Sunday, August 12, 2007
Lo de Oaxaca
Oaxaca - a grave humam rights situation that has continued to be a disgrace in mexico for over a year. The city was the site of huge repression - hundreds of arbitrary detentions, torture and deaths in june, october and november last year. This year, the build up to the annual cultural celebration called the Guelaguetza was very tense. It is the one of the most important cultural celebrations in mexico - when all of the regions of oaxaca state come together to dance and celebrate in a performance that asks for a good harvest season. Last year it was cancelled due to security reasons.
In response to social movements in the lead up to the Guelagetza this year, there were arrests and wounded people as evidence of 'keeping law and order'. the governor of the state, Ulises Ruiz, is a true repressor.
But to cut a long story short, after a lot of thought on the political and safety considerations of our actions, Julio and I ended up going to the Guelaguetza. With press passes we were treated very well by the state tourism authorities and the event itself was absolutely breathtaking. Despite our reluctance to legitimise the oaxacan government, portraying the guelaguetza as a success... at the end of the day and my many ponderings (including much involvement on the facts in my human rights internship), we were in beautiful, beautiful oaxaca. And the many punters who had travelled far and wide to participate in the Guelaguetza were smiling. May Oaxaca find peace and justice.