Chiapas: A teacher dies during protests against the educational performance evaluation

December 26, 2015

Movilización del magisterio por la muerte de un maestro.  Foto: @Quadratín Chiapas

Mobilization of teachers over the death of one of them by police.
Photo: @Quadratín Chiapas

David Gemayel Ruiz Estudillo, a teacher of 23 years of age who pertained to Section 22 of the National Union of Educational Workers (SNTE), died on 8 December after having been hit by a truck during a confrontation between dissident teachers in Chiapas and police forces. Both parties held the other responsible for the death of the teacher.

Since 7 December, the teachers in opposition to the performance evaluation that has been promoted by the educational reform have declared an indefinite strike. The evaluation was programmed for 12-13 December, though at the last moment the authorities delayed it until the eighth of December, in an attempt to inhibit mobilizations for boycott. In any case, teachers attempted to blockade access to the center for exams, to which teachers had been moved after having been assembled in military installations. At the center confrontations raged with the police, leaving one teacher dead, six arrested, and several others injured. During the second day of the test, on 9 December, the teachers protested in downtown Tuxtla Gutiérrez, where they kidnapped five police and appropriate hundreds of ammunition clips, gas bombs, body armor, shields, and helmets, among other items. After negotiating with federal authorities, the arrested teachers were exchanged for the police who had been held, as well as the stolen equipment. According to sources among the teachers, it is estimated that the State response involved between 10,000 and 15,000 police.

Following the positive evaluation made by the National Coordination of Educational Workers (CNTE) regarding the release of their arrested comrades and the boycott of the second part of the evaluation, they suspended the sit-in they had installed in the plaza and called for the reinstatement of the 50,000 teachers who had been on strike for three days. Despite this, one of the CNTE leaders, Pedro Gómez Bamaca, warned that “in Chiapas the labor reform will not pass,” and he announced his participation in the mobilization in Mexico City planned for 18 December. In this way, the CNTE communicated that it would not allow the return to work of the 2,300 teachers who did complete the exam.

The confrontations over the evaluation process in Chiapas has not been an aberration. Both the application of the exam as well as the larger educational reform have been rejected by many teachers and have involved high levels of militarization, with strong protests in Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Michoacán. It bears noting that David Gemayel Ruiz is the third teacher who has died in protests against the evaluation, following the death in February of Claudio Castillo Peña in Acapulco and the murder in March of Antonio Vivar Díaz in Tlapa de Comonfort, Guerrero.

For more information (in Spanish):

Maestros de Chiapas dan “tregua” y regresan a sus centros de trabajo (Chiapas Paralelo, 10 de diciembre de 2015)

Intercambian maestros a 5 policías por los 6 profesores detenidos (Chiapas Paralelo, 9 de diciembre de 2015)

Difunden video del enfrentamiento entre policías y maestros en Chiapas (La Jornada, 9 de diciembre de 2015)

Autoridades y maestros se acusan de provocar el fallecimiento de un docente (La Jornada, 9 de noviembre de 2015)

El asesinato de David Gemayel Ruiz (La Jornada, 8 de diciembre de 2015)

Reforma educativa cobra tercera víctima: Muere maestro durante protesta en Chiapas (Educa, 9 de diciembre de 2015)

SEP inicia evaluación bajo resguardo de la SEDENA y Policía Federal (Chiapas Paralelo, 8 de diciembre de 2015)

Maestros de Chiapas inician este lunes plantón indefinido y acciones para impedir la evaluación (Chiapas Paralelo, 7 de diciembre de 2015)

Federales arriban a Chiapas, CNTE prepara acciones de resistencia (Chiapas Paralelo, 7 de diciembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Teachers in Acapulco successfully sabotage educational evaluation (26 December 2015)

Guerrero: Teacher from Acapulco dies after violent repression of a protest by the Federal Police (10 March 2015)

National: Thousands of teachers march against the educational reform (4 October 2013)

 

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Guerrero: March in Tlapa de Comonfort, one month after the murder of Antonio Vivar Díaz

July 22, 2015

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Federal police invade the Tepeyac community, Tlapa, 7 June 2015. Photo @Tlachinollan

On 7 July, a month after the murder of Antonio Vivar Díaz, an activist from the Popular Guerrerense Movement (MPG), at the hands of federal police, some 2,000 teachers, retirees, and neighbors of the Tepeyac community marched in Tlapa to demand justice and punishment for those responsible. On 7 June, election day, Federal Police arrested eight people from El Tepeyac while lacking any arrest-orders. The tensions between the federal police and neighbors was controlled at about 8pm, when it was agreed that the 8 prisoners would be released and transferred to Tlapa, in exchange for 30 federal police who had been taken by the community. Regardless, this agreement was broken by the police and military, who entered forcibly using tear-gas to rescue the detained police. This action caused the death of the activist and teacher Antonio Vivar Díaz by gunshot.

The Tlachinollan Mountain Center for Human Rights, in a report on 7 July notes that “the victims of the grave human-rights violations […] find themselves in a very high-risk situation. For this reason it is critical that the State implement the necessary measures to protect the lives and physical and psychological integrity of the victims, witnesses, and all other residents of the Tepeyac community […].” In this way, on 7 July, the World Organization against Torture (OMCT) released an open letter to the Secretary for Governance and the Federal Attorney General’s Office (PGR) which demands that “an immediate, exhaustive, effective, and impartial investigation be launched into these acts, particularly the death of Antonio Vivar Díaz,”

For more information (in Spanish):

Marchan maestros y estudiantes en Tlapa; exigen justicia por el activista asesinado por federales (El Sur de Acapulco, 8 de julio de 2015)

Los ocho de Tlapa no se conocían ni fueron detenidos en la CETEG (El Sur de Acapulco, 6 de julio de 2015)

OPINIÓN | Las ejecuciones del Ejército en Guerrero (CDHM Tlachinollan, 6 de julio de 2015)

Ficha Informativa (CDHM Tlachinollan, 7 de julio de 2015)

Carta Abierta (OMCT, 7 de julio de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: PRI wins elections within violent context (25 June 2015)

Guerrero: Murders and death-threats against candidates for June elections (17 May 2015)