As the strike against educational reform by teachers belonging to the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) in Mexico enters its fourth month, the conflict between the people and the neoliberal narcostate seems poised to take another turn, a potentially violent one. The government is running out of tricks, leaving the likelihood it will return to its old standby, state violence, all the more likely.
When the strike first began on May 15, the government’s tactic was to ignore the teachers, refusing to talk to them. As that failed and support for the teachers grew, it tried brute force, leading to the Nochixtlán massacre on June 19, a day when twelve were killed. That repression caused national outrage and succeeded in turning a teachers’ movement into a popular one. The government then offered up negotiations as a fig leaf, yet meeting after meeting made clear that the state had no actual interest in negotiating anything. The school year started in Mexico on Monday, August 22, but teachers remain on strike and schools have not opened in Oaxaca, Chiapas, Guerrero, Michoacán and parts of Mexico City.
Frustrated in their attempts to crush or wear down the teachers, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced on upon the start of classes that, “There will be no more dialogue; education first.” A day later on August 23, Public Education Minister Aurelio Nuño stated, “With complete clarity we say, there is no possibility of returning to any negotiations until all children are where they should be, in a classroom. And precisely because the future of Mexico is non-negotiable, the Educational Reform will continue.” The Defence Minister got into the act, claiming the armed forces support the reform and that soldiers want “to serve as an example for others.” Not coincidentally, that same day three airplanes full of federal police arrived in Oaxaca to join the thousands of state forces already stationed there, an indication that Peña Nieto may make good on his statement that “the government has no qualms about applying the use of force” as a means to resolve the teachers’ strike. At least 1,500 more federal police were in Oaxaca by Wednesday, August 24 and helicopter flyovers of the city had resumed for the first time since the Nochixtlán massacre.
In recent weeks, mass mobilizations and movement organizing efforts have continued. August 8, Emiliano Zapata’s birthday, saw upwards of 100,000 teachers and farmers march together in Mexico City. A day later, farmers, teachers and civil society groups took over a toll plaza on the Nayarit-Sinaloa highway, allowing cars to pass for free and asking that instead of paying the toll drivers donate to the struggle. Teachers, civil society groups and prominent academics gathered in Mexico City on August 10 for a twelve-hour national forum to discuss what a democratic and holistic education project would look like. A second forum will happen in September. During this time, for five days in a row teachers in Chiapas blockaded and shut down businesses belonging to transnational corporations and companies who are part of the neoliberal business association Mexicanos Primeros. Another business group, COPARMEX, recently lamented that the teachers’ strike has caused more economic damage than the armed Zapatista uprising in 1994. On August 12, Secretary General Rubén Núñez and Organization Secretary Francisco Villalobos of CNTE Section 22 in Oaxaca were released from prison. And the Guatemalan teachers’ union also expressed their support, shutting down an international crossing with Mexico for the second time on August 13.
Following the last round of fruitless talks with the government on August 16, the CNTE agreed on August 18 to not return to classes. They were backed up in Chiapas by parents assemblies that vowed to shut down any school that attempted to open on August 22. Instead, the school year was kicked off in the rebellious south with tens of thousands marching in Chiapas and Oaxaca and the installation of 25 highway blockades for 48 hours in Oaxaca alone.
Peña Nieto is likely seeking to impose a solution to the strike before long. September 15 is Mexico’s Independence Day and an increase in state repression often occurs right beforehand to ensure the reign of social peace for an undisturbed celebration of nationalism. Just down the road, the PRI will be retaking power in Oaxaca under the governorship of Alejandro Murat on December 1, and positioning is already underway for the 2018 presidential elections, with none other than Public Education Minister Aurelio Nuño pushing to be the PRI candidate.
One last note about the teachers. Section 22 in Oaxaca previously set up a fund for the survivors and families of the victims of the Nochixtlán massacre. The Mexican government, in collaboration with Santander Bank, quickly shut it down, confiscating the 17,000 pesos it contained. There is again a way to donate to the Nochixtlán fund. For obvious reasons, it is not public. If you or your crew would like to donate/organize a benefit, get in touch at scott [at] fallingintoincandescence [dot] com.
Aside from the teachers’ strike, Peña Nieto has been having a rough couple of weeks in the realm of popular opinion. On August 11, a poll revealed his approval rating to be at a historically low 23 percent. This certainly wasn’t helped when five days later The Guardian reported that Peña Nieto’s wife, Angelica Rivera, has been enjoying stays in Key Biscayne, Florida at a $2 million apartment owned by Grupo Pierdant, a company bidding on Mexican government contracts. This news broke only a month after Peña Nieto apologized for the “perception” of wrong-doing related to Rivera’s $7 million purchase of a home in Guerrero owned by government contractor Grupo Higa. Then on August 21, a widely publicized exposé showed that Peña Nieto plagiarized nearly one-third of his university thesis. While these PR stumbles certainly don’t cast Peña Nieto in a positive light, he still maintains the support of the elite and these incidents pale in comparison to the broader devastation and exploitation he has wrought on Mexico.
Challenges to the status quo continue outside of the teachers’ strike as well. On August 11, students from Michoacán’s eight teaching colleges (normales) burned two trucks on train tracks and blockaded a highway. The students were acting in support of the teachers and also demanding the government guarantee a certain number of jobs upon graduation. Currently the state government refuses to hire teachers coming from normales in Michoacán. At a subsequent protest on August 15, while the normalistas were blockading a highway, federal and state police arrived and opened fire on them. Forty-one were arrested and fortunately no one was killed. Eight students remain in maximum security prison.
On that same day, to the east in the State of Mexico, police opened fire on students protesting cuts in enrolment at an extension school of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Naucalpan. The shooting is the first example of the use of the Eruviel Law, which allows police in the State of Mexico to fire live ammunition at demonstrations and punishes police who don’t follow orders to do so.
Atenco, also in the State of Mexico, received a solidarity visit from environmentalists Vandana Shiva and Sebastiao Pinheiro on August 13 in support of the community’s struggle against the latest attempt to build Mexico City’s new international airport on its lands. Construction of the highway to leading to the airport was ordered suspended on July 26, yet crews and machinery began operating again on August 16. Atencans ran the crews off their land and reinforced the encampment in Tocuila, designed to impede construction. On August 18 and 19, construction began again, escorted by a “shock group” of men hired by a local authority. The group tore down and burned the encampment on August 19 and threw stones at Atencans who came out to defend their land. Defiant as ever, Atenco residents rebuilt the encampment the same day.
The state of Morelos, south of Mexico City, saw a massive demonstration of 100,000 on August 16, when teachers, civil society groups and even the Autonomous University of the State of Morelos (UAEM) called for a mobilization against Governor Graco Ramírez. Protesters were demanding he be removed from office and charged for the ongoing femicides, kidnappings, murders, and corruption. Students also erected an encampment surrounding the state government’s offices. As if to make the point clearer, a report released a week later found that of the 117 bodies illegally buried in mass graves by the state prosecutor’s office in Morelos, 84 showed signs of torture. Naturally, the state’s reply was to issue an arrest warrant for the president of UAEM. In a similar case, Professor Rene Torres in Mexico City has been arrested three times in three days, only to be released without charge each time, in clear retaliation for his support of the student struggle at the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN).
A few more pieces to share to round out this latest dispatch of news. The relatives of the disappeared students from Ayotzinapa have cut off negotiations with the federal government. They say they will not return until Tomás Zerón, the head of the Criminal Investigation Agency (equivalent to the FBI in the US), is removed from his position. To mark 23 months since the disappearance, the families will be holding a cultural, artistic and political event outside of Aztec Stadium on August 26. Environmental defender and political prisoner Ildefenso Zamora was freed after nearly nine months in prison on trumped-up charges on August 13. A report on Radio Zapote documents the ongoing struggle of farmworkers in San Quintín and their primary tool: a boycott of Driscoll’s Berries. While actions are frequent in the US, a Boycott Driscoll’s protest occurred at a supermarket in Mexico City on August 18. On August 22 and 23 the first National Gathering on Forced Disappearance was held in Mexico City.
After months of organizing, 105 indigenous Oxchuc communities jointly decided to expel political parties and elected officials from their lands and to return to governing according to the indigenous practice of usos y costumbres. The final event of the Zapatista-initiated CompArte Festival for Humanity occurred in the Zapatista caracol of Roberto Barrios. Here’s a translation of Subcomandante Moisés’ statement at the end of the festival. The National Indigenous Congress, a Zapatista-inspired formation, will celebrate 20 years of existence with its fifth gathering in San Cristóbal, Chiapas in October. In other indigenous-related news, a new report noted that 80 percent of Mexico’s indigenous population lives in “poverty”. A condition that, if you’re Governor Mario López of Sinaloa, exists because of laziness. In response to a report that 822,000 Sinaloans live in “extreme poverty”, López said, “In Sinaloa, if you’re hungry, it’s because you’re lazy.”
Anarchist political prisoner Fernando Bárcenas released a call for solidarity with the prison strike happening in US prisons on September 9. We’ll have the English translation up shortly. And a group of anarchists offered a difficult but important public reflection on the events surrounding the police murder of anarchist Salvador Olmos in Oaxaca in June, which It’s Going Down has published in English.
Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity on 26/08/16
Three years after his arbitrary arrest, Roberto Paciencia Cruz, Tzotzil indigenous, “unjustly imprisoned” in the CERSS Number 5 of San Cristobal de Las Casas and adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle, is still awaiting sentencing. Like Roberto, thousands of people are behind bars in Chiapas, deprived of their liberty by unjustified accusations without sentencing. “The prisons of Chiapas are full of indigenous, who for want of knowing how to read and express themselves, have been prisoners for years, because the first thing the authorities care about is to lock them up, then they just have to leave the file in the trash and be careful that they [the indigenous] don’t know the facts, to keep them there for life”, says sociologist Aida Cipriano, specialist in Human Rights, in Revolucion TRESPUNTOCERO
Roberto Paciencia Cruz was arrested without warrant in early August 2013 for an alleged kidnapping that could not be proved. During his detention he was tortured, and he still bears marks, scars, and physical and psychological consequences from this. In addition, he was left incommunicado for three days: “For three springs, I suffer in a dungeon, as my family also suffers, on this date, another anniversary of my imprisonment, I was saddened to see the injustices I’m living through for this fabricated crime”, Roberto Paciencia confesses to Revolucion TRESPUNTOCERO.
Aida Cipriano Aida states in the same publication: “Paciencia Cruz, and the indigenous who are in prison, suffer cruel and inhuman treatment, injustice, humiliation, and discrimination daily. CERESO No. 5 is one of the main examples of ill-treatment by the authorities of prisoners. This has also been the result of the neglect that the state government has caused in the prisons, because in Chiapas, when the governor isn’t covering up or causing dispossession, extrajudicial executions, persecution, torture or fabricated crimes against the indigenous, he is covering up any violation of human rights of the prisoners.” She adds that, “They have been kidnapped by a dishonest and poor Mexican judicial system, which in Chiapas is racist, corrupt and a creator of false positives. And it is the indigenous who have become the target to follow.” Cipriano concludes that there has been no solution to Roberto’s case “due to the blindness of the authorities and the governor, who is aware of the facts, but as in similar cases, he does not care about prisoners.”
Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity on 25/08/2016
“The school cycle ought to start today, but all the teachers are protesting here because of the government’s obstinacy,” said members of the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE), after a march of more than a hundred thousand teachers from the west to the Chiapas capital’s central plaza, one hundred days after the teachers initiated their strike in protest over the self-named “education reform,” which the administration of Peña Nieto has wanted to implement in the country, even using public force to achieve their objective.
During the meeting in Tuxtla’s central park, on welcoming the different contingents that participated in the mega-march, the question was if they were tired now, to which the teachers answered with a resounding NO, despite the long walk, despite the strong rain, despite the hundred days. The teachers emphasized that the reason for being part of the teachers’ movement are precisely the students, parents and public education in Mexico.
“We are challenging the state’s authoritarianism; there is not one single educational level that is not in the movement,” they stated on seeing the arrival of delegations of basic and middle higher education, as well as teachers’ college students, parents, retirees and social organizations in solidarity.
From Chiapas the CNTE spokespersons waved the checkered flag on stage three of the teachers’ movement magisterial that started last May 15, in which, despite the fact that it will be critical and complex, they will carry out more devastating actions, they assured. The CNTE movement called on the government to give an immediate response to the demand for abrogation of the “education reform,” the appearance with life of the teachers’ college students from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero and the freedom of political prisoners in Mexico.
Members of Sections 7 and 40 of the CNTE affirmed that after more than three months, the movement remains alive and seeks a “democratic education, an alternative education project that goes from below to above.” They likewise warned that the media lynching against them would increase; therefore, they will keep the parents, who as of this date have been supporting them, continuously informed. “We have the support of all the aggrieved people,” they assured.
In his participation in support of the teachers’ movement, Father Marcelo Pérez representing the parish of the Simojovel community, asked those present if they were afraid, to which those present responded with a resounding NO, even after Peña Nieto’s threats to use public force against the dissident teachers. “In the face of tyranny, the people have the right to fight for the homeland and for liberty. If they touch the teachers they touch all of us,” the Chiapan parish priest assured. “They are on alert in the different communities to defend our teachers,” the religious man added.
Originally Published in Spanish by Pozol Colectivo
Monday, August 22, 2016
Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee
Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity 25/08/2016
|foto Área de comunicación de las abejas|
|foto Área de comunicación de las abejas|
|foto Área de comunicación de las abejas|
Hace unas semanas se resolvió el amparo indirecto que los abogados solidarios presentaron en contra del auto de formal prisión.
By: Isaín Mandujano
Leaders of 105 Oxchuc communities agreed on the expulsion of the political parties from that municipio and from now on they will elect their authorities through [Indigenous] uses and customs; therefore they asked Governor Manuel Velasco Coello and deputies in the State Congress, for the recognition of current mayor Oscar Gómez López, because the mayor they removed, Maria Gloria Sánchez Gómez, is attempting to return to the position.
Coming from the 105 communities that make up that municipio in Los Altos of Chiapas, the indigenous authorities arrived in this city with their staff of command to show their rejection of the removed mayor and candidate of the PVEM, Maria Gloría Sánchez Gómez, who recently filed an appeal with the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN) with which she seeks to be reinstated in the position.
After several months of protest, last February, María Gloria Sánchez Gómez was expelled from the town and obliged to ask for a definitive leave before the State Congress, local residents named as a substitute Oscar Gómez López, a bilingual indigenous teacher who headed the movement to put an end to the 15 years of political bossism of the mayor and her PRI husband, Norberto Santiz Gómez, who controlled political power in the municipality.
“We are here to ask the State Congress and Governor Manuel Velasco to intervene and that the Oxchuc issue be definitively resolved, because María Gloria continues saying that she is the current mayor and that is not true, because starting on February 11 she asked for her abdication and the woman was politically finished there and on February 15 the people on the esplanade of the municipal presidency before some 30,000 residents elected the current substitute Municipal President, who is compañero Oscar Gómez López and precisely here are the compañeros agents and this is the best showing that what María Gloria says is not true,” said Juan Encinos Gómez, President of the Permanent Commission For Indigenous Peace and Justice of Oxchuc Municipio.
All the indigenous raised their staffs of command and chanted slogans against María Gloria Sánchez and others in favour of the new mayor Oscar Gómez López, who they said has the support of all of the people.
Nevertheless, they said, from the state capital the removed mayor has been incited to file an appeal before the Judicial Power of the Federation (PJF) to be reinstated in her position. They pointed out that they would not respect a decision that contradicts the decision of the people and that if necessary they would against take to the streets and the highway in order to be heard.
Juan Gabriel Méndez López, a lawyer and one of the leaders of the Oxchuc protest movement, said that the population agreed to expel all of the political parties from the municipio, and that they no longer want political parties that only divide the communities and provoke confrontation among indigenous brothers.
He explained that from now on the municipal authorities would be elected by uses and customs, which will rescue the ancestral wisdom and knowledge to name their rulers like their ancestors did, because it has become clear to them that the parties only divide them.
He also said that on this occasion the people named Oscar Gómez López as mayor, and therefore the Executive, Judicial and Legislative Power in Chiapas must recognize the investiture that the new mayor represents.
They pointed out that if María Gloria Sánchez Gómez continues returning to Oxchuc to incite the population against the traditional authorities, she could provoke “another San Juan Chamula” and would then blame the authorities for not intervening.
It was the second time that María Gloria sought to serve in the position of mayor; the first time she did it on behalf of the PRI. Her husband Norberto Sántiz, also of PRI affiliation, twice occupied the position of mayor and was on one occasion a federal deputy.
Originally Published in Spanish by Chiapas Paralelo
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee
– Cliquez sur l’image pour télécharger le livre en français –
Ce bulletin a pour but de diffuser l’un des cas de répression qui ravagent le territoire dénommé Mexico, il a été réalisé dans le cadre de la Semaine Internationale de Solidarité avec les Prisonnier.e.s Anarchistes, qui a eu lieu du 26 au 30 août 2015. Ce bulletin a été réalisé par des personnes solidaires de l’Assemblée Communautaire d’Eloxochitlán de Flores Magón, Oaxaca, alors que 12 de ses membres sont toujours emprisonnés pour avoir défendu leur territoire et les décisions politiques prises par l’Assemblée. Ce bulletin a été créé sans aucun but lucratif. Nous encourageons toute forme de solidarité envers nos compagnons et compagnonnes prisonnier.e.s.
Miguel Ángel Peralta Betanzos est un jeune indigène mazatèque, anarchiste et membre de l’Assemblée Communautaire d’Eloxochitlán de Flores Magón, Oaxaca. Le jeudi 30 avril 2015, vers 5 heures et demie de l’après-midi, Miguel, membre de l’Assemblée Communautaire, a été arrêté au centre-ville de Mexico. Cette arrestation a été perpétrée avec une grande violence par trois personnes en civil sans identification ni mandat d’arrêt, accompagnées de plus de vingt policiers. Toutes ces irrégularités concernant l’arrestation de Miguel constituent une attaque de plus contre l’Assemblée Communautaire d’Eloxochitlán, dans la continuité de celles qui ont été perpétrées depuis cinq ans par l’ex-président municipal qui siégea à la Présidence municipale après s’y être imposé de façon autoritaire, piétinant ainsi le système communautaire basé sur les « us et coutumes indigènes » dont l’Assemblée Générale est l’organe de prise de décisions en s’opposant aux partis politiques soutenus par les caciques locaux. Plus d’infos
Vous pouvez reproduire totalement ou partiellement ce bulletin.
Répands et étends librement ces idées.
Solidarité et camaraderie avec nos compagnon-n-e-s prisonnier.e.s
À bas les murs des prisons !
Destruction de la société carcérale !
Bonne lecture !
Les trois passants
cliquez sur l’image.
Miguel Peralta Betanzos de l’Assemblée Communautaire d’Eloxochitlán de Flores Magón, Oaxaca