Volume 14, No. 9: October 15, 2009

The closing circle:

When I came to Mexico to live, there was only one political party with any real power: the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI), the longest-serving (almost 70 years) one-party system in the world. The basic political structure of the party (and therefore of the country) was state-socialist (fascist). Enshrined in the Constitution and in the practices of the PRI was the idea that fractious opposition parties were bad for the country; that the fairest and most efficient way to govern was to give each and every “interest” a place under the PRI umbrella. Thus there was a seat at the table for the Central Workers’ Council (headed for decades by PRI stalwart Fidel Velazquez: almost all unions were, and remain, PRI affiliated) as well as the Chamber of Commerce; the Army as well as civilian law enforcement; etc. The various groups did not always agree, and there were some bitter fights within the Party — but that was o.k. since it was kept within the Party. Continue reading “Volume 14, No. 9: October 15, 2009”

Volume 14, No. 8: September 16, 2009

Happy 85th , Diana:

Last month we sat down with about 14 good friends and true, to celebrate a milestone. Held in the dining room of the Oaxaca Ollin bed and breakfast (donated by the owners, our pals Jon and Judíth), with food prepared by Sophia their cook, while incidental music was played by cellist Luís Zárate, it was a simple but elegant affair. Diana’s eldest daughter and granddaughter were on hand. Most of the photos in this edition were taken in the course of “doing Oaxaca” with them, starting with the masthead photo of granddaughter Tisha posing with the monos outside the Artisan’s Co-op on Matamoros and Garcia Vigíl. Continue reading “Volume 14, No. 8: September 16, 2009”

Volume 14, No. 7: July 29, 2009

Home Again:

We arrived home in mid-June after a longer-than-normal stay in El Norte. Thanks to the good graces of a friend, a neighbor, and an understanding land-lady, our furniture was not on the street; the electricity was still on, along with the telephone (and therefore the Internet); the inevitable cobwebs and dead insects on the floor had been swept away; and plants had survived. Continue reading “Volume 14, No. 7: July 29, 2009”

Volume 14, No. 6: June 28, 2009

Still in California :

For various unavoidable reasons, we have had to extend our stay “al otro lado” (on the other side) for a while longer. We miss the smell and sound and taste of Oaxaca and expect to be back home before July 15. Meanwhile, we do our best to keep up with the major goings-on through the internet, and by conversations with friends, using Skype and the much-improved talk feature in Live Messenger. Continue reading “Volume 14, No. 6: June 28, 2009”

Volume 15, No. 5: May 25, 2009

Presos Politicos, Libertad:

“Free Political Prisoners”; “No to the Educational Reform (a precursor to privatization of education)”; “Show us the ‘disappeared’”; “Stop the mining”: only some of the many banners hoisted this weekend in the Zócalo of Oaxaca in the lead-up to the occupations, work stoppages and disruptions scheduled for the 28th and 29th of this month by the teachers’ union section XXII .  We can’t be there, but sources tell us the Z is once again filled with vendors, information booths, and teach-ins.  Continue reading “Volume 15, No. 5: May 25, 2009”

Volume 14, No. 4: April 12, 2009

Too much fun:

Oaxaca has been jumping this month. Aside from the usual Easter Week events (Friday of the Sorrows, where everyone is supposed to visit at least seven churches to view the Altars constructed for the occasion, featuring ceramic pots holding chia seeds and seedlings; Palm Sunday in San Antonino; the silent procession on Good Friday; and the parades on Easter Sunday) , residents and visitors have been taking advantage of a major musical event (the annual Rodolfo Morales Festival, which goes on for over a week), a major traveling national film festival (the Ambulante Documentary film fair, occurring this year all over the city and its environs over a ten-day period), two craft village extravaganzas (black pottery town San Bartolo Coyotepéc and alebrije center San Martín Tilcajete) and a month of Tuesday nights celebrating the Witches of Xoxocotlán (featuring lots of carnival rides, concerts by Oaxacans like Susana Harp, and according to many the best tamales in the metropolitan area). And that doesn’t include the scores of lectures, art exhibits and other cultural activities going on all over the central valley. Continue reading “Volume 14, No. 4: April 12, 2009”