The message last Tuesday night made by Interior Secretary (Segob) Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong was a bucket of ice cold water. After a 20-minute meeting with the representatives of the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) union leaders, discussion of their petitions would be set for next Monday, July 11.
The news for the thousands of trailer drivers carrying perishables locked up in the road blockades set up by CNTE anti-government insurrectionists was a message that their cargo would not reach its destination, adding to the now billions of accumulated losses. Produce can’t wait until Monday; their load will be rotten by then.
Yet once again it became evident that Secretary Osorio Chong has hit a brick wall in his negotiations with the teachers, who are now evidently not leading a labor union problem but want to bring the President Enrique Peña Nieto administration down on its knees.
The real problem that the government is confronting is deciding what to do. Clearly in everyone’s mind the teachers have gone beyond the boundaries of civility and pushing the administration up against the wall — where they have it at right now — demands that Peña Nieto go beyond legal limitations and demand a dramatic repression.
Cartoonist Carreño put it bluntly showing a unionist handing Secretary Osorio Chong a big club telling him “beat us up.”
As a response to Osorio Chong’s postponement of the “dialogue,” CNTE responded with more road closings and a march in Mexico City, dividing its brigades in four marches from four different points of Mexico City to strangle, again, downtown Mexico City. They were supposed to reach the main square Zócalo, where they know they are banned by city authorities.
In the states of Oaxaca and Chiapas, businesses are crying real tears of helplessness because the road blockades have effectively affected their agriculture oriented economies, as they can’t move their produce to markets in neighboring states or Mexico City.
They claim to be “strangled” by the by now insurrectional teachers.
In case you haven’t noticed, this writer has used the word “insurrection” several times in a brief space to describe the CNTE. This is because, again, this is no longer a labor movement but an open guerrilla warfare declaration against the government. It has nothing to do with the education reform, and it can be best described by Oaxaca blogger Samael Hernández, an observer of a splinter organization known as the Oaxaca Education Workers Democratic Movement (MDTEO).
“The CNTE Section 22 built a magnificent war machine that was aimed at the anti-democratic structure of the SNTE. The problems broke out when radical groups took the helm of that war machine and controlled the union. The decisions of MDTEO began to be slanted not under a union logic, but an insurrectional one,” he said.
As a clarification, SNTE is the majority National Education Workers Union which is in agreement with the administration in carrying out the Education Reform currently underway, and which the CNTE leadership wants cancelled out, which the administration is not about to do. SNTE represents the majority of the 1.3 million teachers in the nation while CNTE is still a minority.
Mexicans are divided in their opinions. Many consider that the insurrection will come to an end only with the use of force. In fact, I even heard one person shout “Donde Estás, Díaz Ordáz,” meaning where are you, president Díaz Ordaz, who ordered the brutal repression of October 2, 1968, which effectively pacified the then communist attempt to topple his government. After the repression, Mexico carried out the 1968 Olympics without public disturbances.
The problem now at hand is that it has gotten this far and there is no solution in sight, neither next Monday nor afterwards.
Surely in the top echelons of government — to quote the Carreño cartoon — the administration takes the club (namely the Army, as the CNTE blockades represent a national security problem) and returns normal traffic and commerce to the people of Mexico, mostly indifferent from this ideological fracas.
It is, perhaps, the card the administration may have to play even though nobody wants it, except for the CNTE insurrectionists.