By Mark R. Day
Sociologist Gaspar Rivera offers us a new slant on the life of Benito Juarez. Photojournalist David Bacon gives us a behind-the-scenes glimpse of Oaxaqueño farm workers surviving in California’s orchards and canyons. And in Fresno, Argentine journalist Eduardo Stanley profiles Margarita Cordova, construction supervisor, mother and immigration activist.
These are just a few articles found in Tequio, the new Spanish language magazine published four times a year by the Frente Indigena Oaxaqueño Binacional (F.I.O.B). Well edited with a slick, modern design, Tequio borrows its name from the Mixtec word signifying voluntary group or cooperative effort, such as the communal work of helping a neighbor build a house or harvest his crops.
“Everyone contributes to the magazine without pay,” said Odilia Romero, who oversees the editorial staff at their Los Angeles office. “Tequio was a newsletter for many years, but we decided it was time to move to the magazine format.”
Oceanside resident Jose Gonzalez believes the move was long overdue. “The Mainline news media are not really very democratic,” said Gonzalez, an F.I.O.B coordinator for San Diego County. “Our people want news about their communities on both sides of the border. Tequio is here to tell all the news, both good and bad.”
Gonzalez singled out Gaspar Rivera’s piece on Benito Juarez as an example of a long-overlooked role model for today’s immigrants. “Few people are aware that Juarez was not only from humble indigenous roots. He was also an immigrant,” said Gonzalez. In 1853, Mexico’s military dictator Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna exiled Juarez, then governor of Oaxaca to New Orleans, Louisiana. Poor, and without any means of support, he worked in a cigar factory to survive. Juarez returned to Mexico, was elected president in 1857 and re-elected for two more terms.
“Tequio will be published every three months as an instrument to promote indigenous culture and to follow the movement of indigeous people on both sides of the border,” said Rufino Dominguez, the magazine’s executive director. “We hope it will be well received and widely distributed.”
For more information, contact Tequio’s editorial offices at: 2936 West 8th St., suite 303, Los Angeles, CA 90005. Tel: (213) 251-8381. www.revisatequio.com