Oaxaca mural

Oaxaca mural

Friday, February 15, 2019

No Barriers

Ever since 2014 when the disappearance of 43 college students triggered massive protests in Mexico City, the National Palace, the headquarters of Mexico's executive branch of government has been surrounded by ugly, metal barricades.  This past week, on my visits to the main plaza, the "Zócalo", I noticed that those barriers have been removed, obviously a change in policy by the new President López Obrador.  

I was even more surprised to see that indigenous protestors from the state of Oaxaca have camped out on the sidewalk right in front of the National Palace.

The protestors are from the Triqui people, one of the native tribes of Oaxaca.  They are demanding the release of political prisoners, the dismissal of certain government officials, social projects for their communities, and justice for murdered activists in the tribe.  The oppression and exploitation of native peoples in Mexico is nothing new; it's been going on since the Spanish conquest.  However, I tried to do a bit of research on the Triqui, and it would seem to be a very complicated situation in which the tribe perhaps is not entirely blameless.  There are several political organizations within the Triqui which are at loggerheads with each other. Escalating violence led to a truce among the political factions, but that pact was broken in 2015 when the leader of one group was murdered.  

With my limited understanding of what is going on, it is not my place to form an opinion.  But it is certainly indicative of the change in administration to see the barricades gone, and indigenous protestors at the entrance to the heart of Mexico's federal government. 

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