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Oaxaca and Chiapas 

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sergio Beltrán, UniTierra

The Universidad de la Tierra (UniTierra) was created as an alternative to formal education and as a space for free learning. There is no fixed curriculum or teachers, and control is in the hand of the learners. The institute is set up with 5 branches: alternative technologies, appropriate agriculture, popular communication and media, alternative medicines, and alternative research on social science.

We met with Sergio Beltrán who is one of 5 or 6 staff members at UniTierra. He talked about the history of recent social struggles in Oaxaca and showed us some video clips of struggles of these events that they had made. When the women took over the Channel 9 TV station on August 1 of last year, they called UniTierra to help with video production. Sergio talked about how taking over this station broke the image of a passive woman. He quoted Ricardo Flores Magón: “Cuando una mujer avanca, no hay hombre que se detenga” (when a woman is advancing, no man can stop her).

We asked Sergio about the recent EPR attacks on oil pipelines that have been so much in the news while we were in Oaxaca but none of the groups we met with mentioned. He expressed his suspicions that the EPR was not a real guerrilla group but a shame to cover for government abuse, because they only seemed to attack when distracting media attention from a recent scandal would only seem to benefit the government.

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