Posts Tagged ‘current-events’

Yesterday, as today’s article in Noticias states, “with great dignity and head held high” the Triqui families from San Juan Copala pulled up stakes and moved to temporary housing in Colonia Reforma.  The 105 displaced families had been occupying the front of the Government Palace for several years, but reached an agreement with the state government to relocate.

Meanwhile, on the east side of the Government Palace, the band played on…  September is “La mes de la patria” (the month of the motherland).  Tomorrow night, governor Gabino Cue will repeat El Grito de Independencia (the Cry of Independence) from the balcony of the Government Palace and Monday, an hours-long patriotic parade will pass in front of the Palace.

Today, the scene has changed.  Members of the Frente Único de Lucha (FUL), the new incarnation of APPO, have taken up positions in front of the Government Palace and vowed to remain until those arrested in clashes with the federal police, on December 1 and yesterday in Mexico City, are released.  Hmmm… I wonder what will happen tomorrow and/or Monday.

Just remember, when you read, hear, or watch the news…  Chiapas, Guerrero, and Oaxaca are the most indigenous and poorest states in Mexico.  And now, the tears of Mother Nature are raining down on Oaxaca.

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Today, Pope Benedict XVI, the head of the Roman Catholic church rode off into the sunset.  (Actually, he flew off in a helicopter.)  And, naturally, the walls of Oaxaca had something to say…

Black and white skeleton portrait of pope

This was pasted on a wall right across from the south entrance to Santo Domingo de Guzmán.  The walls are never silent.

By the way, I did a Twitter search for the hashtag afterPopequit, but came up empty.

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Yesterday in the United States…

Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kan.) made a rare Senate appearance this morning, sitting in a wheelchair just off the floor so that members would have to see him as they entered the chamber. Why? Because they were poised to vote on ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, and Dole hoped to send a message.

It didn’t work. The Senate killed the treaty this afternoon, with a final vote of 61 to 38, which seems like a lopsided majority, but which fell short of the two-thirds necessary for ratification.  [Link to full article in The Maddow Blog]

Today in Mexico…

Mexico’s Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling Wednesday striking down a marriage ban in the southern state of Oaxaca. Advocates say the language of the decision could open the door for same-sex marriages throughout the nation. 

The ruling effectively changes Oaxaca’s civil code to state that marriage takes place “between two people,” instead of between a man and woman, reports Spanish-language site AnimalPolitico.

The Court ruled in favor of three same-sex couples who sued the state of Oaxaca for the right to marry. The ruling does not immediately eliminate marriage equality bans in other Mexican states, but it does set a legal precedent to begin challenging statewide marriage bans, according to the blog AfterMarriage.  [Link to full article in The Advocate]

I am not the only gringa and gringo who is speechless re how low US politicians have sunk.  A gal pal (since we were 12) who now lives in Mexico and is confined to a wheelchair due to MS just posted on Facebook that she is “disgusted and, frankly, very upset” and feels “like traveling to Washington and getting in their face.”  And, Chris over at Oaxaca-The Year After asks, Seriously?

Which country do I feel prouder to live in?  ¡Bravo, México!

h/t  Michelle V.

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… and I’m not talking weather!  Today, I headed down to Soriana for a major restocking of the empty larder.  As I was perusing the wine section, a new sign caught my eye.

Sign - "Estimada clientela: Anticipe sus compras de vinos, licores y cervezas ya que el fin de semana habra ley seca por disposicion oficial por motivo de las elecciones federales.

(Translation: Anticipate your purchases of wines, spirits and beer for the weekend. There will be an official prohibition on selling because of federal elections.)

In the event you were unaware, there is a big election in Mexico this weekend; on Sunday, July 1, Mexican voters elect their next president.  In anticipation, the above sign went up and Noticias reported that Oaxaca’s governor, Gabino Cue, announced on Monday that alcohol sales are forbidden from midnight June 30 through midnight  July 1 — the entire 24 hours of election day.  This, he said, was in compliance with the provisions of the Federal Code of Electoral Institutions and Procedures, “thus ensuring the safe and harmonious development of the Federal Election Day on Sunday 1 July.”

I’m confused!  According to an article in NOTIMEX and other sources, the 1915 federal law prohibiting the sale of alcohol 24 hours before the elections and throughout election day (Paragraph 2 of Article 239 of the Código Federal de Instituciones y Procedimientos Electorales (Cofipe) was repealed prior to the 2006 presidential election.  It was a nod to the states with a heavy-duty tourism industry.  No cervezas and no margaritas for 24 hours equals unhappy campers at Mexico’s popular resorts!  Regulation was left up to the individual states.

So I ask, is Oaxaca’s ban a state statute?  Or, has the federal law changed again?  Or, has word of the 2006 change not reached this far south?  Hmmm…

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Recently, I was on the US east coast visiting with family.  Most of the time was spent with three teachers; my sister-in-law who retired after 30+ years of teaching in the Massachusetts public school district, my daughter-in-law who, after teaching in a public school in Connecticut, is currently a teacher in New York, and my son who is a college assistant professor.  They, along with all — not most, all — of my teacher friends in the US, decry the damage No Child Left Behind has wrought.  And, even one of its major proponents, Diane Ravitch, has done a 180 and is now leading the charge against it.  If you are interested, take a look at the Terry Gross interview with her in April 2011.

One of the issues the teachers of Oaxaca are protesting is the Alliance for Quality Education (ACE), modeled after No Child Left Behind.  Thus, the following thoughtful post on the Oaxaca Study Action Group website by Nancy Davies, resonated.

personal note re the Section 22 teachers union strike

I applied for a my first teaching job in Boston. First I took the universal teacher evaluation test, by which the highest scoring were first hired for positions. Then I waited.

By October (school began in September) it was clear that although my score for Boston applicants was third from the topmost person, something fishy was happening. I called the school department. All apologies, they assigned me a school the very next day,from which another teacher had just resigned. It was in an all black (pre-integration) neighborhood of all black kids whose school had no new textbooks and few old ones. There were no functioning bathrooms for the kids, at times of the month when adolescent girls seriously wanted a bathroom and a place to get clean, they stayed home. The boys were often recruited by the male teachers to buy dope. The best joke: the kids put a family of newborn rats in the desk drawer of one teacher. Another joke: hang a fellow student out the window over the asphalt yard by holding his ankles.

I survived, the kids maybe survived. I learned a couple of things: 1) hungry badly treated kids don’t study. 2) teacher tests don’t mean shit.

So here I am surely one of few who supports what Section 22 is doing and saying. Yes, I know the union was corrupted by PRI governors and caciques; and abuses, such inheriting a teaching job, are numerous. I also know that for 27 years Section 22 has been pushing for better salaries but simultaneously for shoes, paid-uniforms, books, bathrooms, breakfasts. I visited the current encampment in the zoc and spoke briefly with a newly graduated normal school teacher, a first-job guy who does not speak any indigenous language, and is not moreno (brown-skinned). He was sitting under a tarp playing cel phone games. Bored, I would say, and happy that somebody spoke to him. He’s not specially political and doesn’t know too much about his union’s history either. In 2006 he was an adolescent in secondary school, and rarely came into the capital. His first classroom is primary grade kids.  I asked him if he likes teaching. Yes, he replied, I am learning so much from the kids! He smiled broadly.

Right away in my book he qualifies as a teacher. His Spanish is good; he graduated from a five year university level program where  pedagogy is  emphasized as well as content information. He’s better prepared in 2012 than I was in 1968 with a  Masters degree from Boston College and accreditation in three areas including Spanish which I couldn’t speak. I learned a lot from my students too, and most of it, since I came from a  middle class neighborhood, was initially incomprehensible. One boy was clearly psychopathic. Two were dyslexic but had never been tested, merely promoted. They were wonderful at memorizing everything they couldn’t read. One girl got pregnant during the year and I didn’t have a clue what to say to her, I still grieve over my stupidity and lack of empathy. One girl told me her grandmother was burned up the night before in a home fire. Another’s boyfriend had been shot dead on the street. So I can sum up what I learned from my students as the stuff nightmares were made of, and it probably radicalized me more than any movement of the time. The Section 22 kid who was hired legitimately when he applied,  tested only by his normal school (and why should we assume they pass youngsters who don’t know either their subject or how to teach it?) told me he learned from his kids and he smiled. I wept.

Section 22 has pushed Cue to accept the fact that one size does not fit all, neither for teacher evaluation nor for curriculum. They decline to walk away from the 26 unprosecuted murders of 2006 and the half dozen since. They champion the indigenous protests over mining and land grabs. They understand the word “neoliberalism”. They understand ghost towns, towns where the remaining people live off family remittances from the USA. They understand impunity and corruption, caciques who stole towns’ entire education budgets, governors who ignore an education level now the worst in Mexico. Blame the teachers? Not me. Been there, done that.

No one likes being held hostage to issues they don’t understand. As I walked past a blocked registry office an angry woman turned to me and shrieked, Lazy bunch of bastards! Her frustration undoubtedly was caused not just by being unable to enter a state office, but also I imagine by having kids at home driving her  (and her mother) nuts because there’ve been no classes for two weeks. Maybe she knows that with all public classes open, her kids still may not be able to go to the public university since there are not enough seats, and very likely they will settle for semi-menial jobs. Or maybe there will be no jobs. Maybe they will try to cross the desert in Arizona.  Or maybe her story is entirely different, I don’t know.

I ask myself why in 2006  500,000 adults spontaneously came out to march with these very teachers. Why the PRI was voted out and will not recover this state. Why now, in 2012 what the media publish are photos of blocked access and uncollected garbage. Cue is backing down, item by item on 22’s demands. Good for him. He’s neoliberal, but he’s not stupid. His education department head has resigned, and thus far no tear gas has been launched.

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