Mexican federal police push back protesters as they enter the city of Oaxaca, Mexico on Sunday Oct. 29, 2006. Federal police with assault rifles and riot-shields advanced into Oaxaca, pushing past barricades of burning tires and tree trunks in this normally picturesque tourist destination wracked by five months of protests and violence that began with a teachers protest demanding salary increases and later asking for the governor's resignation. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)
Please consider removing the pictures of the Oaxaca City events from Huatulco Comments. The pictures are gruesome – the kind of thing you expect to find in an Al Qaeda video. They will also have a chilling effect on any kind of tourism to the area. We have fought hard enough to promote Huatulco for years, and this is the kind of thing that destroys our efforts overnight.
Reply: My web site does have the effect of promoting tourism but it happens as a by-product of the original intent, which is only to inform tourists. So the news is whatever the news is, be it good or bad. I don't deliberately paint a different picture. This has the effect of bringing people to the site because they understand that I am painting a realistic picture and not giving them the biased glossy brochure that the tourist industry would prefer. I serve no special interests and I don't distribute tourist propaganda.
I do feel that it is inappropriate to lead off with the most gruesome photo. I have simply mirrored the photos from another site and that is the order they had them in. I will reshuffle so that the gunshot victim is not the first thing seen. It is not my intention to emphasize that aspect but it is definitely my intention to inform of this reality.
Tourism in the state of Oaxaca went down the tubes with the first mention of the serious protesting and was in evidence before the photos were made available. Concealing these photos would not have stopped that, and the idea that we might have somehow covered up this whole affair in the name of tourism and failed to warn anyone of what was afoot is an idea that I find chilling. I already had reports from several people including my travel agency advertiser that vacations to Huatulco had practically stopped. This was before the photos were made available. I have heard it referred to as "the CNN effect", where bad news from one small locale, be it hurricane, tidal wave, or political strife, spoils tourism for great distances from the actual affected area. I try to make it plain what area is affected and what areas are not, but this may not change the prevailing mindset.
A previous event in 1996, the EPR Attack on Huatulco, had a very similar result. Tourists stopped coming to Huatulco. I did report the event and the report still remains at http://www.tomzap.com/epr1.html. The short term effect was devastating for tourism; the long term effect was a boom in tourism because it put Huatulco on the map. Today's disturbing news is tomorrow's colorful history. I expect the protests in Oaxaca will have a similar effect, but you will have to wait until next year to see positive results, assuming the tension subsides before then.
I cannot believe that you would post this crap on the website. Do you honestly think that people come to this website to see pictures of a man dying from a gunshot wound?
Is this TomZap or National Enquirer?
If you have any class you should remove these pictures and any links to them.
eoj, of course you are speaking for yourself. I haven't clicked on the photos yet because I have probably already seen them. I see these kinds of photos all the time on TV and Mexican newspapers. It's the way it is in Mexico.
Yes, some of the pictures are ugly but on the other hand they may get the reality of the story across better than a couple of paragraphs in the newspaper, which is all most foreigners see. If you don't want to see them, don't look at them.
There are 12 pages of photos there that show the City of Oaxaca during the time that federal troops were there. Most of the photos do not depict violence, but violence was a part of the activity and therefore those photos are not excluded.
The world isn't all Mary Poppins, lollipops, and sunshine, eoj. Lots of people have been asking about what's been happening in Oaxaca City. Maybe instead of chastising Tom, you might want to spend a few minutes typing up an explanation of what the pictures are about and why or why not tourists to the coast should be concerned.
Thank you, FlyMeAway. I thought the world WAS all Mary Poppins, lollipops and sunshine. I appreciate the correction.
I don't see why I should need spend any time "typing up an explanation of what the pictures are about". For one thing, they are Tom's pictures, not mine. For another, there is already an e-mail string in the visitor comments section with 52 messages on it related to this topic.
This is Tom's site. He is certainly entitled to put whatever he wants on it. I am not worried about the impact of these pictures on well-informed people who know what Mexico is all about. However, there is a large segment of less informed people who can't be bothered to go to bbc, cnn or the dozens of other websites to get some actual info. Maybe they are thinking about a visit to Mexico's Pacific Coast. So they go to tomzap and they see these pictures.
Two things will happen. First, a stereotype of Mexico as a lawless place is either formed or reinforced. Second, an automatic connection is formed between the capital of Oaxaca and its coastal communities. (Do you think these people know it's an 8-hour drive to Huatulco from there)? Any willingness to go out on a limb and try a vacation in a new place like Huatulco just went out the window.
As somebody who grew up in Mexico, I am offended by the former. As a booster of Huatulco for foreign visitors, I am troubled by the latter.
By the way, Tom, I appreciate the calm tone of your response. I wish that was the case for FlyMeAway, but that is consistent with his (or her) previous posts.
eoj, you make your point well but jeez sometimes you just have to say "And that is the way it is". And if some people are scared then it is too bad. I realize the people who have business in Huatulco always want more pesos and there is nothing wrong with that but you can't be all things to everybody. The photos are not put up to scare people away as you know, so if some blue hair can't cope, to bad. I know it's harsh but that blue hair is probably the one who complains about every little thing anyway (blue hairs are not the only ones who complain about everything and wont be the only ones scared away either, I'm sure). How fun is it when the cruise ships come in? I know people have asked for schedules and some people want to know when to avoid them etc etc........ Oh crap. Maybe Tom should take down the damn photos and just put up some Mary Poppins stuff. Haha Who knows what the correct thing to do is? It's a tough world, I do know that.
By the way I have seen the photos and I'm glad they are there. Just my opinion.
> I wish that was the case for FlyMeAway
Gee, I thought I was pretty calm, but if you prefer, I could go overboard like you.
Thanks for your perspective, PB.
By the way, for the record, I don't think I have ever thought of Mary Poppins. She was before my time. But in this depressing world, maybe there is something to be said for losing oneself in vapid entertainment...
great photos,,,, possibly people can get great discounts on hotel stays at this time and maybe more discounts at the local gun shops ......do you have anymore photos? possibly the one where the policeman was tied to a pole naked and beaten.........
Uh, yes the policeman photo is there.
While I don't endorse the irreverant tone of Frank's post, he is probably correct about the hotel discounts. The news of this event has hit Huatulco tourism hard despite the fact that the popular resort is far-removed from the actual trouble spot. I am sure the hotels and everyone else involved in tourist services would be very grateful for some business right now and would be happy to show it.