Have you ever been to Oaxaca City? If not, you are missing one of Mexico’s great towns. With a population of around 260,000, it seems smaller, with a colonial historic center where you can hang for days without being bored.
Yesterday, however, the city center was jammed with thousands of protesters in remembrance of the conflict that began one year ago that lasted seven long months. It had started as a strike by the powerful local teacher’s union that expanded to include a broad coalition that was called the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO). The state governor, Ulises Ruiz, sent in the troops which resulted in at least six deaths and the reported “disappearance” of numerous others. APPO has called for Ruiz to resign, citing a long list of corruption and graft charges. Oaxaca tourism suffered mightily and still hasn’t returned to pre-strike status.
Although Thurday’s protest was peaceful and brief, the grievances of the people of Oaxaca, one of Mexico’s poorest states, have not been forgotten. The best that we gringos can do is to go there and spend a little money. If the protests flare up from time to time, you might see a little history in the making. (See related story here http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/world/4891652.html)