Oaxaca protesters resume blockades as union-government talks continue in Mexico City
A truce declared in Oaxaca by the CNTE teachers’ union for the weekend was short-lived: highway blockades were back up Monday June 27 in at least 10 locations, including Nochixtlán, the site of last week’s deadly confrontation between police and protesters.
The CNTE said it had intensified its protest actions in advance of Monday’s 6 p.m. meeting in Mexico City between the union and Interior Secretary Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, a session at which union officials have insisted they will continue to demand the repeal of the education reforms.
But Osorio Chong continues to insist that education issues are not on the table. What is, he said, was resolving the current conflict.
In many of the Oaxaca blockades, most of which are manned by people wearing masks, private passenger vehicles are being allowed through at certain intervals but must pay a toll of 50 to 100 pesos. Most transport trucks are not allowed to pass, particularly if they belong to large, transnational companies.
In the city of Oaxaca, teachers and members of allied organizations blocked access to the airport this morning, allowing only taxis and privately-owned passenger vehicles to pass.
By 11 a.m. the lineup of transport trucks was three kilometers long.
Meanwhile, in the city of Huajuapan de León, in the northwestern part of the state, there is no guarantee of security, warned the Public Security Secretariat (SSP) today. There exists a “climate of uncertainty” because municipal police have remained in their quarters since yesterday afternoon following threats by groups affiliated with the union local Section 22.
The SSP said those groups threatened to burn patrol cars and municipal headquarters after they blamed police for an accident in which a member of an anarchist group died.
Osorio Chong said in a radio interview this morning that modification of the reforms was “out of his hands.” He said that was an issue the teachers would have to take up with the legislative branch of government and suggested meetings could be arranged for them to do so.
Today’s meeting was the second between the union and government. The first, held last Wednesday, did little more than agree on holding a second although Osorio Chong characterized it as a positive step and expressed optimism for resolving the conflict.
He pointed out that the union had lifted the Nochixtlán blockade on the weekend, allowing transport trucks to deliver supplies to the state, a move that he attributed to the opening of dialogue.
The temporary lifting of blockades was not enough to allow basic food items and milk to be delivered to 45 communities considered to be highly marginalized, Social Development Secretary José Antonio Meade said this morning.
He issued a plea to the teachers’ union to allow the distribution of milk, beans and corn to the state-run Diconsa stores, whose supplies will be running short by tomorrow.
Hundreds of people marched Sunday in Nochixtlán a week after the violent confrontation in which nine people were killed. A union leader who spoke at the event observed that several people had to die before negotiations could be opened with the government, a process that the teachers had sought “before they massacred the people.”