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On The Ground: Mexico City, Friday 19 November

Oscar Beard | 19.11.2006 18:25 | Oaxaca Uprising | Repression | Social Struggles | Zapatista | London | World

First report from Oscar Beard on Mexico situation.

After a vicious journey via Toronto Canada I was met by my Mexico City contact. I arrived safe apart from airport police accusing me of rolling a joint when they saw me rolling a cigarette.

Thursday 17 November. Mexico City is hot, but the locals are complaining it is cold. Not me. Im sweating like a sheep dog in a sauna with the heat on maximum.

The legal documentation took time but the UK Embassy has me registered. It was of some concern when they asked me what blood group I was.

Hopefully you wont need to know that, I said.

Just five minutes away, on the next block, armed police and military blocked the road, machine guns and pistols everywhere, as huge crowds tried to enter the American Embassy to gain visas.

I asked a taxi driver if this was normal. Apparently not. He said there were more by the day, hence why the military and police had increaased to protect the embassy.

As I walked through the streets one thing that was apparent, apart from the extreme poverty of most, and the endless homeless indiginous Mexican Indians begging for money, was every bank was guarded by police and private security with Uzi and M16 machine guns. Huey helicopters and other gunships patrolled the sky regularly. Money was taken from one bank to another by military convoy. Bank workers too were transported by military trucks. A strange sight indeed, seeing thirty men in black suits and colourful ties looking like they have been rounded up, put in the back of a cattle truck, ready to be drafted for whatever was about to happen here.

I cannot say if this is normal or if there is a fear of what is coming. But my contact here said there is definately a feeling of uncertainty in the air.

All that is left to do today is sort my travel to the next destination, and contacts, then I can get out of here and go to where I need to be.

The latest report out of Chiapas is the state of emergency is not over, but some situation has arisen again in the last 24 hours. I do not know what, execept I will surely find out in the next few days.

People here in Mexico City had no idea about how many people died in Oaxaca, nor did they know about militia squads and the disappearances.

For now, I need food, rest and some kind of damn organisation, but my phone is not working and I have no contact with anyone other than on this side of the Atlantic.

Still, too late to turn back. No time for regret. Not today thank you very kindly. No. This has started now, so I´m on for the whole gig.

Oscar Beard



20.11.2006 21:12

Not 19 November, but 17 November.

I blame the jet lag.

Oscar Beard
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