Unrest in Oaxaca

Tis so sad. I visited Oaxaca earlier in the year for about a week, both the city and the coast, with a few sites of interest in between. It’s one of the favourite destinations in Mexico for backpackers, with a unique culture, wonderful food, fantastic ancient ruins, cool colonial architecture, stunning scenery and a paradise like coastline. Oh, and El Tule, a tree so huge it is apparantly the largest living biomass on Earth.

But it’s a hot destination for the wrong reason at the moment. Last May, teachers and undefined ‘leftists’ went on strike and started street protests, demanding higher wages. The State Governor intervened with the police, unsuccessfully, and now they have added his removal to their demands.

The protests have been ongoing since then, with Oaxaca City pretty much a no go zone, although it has to be said it has good days as well as bad. They have been bad lately though, and getting worse. Last week a US cameraman and two others were shot dead in escalating violence, and President Fox has now been forced to intervene with Federal Police. Today they saw their first bit of action, although nothing too terrible.

The latest rumour has it that the teachers have agreed to return to work on Monday. Can only hope they do, and that things return to normal. Oaxaca is a great place to visit, and they need the tourists more than most – its not a rich state economically.

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