The News
The News
Wednesday 17 of August 2022

CNTE Attacks Again

CNTE teachers in a press conference,photo: Jesús García
CNTE teachers in a press conference,photo: Jesús García
Last week Interior Secretary Osorio Chong recalled that the government has the legal and constitutional authority to use force to stop the use of guerrilla-type blockading tactics

The flip-flop attitude of the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) union is back in full swing, again and this time with a vengeance.

Just last week they managed through negotiations at the Interior Secretariat (Segob) and got most of the demands they were making. Their two imprisoned leaders from Oaxaca were released from jail on bond, the education secretary of the state of Chiapas was removed for enforcing the law, and 300 million pesos ($16.6 million) were shelled out. The list is longer, but just like in the old days whatever they got was a mere morsel for a bulldog.

The prison released leader, Rubén Núñez, opted to increase the attacks on the President Enrique Peña Nieto administration.

Over the weekend the Oaxaca Section 22 came up with a longer list of demands to the existing one — namely the derogation of the constitutionally approved Education Reform. They added the demand that national Education Secretary Aurelio Nuño resign and that Oaxaca state outgoing Gov. Gabino Cué be brought to political trial on the charges of ordering the murder of eight people during a June 19 road blockade in Nochixtlán, Oaxaca.

The new threat to be made good Monday, Aug. 22, is that they will impede the beginning of classes for over a million elementary school children in the states of Oaxaca and Chiapas — maybe Guerrero and Michoacán too — if the interior secretary does not come up with “satisfactory” answers to their demands.

And of course they will recommence blockading roads, railways, cities and you name it. In fact, these are not threats for the future, because in Chiapas CNTE teachers shut down the 12 largest stores (Sam’s, Chedraui, Walmart, Coca-Cola etc.) and they do not allow, through the use of violence if necessary, people to shop in them. So threats are here, but not until next week when the school year starts nationally.

At a local Oaxaca City level, CNTE announced it will boycott all the businesses that participated Friday, Aug. 8 in closing their stores to protest against the union’s bankrupting (for the businesses) blockades of the city, which are keeping tourists away.

Apparently CNTE leaders will spend all week planning their moves for the Aug. 22 school year kick off activities “in sync nationwide,” as if they enjoyed nationwide support.

Rejection of CNTE’s frivolous and destructive activities is widespread nowadays, and besides the states in the south (the poorest and most backwards education-wise in the nation) and Mexico City, the CNTE does not enjoy the popularity they claim to have.

But with their intimidating tactics, most say that about the only people they scare are President Enrique Peña Nieto, Interior Secretary Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong and Education Secretary Aurelio Nuño, on whose necks, general opinion says, CNTE leaders have managed to put on a political noose.

The problem at hand, and the “political noose” comment, comes from the fact that the mentioned administration officials continue to promote the idea that talks are better than violence.

Even at a certain moment last week Interior Secretary Osorio Chong recalled that the government has the legal and constitutional authority to use force to stop the use of the guerrilla-type blockading tactics CNTE uses, but “dialogue is our option.”

The leaders of the top business organizations claim that not only have CNTE protests damaged the economies of the four mentioned states, but that they have also performed hundreds of acts of vandalism including the theft of merchandise-laden cargo vehicles that have disappeared.

In face of these acts of outright banditry — not political protest — they claim that authorities have opted for looking the other way and their legal complaints for theft and assault are being piled up in Public Ministry (MP) offices. The offended parties and merchants demand action, not talk.

But at a nationwide level people are demanding a strong reaction from President Peña Nieto who by now — and this is most unfortunate for a man of peace — is being seen as a weakling by the thousands of people affected by CNTE inflicted violence, economic or otherwise.

But then, this is Mexico, and we have all of this coming week to figure out a solution to a CNTE unionist attitude that seemingly doesn’t want education — not even their way — but access to national power, without participating in an electoral process.