The last section between Puebla and Oaxaca was awesome, with very nice scenery of arid hills and mountains, giant cactae, and little towns with colorful churches. It was also very hard, with steep and long up-hills, terrible heat and the burning sun on us most of the time. So after two months and a week on the road, we finally made it to our final destination: the CIPO house, in Santa Lucia del Camino, a suburb of Oaxaca. We were SO glad to get here!
We were hoping we would have a few days to rest after arriving, but the following day we started working hard, accompanying CIPO members in the long and fastidious process of getting our friend Pablo out of jail. Appointments with the lawyer, endless waiting in government offices, meetings with other organizations that support CIPO, organizing a press conference, painting a banner, writing handouts… we’ve spent most of our time working on Pablo’s case. That’s the issue of having political prisoners right? To distract the organizations from their original objectives and struggle, making them spend energy and resources in legal processes that are, from the get-go, one-sided. And the new government of Oaxaca, lead by Gabino Cue Monteagudo, has not showed much interest in supporting us, in spite of his beautiful speeches about change and justice. It looks like he’s taking the same path than former governments: political represion and criminalization of social struggles. But well, within CIPO-RFM and CIPO-VAN we didn’t expect much, we know that a new leader doesn’t necessarily mean new politics.
Apart from that, we’re working on different projects within CIPO, for example trying to open workshops at the house (stencils, silkscreening, carpentry, bycicles, radio, so many possibilities!!) with youth from the neighborhood, implementing housing projects in some communities who have been victim of last year’s heavy rains, or supporting the work of the Margarita Magon women’s co-op that produces textiles, honey, chocolate, etc., available in Vancouver. And of course, we work in the garden and participate in the daily activities of the house and organization.
With all this, we don’t really have time to bike around. Actually, I got two flat tires and a broken spoke on the bad roads of the city full of holes, speed bumps and “antibike” pavement, and I don’t know when I’ll get time to change this spoke. So for now I take the bus.
I guess this will be the last post of the CIPO caraVAN, at least until we decide to hit the road again, but there is no plan about that yet. So it’s time to thank again our partners and sponsors: the Agriculture Workers Alliance and Sugoi, and everyone who supported us during the trip and made it amazing: the girls of Ballard; Ben, Michelle and Loren; Bmedia collective; Olin; PCUN; the LongHaul; Nate; Chris Carlsson; Station 40; the SF bike kitchen; Marin General Hospital; Sam, Jessica and all the other students organizing cool shit at SF State; Rose, Rico and Cali; the old man on his crazy 240lbs bike we met on the road; Dan and his friends in San Diego; the firefighters of Tijuana; Ricardo, Maria Helena and Rodrigo in Ciudad Constitucion… and of course our families and my sweet Mary, who nicely agreed to wait for me.
So long, brothers and sisters,
Bikes and revolution!!