London in Solidarity with CNTE/Oaxaca

The London Solidarity Group has called this demonstration in solidarity with union of teachers CNTE, known in Spanish as the Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación, in solidarity with those standing for free and public education, and building a just Mexico, and to denounce the repression that they have suffered. On this occasion, as we have done in the past, we stand against the irrational use of violence perpetrated by the Mexican authorities.

The government of Enrique Peña Nieto, president of Mexico, the governor of Oaxaca, Gabino Cué Monteagudo, and all those who undemocratically have imposed the so-called educational reform, -in particular Aurelio Nuño Mayer, Secretary of the Department of Education and Claudio X. Gonzales, the creator of the so-called reform of education-, Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, Secretary of the Interior, and Enrique Galindo Ceballos, commissioner of the Federal Police, all of them are chiefly responsible for the coward attack against the National Coordinating Committee of Education Workers, the CNTE, against the indigenous community of Nochixtlán, and for the repression that took place in the communities of Zanatepec, Hacienda Blanca, Ixtepec, Salina Cruz, Huitzo, Oaxaca city, and other places where the Coordinadora was violently oppressed while they were peacefully demonstrating.

We are still trying to assess the situation. So far the toll in Oaxaca is:

12 people killed,
an inexact number of injured, but whithin the hundreds hundreds of injured,
and at least 21 people imprisoned.

In Mexico City too, following the orders of Miguel Angel Mancera, at least 31 people were unlawfully deprived of their freedom in a feeble attempt to scare the society standing in solidarity with the CNTE. Even though all of these detainees have been freed, families have denounced irregularities in their detention. Most of them were women. Whilst in detention, police officers verbally abused them, using sexist remarks, threatened to torture them, rape them, disappear them and kill them. In previous days, the same government of Mancera in Mexico City has kettled demonstrators, and stopped buses of the Coordinadora on their way to the city, hence violating the right to protest given by the constitution to every Mexican.



However, it is in Oaxaca, in Nochixtlán where the state committed a most violent and extreme attack against the Coordinadora, and in particular against the 22 section of the Coordinadora. The reason why they targeted this section is due to their brave opposition in 2006 in Oaxaca against a similar program of education. This is a historical fight and the government knows it.

As a result of the Mexican revolution in 1910, education has remained free and public. The state is forced by the constitution to provide to every community the education that they need. Soon after the revolution, the elite of the PRI party co-opted the institutions of the state that provide education, and neglected by large its own responsibility to provide education to everyone. However, a process of privatization began in the 1970s when ‘presidents’ José Lopez Portillo and Miguel de la Madrid imposed the neoliberal agenda in Mexico. Democratically organised teachers were and still are one of the greatest threats both to state capitalism and to the neoliberal agendas of the Mexican government and its allies.



Back then the strategy was to buy off the union. However, in the knowledge of what the consequences of neoliberal policies would be for the people of Mexico, a large section of conscious teachers split from the union and formed the CNTE in 1979. Since then they have been standing for the right to education and to bring education to the poorest communities, often in their own indigenous languages, and for the right of the workers to have a fair salary. Since then the Mexican government has led a vile fight against the CNTE, transforming the problem of education via the mainstream media into a unionist problem, blaming teachers in the public sectors for the gap of education, and dismissing its own responsibilities in the matter.

Orchestrated by the world financial systems (IMF, World Bank, Inter American Development Bank) and the OECDE (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), the reform proposed by Peña Nieto is the implementation of coorporate education from global north in that backyard of the US called Mexico. The reform, like the special economic zones, affects in particular the southern states of Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Michoacán where most of the land is of communal property. The implementation of the reform would effectively destroy education as a right to be guaranteed by the state, opening up the door to privatization. This would leave the workers without work, and the poorest communities without schools.

To implement the reform the state has forced the union to pass examinations which are based according to the ‘international standards’ proposed by the financial world systems and the OECD, and which do not include the local needs and the kind of education that people want and need in their own areas. 20 or 30 years of work are judged in one exam for which the teachers were never prepared, which does not consider specific situations, such as the right to receive education in ones own language, and in which the teachers, families and the society never participated.


The aim of this reform is to fire as many teachers as possible, to dissolve the union, a process, which has started amidst demonstrations and protests. Whatever is left of the reform about education is only about that which serves the international economy in detriment of local economy and individuals. Thus, history, languages, literature, philosophy, traditional dances and music, education in original languages, local history, all of that is considered to be inappropriate and not suitable for the badly named, reform of education. The opportunities that some had to trained to become teachers, scientists, to find ways of developing the economies in their own areas, are transformed into cheap workers for maquiladoras, waiters for the tourist industries largely owned by foreigners, and uneducated farmers who do not own the land they work, and all the profit of their labor is taken by the land owners.

For these reasons, the teachers are defending more than a salary with dignity, which at the moment is just enough to keep on educating. The teachers are defending their schools, their local communities, the right to live where one was born, they are defending our national sovereignty. .

Do not be lured, compañeros and compañeras, this is not an educational reform, this is a reform of the contracts of teachers, and its aim is to dissolve the CNTE. This is an attack against all organized workers defending a minimum wage and preventing the rest of the country of being completely enslaved.

 

For these reason, thousands of teachers have been sacked from their jobs for refusing to do the tests.

Hundreds have been arrested, most of which belong to the democratic teachers’ union, CNTE. At least 15 leaders of the union are in prison, including the general secretaries of section 22 representing Oaxaca, and section 18 in Michoacán, who are being held in high security jails, being treated worse than drug dealers and mercenaries.

We do not know the whereabouts of about 22 citizens.

Since the beginning of their actions, the CNTE has been asking to establish a dialogue to negotiate the procedures of the test, and contractual matters. The government has always refused. At some point Claudio X. Gonzales, the creator of this most ignominious reform, called the teachers on strike terrorists and said he would not negotiate. Aurelio Nuño Mayer, Secretary of the Department of Education followed his steps.

Tired of injustice, and in an attempt to keep the little they have in a dialogue with the government, the union blocked the roads of Zanatepec, Ixtepec, Salina Cruz, Huitzo, Hacienda Blanca and Nochixtlán. In all these towns, the people supported the 22nd section of the union and the CNTE in general. Mothers and fathers, children and old people, students, farmers, all of them were preventing the government to send troops to Oaxaca city. Do not be lured, when the BBC and other paid media say that it is the corruption of the leaders of the union what the government is tackling. These are the words lucubrated by current Mexican politicians. While the governor of Oaxaca, Gabino Cué, was getting pissed at a wedding, on the 19th we received the news that in the Mixteca community of Nochixtlán the police had opened fire whilst at a peaceful demonstration. ‘A ver si muy chingones, indios guarachudos’, the police told them. The police, who was not allowed to carry weapons, was carrying high caliber rifles. First the authorities said that the police had no weapons, but then, due to the speed of our compas to spread the evidence, they took their claims back. There is no other name for what happened in Nochixtlán other than state terrorism.

Last march the 2nd, Enrique Peña Nieto travelled with a court of 200 people to the United Kingdom in the most expensive presidential plane in the entire world to close a deal between the UK and Mexico. He was hosted inside Buckingham Palace and then paraded with the Queen, the aristocracy, entrepreneurs and businessmen for three days. The deal is of such importance to both countries that 2015 was labeled before Peña’s arrival as the UK Mexico year. Since then, Millions have been spent in decorating buses and tubes, concerts and parties. Since then, the military investement of Brittain into Mexico has increased more than 6000%.

The Thatcherist model of private education of the UK lies at the heart of this deal. It is used by the Mexican government as an example of how education should look like. Hon Nicky Morgan, Cameron and other British politicians impose an unsustainable program of fees and cuts, which makes it impossible for the poorest to have access to education in the UK, but which allows the indoctrination of privileged youngsters of Mexico other countries who later become part of the elite, using foreign degrees as credentials to power. In this way the UK manages to ensure its political ties and to secure its economic interest. In Mexico the media does not mention a word about the opposition that there is here against fees and cuts. The media of the UK shows what happens in ‘undemocratic countries’ when they oppose fees and cuts, making it seem that if not perfect, here everything is perfect.

But we do not fall into this abyss created by the media. Shame on the guardian and associated press who called this event a clash with demonstrators! This is sheer and blunt state terrorism, and it is not the first time, and it will not be the last if the media and the international community does not take actions against the Mexican government for the crimes committed in Nochixtlán.

We know that there are millions in the UK opposing fees and cuts, and keeping public services such as the NHS public, as well as trying to lower the already unpayable fees of universities. For these reason, compañeros, compañeras, as we have done in the past, we stand for free and public education in the UK, because by doing so we stand against the same in Mexico. We call for the support of the unions, of teachers and students, and of communities in the UK to denounce the crimes committed in Nochixtlán and other places of Oaxaca.

We demand the international community to force the Mexican government to immediately remove the unnecessary military and police troops from Oaxaca, and to put an end to violence against peaceful demonstrators. But what are we going to do now that our basic human rights are being reduced to nothing? What are we going to do when governments do not listen? What are we going to do when the international community worried by GDP, and not people, education, health, or the environment?

We demand the immediate release of all prisoners and we stand in solidarity with those who are willing to take actions to make this happen. They have the right to do so.

We demand that there is an investigation for torture and unlawful detentions. The police and the military have to put an end to torture now. All Mexican authorities must be accountable to international human rights law.

We demand that those who are still missing are returned back alive, and in safety.

After the murder of at least 12 people, the government has agreed to establish a dialogue with the Co-ordinadora. We demand that this dialogue is done with the entire agreement of the union and the consent of the relatives of the murdered. To the proposal of Nuño of establishing a political dialogue we say: justice is not negotiable.

 

These are the names that we have so far of 6 out of the at least 12 people killed by state terrorism on the events of the 19th and 20th of July in Oaxaca:

Andrés Aguilar Sanabria, de 25 años de edad;
Yalid Jiménez Santiago, de 28 años
Óscar Nicolás Santiago, 22 años;
Angelico Cruz Aquino, comerciante;
Jesús Cadena, estudiante de 19 años;
César Hernández.

Ni perdón ni olvido, juicio y castigo a los culpables.

Finally we reiterate our solidarity with CNTE, with all those who have joined their struggle, with the indigenous communities of Oaxaca, and all those fighting against the bad government.
Ya basta!
Muerte al mal gobierno.
Educación libre, pública, gratúita y autónoma para todos.
Another world in which we all fit is possible

London Mexico Solidarity