Monday, October 30, 2006

Oaxaca Update

This was supposed to be the week the striking teachers returned to classrooms throughout the state. The optimism may have been premature. Events of the last three days seem to indicate a downward spiral of violence instead of progression toward final resolution as most had hoped.

On Friday, three people were shot and killed. Two were protestors and one was an American journalist. Witnesses allege that they were shot by state police officers dressed in civilian clothing. The state goverment of Ulises Ruiz has not claimed responsibility for these acts and maintains that his police are not patroling in civilian clothing.

Sunday, in response to the escalating tensions and fears that the situation will not be resolved by the time he transfers power to incoming president-elect Felipe Calderon, current president Vicente Fox ordered federal troops to seize control of key areas of the city occupied by protesters since May. President Fox has promised to resolve the crisis before handing power to Calderon on December 1st. The Mexican Government has assured Church leaders that it is working towards a quick resolution of this crisis so that the city can return to normal activities.

Care Package Express has also learned that Oaxaca mission president Jesus Ortiz has temporarily relocated to a safer location outside of the city. They opted for this move due to the proximity of his residence to that of a prominent government official even though he does not reside near the effected areas.

All American Elders were transfered to remote areas of the mission back in July. Since that time, there had been 70 missionaries still working in the capitol city, all Mexican nationals. Last week, all proselyting missionaries were transfered out of the city. Most were moved to the remote areas of the mission, however, due to overcrowding in those areas, 22 Mexican elders were temporarily stationed in the nearby Puebla Mission. They did not receive a mission transfer and they will return to the Oaxaca Mission as soon as the situation in the Capitol City calms down. If the crisis drags out longer than is expected, another group of elders may be transfered to Acapulco, Guerrero. The church is NOT considering any mission transfers at this time other than the temporary re-assignments due to overcrowding.

The church has a very strong presence in Oaxaca City with four stakes, a temple and the mission offices. The new temple president and matron, Limhi & Ruth Ontiveros have just arrived in Mexico City and will be taking over duties at the Oaxaca Temple starting today or tomorrow. The temple is not in an area effected by the crisis and is still operating as usual.


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