May is the traditional month of protests. Sometimes they last weeks or months. The flu must have put a serious hurt on all of that activity. I wonder if this illness will end up being a calming influence in some way. No matter what, protests, swine flu, all hurt the economy and Oaxaca needs a break in that respect.
And the name change? Well, I am sure it was a coincidence that La Gloria, the village where it all started..... from The Independent
Downwind of Xaltepec – where 15,000 squealing hogs are squeezed into 18 warehouses – residents of La Gloria blame Smithfield, Luter's firm, for an outbreak of respiratory problems that swept the town last month, killing two children. Now with Mexican authorities identifying a four-year-old from the town, Edgar Hernandes, as one of the first-known cases of swine flu, furious residents believe that they are ground zero of a pandemic threatening the world. The very suggestion has sent a shudder through the ranks of campaigners who have long argued that the sort of industrialised pig farming that has turned Smithfield into one of the most powerful corporations in the US, with a market value of $1.4bn, was a disaster waiting to happen.
For Smithfield, the world's largest pork supplier, which processes more than one in three pigs killed in the US and jointly owns the Xaltepec plant and seven others in the region, the spiralling concern in Mexico threatens to become a worldwide marketing disaster – even before anyone is able to test the hunch of the people of La Gloria.
But on the other side, from Reuters
The pork business is in deep muck these days as it fights the fallacy that its meat might contain swine flu. But the industry is also facing a second allegation that has spread as far as the virus: that the new strain started on a factory hog farm in Mexico half-owned by Smithfield Foods (SFD), the world's biggest pork producer.
Bloggers and opinion journalists around the globe are advancing this idea as if it were true or, at least, likely. But nobody knows where the strain came from. Smithfield's farm in Mexico might be the point of origin. Yet it's also possible it all began in Asia, in southern Mexico, in the United States, or just about anywhere else. The media claims are based on mere speculation—and an understandable disgust at corporate pig sties.
Consider the facts. In February and March, a bunch of people got sick in the town of La Gloria, Mexico. La Gloria is where a child was found to be among the first victims of the H1N1 virus—a novel mix of pig, bird, and human influenzas. And the town is near the site of a large hog operation run by Granjas Carroll, an operation that is half-owned by Smithfield. Nobody knows what sickened the other people in the area.