Located in southern Mexico, just northwest of Chiapas and the Guatemalan border, Oaxaca is among the wealthier states in the country, culturally. It is also resource-rich, producing abundant agriculture, meat, fish, and other delights that continue to attract well-heeled Mexicans and expatriates from the rest of North America and Europe. For them, and for me, it is a pretty easy place to live, especially when the US dollar and Euro are strong.
Yet Oaxaqueños of more limited means are forced to contend with rising prices and many other fiscal distortions introduced by an economy increasingly centered on foreign expats and military solutions to Mexico’s flourishing informal economy, something likewise stimulated by outside demands for cocaine and other drugs in the US and Europe.
Animated by the fiercely independent political beliefs they have traditionally shared with their more revolutionary paisanos to the south, especially in Chiapas, Oaxacans have found creative ways of expressing their misgivings about class and foreign privilege on the walls of the city. Here are some examples of their consciousness-raising artwork: