For years corrupt union leaders have been fighting to keep Labor unions under their illegal control.
MEXICO CITY — The long-simmering dispute between Mexico’s federal government and a radical arm of the country’s teachers union erupted into violence over the weekend, as riot police clashed with protesters in the southern state of Oaxaca, leaving at least six dead and more than 100 others wounded.
Teachers canceled classes in Oaxaca on Monday after the violence, where protesters threw rocks and molotov cocktails and set vehicles ablaze. Witnesses reported that police fired into the crowds.
The violence marked the bloodiest moment in a conflict that has intensified during the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto. As part of Peña Nieto’s reform agenda, authorities overhauled the public education system, requiring mandatory testing for all teachers.
The National Coordinator of Education Workers, the dissident faction of the national teachers union, has fought those changes from the beginning by holding protests. Its members, particularly those from the most aggressive branch in Oaxaca, called Section 22, have blocked roads, burned buildings, seized oil-distribution facilities and tried to boycott last year’s midterm elections.
Today I get this by email:
We at Witness for Peace are profoundly concerned by the Mexican police’s response to recent protests concerning the demands of teachers in Oaxaca. This past weekend, police killed eight protesters, injured at least 45, and detained dozens of others.
Various Oaxacan civil society organizations had been calling for dialogue for weeks, fearing that something like this would happen. Nevertheless, the government refused to sit down at the table to listen to the teachers’ demands. Therefore, the teachers and their supporters continued to protest, exercising their right to free speech and use of public space. As of yesterday, 81 local organizations are demanding from their government: immediate dialogue in place of violent repression, an end to the criminalization of social protest, immediate medical attention for the injured, and the release of all political prisoners. These are demands that Witness for Peace supports.
This sort of state violence isn’t new in Mexico. And since the US-taxpayer funded Mérida Initiative went into effect in 2008, the Mexican government’s human rights record has not improved. In fact, by many measures it has gotten worse. This has happened despite the State Department’s characterization of the initiative as “an unprecedented partnership between the United States and Mexico to fight organized crime and associated violence while furthering respect for human rights and the rule of law.” To date, Congress has allocated over $2.4 billion for the Initiative, which has included training police and providing specialized aircraft to Mexican security forces. In practice, though, these aspects of the Initiative are used to quell social protest instead of to “fight organized crime.” This is what we saw this past weekend.
Gustavo Esteva (born August 20, 1936 in Mexico City) is a Mexican activist, “deprofessionalized intellectual” and founder of the Universidad de la Tierra in the Mexican city ofOaxaca. He is one of the best known advocates of Post-Development.
Esteva theorized that the format for traditional schools does not have practical use in the real world, and that it only gives “passport” into society