Volume 8, No. 20: December 15, 2003


On January 8, Oaxaca will get its’ long-awaited new Archbishop. José Luís Chávez Botello, 63 year old bishop of Tuxtla Gutierrez (capital of Chiapas state), who will be invested by the archbishop of Durango, a known conservative, will be the eighth of his line in Oaxaca, replacing Bartolomé Carrasco Briseño, who died some months ago. (more…)

Volume 8, No. 19: November 25, 2003


“Lienza de Charro”. The sign is small, and off to the side of the busy highway to “the Etlas” and Mexico City. If you aren’t looking for it, it just doesn’t register. An arrow points to a dirt frontage road which follows the highway briefly before turning off to the right. You have to want to get there: the road is pot-holed, uneven and twisty. We are on it in search of a story. (more…)

Volume 8, No. 18: November 6, 2003


Just five to six hours from Oaxaca city, in the mountains above Puebla, is the smallest state in Mexico: Tlaxcala. Like Oaxaca, the capital city has the same name; and unlike Oaxaca, where he owned a land grant but never actually lived, Cortez had a house in Tlaxcala. There are a great many similarities, aside from the weather (cooler) and the smaller number of gringos. The Zócalo is as charming, the buildings have a “colonial” look and feel, the culture scene is driven by the state University, there are sidewalk cafés. The only downside is the traffic flowing on three sides of the square. There is no graffiti on the buildings, and all that are on the plaza are recently painted. There is a big project going on to reclaim the magnificent murals in the government palace, all depicting indigenous themes; and the “new” city government building contains lovely gardens, and has an open feel to it that makes the city hall in Oaxaca look shamefully shabby by comparison. (more…)

Volume 8, No. 17: October 15, 2003

CONSUMER ADVISORY: This issue of the Newsletter is not a happy, upbeat one. Some days you happen on a spontaneous fiesta, and some days, you step into the doggy doo-doo. Even so, in the midst of all the bad news, we are settling nicely into our new home, and getting used to being motorists. Hopefully, things will be more up-beat next time. Meanwhile, for a little relief, we have included “proud parents” pictures of our new digs, a work in progress, starting with me turning the tables on the famous photographer. You can tell she likes taking pictures of others better than she likes having them taken of her…


On or about the seventh of October, Oaxaca state police invaded the home of Russell Ames, a 40-some-year resident, and arrested three occupants, all U.S. citizens. John Barbato, poet and painter, Mary Ellen Sanger, translator and writer who contributes regularly to Mexico Connect and The Mexico File, and Joseph Simpson, who is in the last stages of terminal cancer, were hauled off to the local hoosegow where they were to be held for five days without bail. (more…)

Volume 8, No. 15: September 3, 2003


About a week ago, we became suburbanites. We’ve crossed the line; gone uptown; left the central city behind. Actually, we’re only about a mile and a half from the Zócalo, instead of a few blocks. Still, it definitely has a different feel to it. For one thing, the air is cleaner; for another it’s quieter. We live in a neighborhood instead of a commercial district; but with a cocina economica (cheap kitchen) across the street and a couple of miscellanea (convenience stores), a plethora of doctors’ and dentists’ offices, a very large furniture store, and a copy shop next door, it is definitely not a “bedroom community”. (more…)

Volume 8, No. 13: August 1, 2003


Oaxaca’s big annual dance folk dance festival had its ups and downs. While we did not actually see the performances in the giant amphitheater this year, we did get lots of reports from friends. The performances themselves, broadcast live, were excellent, and the audiences filled the 11,000 seats on both Mondays. (more…)

Volume 8, No. 12: July 15, 2003


As predicted, the national elections held on July 6 were marked by slight gains for the PRI in the House of Deputies, as well as a few governorships that were in play, almost all having been taken from the PAN. The one small surprise was the margins by which the PRD took Mexico City, where almost all the delegations (districts) went heavily for the party of mayor Lopez Obrador. (more…)

Volume 8, No. 11: July 3, 2003


After a long day and night of travel, culminating in a “red-eye” flight from Tijuana, we arrived in Oaxaca to discover the Zócalo temporarily free of squatters, the air fresh and clean if a little rainy, and our casa intact if dusty. A few days’ work cleaning and shopping, and it feels as if we had never left. All the pictures in this issue are new, and taken in the last few days. Enjoy. (more…)