I've been following events in Oaxaca, Mexico with great interest. We were in that beautiful town in 1994 - coincidentally, just after the uprising in the state of Chiapas. This October, Oaxacans stood up to protest corruption, election fraud and incompetence in their government - and their government responded with tear gas, guns and slaughter.

Mexico tries to present itself as a first-world nation, a modern and evolved democracy, when it's profitable for them (NAFTA). But if you travel in Mexico, even slightly off the beaten tourist track - not just Cancun or Chichen Itza - you can immediately peer through that flimsy curtain. In living, working and education conditions, Mexico is much closer to its Central American neighbours than it is to the US or Canada. (As you know, I believe the US is moving in that direction, too.)

I've also been very interested in the story of Brad Will, the independent journalist and filmmaker from New York City who was murdered in Oaxaca last week. I greatly admire activists who travel to actions all over the world, to document, to bear witness, to lend support. American activism has a long tradition of this, including the famous Abraham Lincoln Brigade that fought against Franco's forces in the Spanish civil war. My own life has always been too permanent, too settled, to support that kind of courage and freedom. I'm fascinated by people committed enough to put their bodies on the line, in solidarity with working people seeking justice, anywhere on the planet.

In New York, San Francisco and other cities, there have been actions for Mills and for the people of Oaxaca. In cities throughout the world, there have been protests in front of Mexican embassies.

The only thing I've seen in Canadian mainstream media is a travel alert, warning tourists not to go to Oaxaca. I'm sure I've missed something; the CBC must be covering the events there. In general, though, most stories about Latin America in Canadian media focus on lying on the beach in Cuba or the Dominican Republic. This goes to something I blogged about earlier: that most Canadians I've met do not seem more aware of international events than Americans, and often display the same insularity and ignorance that Americans are frequently (and justly) accused of.

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I didn't use a lot of links here, because this is an ongoing story, and not new. For the bare facts, Google News can fill you in. For the leftist perspective, see Indy Media. New York Indy Media is closely following Will's story, the response to his death, and local protests.

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