February 2008 -- This
text is a ROUGH DRAFT. The following is a snapshot of the 2006-2007
media coverage of protests and unrest in Oaxaca.
The protests began as a sit-in strike in mid May, 2006 by about
40,000 teachers demanding higher pay. As of November, many teachers
have gone back to classes, but tensions remain high.On June 14,
the government evicted the protesters in a forcible removal, the
desalojo. Protests escalated in June and July with a
series of "megamarches." From August-October demonstrators
seized local radio stations, barricaded roads and burned buses.
On October 28, President Fox announced the federal police would
be sent in. The Zócalo
was retaken on October 29, though the protesters regrouped in
front of the Santo
Domingo Church. The protesters engaged the police on November
26 and were pushed out of the city. The police too control and
as of December 16 withdrew from the downtown, leading many to
believe that the conflict is coming to an end.
From June-November 2006 headline news from CNN, New York Times,
The Guardian and other outlets put Oaxaca on the map.
It's no surprise that most mainstream media focus on the crisis.
Headlines include CNN's 'Nights of terror' and AP's 'Protesters
Bring Tourist Town to Virtual Halt' and the Austin American
Haven Suffers Under Rebellion.
Many Oaxaca City residents deplore national and international
media coverage. Things are bad, they said during the crisis, but
not as bad as depicted in national and international media. Stories
and photos including "Tourist Go Home" were true, but
taken out of context.
First on the scene and first to make a major mistake was Democracy
Now that reported (erroneously) that the Desalojo caused eleven
deaths. Their report
has not been corrected.
There were a number of cases of "parachute journalism"
in which reporters came to town for a day or two. There were also
stories such as Marketplace
in which the sources quoted were not even in Oaxaca.
Curiously, the Reuters
news agency regularly includes a map that does not show Oaxaca
but rather Mexico City.
"Progressive" press websites frequently over-emphasize
the support of the protest. Conservative blogs over-emphasize
the danger to travelers.
Planeta.com does not cover politics, but focuses on environmental
and tourism news. That said, during the crisis, we received a
flood of queries from travelers and concerned colleagues. To respond
we published a blurb about safety
and updated references to direct readers to recommended Oaxaca
With colleagues in Oaxaca, we developed the Oaxaca
Today Dialogue. It started strong, but slowed after there
was 'gunplay' in late September 2006.
is one of the most popular ways to check out current headlines
from several thousand sources. It can be a one-stop source for
news about a particular place such as Oaxaca.
This is a computer-driven selection so the sources are varied
in terms of point of view and quality.
TIP #1 -- For timely news, keep an eye on the
Spanish feed which provides updates hours or days before English-language
TIP #2 --Readers can even set up news
alerts (also available en español -- alertas
de noticias). Also, readers can customize
Spanish coverage is more timely than English which takes about
a day longer to cover the same news.
The popular online photo gallery Flickr features a Oaxaca
Pool and many new pics from Oaxaca.
There are a number of photos that show the crisis as it unfolded.
Galleries to check out include puntoyaparteoaxaca
We discuss Flickr in depth in our essay
on citizen journalism.
More pics are online
the Spanish-language site Oaxaca
Yahoo also shows news
Oaxaca has been a popular topic in Lonely Planet's Thorn
Tree. In November the Oaxaca
Update topic was moved by administrators to the top of the
Thorn Tree's Mexico
Reflecting on the situation in March 2007, one U.S.-born English-language
teacher expressed a newfound cynicism about progressive media.
"I watched all the Zapatista movies and I was a big supporter.
But since I was on the ground and watching the APPO develop, I
figured out that the issues are not as black and white as they
seem. People shoudl be educated about the roots of the problem."
There are also many informal groups, passing on unsourced news
and forwarded e-newsletters. There are also specialized forums
such as the Welte
Institute for Oaxacan Studies.
State, national and international websites were not forthcoming
with timely information. Item. The city tourism website continued
to promote the Guelaguetza through the beginning of November.
The Mexico Tourism Board did distribute a warning via email (November
9 and repeated December 11): "Since Oaxaca City has been
the site of demonstrations recently, we recommend that visitors
redirect their travels to Oaxaca State 's other tourism destinations,
including the resort cities of Huatulco and Puerto Escondido.
These destinations are located far from these demonstrations and
have not been affected by the current protests."
While it makes sense that governents would advise their citizens
of possible dangers, what seems over the top were advisories that
seemed to extend far beyond their usefulness.
In January 2007 the U.S. government downgraded its travel warning
for its citizens traveling to the city and state of Oaxaca, saying
visitors should "use caution" in the region instead
of avoiding travel altogether, an advisory that was issued in
This Public Announcement updates the Public Announcement
for Mexico alerting U.S. citizens to the mounting violence and
disorder in Oaxaca City, Oaxaca, Mexico to include increased security
concerns in light of recent bombings in Mexico City. At this time,
U.S. citizens should continue to avoid travel to Oaxaca City due
to an increase in violence there and should be alert to the increased
security concerns related to protest violence throughout Mexico.
This Public Announcement expires on January 18, 2007.
On October 27, 2006, an American citizen was shot and killed in
Oaxaca City as a result of the violence and disorder caused by
civil unrest in the city during the past several months. Several
protest groups have engaged in increasingly violent demonstrations,
sometimes resulting in violent reactions from other groups.
The Government of Mexico ordered the mobilization of Federal Preventive
Police (PFP) to Oaxaca City to restore order to the area on Saturday,
October 28, 2006. There are reports that roads within Oaxaca State,
including the main highway and secondary roads linking Oaxaca
City to Mexico City, may be closed or barricaded at any time,
and flights may be temporarily delayed or cancelled at the Xoxocotalan
International Airport. Within the city itself, protesters and
the PFP frequently engage in confrontations that may become violent,
including random shootings. U.S. citizens should continue to avoid
travel to Oaxaca City. Those already in Oaxaca should avoid large
groups and active demonstrations, and should remain in their homes
or hotels, avoiding the downtown and surrounding areas during
active demonstrations or PFP operations.
Recent bombings of commercial institutions and the Election Tribunal
in Mexico City reportedly were related to the unrest in Oaxaca
City and election protests. In the coming weeks, protesters may
use the Anniversary of the Mexican Revolution on November 20 and
events surrounding the presidential inauguration on December 1
to initiate additional demonstrations or acts of violence in Oaxaca
City, Mexico City, and elsewhere in the country. Even demonstrations
intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate
into violence. U.S. citizens should exercise caution, monitor
local news reports, and avoid areas where demonstrations are slated
Oaxaca Safe to Visit? - Traditions Mexico
News - Academic Tours
Protesters responded to the June 14th desalojo by
creating papier mache helicopters. It is too soon to tell if it
will reach the popularity of the Zapatista dolls.
- Bucket of beer sold in the Zócalo
Todos somos APPO
- Title of a Sergio Hernández painting, IAGO (March 2007)
- Guerreros fans cheering a strike-out. (March 2007)
AUDIO AND VIDEO
Videos have been sold in Oaxaca City in DVD format of the desalajo
and Guelaguetza Popular. Some striking videos have also appeared
Some of the most timely information was being distributed by
Most ephereral are comments from Oaxacan residents and visitors
who seem to be viewing the city different each day. "Each
week we say the situation will be fixed next week," said
one friend in September, then October and then November 2006.
In October Radio
APPO broadcast on the Web, but one story that is not adequately
presented online is the way of making sense of how the radio stations
going from local programming to protester's interviews and a barrage
of songs by Silvio Rodriguez.