Against Whitening by Dispossession:

A History and the Present of Tenants Rebellion in Mexico

Pablo Gaytan Santiago aka Hombre de Humo in conversation with Ana Vilenica and Pedro Montes de Oca Quiroz

Published in Issue 5.1 // Conversation Series

Keywords: Tenants Strike, Sex Workers, Mexico, Whitening by Dispossesion, Indigenous struggles,


In this conversation we delved into discussions with Pablo Gaytan Santiago, aka Hombre de Humo, urban sociologist, activist, and filmmaker about the historic tenants’ strike organized by sex workers a century ago in Veracruz. We also explored the struggles for the right to housing and ongoing process of whitening and whitewashing in Mexico City. Our conversation encompassed Pablo’s engagement with local communities as a documentary filmmaker and their use of film as a tool in indigenous peoples struggles and urban movements.

Pablo Gaytan Santiago is a professor-researcher in the Department of Social Relations and the Communication and Politics Area at Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Xochimilco (UAM-X). He holds a PhD in Sociology from UAM-X. He has directed and produced 79 films, encompassing documentaries, fiction, experimental works, video installations, and music videos. Currently, he is engaged in the Metropolitan Culture + 40 project (, which serves as a virtual platform dedicated to urban cultures in the Mexico City megalopolis. Since 2008, he has been a contributor to Metapolitical magazine.

Pedro Montes de Oca Quiroz is a postgraduate student at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in the Latin-American Literature Program and works at the National Audio Library of Mexico. He teaches Spanish as a second language.

Ana Vilenica is a feminist, no-border, and urban activist and organizer from Serbia, currently residing in Italy. She is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow with the ERC project ‘Inhabiting Radical Housing’ at the Polytechnic of Turin’s Inter-university Department of Regional & Urban Studies and Planning (DIST) and a core member of Beyond Inhabitation Lab. Ana is a member of the Radical Housing Journal Editorial collective and the Feminist Autonomous Centre for research (FAC research).

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