What Happened in Oaxaca Mexico

Title: What Happened in Oaxaca, Mexico: A Tale of Struggle and Resilience


Oaxaca, a culturally vibrant state in southern Mexico, has long been recognized for its rich history, indigenous traditions, and stunning landscapes. However, in recent years, it has also gained attention for the social and political unrest that has unfolded within its borders. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the events that transpired in Oaxaca, shedding light on the underlying causes, the ensuing protests, and the lasting impact on the region’s communities.


Oaxaca’s story of turmoil can be traced back to May 2006, when a teachers’ strike demanding better working conditions and educational reforms began. Initially, the strike was peaceful, but it soon escalated into a widespread movement demanding the resignation of Oaxaca’s governor at the time, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, due to allegations of corruption and authoritarianism. The situation quickly spiraled out of control, leading to months of violence, chaos, and a deep divide within the state.

Key Events:

1. Teachers’ Strike and Popular Uprising: The teachers’ strike, led by the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE), gained significant support from various sectors of society. As the movement grew, it transformed into a broader popular uprising, with citizens joining in solidarity to voice their discontent with the government.

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2. The Emergence of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO): In response to the government’s perceived inaction and repression, the APPO was formed as a coalition of social organizations, unions, and indigenous groups. It aimed to create a more inclusive and democratic Oaxaca, challenging the existing power structures.

3. Violence and Repression: The Mexican government, under President Vicente Fox, deployed federal forces to quell the protests. This led to violent clashes between protesters and security forces, resulting in numerous injuries, arrests, and even deaths.

4. The Oaxaca Commune: During the height of the unrest, protesters occupied the city center and established barricades, effectively taking control of Oaxaca City. Throughout this period, the city operated as a self-governing entity, with the APPO at the helm.

5. Negotiations and Political Resolution: After months of unrest, negotiations between the Mexican government and APPO representatives resulted in a political agreement. Ulises Ruiz Ortiz stepped down as governor, and a new governor, Gabino Cué, was elected in 2010, promising a fresh start for the state.


1. What were the main demands of the teachers’ strike?
The teachers demanded better working conditions, increased salaries, and educational reforms to improve the quality of education in Oaxaca.

2. Why did the protests escalate into a broader popular uprising?
The protests resonated with a wide range of societal grievances, including deep-seated frustration with political corruption, economic inequality, and the marginalization of indigenous communities.

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3. What role did the APPO play in the protests?
The APPO emerged as a united front, amplifying the voices of various social organizations, unions, and indigenous groups. It called for the resignation of the governor and advocated for a more inclusive and democratic Oaxaca.

4. How did the government respond to the protests?
The government, under President Vicente Fox, deployed federal forces to suppress the protests. This led to violent clashes between protesters and security forces, further fueling the unrest.

5. What was the significance of the Oaxaca Commune?
The establishment of the Oaxaca Commune marked a period of self-governance in Oaxaca City, where protesters took control of the city center and operated autonomously.

6. Did the protests have any lasting impact?
While the protests did not achieve all of their initial demands, they did lead to the resignation of Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz and the election of a new governor. The events also brought attention to the need for social and political reform in Mexico.

7. How has Oaxaca recovered from the unrest?
Oaxaca continues to rebuild and heal from the trauma of the events. Efforts have been made to address the demands of the teachers and promote inclusivity, but challenges remain in achieving lasting change and improving the lives of its citizens.

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The events that unfolded in Oaxaca, Mexico, during the teachers’ strike and subsequent protests marked a turbulent period in the state’s history. The movement, which grew beyond its initial demands, revealed deep-rooted issues of corruption, inequality, and marginalization. While progress has been made since then, the impact of the protests is still felt today. Oaxaca serves as a poignant reminder of the power of collective action and the ongoing struggle for justice and equality.