Theft, of the cultural kind
“Free trade” has always meant the rich are free to exploit the rest of us.
High in the mountains of the Sierra Norte, the village of Santa María Tlahuitoltepec sits perched on a ridge top in Oaxaca’s Mixe region. The terrain is rugged and unforgiving; it took rescue crews ten hours, much of it on foot, to reach the municipality following a lethal mudslide at the end of an extremely wet 2012 rainy season. Eight months later, in May of 2013, when blogger buddy Chris and I ventured up there for their Fiesta de Mayo, we still had to detour around the remains of the slide.
Despite the harsh conditions and its remote location, Santa María Tlahuitoltepec is home to the Center for Musical Training and Development of Mixe Culture and it is estimated that 70% of the population can read music and many who can’t, play by ear — a source of great pride.
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