Mexico City.  And, coming on top the deadliest year in Mexico’s history, 2018 has also been one of the most violent campaign seasons in recent history.  Tonight, final campaign rallies are being held all over the country, including one next door in the Plaza de la Danza — filled with amplified speeches and heavy-on-the-bass pounding music.  Let’s hope we awaken only to World Cup scores and not rising political violence tallies.

However, in the midst of all this, gringos gathered this afternoon to attempt to come up with a plan to show our opposition to the inhumane actions by the United States government and our support for all peoples escaping violence and in search of a better life for their families.  If you are in Oaxaca, on July 5, at 3:00 PM, there will be a peaceful protest in front of the U.S. Consular Agency under the slogans, ¡Todos Somos Migrates!  ¡Familias Unidas — No Divididas!  For more details, see the ¡Engage Oaxaca! Facebook page.  By the way, for a little background on the reasons men, women, and children are risking their lives to flee their home countries, I highly recommend, So we’re gonna pretend these refugees aren’t a result of our actions in Central America?

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Protest art continues to paper the streets of Oaxaca.

It’s there in black and white against walls of texture and color — greeting the morning’s light and disappearing as shadows fall.

Today, the faces of rage, resistance, and anguish are not only looking down from walls, they are seen at eye level in Oaxaca’s zócalo and streets.  They’re back…  The annual occupation and blockades by Sección 22 of the CNTE (teachers’ union) has begun.

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