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LatinNews Daily - 13 June 2016

Mexico gov’t decapitates CNTE protest movement

Development: On 12 June Mexico’s federal attorney general’s office (PGR) confirmed the arrest of Rubén Núñez, the most prominent member of the Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (CNTE), the rebellious teachers’ union involved in the long-running protests against the federal government’s 2012-2013 sweeping education reform.

Significance: The arrest of Núñez was related to financial irregularities but it looks like an attempt by the federal authorities to remove by far the biggest thorn in the government’s side in the education dispute. It bears a remarkable resemblance to the arrest of Elba Esther Gordillo, the leader of Mexico’s largest teachers’ union, Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (SNTE), within weeks of President Enrique Peña Nieto taking office in December 2012. Gordillo was arrested on charges of having embezzled more than US$156m of union funds and organised crime. Núñez is not as big a fish as Gordillo, but he is powerful. The secretary general of ‘Sección 22’, the most militant wing of the CNTE in Oaxaca state, Núñez has been the driving force behind the CNTE’s prolonged protest action against the government’s education reform.

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