Oaxaca

Caravan Headed to Veracruz — “Nos Vemos en Estados Unidos!”

After two nights in Juchitan, the Caravan members woke before dawn yesterday to clean up the garbage at their encampment and then headed north at 6am. They had originally planned to take the route to Oaxaca City but at the last minute decided to trek through Veracruz — less mountainous but more dangerous because of the cartel criminals. Some will hop the freight train, also dangerous.

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Solidarity and Humanity in Juchitan de Zaragoza

We arrived yesterday in the town of Juchitan de Zaragoza along the coast in Oaxaca where the Caravan was scheduled to arrive this morning. We had heard about Juchitan, known for its matriarchal social structure and large community of gay and transgender residents. Turns out there is plenty more here that makes this community special.

Mural in Juchitan: “The marvel of learning something is that no one can take it from you.”

Within hours of our arrival, our Airbnb hosts (who, in this remote community, collect fine art and pepper their conversations with references to people like Herodotus) connected us to people in the Zapotec community who had plans to help the people in the Caravan.

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“El Jaguar:” A Mexican Whodunit

El Jaguar

My visit to Oaxaca, Mexico, has been fun and interesting in all of the ways I expected. But it has also involved a mystery that has connected me to a lot of people in ways I could never have expected. The mystery begins and ends with a water color painting called “El Jaguar.”

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The Artisan Villages of Oaxaca

The state of Oaxaca has many folk art traditions, many centered in the small pueblos (villages) outside the city. Learning about local folk art is a great way to learn a little bit about local communities so this week I visited a few of them. Each village I visited seemed passionate about its art and happy to have visitors. Continue reading

Oaxaca: The Art of (R)Evolution

Templo de Santo Domingo

The first time I visited Oaxaca almost 30 years ago, a friend asked me why I would choose Oaxaca for a vacation because “it’s the Fresno of Mexico.”¬† I’m Armenian so it wasn’t a good choice of insult but the cities are similar in a few ways. Both have a lot of poor people and strong connections to the ethnically diverse rural communities outside their city centers. But only one has world-class colonial architecture, a prominent arts community, and a spirit of political activism. Also a lot of mole and mezcal. Continue reading