The federal government’s response to teachers’ highway blockades in Oaxaca and Chiapas has been the formation of working groups to hash things out with the teachers’ union, the CNTE.
On Monday July 18, business representatives from a Oaxaca tourist destination were offered their own working group, one that would address the economic losses being caused by the blockades.
A delegation from the coastal city of Puerto Escondido called on the offices of the Interior Secretariat (Segob) in Mexico City to issue a plea for help.
“We cannot put up with the teachers’ blockades any more,” said spokesman Abraham Clavel, who operates a transportation service in the city. “They are strangling the state of Oaxaca. Puerto Escondido is under siege; there are no tourists.”
Government officials were told that 3,000 people have lost their jobs in the city and that hotel occupancy is less than 20% despite this being the high season for domestic tourism.
Clavel also said there have been fuel and food shortages caused by the blockades. “We’re fed up with always being put under siege,” he declared, claiming that the situation was “a disaster.”
He said combined losses in the region were running at 7.5 million pesos, or US $400,000, per day, and if the protests continue over the next few weeks another 3,000 people will be laid off by businesses in Puerto Escondido, Huatulco, Mazunte, Zipolite and Chacahua.
Reaching the area by car is a long journey to begin with but the blockades are adding another five or six hours, Clavel said.
Some 80% of the summer’s hotel reservations have been canceled, meaning “we have lost” the summer tourist season, which is typically followed by the two “bad months” of September and October.
“We invite you to visit. [Puerto Escondido] is deserted.”
Freddy Gil Pineda, the mayor-elect of San Pedro Mixtepec, the municipality in which Puerto Escondido is located, led a delegation of business people to meet with a senior official at Segob.
The meeting agreed to the installation on Friday of a working group.
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