Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Oaxaca Update

This past week has been as bad as could be imagined for the situation in Oaxaca. The optimism of just ten days ago has been shattered and it seems like the protestors' side is digging in deeper for the fight. First, this from church spokeswoman Kim Farah

"Missionary safety is of the upmost concern to the Church. The mission
president, his wife and all the missionaries in Oaxaca, Mexico were moved to
safe areas several days ago." Kim Farah - LDS Church Spokesman 11/2/2006

It appears church authorities were notified by Mexican officials in advance of the actions of federal police last Sunday and were able to remove all missionaries from the area before they were placed in harms way.

Since last Sunday, tensions have been high on both sides of this dispute.
On Friday, October 27, American reporter Brad Will was caught in a crossfire and killed by two bullets to the abdomen. Will the U.S. finally take notice of what's happening?
Sunday November 5, Thousands of protestors march in Oaxaca streets (Reuters Article) No surprise here.
Monday November 6, Protestors simultaneously bomb three targets in Oaxaca City, Governor Ruiz's party headquarters, an electoral court and a federal bank.
Tuesday November 7, Twenty thousand pro-Ruiz supporters march in Oaxaca to shore up support for the governor. (Reuters Article)

Unfortunately, the situation seems to be getting worse not better at the moment. This excerpt from the first linked article sums up most people's fears:

His opponents, a loose coalition of teachers, Indian groups
and leftists, also vow not to give in and enjoy the support of a large part of
the mostly poor population of rural Oaxaca. ... "Many different leftist currents
are converging here, from the center-left of Lopez Obrador to the most radical,"
said Isaac Torres, a member of a human rights group affiliated with the
Zapatista guerillas.

There is already a feeling of disenfranchisement from many of the leftist groups throughout Southern Mexico stemming from the hotly contested presidential election of July 2 this year. The Leftist candidate, Manuel Lopez Obrador has bitterly refused to concede defeat and he continues to stir the pot of discontent among his followers. To date, the two movements are separate and distinct even though they share ideology. Many have feared these groups and others could eventually coalesce into a larger more far-reaching movement. Thankfully this has not happened yet, but the observer quoted above seems to feel it is finally happening. If this still hasn't been resolved by Felipe Calderon's Inauguration on December 2nd, there will be fireworks.


Anonymous Dan Lloyd said...

Our son, Sam, is a missionary in the Oaxaca Mission. Thank you, Peter, for taking the time to do as much research on what is going on in Oaxaca as you have, and for especially being diligent in getting our packages to our missionaries! While I'm sure many parents, like us, rely on weekly emails from our sons, as well as reading AP articles on what's going on, we only get portions of what is really going on. News today (11/13) out of Oaxaca indicates students and teachers are slowing returning to classes, which is a good sign. As far as we can tell, all the North American missionaries are serving either in the Salina Cruz or Juchitan areas. Our son is with Elder Crawford from Draper, UT, in Ixtepec. He was having email problems today, but did manage to get one off on his companion's email to tell us he is fine and they are in a great ward! He mentioned nothing about the earthquake this past week in Oaxaca, or the strife up in the main city, so Pres. Ortiz must have them well immersed in the work. We are hopeful things will return to normal soon. We'd feel terrible if we can't go pick him up in June!! Anyway, my wife Jessica and I would love to hear from any other parents, either on this blog, or by email. Our email address is: Dan Lloyd

6:19 PM  

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