by Terry Oliver on January 1, 2013

From Mexico we watched the New Year arrive around the globe, city after city, capital after capital, each attempting to outdo the others in blazes of fireworks – everyone hoping for better times to come but fearing worse.

Operating on the assumption that the way to look forward is to look back, I turned to the history of this past year to try to get a feel about where we are heading in 2013. The picture is far from clear – blurred even further by being laid low with a powerful flu bug which has persisted for the past month and only slowly recovering – too weak and light headed to even consider my new year’s blog post – but better late than never….

Here, nearly ten days late is the view from San Miguel, Mexico.  Apart from a brief flurry of tourists from Mexico City around New Year’s Eve, the absence of  gringos – Americans particularly, has left Mexico generally to the Mexicans. The reasons seem to be a combination of  US economic recession and the drug violence which is frightening the tourists away.

Although there is little or no evidence of violence, drug induced or otherwise here in San Miguel, there is certainly evidence of how dependent the local economy is on tourism. Empty shops, galleries, empty cafes and restaurants and empty houses with reduced price tags mean the locals are suffering. A survey in the weekly newspaper reveals how bad everyone here thought 2012 was and how many people think 2013 will be more of the same or worse.

Looking over our shoulder further south, Venezuela appears to be in trouble with Hugo Chavez dying of cancer in a Cuban hospital while the extreme right and the corporations smell the opportunity to seize control and re-privatise the oil resources. Whether Chavez will be able to prevent the reversal of all his hard-won social reforms will depend on how strong his support remains among the working people who have benefited most from his championing of their cause.

No doubt the CIA will be working hard behind the scenes to de-stabilise any new leader of the Chavez government. Not a happy prospect for the New Year.

However you look at the year ahead, one thing seems certain – we are entering turbulent times and people are gradually becoming more aware of this period of change. At the same time, they are becoming equally aware that our governments and politicians of whatever stripe are unable or unwilling to tell the truth about what lies ahead if we proceed with business as usual.

The evidence for this is increasingly obvious as people take to the streets from India to the Middle East, to Canada to Europe and even the US. People are demanding change – real change and refuse to be fobbed off with empty speeches and no action.

The First Nations people of Canada are at the forefront of this drive for change with their campaign slogan of IDLE NO MORE. I guess that means taking to the streets for 2013.

Exciting times for young and old alike. I look forward to what lies ahead for 2013.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sheila January 29, 2013 at 1:04 am

Prospects for 2013 are pretty discouraging all right but maybe we needed things to get this bad before we could find the motivation to get out and protest. Personally I blame the press and media for many of our problems, at least the most serious ones. When will they begin to include the words “climate change” when they’re reporting catastrophes such as the hurricane Sandy in New York and/or the extreme weather conditions, fires and floods in Australia-to give but a few examples?

Actually there’s a hopeful side to this story: we’re not ALL lacking in motivation. The Idle No More movement led by the First Nations of Canada has taken a firm and effective stand for the environment and is currently challenging the Harper government in court for some of the anti-environmental laws it has passed. With the support of the rest of us-made up of many races and nationalities, our Canadian First Nations will succeed in their mission to stop the destruction. And they’re joined by groups all around the world who are working for change and insisting that we can learn to live in harmony with nature. Thinking of all these groups and the potential they have to instigate real change maybe we can rethink our prophesies for 2013 and see it as the year the world’s people began redirecting human society toward a sustainable future.

Terry Oliver January 31, 2013 at 3:42 pm

I agree with you that the First Nations IDLE NO MORE are our current best hope to get people out on the streets to demand real change and there is a role for seniors here as we are the ones who have the time and the willingness to get out and vote as well as protest. Howard Zinn has said often that it is only by a series of continuing demands that changes are slowly brought about and we must learn to be patient and not expect instant results. The difficult part is remaining optimistic…

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