This will be my last update here from Mexico city as I will be going further south in about two hours. The camp is gone, and for now Mexico city once again looks like most capital cities.
And the change has been rapid. Since the last posting we first had the Grito with the PRD mayor of Mexico (supported and accompanied by AMLO). Although the entire Zocalo was filled with people screaming “Presidente” and “Obrador” and “¡Viva la resistencia pacífica!” in good weather, while Fox’ alternative ceremony was drenched in rain, all the major TV stations seemed to have ignored the Mexico city Grito completely — instead they did report on such interesting places as Phoenix, Arizona and the celebrations there!
Newest updates on the Grito: Fox has decided that he will not hold the Grito here and he has already skipped town to hold it a few hundred miles outside of Mexico city. The news has been well-received on the camp, and AMLO has announced that instead of him, Alejandro Encinas, PRD-member (and following AMLO to hold that post) will hold the Grito at the Zocalo. At the same time it was promised that we would remove our tents from the Zocalo, but it’s not quite as easy as that…
Because the western news really do not cover the situation in Mexico (city) very much, here is an update: AMLO revealed yesterday what the plans are going to be for September 15th/16th. At night on September 15th, there is the traditional Grito (a celebration of independence from Spain) in which the president has to do some flag actions and then a one point will shout “¡Viva La Mexico!” and the mass of people gathered around will be shouting back “¡Viva la Mexico!”
I had promised to give some news updates here as to what is happening at the AMLO camp in Mexico City. Unfortunately, the organizers have decided that from now on, all news have to go through the PRD office and no person at the camp is allowed to speak to any kind of media directly. At least one interview that I had planned can therefore not be conducted, at least not currently. In general though, I can say that at this time the camp is growing. It has been more than 40 days of camping now, and so a lot of people had to go home and several tents were only manned sparely during the time that I have been here. However today, the first buses with people attending the conference next weekend have arrived. In contrast to those who have been here up until now, these seem to be more traditional party activists. The last few days it has been my experience that many are actually here because they do not actually have any other home. Several of them have also asked me as to what chances there are for them to obtain political asylum somewhere in Scandinavia, once “all this is over,” because they fear repressions under president Calderon (PAN) and many “don’t like Anglos [people from USA, Canada, UK].” Another group that is present, although to a small degree, is people at student age, who have been able to take off for some time. I will be back with further updates, and I hope that the news ban will be lifted soon.
The part of the camp that I stay and eat at is a tent that houses the activists from the Mexican state of Nayarit. I went there after being invited by Salvador.
I met Salvador while walking around the AMLO camp at Zolaco my first day here. He was handing out newspapers for his party the PRD. He made contact by asking me whether I was from the United States. And Although I could not confirm that, I told him that right now I am from Douglas, AZ. Ah Dooglas, he recognized it, con los wetbacks, eh? Salvador is one of few here who speak a little bit of English, and he hopes to learn enough to be a translator for his party one day. He is very patient and so whenever my Spanish and his English knowledge are insufficient to make enough sense for the other person to understand, we use hands and feet and my electronic dictionary.
The camp of the leftwing Mexican president candidate AMLO has much of the same feeling as many of the anticamps of the intercontinental governmental conferences: no-one quite know how many protesters will come, no-one quite knows whether the police or military will react violently and turn it all into a bloodbath. But most of all: no one quite knows whether one will make a difference, or at least stop or hinder some of the meetings behind closed doors.
So this is it. My third stay in Douglas is over. Tonight I will be taking the bus to Chihuahua where I will hopefully arrive by tomorrow morning. And I am leaving alone. I am really not sure about where I am going other than that I am going south for now at least.
Last night I spent with Robert, the son of the librarian who comes to town every once in a while and otherwise lives in Tucson. I tried to update him on recent events and rumors on what I had heard and witnessed in Douglas over the last two and a half weeks, and that was when I once again realized the enormous relative size of conspiracies here in town. I am quite sure that I have been involved or witnessed more of those during two and a half weeks of Douglas compared to 1.5 years previously in Oslo. But Robert charged me with maybe not really understanding what is going on: “well, I just can’t imagine that you know these people here very well… you have been here like six months, and then been back twice over the past two years?” Well, true enough. According to all rules of probability, it is highly unlikely that I have much of a clue what is going on here….