Security in Oaxaca

Old Oct 13th, 2014, 08:11 AM
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Security in Oaxaca

Is security an issue in Oaxaca? Are there precautions that tourists should take?

Thanks,
Joe
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Old Oct 13th, 2014, 03:42 PM
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I have been to Oaxaca 3 times in the past 2 yrs. for a total of 14 days of travel. I have never felt security was a particular issue. I act like I always do when I travel in another country, no noticeable jewelry, no big camera, no fancy/flashy clothes, low profile, and I use a Pak-Safe purse although that is honestly for my own peace of mind, I have never had any incidence with my belongings or purse. I do not leave money or other valuables in the room unless there is a safe; I get a room with a safe because I take an Ipad.

I have stayed in the city and traveled by taxi, bus, and private vehicle to many towns in the valley outside of the city on day trips. No security or safety incidences of any kind.

A friend traveling with me did have her thin 14 carat gold bracelet torn off her wrist at the Abastos market while we were there and in a crowded area where live turkeys were being sold, but it was her fault for wearing something of value in a very crowded area where only locals (beside us) were. The young man who took it off her wrist probably needed it to feed his family, and my friend shrugged it off- her fault for wearing it in that situation, it was too tempting and an easy target.
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Old Oct 14th, 2014, 06:45 AM
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I spent a month in Oaxaca never feeling safer.
It is a large city so normal big city precautions but I walked the streets day & night staying about 10 blocks from the main square with no problems.
Now a ways back there were lots of protests with some violence by the teachers union with them taking over some government buildings. The buildings were ceded to them & they still occupy them with occasional parades around the square but NO Violence at all.
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Old Oct 14th, 2014, 08:45 AM
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I was warned not to wear jewelry in the Abastos market. Our American guide scoffed gently at the warning, saying he had never seen any pickpockets or jewelry snatchers or the like in a decade of regular visits, but the Mexican guide said better safe than sorry. So I took my gold-colored, but fake, earrings off, just in case

I felt very safe in the city, and never received any other security warnings.

Stewbear, speaking of the teachers' union, we ran into a road blockade that caused a long and tedious detour; our driver, quite aggravated, said it didn't happen often any more.
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Old Oct 15th, 2014, 05:45 PM
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I enjoyed the pee-pee contest, too bad it was deleted.
As far as security goes, Oaxaca has always been known for more radical activism than other parts of Mexico. Marches and demonstrations are not uncommon, and not limited to the teachers. They can be loud but almost always non-violent, but a little disconcerting to the uninitiated. That said, as far as the teachers go, they are generally pretty harmless except for some drinking and fighting that pretty much is isolated to they themselves during strikes. Maybe a few burned cars and a roadblock or 2. It brings bad publicity, but that's what they want, because that's what makes the news. We spent our 25th anniversary there during the worst strike in years with some MX friends and walked in and about the zocalo passing by their makeshift tents with no issues, other than the smell of stale beer and urine. The teacher's union is comprised of a bunch of morons and their behavior is a despicable example to the students. The APPO's are a bigger problem as they piggy-back on the teacher's issues to promote their own agenda. But as a tourist, you'll have no problem, as their (the teacher's) activity is pretty much limited to May and part of June. We go down at least once a year without worry.
As far as getting to Hierve de Agua and having to pay a "donation", that is true as the land is likely ejido and they thus can do whatever they want with their land. But if you enter through Xaaga you don't have to pay and the scenery over the mountain is spectacular.
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Old Oct 15th, 2014, 09:20 PM
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I think to be respectful that we need to remember and add here that in 2006 the police responded to the (annual, for 25 yrs at that point) teachers union strike by opening fire on non-violent protesters. Over a period of several months of protests, about 17 to 22 non-violent protesters were killed.

There is to this day an exhibit in the zocalo, in front of the cathedral, to remember those fallen.

After the terrible 2006 events, Oaxaca saw a huge downturn in tourism. Many restaurants, including some well-established and excellent ones, folded. Many of the chefs left and did not return. Many shops closed their doors.

Today, other than the exhibit in the zocalo, a tourist would not know about that turbulent and deadly year. But Oaxaca's restaurant/food scene has never really been the same since then. It's good, but not stellar like it was before summer of 2006, IMO.
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Old Oct 15th, 2014, 09:37 PM
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I also think that if we are discussing which Mexican states have the most radical activism, we need to recall the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas in 1994-1997. Many more people died there than in the teacher strikes in 2006 or any other uprising in recent Oaxacan history.

Between 1995 and the present in the Lancandon region of Chiapas, there has been more violence than anything seen in recent Oaxacan history. Hundreds murdered or "disappeared" in that region in the past 20 yrs.

I realize this is not quite what the OP asked about, but let's remember that there are indeed other parts of MX with more radical activism and more fatalities, severe injuries, and expulsions than Oaxaca-- at least in Chiapas.
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Old Oct 16th, 2014, 02:07 PM
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I found it interesting, although ALL were peaceful, both the Union & The Police had parades (with music) around the Zocalo the same week but different days. This was mid February.
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Old Oct 16th, 2014, 02:15 PM
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PS What I found most interesting was that on the trip to the Waterfall the route you speak of was blocked by protests of some sort the day we went resulting in the alternate route.
So our driver & our good friend (a local from Oaxaca) were not charged but we as tourists were. It was really not a big deal. As I recall 25 peso for each my wife & I.
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