Friday, November 5, 2010

A hot topic

Gang killings in Oaxaca force response from governor

While drug killings are practically nil in Oaxaca province, political violence is not unknown. This is the latest in a long line of recent bloodshed, some of which was happening under our very noses last summer.

For example, the last day we were in Oaxaca, a priest in his 80's was tortured and killed in a supposed botched robbery at one of the beautiful church/temple complexes downtown. This would be odd enough since most churches' treasures are not hidden away and you wouldn't need to torture anyone to find out where they were. But this priest was also an outspoken advocate for indigenous human rights, a very dangerous position to take in a country where the oligarchy is still pretty powerful.

And then there is the ongoing situation in San Juan Copala which has gotten very little press in the US, and the murder of an American expat in August whose body was just discovered in October, and . . . . I could go on and on. Even so, if I had to choose between navigating drug violence and political violence, I'd say political violence is easier to avoid. I thought I was alert and open to what was going on beneath the surface, but I clearly missed a lot of what was happening right under my nose. However, I never felt threatened or endangered. And when you think of it, a lot goes on right under our noses in our own communities with very little effect on our daily lives.

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