Advanced Search

Mexico

Click here for full report

Mexico’s CNTE refuses to roll over

Development: On 13 June teachers blocked roads in the states of Oaxaca, Tabasco, and Chiapas as well as the Ciudad de México (CDMX) to protest against the arrest of Rubén Núñez, the secretary general of the militant ‘Sección 22’ branch of Mexico’s combative teachers’ union Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (CNTE).

Significance: The CNTE is determined to show that it is not going to be cowed into submission by the federal government in the wake of the arrest of Núñez on 12 June, as well as several other senior CNTE leaders in the weeks beforehand, and that it remains a force to be reckoned with. In Oaxaca teachers erected 23 roadblocks, including to the international airport in the eponymous state capital. Some 500 teachers gathered outside the Instituto Estatal de Educación Pública de Oaxaca (Ieepo) and the chamber of deputies of the state congress to demand the release of Núñez and 12 other “political prisoners” from the CNTE detained by the federal government on suspicion of embezzlement or financial irregularities. They also denounced “state terrorism” by the state and federal police in Oaxaca, who broke up some of the roadblocks and took back vehicles (belonging to transnational companies and the state and federal government) seized by the protesters.

  • While the protests were concentrated in Oaxaca, they also took place in Tabasco and neighbouring Chiapas where 18,000 schools remain closed, many for over a month now, leaving 3.2m schoolchildren without classes. Teachers from ‘Sección 7’ and ‘Sección 40’ of the CNTE in Chiapas also blocked entrance and exit points for vehicular traffic to the state capital, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, to demand the release of Núñez and the other CNTE leaders.

  • The twice former presidential candidate and leader of the radical leftist Movimiento Regeneración Nacional (Morena) party, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, denounced the “arbitrary and dictatorial nature” of the arrest of Núñez. López Obrador has seized on the teacher dispute to underpin a fresh presidential bid in 2018. He promised that Morena would “support the teachers’ struggle under any circumstance”.

Looking Ahead: Tomorrow (15 June), 10,000 teachers from Chiapas will begin a march to CDMX to appeal to the federal government to open a new negotiation table on the education reform.