Article from Mexican Labor News & Analysis
Published by UE International.
Date published: April 2016
Web version: http://www.ueinternational.org/Mexico_info/mlna_articles.php?id=244#1822
Mexican teachers in several states, led by the National Coordinating Committee (la CNTE) of the teachers union (el SNTE) continued their protests against the government’s education reform throughout the month of April with mass marches and blockage of interstate highways. Teachers also engaged in hunger strikes and spilled their own blood in protest.
The government responded by arresting some teachers, docking the pay of those who missed work, terminating teachers who refused to take an evaluation examination, and indicting the leader of one local union. At least 20 teachers had been arrested and jailed and 3,500 fired by mid-April for refusing to take the exam required by the education reform law, according to Francisco Bravo, a former head of a teachers union local in Mexico City.
La CNTE is calling for a national teachers strike on May 15 and a national march in Mexico City.
Protests in Chiapas and Oaxaca
The protests were centered in this historic bastion of the dissident teachers’ movement: Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero, and MichoacanThere were also protests in other states. In states where la CNTE is the elected leadership of the local unions or la CNTE or allied organizations are very strong, teacher protests were large and militant. In Chiapas the media reported a mass march of 100,000 teachers and their supporters which included the blocking of highways, setting some vehicles on fire, and confrontations with riot police.
The government arrested 18 Chiapas teachers on charges of terrorism, blocking highways, and destruction of property. They were transported to prison in Nayarit and subsequent protests led to the release of the teachers. The body of one teacher activist, David Núñez Juárez was found in his home; he appeared to have suffered a cranial hemorrhage, but the cause of death was not known, and an investigation is under way.
In Oaxaca, where highways were also blocked, some teachers engaged in a hunger strike to protest that fact that 1,500 teachers had had their pay docked for leaving their classrooms to join the demonstrations. -
CNTE Political Alliance with AMLO
In Oaxaca where La CNTE heads SNTE Local 22, the leadership voted to support a boycott of the parties that signed the Pact for Mexico, the parliamentary coalition created by President Enrique Peña Nieto including his Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the conservative National Action Party (PAN), and the left-of-center Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD).
La CNTE’s national leadership entered into a pact with Andrés Manuel López Obrador, leader and likely presidential candidate of the Movement for National Regeneration Party (MORENA), who promises to overturn the Education Reform Law passed by the current government.
[See the Imanol Ordorika’s article on the Education Reform below.]