Image via Democracy Now
The Council of Canadians is appalled by the deadly police crackdown that has taken place in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca over the past few days, leaving at least 12 dead, 20 disappeared, and dozens injured.
Police opened fire on Sunday on 500 teachers and their supporters while attempting to evict a road blockade in the impoverished town of Nochixtlán. Other roadblocks are also being met with state violence and repression.
The teachers have been protesting since 2013, when Mexican president Peña Nieto presented education reform as the main of a set of 11 radical neoliberal reforms in key areas such as finance, health and the energy sector. The teachers from the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) are opposing both the sweeping education reforms and the arrests of two teachers’ union leaders last week on what protesters say are trumped-up charges. The education reforms have been criticized as an excuse to conduct massive layoffs, and for not responding to the need of Mexicans, especially those in marginalized rural and Indigenous areas. The CNTE resumed protests last month and called for a national strike due to the government’s refusal to discuss the reforms.
Poster translation: “Teacher, thank you for teaching me to read, write, add, but most of all to struggle. Oaxaca lives and resists.”
Other unions and organizations across Mexico have joined the teachers’ mobilization in solidarity. Yesterday, Secretary of Labor Daniel Gutierrez joined Adelfo Regino Montes, the Oaxacan Minister of Indigenous Affairs, becoming the second top official to resign. Gutierrez stated he was quitting in protest against the “authoritarian actions that repress and kill Oaxacan people who defend their rights and the government’s negligence to any possibility of dialogue.”
The Council of Canadians condemns these acts of violence and state repression, and expresses our deep condolences to all of the victims and their families.