Oh my gosh today is May 15! That’s very bad news! It’s Teacher’s Day in Mexico again! It can only mean trouble.
For one we had almost forgotten about the existence of that nightmarish labor union known as the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE), which for two years in a row from 2013 to 2015 paralyzed education in the states of Michoacán, Guerrero, Oaxaca and Chiapas in their then permanent protest against President Enrique Peña Nieto’s “Education Reform.”
Not only that, the CNTE members aimed at the economic throat of Mexico effectively stopping throngs of roadways with blockades. They went as far as invading the Mexico City International Airport stopping all flights and in the state of Michoacán they blocked the Lázaro Cárdenas-Nuevo Laredo Port cargo transport railroad hitting hard the important vehicle industries along the way and also stopping that cargo en route from the Far East from moving through Mexico to the United States.
In Mexico City, for nearly two years they held a sit-in front of the Interior Secretariat (Segob) on Bucareli Avenue downtown Mexico City, which is the only throughway connecting the north and the south of the city. To say that they created a nightmare sending into bankruptcy most of the previously thriving Bucareli street business is an understatement.
I could rant on about the misdeeds of the 200,000 teachers-strong CNTE union but in the past everything I might say about their protest to get rid of an educational program that went into effect at the beginning of President Peña’s Administration has definitely not been forgotten.
Their protest was because the new presidential mandate made it mandatory to pass a teacher’s competence exam and reality was — and is — that most of the teachers in the aforementioned four states did not make the grade. In fear of losing their jobs, they took to the streets under the guidance of their very corrupt leadership.
Well, if we’d forgotten them it was definitely not for good. Today they will be carrying out a “massive march” both in the city of Oaxaca (where their main stronghold’s at) and definitely in Mexico City, where business as usual will be disrupted by the CNTE teachers once again.
About the only good news about this march today is that the leadership will only bring 20 percent of their total to the capital city while the rest of them will march in the city of Oaxaca. Believe it or not, that’s not bad news for the weary Mexico City residents who, after the two-year siege they staged on the city is needless to say, hate the CNTE teachers’ guts.
Like last year, Education Secretary (SEP) Aurelio Nuño warned all those not attending classes – it’s a regular school day – though traditionally teachers have been given the option to be off as a good will gesture. But last year Nuño made it a regular workday, and so it is today again.
The CNTE union held an all-night gathering in Oaxaca City Saturday and at dawn Sunday they announced their march. It was at that meeting that the decision to send 40,000 marchers into Mexico City just to let President Peña Nieto know that one of his worst nightmares during his Administration is still around.
But the message goes to the people of Mexico City in general who for starters can expect a massive traffic jam as the march will start at 9 a.m. and the problem will be when will it end? The questions at hand that the CNTE teachers were if they are planning on blockading streets the way they have done in the past and how long will it be before they go back to their home states.
Whatever they decide to do can only mean bad news to the people of Mexico City who definitely have stopped feeling sympathy for the CNTE cause.
But if they do decide to reestablish their permanent blockade of downtown Mexico City, residents are in for a kind of trouble they are only too familiar with, and which leads only to material losses not for the CNTE unionist but for society at large.
Let’s hope this time their protector Mexico City Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera asks them to leave on the double.