The Media Dance and August 1st in Oaxaca

[ Women joke around with fake broadcast equipment ]

August 1st, 2007 – South Notes writes: Last night (July 31), it seemed like the big news in the morning would be the frank and firmly worded Amnesty International report on human rights violations during the ongoing social conflict in Oaxaca. Amnesty’s Secretary General Irene Khan made a personal visit in the context of a larger trip to Mexico. During their one-day visit to Oaxaca on July 31st, the Amnesty International delegation spent 3 hours listening to testimonies from survivors and relatives of victims of political violence committed during the 2006 popular uprising against Governor Ulises Ruiz. Khan later met with Gov. Ruiz and members of his cabinet in a meeting the human rights defender described as “disappointing”. Ruiz, in turn, belittled the report, saying the document was essentially put together by leaders of the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca. Within hours of the meeting’s conclusion, the Amnesty report and the governor’s rebuff was international news.

…But, that’s not what the lead story was this morning. Before dawn today, what officials describe as a “small, homemade bomb” exploded at the main entrance of a Sears department store in Plaza del Valle, a part of Oaxaca City covered with shopping centers and large chain stores. The bomb caused no injuries, but did damage to the steel curtain shutter and shatter all of the glass from the store’s main entrance. State officials say another explosive device was found at a Banamex branch office in the Reforma neighborhood. The second device did not explode.

Perhaps the most powerful effect of the bomb was the way it blasted the damning human rights report right off the international news wires.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the blast…which comes just days before state legislative elections.

In other news, today marks the one year anniversary of the takeover of Channel 9 by a Oaxacan women’s march. On August 1, 2006, thousands of women literally took over the broadcast facilities of the state-run television and radio station in protest of biased coverage against the popular uprising to oust the governor. It was the first time in history that a protest movement had taken over and held a television station. The women broadcast documentaries and invited guests from the state’s marginalized communities to tell their stories on the air. They broadcast for 3 weeks straight until paramilitaries attacked the antenna site and destroyed the transmitter with gunfire. Hours later on August 21st 2006, members of the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca took over every commercial radio station in the state capital.

The Oaxaca Women’s Coordinating Committee today marked the date with a march from Channel 9 to the Zocalo central plaza. After nightfall, around 300 people gathered on the side of the city’s cathedral to watch the debut of a new documentary on the women’s role in the uprising, produced by the Mal de Ojo TV collective.

source: N o t a s del S u r (
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