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The 10-day-old blockade in Oaxaca. The 10-day-old blockade in Oaxaca.

Oaxaca-Veracruz highway blockade now in its tenth day

Citizens demand payment of money owed by municipality, accuse mayor of embezzlement

Long lines of trucks waiting on a highway is not a picture exclusive to the northern border.

A political conflict that led to a blockade 10 days ago by an estimated 1,200 citizens of San Juan Mazatlán, Oaxaca, continues to this day on federal highway No. 185, linking Oaxaca and Veracruz.

Residents of at least 16 municipal agencies within San Juan, which is in the north of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, are demanding the payment of 29 million pesos (US $1.5 million) in funds allocated by the municipality, but the latter has declared it doesn’t have the cash.

Protesters have accused San Juan Mayor Macario Eleuterio Jiménez of embezzlement.

The newspaper Milenio reported that the blockade, located near the community of Boca del Monte, has cost businesses millions of pesos in losses.

Trucks carrying perishable goods, fuel and cash have been stranded for the duration of the protest, effectively bringing commercial activity in the region to a halt, and severely affecting trade between Oaxaca and Veracruz.

The movement of private citizens has also been affected, and there have been reports of delivery trucks and private vehicles being set on fire.

Other reports say that protesters have been charging pedestrians if they wish to pass through the blockade.

The Oaxaca government has sent riot police to San Juan Mazatlán, who told reporters that they are only waiting for an order to disband the protest and open the road.

But the state said today it would not use police to break up the protest.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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