Sunday, August 17, 2014

Oaxaca state tenses as Mexico's school year begins

Oaxaca de Juárez, Oaxaca -
Mexican schools open tomorrow, amid continued violence and threats of same in the southwestern state of Oaxaca, a seedbed of unending teacher violence and civil disorder.

Hundreds of members of Local 22 of the Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de Educación (CNTE) have seized 20 city blocks of Oaxaca's historic capital, their political stronghold, according to local press accounts. Merchants in the area, including inn-keepers, convenience stores, fuel retailers and others, report that the huge crowds coupled with random acts of vandalism have forced them to close their own establishments. Some service stations reported that their facilities were attacked by CNTE demonstrators on Friday, Business owners are demanding compensation from the state.

The ultra-radical teachers' union similarly occupied the heart of Mexico City in 2013, causing local merchants millions of dollars in lost revenues. Radical teachers' syndicate returns to Mexico City streets.

The teachers' syndicate is demanding that the Oaxaca state legislature override federal statutes and constitutional amendments passed almost a year ago, in September 2013, which outlaw the buying and selling of teacher posts and require all educators to submit to competency and preparedness exams beginning in 2015. Powerful teachers' union continues to resist mandatory education reforms.

CNTE union members contend the new rules violate their labor rights, and are insisting the Oaxaca state legislature award special benefits and privileges to the syndicate rank and file which are not part of the 2013 education reform package. Late today the Local 22 leadership said teachers would show up for classes tomorrow, after rejecting a last minute bill adopted by the legislature which endeavored to yield to some of their demands without violating the new federal laws. But they have threatened to call another walkout if their ultimatums are not met in the week ahead.

Beleaguered Governor Gabino Cué, for whom CNTE members are a perennial headache, is trying to reach an accommodation with Local 22 bosses which will allow their union to peaceably protest while protecting the rights of aggrieved local merchants. But he has previously proved to be the syndicate's lackey, because of its huge political clout in the state. Oaxaca's governor caves to school teachers, pays them $92 million dollars for 40 days not yet worked.

Oaxaca is one of the most impoverished and poorly educated of Mexico's 32 states, with a large indigenous population.

Aug. 19, 2013 - Continued teacher strikes idle almost a million students in Oaxaca
Aug. 25, 2013 - PRI government shows no resolve against thug teachers
Sept. 17, 2013 - Secret Service locks down Mexico City's Zócalo
May 15, 2014 - On Mexican National Teachers' Day, the sweet racket carved out by their powerful unions is exposed

Sept. 11, 2014 - CNTE is "a movement which has nothing to do with education"

Peña Nieto and Secretary of Education Emilio Chuayffet were put to the test in 2013 by the relentless opposition of CNTE to reforms designed to modernize the nation's woefully lagging education system.

© MGR 2014. 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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