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Archive for the ‘Protests’ Category

Yesterday, the city of Oaxaca celebrated its 483rd birthday as a Spanish chartered city.  Early in the morning bells were rung, Las Mañanitas was sung, tamales and atole were served, an air force flyover buzzed the city several times, multiple musical events were held, a convite paraded through the streets, fireworks exploded from the Plaza de la Danza, and more, and it continues.  I was going to write about it, but…

Today a more urgent anniversary requires our attention:  Mexico Marks 7 Months Since 43 Ayotzinapa Students Disappeared.  Family, fellow classmates, friends, and supporters around the world keep their names alive and cry for justice.  And artists continue to reach into our minds and hearts through their music, artwork, and film making.

In the documentary, Ayotzinapa’s 43 Disappeared: Family & Friends Remember, we hear the voices of their classmates and relatives. They don’t trust the official story and are determined to find out what happened.

Near the end of the song, “La Patria Madrina,” from her new album, Balas y Chocolate (Bullets and Chocolat), Lila Downs chants the Ayotzinapa 43 mantra that can be seen and heard all over Mexico, ¡Vivos los llevaron, vivos los queremos!  (They were taken alive, and we want them back alive!)

And, on walls throughout Mexico, our attention is called to the missing 43 students from the Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos, teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero.

Oaxaca de Juárez

Oaxaca de Juárez

Mexico City

Mexico City

Mexico City

Mexico City

Oaxaca de Juárez

Oaxaca de Juárez

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It’s been five months since 43 students from the Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero went missing.  Their parents, the people of Mexico, and growing numbers around the world continue to ask, Who is Really Responsible?

A mural recently appeared along a very long wall at the entrance to Tlacolula de Matamoros.

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As I’ve previously mentioned, one of missing is Cristian Tomás Colón Garnica from Tlacolula de Matamoros.

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I realized, as I was processing the photos, each panel of the mural incorporates a letter.  One has to stand back (in the street) to see words materialize.  However, when we went back to Tlacolula on Sunday, there were cars and trucks parked in front of most of the mural and all we could see was, “Vivos 43.”  I would love to hear from you, if you know the full text.

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Yesterday was Día de la Bandera (Flag Day) in Mexico.  Hmmm, I don’t think these were the flags they had in mind…

The flags that were flying on the streets of Oaxaca were those carried by the members of the Integrantes del Frente de Organizaciones Sociales, Campesinas, Urbanas, Pesqueras y del Transporte (FOSCUPT), an umbrella group of more than forty social organizations, peasants, urban workers, fishers, and transport workers.  Thousands marched from the Fuente de las Ocho Regiones (Fountain of the 8 Regions) to the zócalo.  Besides flags, there were banners and burros…

And Devils Dance street theater from an Afromexicano group, probably from the Costa Chica.

After marching and playing for miles, the destination was reached; the bote player took a break and gals from San Pablo Tijaltepec went and got something to drink.

According to this article, the mobilization was to reject bad structural policies and funding cuts being made in the peasant sector and requesting the federal government turn their eyes to Oaxaca.  In addition, Jesus Romero López, leader of FOSCUPT, among other demands, called for justice for the social and political leaders who have been killed and for better urban planning, stating that the city is growing in a disorganized way, often resulting in neighborhoods with no water, electricity, or paved streets.

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February 2, besides being Groundhog Day in the USA, is Candelaria in Mexico.  And so, late Monday morning, I went in search of Niño Díos.  None was to be found in the vicinity of the Cathedral.  Only the traditional red huipiles of the female Triqui members of MULT caught my eye.

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I continued my quest, heading up to Templo de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.  However, as I walked through Llano park, no one was carrying a Niño Díos, dressed in this year’s finery, to the church to be blessed.  Only a giant red horse sculpture by Oaxaqueño artist, Fernando Andriacci (and its red feedbag?) was there to see.

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I turned west and headed for home, hoping I might possibly spot a Niño Díos as I passed Templo del Carmen Alto.   But no, only a red-shirted water delivery man caught my eye.

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Funny, if we allow ourselves to see things as they are and not as how we expect them to be, we can return home with something completely different and delightful from what we had set out to find.

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4:40 PM - Bloqueo by motos at  the corner of Morelos & Crespo

4:45 PM – Bloqueo (blockade) by moto-taxis at the corner of Morelos & Crespo

5:10 PM - Lucha Libre presentation at Oaxaca Lending Library by artist Charles Barth

5:10 PM – Lucha Libre presentation at Oaxaca Lending Library by artist and Lucha Libre fan, Charles Barth

6:50 PM - Fire above Xoxocotlán seen from Casita Colibrí.

6:45 PM – Fire above Xoxocotlán seen from Casita Colibrí.

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For the past six months, the zócalo has played reluctant host to a game of “now you seem them, now you don’t” by the ambulantes (unlicensed vendors) who are “attached” to Sección 22 of the teachers who have been occupying the zócalo since the summer.  During that time, behind-the-scenes negotiations seem to have occurred that has the vendors departing for various “high season (tourist) events.  Most recently, a last-minute deal cleared the zócalo and Alameda de León of vendors for Noche de Rabanos.

When I returned two weeks ago, the walkways were still open.  However, sometime late Sunday night or early Monday morning the ambulantes returned…

Meanwhile, the real story of the still missing Ayotzinapa 43 has yet to be told, teachers and just about every other sector of Oaxaca’s working class continue to march, occupy, and blockade.

Sheesh, a simple trip out to Etla for lunch on Friday had the us coming up to a blockade (this time by state police) just after Santa Rosa.  My taxi was forced to turn left and take the “scenic route” down by the Rio Atoyac and then back up to the Carretera 190 at Viguera, where we came up to the massive statue of Benito Juárez (in the middle of the road) that presides over this major intersection, but also with more flashing red and blue lights and state police with automatic weapons than I have ever seen before.  This is where I got out; you can pick up the rest of the story on Chris’s blog.

My new favorite website is the Facebook page, bloqueos y accidentes en oaxaca.  But, mostly, we’re just dancing in the dark…

 

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More of the mural from yesterday’s post

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“¡Solo Dios perdona!” (Only God forgives!)

Seen on the same wall in Tlacolula de Matamoros where we were stopped in our tracks by the Tlacolula never dies mural in August.  Both were conceived and created by the Tlacolulokos colective.

The artists are known for fusing iconic Mexican imagery with political and social commentary and can be found on Facebook.

These traditional religious standards voice today’s messages, “against all governments” and “alive we want them.”  The latter refers to the disappeared and murdered students from the Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos, teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, one of whom, Christian Tomás Colón Garnica, is from Tlacolula.

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Adiós to 2014.  It was another year filled with the always amazing and often surprising sights and sounds of Oaxaca.

January – The new year began with a Quinceañera at Iglesia Sangre de Cristo on the Macedonio Alcalá.

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February – Most of the month was spent in California and New York, but returned to Oaxaca sun, blue sky, and buildings with character.

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March – Ahhh… the flowers, the boys, and the girls of the “only in Oaxaca” Paseo de los Viernes de Cuaresma.IMG_2401

April – The banners of the Procesión del Silencio (Procession of Silence) on Good Friday during Semana Santa (Holy Week).

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May – Karen and Jasen Willenbrink exhibition at Gorilla Gallery.

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June – Pretty in pink, a protest by tuk-tuks (moto-taxis) on the zócalo.

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July – Up into the Sierra Norte for the Feria Regional de Hongos Silvestres (Wild mushrooms fair) in San Antonio Cuajimoloyas.

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August – Mini Guelaguetza sponsored by the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS) on the Plaza de la Danza.

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September – A rainy morning walk up to the presa (dam), Piedra Azul in Teotitlán del Valle.

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October – Day of the Dead tapetes de arena in progress on the Plaza de la Danza.

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November – Ofrenda in San Pablo Villa de Mitla with the village’s traditional and intricately decorated pan de muerto.

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December – Nochebuenas (poinsettias) for sale at mercado Sánchez Pascuas.

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Muchisimas gracias to all my wonderful 2014 blog readers! I am blown away that people from 125 countries have stopped by View from Casita Colibrí this year.  Your presence, comments, and encouragement have been SO very much appreciated.

¡Feliz año nuevo a tod@s!  I can’t wait to see what 2015 will bring.

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Along with blogger buddy Chris, I’ve been immersed in putting together a presentation for the Oaxaca Lending Library on the Danza de la Pluma, as it’s performed in Teotitlán del Valle.  On the superficial level, the Danza relates the story of the Conquest.  But, as is the genius of art, it reaches into our hearts and souls and explores and communicates the truths we feel.

And so, this brief video from classmates of the 43 missing Ayotzinapa students touched me deeply.

The ballet needs to tell its own story in such a way it can be received without having to be translated into language.  –Twyla Tharp

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The 43 students from the Normal Rural Ayotzinapa teachers’ college in Guerrero are still missing.  Following Thursday’s Global Day of Action for Ayotzinapa mass demonstrations, “analysts and commentators across the Mexican news media spectrum began speaking of a modern day revolution now brewing in the country.

Street art: tilted chair with words

A tipping point?  I don’t know…

Angular  (Street art, Nov. 22, 2014 on a wall in Oaxaca.)

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Today is the 104th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution.  However, there is no joy; most of Mexico is in mourning for the missing 43 students and the anger is building.  In Mexico City the military parade and celebrations will be moved from the Zócalo to a military installation in the Polanco neighborhood.  A mass protest march will replace it.

Castigo a los responsables de la masacre el Ayotzinapa

Zócalo, Oaxaca de Juárez – Nov. 17, 2014

The country’s attention is focused on today’s Global Day of Action for Ayotzinapa.  Many will wear black today to mourn the loss of students, journalists, and others to violence in Mexico.  It is indeed a global event;  Greek students have posted a video in support of the missing students and their families.  They will be Standing in Solidarity in Salinas (California) and in at least 115 other cities around the world.  And, in Oaxaca, among many other events, at 4 PM there will be a Festival Por la Vida at Santo Domingo, one of 231 actions listed on a Facebook page.

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Sitting on a wall, high above Av. Independencia in Oaxaca city…

Tears welled up as I watched the march go by.

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The headline, Mexico Burns as Outrage over Student Disappearances Sparks Protests Against State-Backed Violence, from the Nov. 13 “Democracy Now” show, is not an overstatement.  Yesterday, in front of Santo Domingo…

Todos somos 43 in foreground; Santo Domingo in background

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Bottles with flowers propping up cardboard

The Caravana de Ayotzinapa, one of three caravans by the parents and supporters of the missing 43 students from the Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, is scheduled to arrive in Oaxaca tomorrow morning (Nov. 17).  A procession from the crucero at Trinidad de Viguera to the zócalo in Oaxaca is scheduled to begin at 9 AM.  Given the prohibition against foreigners participating in political activity, as much as I would like to be there, I’ll be sticking close to home.

However, for my friends in the USA, check out photographer and writer Tim Porter’s article, #43; there are demonstrations coming to a city near you.  Tim is a frequent visitor to Oaxaca and, for my Marin peeps, his articles and photographs regularly appear in Marin Magazine.

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Tomorrow, it will be 43 days since the 43 students at the Escuela Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos, teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero went missing.  Images of the missing are being posted online and on walls.

Person putting photos of missing students on wall

Oaxaca, along with the rest of Mexico, is heartbroken and outraged that her sons have not been found.  “We are not sheep to be killed whenever they feel like it”  Emiliano Navarrete, father of one of the missing students, declared following a meeting with Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto.

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As the brilliant Día de los Muertos colors of cempasúchil (marigolds), cresta de gallo (celosia or cockscomb), and roses began to fade, a massive march, led by the parents of the missing, filled the streets of Mexico City on November 5.

Graffiti: Ayotzinapa Oaxaca Resiste

And, Oaxaca continues to add her voice on walls, in the streets, and at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca (MACO).

Entrance to MACO with Ayotzinapa exhibit announcement

… where a beautiful poem, simply entitled “Ayotzinapa,” fills one of the walls of the courtyard.

Ayotzinapa

Mordemos la sombra
Y en la sombra
Aparecen los muertos
Como luces y frutos
Como vasos de sangre
Como piedras de abismo
Como ramas y frondas
De dulces vísceras

Los muertos tienen manos

Empapadas de angustia
Y gestos inclinados
En el sudario del viento
Los muertos llevan consigo
Un dolor insaciable

Esto es el país de las fosas
Señoras y señores
Este es el país de los aullidos
Este es el país de los niños en llamas
Este es el país de las mujeres martirizadas
Este es el país que ayer apenas existía
Y ahora no se sabe dónde quedó

Estamos perdidos entre bocanadas
De azufre maldito
Y fogatas arrasadoras
Estamos con los ojos abiertos
Y los ojos los tenemos llenos
De cristales punzantes

Estamos tratando de dar
Nuestras manos de vivos
A los muertos y a los desaparecidos
Pero se alejan y nos abandonan
Con un gesto de infinita lejanía

El pan se quema
Los rostros se queman arrancados
De la vida y no hay manos
Ni hay rostros
Ni hay país

Solamente hay una vibración
Tupida de lágrimas
Un largo grito
Donde nos hemos confundido
Los vivos y los muertos

Quien esto lea debe saber
Que fue lanzado al mar de humo
De las ciudades
Como una señal del espíritu roto

Quien esto lea debe saber también
Que a pesar de todo
Los muertos no se han ido
Ni los han hecho desaparecer

Que la magia de los muertos
Está en el amanecer y en la cuchara
En el pie y en los maizales
En los dibujos y en el río

Demos a esta magia
La plata templada
De la brisa

Entreguemos a los muertos
A nuestros muertos jóvenes
El pan del cielo
La espiga de las aguas
El esplendor de toda tristeza
La blancura de nuestra condena
El olvido del mundo
Y la memoria quebrantada
De todos los vivos

Ahora mejor callarse
Hermanos
Y abrir las manos y la mente
Para poder recoger del suelo maldito
Los corazones despedazados
De todos los que son
Y de todos
Los que han sido

David Huerta
2 de noviembre de 2014. Oaxaca

Photos of the 43 students pasted on wall

Update:  Just hours after posting this, the worst has been announced.  According to Mexico’s attorney general, “The 43 Mexican students who disappeared near Iguala, in southern Mexico in September, were kidnapped by police on order of the mayor, and turned over to a gang that killed them and burned their bodies before throwing the remains in a river….”  — CNN

I can’t even begin to imagine the pain the parents must be feeling with the knowledge of the suffering and brutality their sons endured.  I am so sad and tears are welling up.  I think I will just let them fall…

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As an extranjera (foreigner), I can do nothing more than observe…

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report…

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and feel.

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Signs on the Alameda and zócalo this week.

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