Palacio de Gobierno
Give the guards at the front door of the former statehouse–now museum (south side of the zócalo, no phone, 9:30 a.m.–5 p.m. daily except Mon.) a cheery “buenos días” or “buenas tardes” and step inside. City fathers first built a city hall on the same site in 1576. Repeated earthquakes led to reconstructions, until 1948, when the present building, a modernized and strengthened version of the previous 1884 structure, was finished.
Straight ahead, across the central patio and up the stairs, you’ll find the main mural, by Arturo Bustos, completed during the 1980s. It depicts the struggles of Oaxaca’s independence, reform, and revolutionary heroes. On the upper right, in his trademark bandanna, is insurgente José María Morelos y Pavón, who published the famous El Correo del Sur newspaper in Oaxaca during Mexico’s War of Independence.
In the center is Oaxaca’s favorite son and Mexico’s revered presidente, Benito Juárez, and his wife, Margarita Maza. Below them is Juárez’s reformista cabinet (notice the young, restive General Porfirio Díaz third to the right of Juárez, with the sword on the right), which struggled through two bloody wars, finally emerging, with Juárez, triumphant in 1867.
On the mural’s far left, you see Oaxaca’s 1910 revolutionary hero in turn-of-the-20th-century Marxian-style spectacles, Ricardo Flores Magón. Also take a look at Bustos’s other mural, above the right (east) side staircase, upstairs, before you exit. It dramatically depicts Mexico’s pre-Hispanic and conquest eras.
© Bruce Whipperman from Moon Oaxaca, 5th edition