Posts tagged "Mexico"
Ghost Lives

Ghost Lives

Mira!” Erika wagged a slim forefinger toward vendors, gawkers, and ice cream-smeared toddlers moving through the city of Oaxaca’s central plaza as she turned to face me. “You think you’re seeing people but they’re not people, they’re ghosts!”

Erika had taught high school for nearly thirty years and was a member of the state teachers’ union. She had recently participated in a strike for better salaries and working conditions—a strike that the government had crushed just months earlier. “Ghosts,” she repeated with a sigh. “Oaxaca exists in the past. Maybe all of Mexico does.”

It was early 2007. I had come to Oaxaca the year before as a freelance journalist to investigate the violent standoff between the striking teachers and the government. The state of Oaxaca’s governor, Ulisés Ruiz, had ordered state and municipal police to break up an encampment of striking teachers in the center of the city. The police had done so forcefully, with tear gas and clubs. The teachers had fought back, commandeering city buses to use like tanks against the startled police.

Mazatlán

Mazatlán

The sun was sinking, the day finally ending. I sat on the beach in Mazatlán, propped against my pack, swim trunks still damp under my jeans. At this hour, the beach was empty.

The night before I'd stopped in Mazatlán, a city on Mexico’s northwestern coast, to break up the long bus trip from Tijuana to Guadalajara. Back in Seattle, the Sunday travel section had made the place sound like paradise. All I’d found was a gloomy hotel room, an ocean too hot for swimming, Gila monsters splashing in an open sewer nearby, and a couple of scrawny teenagers humping alongside a broken concrete path near the beach.

The bus to Guadalajara would arrive in an hour, but I didn’t feel like waiting in the bus station. I opened up a book and started reading on the beach.

Deferred Dreams from My Father

Deferred Dreams from My Father

Like many children of immigrant parents, I was told story upon story that began, “When I came to this country…” But certain details of my father’s journey weren’t shared until I was twenty-six. Even after all these years, the story of how he emigrated from Mexico isn’t one my father likes to tell. He came from a generation where one’s citizenship status was something not to be discussed. I only learned of the specifics because I poked and prodded until he finally gave in, saying, “Tell my story when I’m dead.”

Sympathy for the visa applicants

Canada is imposing visa requirements on Mexico and the Czech Republic (this is after having lifted the visa requirement in 2007 for Czech citizens). It's understandable that Canada needs control over the inflow of refugee claims, but my sympathy still goes out to those legitimate travelers who’ll now have to play the ever stressful game called “Visa Applications.”