It could be said that time has stopped in some rural areas of the state of Oaxaca, but it certainly didn’t change last Sunday morning when most of the rest of the country advanced their clocks by one hour.
In San Pedro Quiatoni, for example, the church clock marks the hours, but the indigenous villagers prefer more traditional methods of keeping time and dictating their daily routines, such as observing the movement of the sun.
“The ‘King of the Sky’ comes out from the east and sets in the west, and when the roosters crow it is time for work,” says Gregorio Santos, a farmer in the village located in the Sierra of Yautepec, in the Tlacolula district.
“I have no clock, that’s only for rich people.”
Primary school teacher Ramón López says in rural areas nobody “can force the towns to observe government time, for the clock of the locals is biological.”
Members of Section 22 of the radical teachers’ union CNTE say their opposition to the time change has its origins in their historic struggle against the state, one that has carried on into strong opposition to education reform.
“The stance of the people isn’t a rebellion,” says López, “but rather the recognition of their own rights which have nothing to do with the governance of those above them. They are asserting the will of the people.”
The will extends to some 13,000 schools, where more than a million students attend class, that refuse to conform to the government-mandated Daylight Savings Time, or DST.
As part of an agreement reached by Section 22, over 1.3 million students returning to classes on April 13 will not be complying with DST, along with 81,000 teachers in 13,000 educational facilities, as well as 70% of the entire indigenous population of Oaxaca.
Instead, they will go by the clock of their ancestors.
For government spokesman Carlos Santiago, the actions taken by a significant number of municipalities against DST reflect the full autonomy awarded indigenous peoples of Oaxaca to live by their own rules.
He said municipalities and local businesses are searching for solutions to avoid problems arising from the two different manners of observing time.
Mexico first adopted DST in 1996 due to increasing economic ties with the United States. Until then, Baja California was the only state to observe it. The U.S. changed its schedule for DST in 2007, but only Mexican municipalities less than 20 kilometers from the U.S. border made the same changes.
Source: Milenio (sp)