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Oaxaca Update Nov 22,2009

By • Nov 23rd, 2009 • Category: News & Analysis

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Source: OSAG

By: Nancy Davies

1. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has completed his tour of Oaxaca. He visited
2,452 municipios, i.e. every town in the state. For those of you unaware of
the political structure, Oaxaca’s big municipios incorporate small
municipios, the big sized ones numbering 520 Of that number, 418 elect by
usos y costumbres, the biggest percentage of any state in the nation, but
not the biggest in population. In any case, that’s a lot of babies to kiss.
“We no longer accept the present regime of oppression and injustice, nor do
we want to be slaves on our own land, nor do we accept that some few have
everything while the greater part of the population lack even the
indispensible basics,” AMLO said.

2. Nation-wide, unions agreed to a national strike in support of the Mexican
Electricians Union. They plan to take over the city of Mexico on December 4,
the day on which in 1914 the armies of Zapata and Villa did so. The
following 12th and 13th are the dates given for a social congress to design
a new constitution. The head of SME , Martin Esparza, announced that they
will place a complaint before the European Parliament for the overnight
firing of 44,000 electric workers. The union will carry out on Feb 5 of
2010 a referendum to revoke the presidency of Felipe Calderon.

Both of the above activitists are out organizing; I see them in the Oaxaca
zocalo.

3. The Section 22 of SNTE cannot support a political party, but a party can
support Section 22. It looks to me like a shrewd move on the part of
Benjamin Robles Montoya of Convergencia, who said, “the way should be with
the teachers”, referring to the education of the population leading up to
the election of 2010. “the change (of rulers) of Oaxaca cannot take place
without the firm and active participation of the teachers… The teachers
have always been active but in the last years they have been the tip of the
lance.” He referred to the punishment vote of 2006 when the teachers
motivated the population to reject the PRI. Convergencia is where Gabino Cue
fits in; and with any luck he will get elected. I’m not a big beleiver in
luck.

As it happens, Section 22 is not the only movement busy educating the public
about the necessity to rid Oaxaca of a PRI ruling mafia (as AMLO calls the
PRI in Mexico). There are forums on all sides, sponsored by civil society.
During the governor’s *informe* a simultaneous presentation at the book fair
talked about how bad he is. It’s not a secret, the PRI is routinely held
responsible for all the wretchedness in Oaxaca, the most wretched state of
the 31.
The task is how to reach the outlying and mountain towns where there is no
communication, and food is trucked in in exchange for votes. Civic education
falls to the teachers who work in every tiny town. Unfortunately, not every
teacher is anti-PRI, as we know from the abandonment of the 2006 struggle to
form Section 59. I guess perhaps 60,000 teachers are anti-PRI, but maybe
only 40,000 militantly so.

90% of Oaxaca’s income comes the federal gov, and one can only wonder what
the PRI offered Calderon in exchange for next year’s hefty federal budget
for Oaxaca. On the other hand, some say the figues for the budget are
ficticious and don’t add up. Mexico has lost something like 8% of its
national gross domestic product.
It doesn’t sit well that Mexico has the richest man in the world, Carlos
Slim, and also poverty at profound levels. Some governors receive more pay
than Baack Obama, and the Supreme Court Justices are the highest paid of
anybody (I think I recall 200,000 monthly, but I need to check). The
electricians received about 10,000 pesos a month, and like the teachers, are
(were) considered “middle class”.

4. The city of Oaxaca is now engaged in a battle to keep out the vendors who
set up puestos, traditionally around the Christmas tourist season. The shop
owners are struggling to stay in business. Some Sundays you can see a group
of four or five government gofers race from one side of the zocalo to the
other to intercept ambulant vendors. They say there was a decent tourist
presence for Days of the Dead, about 60% hotel occupancy. That money offers
a fine example of trickle down economics. (Likewise, wind generators and
mines will put money into the hands of transnational stockholders.) Where
is the local productive investment? Ain’t none. The governor is pouring
money into repaving the streets in the center, though. It’s very nice, all
the cables, sewer pipes, telephone lines, etc, under brand new cement.

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