Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Teachers' union ups the ante, calling indefinite strike in Chiapas; Oaxaca governor holds tough and refuses to pay dissidents; major protests scheduled for Mexico City

Educators' syndicate refuses to yield to overwhelming votes in both houses of Mexico's congress

Images by MGR's photo affiliate in Mexico City, José Luna

*Updated Nov. 25*
Guadalajara -
Despite lopsided votes in favor of sweeping educational reforms this week in Mexico's senate and house of deputies, the powerful Coordinadora Nacional de los Trabajadores de la Educación (CNTE) called a strike today in Chiapas, a state bordering Oaxaca where the CNTE work stoppage began three weeks ago, shutting down 13,000 schools. Teacher strikes idle a million students in Oaxaca.

Union locals in Chiapas said that schools in 70% of the state's counties were being closed immediately, less than 15 days into the new academic year. Classrooms will remain dark "indefinitely," they told parents and the press.

The CNTE national leadership and its Oaxaca and Chiapas members have demanded that president Enrique Peña Nieto veto the just passed reform package, which establishes uniform minimum teaching qualifications applicable across Mexico and sets up a federal agency to administer competency and preparedness examinations based on national, rather than local or union determined standards. Oaxaca education at the mercy of omnipotent syndicate.

Peña Nieto is in St. Petersuburg, Russia tonight for the start of the G-20 Economic Summit on Thursday, and his team had no immediate comment on the strike expansion. But the educational reforms were largely at his initiative and that of the Institutional Revolutionary Party he leads. In his state of the nation address Monday, the president said nothing would deter their implementation by the PRI administration.

Peña Nieto's secretary of education, Emilio Chauyffet, added: "We respect everybody's right to protest and to demonstrate, but we also respect the right of children to have classes. Rights and obligations go together. The government has the duty to provide education for children. We're not trying to remove teachers from their jobs with these new evaluations; we're trying to ensure they receive the necessary training, so they can do a better job."

Oaxaca governor Gabino Cué Monteagudo, who last week froze the first two weeks pay of 74,000 striking CNTE teachers in his state, held firm today and said under no circumstances will he lift his order while they remain away from their classrooms, and until they have made up all of the missed school days. Thousands are in Mexico City, marching and preparing for much larger demonstrations on Sunday. Many have called for acts of civil disobedience, and a "national labor insurgency."

They will be joined by twice presidential candidate and leftist icon Manuel López Obrador, leader of the newly formed National Regneration Movement (MORENA). López Obrador, a vigorous supporter of CNTE, has called his own rally for Sept. 8 to protest the PRI government's efforts to modify Mexico's constitution so that the country's state owned oil monopoly, Pemex, can be opened up to private and foreign investment. Manuel López Obrador: Peña Nieto has been a "disaster."

Lending support to both movements are student activists of YoSoy 132. Their predictable loyalty to the far Left - especially to López Obrador - is exceeded only by their tireless opposition to Enrique Peña Nieto and all things PRI.

Fellow travelers in Mérida show off their excellent command of English, July 2012. Photo by MGR.

Disgruntled school teachers, leftover 2012 campaign protesters making a cameo appearance, a perennial presidential candidate who is opposed to just about everything and everyone - politics makes strange bedfellows, in Mexico and everywhere else.

Sept. 5 - At midday, thousands of CNTE strikers are once again trying to disrupt operations at the Mexico City International Airport, just as they did two weeks ago. In Oaxaca de Juárez, students and their parents marched today demanding that teachers return to their classrooms immediately. They've already missed the first three weeks of school.

Sept. 11 - National labor strike fizzles in Guadalajara and elsewhere
Oct. 15: Oaxaca's governor caves to school teachers, pays them millions for 40 days not yet worked

Nov. 12 - Classrooms are still dark in over 16,000 Chiapas schools, more than 70 days after teachers called a strike. Over two million children have missed most of the 2013-14 school year which began in late August.

Nov. 25 - Teachers returned to their classrooms today in Chiapas, almost three months after striking. Now a plan will have to be devised for making up all those lost days by the end of the 2013-14 school term. About 1.3 million children have missed a third of the academic year.

Oct. 14 - Pagan quincenas atrasadas a maestros de Oaxaca
Oct. 12 - Libera Gabino Cué bono a maestros de la sección 22
Oct. 11 - Pagan quincenas atrasadas a maestros de Oaxaca
Sept. 6 - School closings spread to Yucatán, but Peña Nieto says "there's no turning back"
Aug. 25 - PRI government shows no resolve against thug teachers

© MGRR 2013. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.

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