Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Radical teachers' syndicate returns to Mexico City streets

School strike in Oaxaca, Chiapas enters sixth week, as far left union continues disrupting the capital

*Updated Oct. 2*
Guadalajara -
Mexico's powerful Coordinadora Nacional de los Trabajadores de la Educación (CNTE), an educators' union which includes within its ranks a curious mix of legitimate school teachers and rabble rousing street thugs who have shown no fear of engaging in acts of violent civil disobedience, returned to the streets of the capital again this morning in an effort to close the nation's busiest international airport.

News sources reported at least a dozen Federal Police officers were injured in street skirmishes with CNTE activists. One remained hospitalized in a coma at day's end, after being severely beaten by union members who stole his service revolver and other equipment. Morning TV broadcasts showed CNTE marchers hurling rocks and other objects at police lines, which formed a perimeter around the approaches to the Mexico City International Airport (AICM). Demonstrators never reached it.

CNTE members, who hail mainly from the states of Oaxaca and Chiapas, have been on strike since Aug. 19. In fact, schools in the former never opened at all. Over a million children remain idled in the southwestern states, a region of indigenous peoples which is one of Mexico's most impoverished.

Union members are opposed to education reforms which were approved overwhelmingly by the nation's federal congress a month ago. The most significant of the new laws requires teachers to be evaluated for competency, and will prevent the buying, selling and bequeathing of teaching jobs by one union member to another. The legislation was largely advanced by the center left Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) of president Enrique Peña Nieto, who begins his 11th month in office today. But the reforms enjoyed wide support from legislators in the center right National Action Party (PAN), and even many within the left wing Democratic Revolution Party (PRD).

The education reforms have been the law of the land for almost a month

Mexico's ultra left is opposed to the reforms, however, and is not deterred by the fact that they are already in force. The principal voice of that political sector is two time presidential candidate and leftist icon Andrés Manuel López Obrador, leader of the newly formed National Regneration Movement (MORENA). Lending support are student activists of YoSoy 132, a movement which was born during the 2012 presidential campaign and whose members are united primarily by opposition to president Peña Nieto and all things PRI. Mexico's most prominent woman author has also cheered on CNTE. Elena Poniatowska, entirely out to lunch in New York.

CNTE occupied the heart of Mexico City from Aug. 19 until Sept. 13, when its members were finally evicted by federal security forces. The union forced the senate and the house of deputies to relocate legislative operations to private office facilities during part of that time, and left considerable physical damage - together with more than 80 tons of trash - in the capital's largest plaza. Mexico City labor violence, through the lens. Economic damages occasioned to local businesses have been estimated at $20 to $60 million dollars, leaving some small proprietors virtually insolvent. Secret Service locks down Mexico City's Zócalo.

For those reasons and more Federal Police and military units were out in force early this morning, and stopped CNTE marchers blocks from AICM. Protesters abandoned the area after four hours, and headed to a government office to again convey their objections to already passed reforms which have absolutely no chance of being rescinded. But secretary of government and key Peña Nieto cabinet member Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong agreed to meet with them on Wednesday (Oct. 2).

CNTE and MORENA have called for further demonstrations tomorrow, as well as a nationwide labor strike - one of several the radical leftist groups have unsuccessfully tried to stage in the past month. National labor strike fizzles in Guadalajara and elsewhere, as federal education reforms take effect across the nation.

SNTE demands firing of CNTE teachers
In a related development today the president of another educators' union, the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (SNTE), called for all CNTE strikers to be fired immediately in accord with the just enacted reforms. The new laws provide that any school teacher who fails to show up in the classroom for three consecutive days will be automatically terminated. In Oaxaca state alone 74,000 CNTE teachers have not worked a single day since the new school year opened on Aug. 19, but none have been dismissed. SNTE staged its own work stoppage in Yucatán in early September, but members very responsibly returned to the classroom a week later after reaching an agreement with the PRI state government. "There are thousands of teachers looking for work who would love to fill those spots so children can return to classrooms," SNTE's president noted in a public appeal.

CNTE is a splinter group that broke off from SNTE in 1979. Since then union leaders have taken the membership down an increasingly radical political course, often far removed from educational issues.

Oct. 2 - MORENA did not march today in the Jaliscan capital. It's recruitment tent is still present in downtown Guadalajara, but the local party worker in attendance offered little information on upcoming events. Meanwhile, in what was supposed to be a coordinated labor protest, striking school teachers from CNTE forced the closing of about 200 of Jalisco's 11,243 primary and secondary schools. That's less than 2%, and it matches the fizzler on Sept. 11.

Oct. 2 Mexico City - A 29 year old CNTE union member, a teacher from Chiapas, has been charged with the attempted murder of the police officer who today remains in critical condition in the capital. Other arrests of violent CNTE demonstrators may follow. The official response of the CNTE leadership is that agents provocateur - policemen posing as fellow union members - invaded their ranks and then attacked and almost killed the Mexico City officer who was left in a coma.

Oct. 3 - The Chiapas teacher arrested earlier in the week was released late today, for lack of evidence according to news sources.

Oct. 4 - PRI, PAN and PRD call for tough new laws on street violence
Oct. 3 - Anarchists in Mexico City, October 2, 2013
Oct. 2 - Mexico City police attacked by self-proclaimed anarchists; Guadalajara students march under the Red Banner

MGR reports on education reform and teacher strikes
Aug. 19 - Continued teacher strikes idle almost a million students in Oaxaca
Aug. 25 - PRI government shows no resolve against thug teachers
Aug. 29 - Teachers' union calls for nationwide strike
Aug. 30 - Oaxaca education at the mercy of omnipotent syndicate
Aug. 31 - Oaxaca freezes pay of striking teachers
Sept. 2 - Mexico's House of Deputies passes education reforms
Sept. 3 - Mexico's Senate passes education reform bill, as labor unions threaten civil disobedience
Sept. 4 - Teachers' union ups the ante, calling indefinite strike in Chiapas
Sept. 6 - School closings spread to Yucatán, but Peña Nieto says "there's no turning back"
Sept. 12 - Yucatán teachers fold, agree to return to the schoolhouse
Sept. 19 - Mexico's Left determined to shackle the nation to the past
Sept. 21 - Andrés Manuel's vision for Mexico
Sept. 25 - "Peña Nieto completely under the control of Obama," says MORENA official

Apr. 24 - Guerrero on verge of civil meltdown, as teachers riot

Spanish language reports
Sept. 29 - The "mafia CNTE"
Sept. 23 - The endless lies of AMLO
Sept. 22 - La CNTE: entre la revolución y los privilegios
Sept. 12 - Mexico City police attacked by CNTE thugs: Hay que decirlo sin cobardía: los policías son las víctimas

© 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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