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On the ground: San Cristobal, Sunday 19 November

Oscar Beard | 19.11.2006 18:36 | Oaxaca Uprising | Repression | Social Struggles | Zapatista | London | World

Second report from Oscar Beard on the Mexico situation.

Saturday in Mexico City saw more helicopters, both police and military swooping low over the suburbs, in and out of the city.

My contact took me to the apartment rooftop where we had a god view of the entire city, but warned against filming the helicopters for fear of being spotted.

The latest from Chiapas was yet another massacre, several dead and others kidnapped in Viejo Velasco, with the posibility they would be killed too.

All this and I headed to Tapo bus station for my night ride into Chiapas.

On the way to the bus station I noticed the banners erected for the national holiday, "viva la revoluccion" they said. November 20 being the date of the beginning of the revolt against American control.

It is kind of ironic now that this day in 2006 will stand as the beginning of the convoy opposing the new incoming president, Calderon, and instigate the alleged national trade union strikes.

My contact told me, being originally from Oaxaca, that Oaxaca refused to join the revolution, calling it madness. Yucatan also opposed the revolt. This, he believed was never forgotten and has led to the problems today in the troubled state.

They have been forgotten, he said, there is no work, no opportunities and no money for the state from the government.

Oaxaca has nine ports, but only four are still working. The government closed the other five, leaving thousands without work.

It is now Sunday and I have arrived at my destination in the south, San Cristobal, and will shortly meet my contact here. It is hard to write more from here in this internet cafe, as anyone can see what I am writing and I fear not everyone here is on the same side as the others, or would be happy to see me write such reports.

But quickly to add, rumours coming in from the UK, these are not confirmed and I will not act on them until some kind of fact comes through, but, rumours are abound that the government will attempt to arrest Subcommondante Marcos and send the military into Oaxaca and Chiapas.

My theory, if this is in any correct, this will happen before the inaurguration of the new president. But perhaps I will be wrong. Only time will tell now.

So, for now, that is it, other than to say thankyou for all who have helped me to this point and who continue to support me, especially my wonderful and strong girlfriend. Without you all I´d probably be dead already, or in prison, which is probably worse.

Okay for now. Roll a cigarette, listen to Motorhead playing from a crappy stereo in the Internet cafe, and get out of here to safer climbs.

Oscar Beard


Update on Wild Rumours: Sunday 19 November

19.11.2006 20:30

The rumours posted in the article above. I can confirm now, there are no such ideas over here.

At the moment, especially with the Oaxaca situation, here in Chiapas the feeling is the government does not need another headache, or political unrest situation, as they are finding it hard to deal with the first. As my contact here said the police "got their asses kicked" real hard on 1 November. A second volatile situation would do no good for them. Therefore here the feeling is calm and possibly the safest place for an activist, or an old hack like me, to be.

As I mentioned in one email earlier, wild rumours are dangerous, especially for those over here in the midst of it all, and make it less likely for that source to be trusted in the future.

For now, all is quiet in San Cristobal. Colourful street carnivals shooting fireworks high into the sky are the only place you will find the police, and in minimal presence.

For me, I am completely at home here. Facilities are better than I have at home, making me think twice about returning to the polite police state of dark and cold London. You can keep you ID cards, suspicion of terrorism, Section 5, 60 and 44 and all that macho stab-proof vest brovado that comes with it, especially when it is under the label of PCSO.

All there is left to do now is find accomodation and sup this fine and cheap beer (the best brand in the world).

Okay for now.

Oscar Beard
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