The News
The News
Tuesday 26 of September 2023

Enough Is Enough

CNTE members protest in Oaxaca,photo: Cuartosuro/Arturo Pérez Alfonso
CNTE members protest in Oaxaca,photo: Cuartosuro/Arturo Pérez Alfonso
"Yes to dialogue, but at what price? And where are the results?"

Mexico’s business sector has been relatively quiet regarding the blockades carried out by the National Coordinator of Education Teachers (CNTE) union in four southern states and Mexico City.

Last Wednesday different national business organizations ganged up and gave their opinions against the blockades carried out by the CNTE teachers.

The most resounding voice came from Mexico Banks Association president Luis Robles Miaja who, in front of President Enrique Peña Nieto during a ceremony to recognize and award honor students during the 2016 Children’s Knowledge Olympics, said:
“It hurts to see how a small of group of leaders of some interest groups alter the peace, cohabitation and economic activity in some regions of the nation in order to avoid the application of the Education Reform. It’s enough. There should always be legitimate dialogue about the Education Reform and its model in the forums summoned by secretary Nuño,” in reference to Education Secretary Aurelio Nuño.

The blockades along the southern Mexico states of Michoacán, Guerrero, Oaxaca and Chiapas have been going on for months but it was just last week when two different previously untouched transportation routes were invaded by the teachers. One was the Chiapas airport and the other — and here’s where the dung hit the fan — was the railroad track stemming out of Port Lázaro Cárdenas in the state of Michoacán operated by the Kansas City Southern Mexico Railroad Company.

The president of the Employers Federation of Mexico (Coparmex) Gustavo de Hoyo complained at the gathering that CNTE’s blockades at 17 different points of the track in just one week had retarded the delivery of 20,000 tons of metal products nationwide and put cash losses at $37 million (not pesos).

Joining Coparmex were the steel and auto-parts chambers who said the government was pussyfooting in applying federal laws to protect main transport ways and openly who rejected the government’s “tolerance to impunity.”

Joining the fray was the U.S. Chamber of Commerce which gathers some 300 U.S. companies and in its 2016 report announced that given the “insecurity” many companies are either relocating to safer zones within Mexico, or outright removing their operations to the United States or Canada. All companies complain that their security costs have gone up by 10 percent in the past three years.

Banks Association Robles Miaja added in his speech that CNTE’s actions “can only be called extortion, which is unacceptable. It’s enough. The wellbeing of the nation cannot be hostage to the questionable interests of just a few.” He added that he supports President Peña Nieto’s Education Reform.

Coparmex’s De Hoyo added that “we are witnessing how day-by-day a governance crisis is being framed with the Mexican government seemingly losing the battle against just a few who systemically break the law.”

He added, “Yes to dialogue, but at what price? And where are the results?”

The restaurant and tourism services in the affected states of Michoacán, Guerrero, Oaxaca and Chiapas are facing monumental losses because the CNTE blockades are discouraging tourists from going there.

In the meantime, in Mexico City Thursday the CNTE teachers staged an “operation ant” movement to retake the main square Zócalo — where they are banned — where they didn’t show up in a block but as individuals.

As the press noticed the gathering, Francisco Bravo, leader of the Mexico City Section 9 of CNTE, blasted the business organizations.

“The business organizations — right along with the media — are the ones staging a hate campaign against the teachers opposed to the Education Reform,” Robles told reporters. Robles said CNTE teachers are “offended” by the organized business stance.

But again, Coparmex retorted that the government must comply with the law.
“You just can’t have dialogue with those who, right now, continue on the streets breaking the law with impunity,” said De Hoyo.

But the fact of the matter is that all business organizations, small and big businesses alike, have presented impressive monetary losses.

Beyond words, the interpretation of the business organizations’ demands — as well as with the CNTE’s protested desire — is that President Enrique Peña Nieto will make use of the constitutional right to use the armed forces to dislodge the protesters.

Talk (dialogue) — say the business people — is cheap when they are footing the financial brunt of the very expensive cost of the CNTE protests.