This Week for Education in Oaxaca

Here’s a note for comic relief: Section 59 of the teachers union has established a plantón in front of Government House in Santa María Coyotepec to demand a dialogue with the the governor, Ulises Ruiz. They want URO to attend to several of their educational demands. These demands are a direct result of taking over schools and classrooms without the normal administrative support system.

You may recall that Section 59 was a break-away group whose coming into existence was promoted and supported by URO, as a tool to fracture the Teachers Union Section 22, which had about 70,000 members when it began its 2006 strike. Section 59 peeled off maybe 2,000-5,000 of them. It was also supported and ratified by the dragon lady president of the national Teachers Union, Elba Esther Gordillo, who apparently now sells her favors to the PAN, having recently dropped the PRI as it collapses.

It seems that the Section 59 members are not reaping their just rewards. Or maybe they are.

The zócalo is occupied by teachers and the APPO, as is the Alameda, along with the usual communist hard-liners who strung up photos of Joseph Stalin.. The APPO has sent out small groups of activists to paste posters to the walls of buildings – at least where I saw them, directly north and on the pedestrian-tourist streets around the zócalo. The two varieties of poster say: “Tourists! Boycott the commercial Guelaguetza on July 23!” and “Tourists! Come to the People’s Guelaguetza July 16!”, thus indicating that the APPO’s desire is not to further hamper tourism, nor to punish the hotel and restaurant owners, but to punish the elite who make big bucks off the Guelaguetza. In past years the Guelaguetza has been the time when political lackeys came to pay their respects to the feudal lord, URO, according the Oaxaca sociologist Victor Raul Martinez.

On that same stroll I ran into a man I first met several years ago who owns a shop adjoining the zócalo. The conversation was along the lines of, He: isn’t it terrible there are no tourists. Me: tourists don’t like murderers and assassins (my creativity at work); Oaxaca must get rid of Ulises. He: ???? Me: yes, tourists favor democracy and peace (more creativity). He: you mean tourists don’t like violence? Me: bingo!, or words to that effect.

What this illustrates to me is that few commercial people assign blame to Ulises, or at least not publicly. This includes the street vendors, who are licensed by the state and now suffer bitterly from the lack of tourists. The paid propaganda assigns all blame to the teachers and/or the APPO; the APPO is depicted as violent although all 26 or so murders were committed by government thugs or police, and none by the APPO. Nor were the tortures and disappearances committed by the APPO. I tell this to a woman vendor whom I’ve known for years. She has trouble understanding. I give her money, I buy her food, I purchase yet another place mat. But she is hearing bad info from the people who control her privilege to sell.

Several people, like the bishop emeritus of Tehuantepec, this week averred that Oaxaca and most of Mexico stands at the “last opportunity” for reform of the state. Attempts by an editorial in Imparcial to smear the 43 civil organizations pushing reforms, and naming certain of their leaders to intimidate them (along with mentioning “foreign journalists” and “foreigners donating money to human rights organizations which used that money to buy arms”) have not dampened civil society’s determination. The video’s playing in the zócalo show the other side of the struggle, and in front of each television set people stand and look. That’s the true education at work this week.

About Nancy Davies

I’m a little old lady in sandalias, Plebian Consort of George Salzman on whose web-site some of my essays are posted. I write in every genre, I teach English, I hang out in the Mexican sunshine. I am in love with Subcomandante Marcos although we’ve met only in the noösphere.

User login

Navigation

About Nancy Davies

Biography
I’m a little old lady in sandalias, Plebian Consort of George Salzman on whose web-site some of my essays are posted. I write in every genre, I teach English, I hang out in the Mexican sunshine. I am in love with Subcomandante Marcos although we’ve met only in the noösphere.