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Wal Mart in Juchitàn - a fatal unsuitability

Below is a letter by Maureen Gosling. Please read on, maybe you can help. It is also a very illustrative example on how patriarchy tries aggressively to infest everything, that lives in harmony. There is no further look - anything is explained by "economic reasons", the so called "progress". Like this all the matriarchies became destroyed over the centuries and there is no end in sight. But people learn to fight tooth and nail to stop it! (See links listed below.)

Dear Friends of Blossoms of Fire,

I am writing with some heart-breaking news.

I have learned from an anthropologist who spent many years in Juchitán, where Blossoms of Fire was shot, that Wal Mart is trying to open a store there!!! Im very disturbed by this news and what it means for a community very close to my heart. The idea of a big box multi-national chain store, that is totally unlike anything else that exists in the city or the region, does not feel like the kind of development project that "fits" in this indigenous Zapotec city. City officials apparently made the decision to go with it "behind closed doors," with no prior community discussion. The community is split. There have been emergency meetings and protests to try to get information out and theres even a Juchitecan on-line chat room of those pro and con:


There was a protest on Aug. 21, (another was held on Aug. 2) with over 1000 people, organized by Movimiento Alternativo del Istmo (MAI), the Alternative Isthmus Movement. A 20-minute confrontation and struggle with police brought attention to the protest, which started in the citys central plaza and moved through the Central Market, where all the market women we filmed in Blossoms of Fire sell their wares.

The most important thing is for the Juchitecans to be able to make an informed decision about their own destiny. Along with several friends who have spent time in Juchitán, I am trying to do whatever I can to offer support. Even though my first reaction was to feel helpless against the giant, I remembered how the Zapatista movement in Chiapas was able to garner international support by using the internet, email and faxes. Also, two years ago I had a direct experience myself, when I joined others in sending faxes to officials in a community in Oaxaca who were harassing and threatening a fellow filmmaker, an indigenous man, trying to make films about his community. The pressure from our letters worked, and the officials backed off! So, who knows what we might be able to accomplish here?

I have written a letter to the Juchitecans expressing my personal concerns and outrage and just learned that it may be published in the local paper. What I am proposing for any of you who are interested and able, is to send a short email registering your protest, or experiences you might have had in relation to Wal Mart or other information you think might help them. Or write to the officials and say "the world is watching!" If you have press connections or friends in international organizations, who might be able to help in some way, please forward this email.

You can send an email in Spanish or English to me and I will forward it to my contacts there. Or you can send something via "snail mail" with your letterhead to my address below and I will collect them and forward them.

Wal Mart has opened 633 stores (also under various other names, like Sams Club), and still counting, in Mexico alone, since 1991. Last year they opened one, strangely even with the good graces of INAH, the National Institute of Anthropology, within view of the pyramid at Teotihuacan, north of Mexico City!

I just learned that New York City and Los Angeles recently succeeded in keeping out Wal Mart!! I have let the Juchitecans know that they are not alone.

Im enclosing some articles below which I found valuable and may provide more information.

Thank you very much and ¡Si, se puede!,

Maureen Gosling

I will be glad to send you a copy of the email I received from people describing the protest in Juchitán (in Spanish).

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2005/ago05/050804/034n1est.php an article in Spanish on the first protest against Wal Mart in Juchitán on Aug. 2

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/3986729.stm  an article on the Wal Mart in Teotihuacan

http://www.pps.org/gps/one?public_place_id=867 - has photos; shows great public spaces of Juchitan

http://www.counterpunch.org/ross03172005.html an article by John Ross, who has written about Mexico for many years, on the Wal Mart in Teotihuacan

http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0533,flee,66882,5.html - New York fighting Wal Mart

http://wikimedia.espora.org/tiki-read_article.php?articleId=8  an article in Spanish on Wal Mart in Juchitán

Maureen Gosling
Intrépidas Productions
6540 Dana St.
Oakland, CA 94609 USA
Phone: 510.595.7926

http://www.maureengosling.com for Latest News and Favorite Links
Blossoms of Fire/Ramo de fuego, también en español - e Portugués!
Gosling's bio, resume, her other work and new projects


"Today's Matriarchies From the Newest View"

7 parts
one Email per week
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