Toil is the lot of the campesino. The disparity between the have-and-have-nots is very great in Mexico. I am not suggesting that wealth be distributed a la socialism. No! But without a doubt, the wealthy aristocracy and controlling families of Mexico have been exceedingly greedy. It has increased the difficulty for the slowly developing middle class to share in the harvest of benefits available. Will this change? It isn’t for me to say what political changes are needed and what economic measures have to take place. I am a visitor in this land and an artist. I feel the pain, and note the injustice, and sometimes it does influence my work. But I am not a political observer. However, I had to express what events in Chiapas meant to me. In my travels I saw indications of the conflict, and demonstrations in Oaxaca added fuel to this mood. The painting in this exhibit shows three figures with their arms extended upwards, with the lettering CHIAPAS n blood red on the central part of the painting.

Does it Ever End?

Santiago Xochiltepec, Oax. June 6, 2002

“Officials said that 16 men and one woman, members of a community with a long-standing feud with a victims’ town, were arraigned on Tuesday after being arrested for allegedly taking part in the massacre on an isolated stretch of mountain road late Friday. But while the gunmen may have been caught, the underlying causes of the killing—poverty, isolation and the tenuous rule of law—still remains entrenched in Oaxaca and other regions of Mexico, officials and analysts said.

“Other, less sensational killings over land, drugs, politics or religion are common and often go unpunished in rural Mexico, where people live worlds apart from the modern, urban Mexico striving to integrate itself with the United States and Canada.

“The Oaxaca massacre ‘once again exposes the differences and the heterogeneous nature of a country like ours,’ Carols Martinez, a sociologist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico wrote on Tuesday.

“Forty percent of Mexico’s 100 million people live in poverty, and in rural areas they are often left with few options but to emigrate, or fight over scare resources. ‘These are places without a present or a future so people there logically fight for what little they have—the land and the forests’ said hector Sanchez, a federal deputy with he Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) who represents Oaxaca.” SOURCE: “Behind Massacre, People Ignored By Progress” by Richard Jacobsen, Reuters

The News Mexico, June 6, 2002