Thursday, August 10, 2006

Letter to the Editor, San Francisco Chronicle (unpublished)

To the Editor:

Re "Political Unrest Slows Tourism in Mexico" (Aug. 4): I recently returned to the Bay Area from a two and a half month trip through Mexico doing reporting for KPFA, and I can assure you that what I saw has nothing to do with the images painted in the article. It states, for example, that in Oaxaca "tourists must pass through checkpoints" to enter the main square. Not once was I "checked" or my path blocked. What's more, the Oaxacan teachers' movement has gone far out of its way to include tourists in its efforts -- the plaza features kiosks where college students fluent in English offer free explanations, while others distribute posters and pamphlets in English, French, German, and Italian. The coverage of the Mexico City protests is equally flimsy. It seems the author did not venture very far outside of his hotel, let alone speak with protesters, but rather relied solely on interviews with tourist industry officials. Finally, the arbitrary links to drug trafficking in Acapulco -- which has absolutely nothing to do with the "political unrest" of the headline -- strike me as notably out of place.

Daniel Nemser

The author is a graduate student in Latin American literature and history at the University of California, Berkeley.