URGENT RELEASE: REPRESSION OF TEACHERS IN OAXACA

June 22, 2016

logocolor

URGENT RELEASE

San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, México
June 21, 2016

REPRESSION OF TEACHERS IN OAXACA

On June 19, elements of the police in the state of Oaxaca violently repressed teachers and organized civil society in opposition of the education reform of the government of Enrique Peña Nieto. Such events caused the death of at least six people, the apprehension and/or disappearance of 22, and 45 left with gunshot wounds between Nochixtlán and Hacienda Blanca. Their medical attention was not guaranteed, to which the general population responded by building “attention centers” to serve and treat those wounded. In the last few days, planes of the Federal Police and the Gendarmerie have arrived to the capital of the state.

Such event is the most recent within the escalating context of the repressive violence in all of the entities where the teachers’ movement has manifested with the support of the civil society (Oaxaca, Tabasco, Chiapas, Michoacan, Guerrero, among others) in the last few weeks. All of these mobilizations have been in demand for a dialogue with the federal government about the reform, which has maintained a stern stance of not wanting to modify such reform, and has threatened with the immediate cessation of those on strike.

Background History:

In 2013, the federal government approved the education reform, included in the packet of reforms derived from the “Pact for Mexico” -an agreement between principal political parties planting the construction of a society with human rights and liberties, economic growth, security, justice, transparency, combat of corruption, and democratic governance-. Since its announcement from the President of the Republic, Enrique Peña Nieto, the education reform caused inconformity between the teachers. It was presented by the government as an improvement in the education system from the evaluation of teachers; aimed to promote the autonomy of the families of students in terms of maintenance of the schools in practice, involving the covering of expenses of school maintenance. It was interpreted by a wide sector of teachers as a labor reform -more so than educational content- that would permit selective dismissals and the beginning of the privatization of education in the country.

As a result, dissident teachers organized multiple protests in several states in search for a dialogue with the federal government for the repeal of the reform. Various of the mobilizations were repressed by police forces, causing the death of three teachers (one from Chiapas and two from Guerrero in 2015 and 2016).

Organizations of the civil society of Oaxaca denounced the “criminalization of teachers”, with examples such as “mass media campaigns of defamation”, or the detention of at least 75 people -among which are several leaders of the movement-, who find themselves “in a situation of political imprisonment”. The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the United Nations assessed that several of the arrests were directed against human rights defenders and they were carried out arbitrarily. Furthermore, some of those arrested were transported to high security prisons intended for severe federal crimes.

The civil society of Oaxaca rejected the dozens of arrest warrants issued to members of the Section 22 of the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE, in its Spanish acronyms) -known for demanding the cancellation of the education reform and for being a prominent part of the Oaxacan social movement-, looking to “dismantle the movement”. Before this situation, various rapporteurs of the United Nations emitted “urgent phone calls to Mexican authorities” due to the human rights violations, mainly for arrests without warrants, nor search warrants, and for the use of torture.

Since May 15 of this year, the teachers in opposition declared a labor strike, closing a large part of schools, with percentages above 95% in the states of Chiapas and Oaxaca. Adding to the strike, teachers organized marches, blocked roads, held encampments and symbolic “sit-ins” of city councils and radio stations, among other actions, which have received growing support from the parents of the families of students, as well as the general population. The teachers currently maintain an encampment in the downtown center of the city of Oaxaca de Juárez, which is being guarded by barricades in the historic center of town and by road blockades of strategic points to prevent the entry of police forces.

The Civil Society of Oaxaca published an Urgent Action reporting a Humanitarian Alert issue “for State armed civilian attacks”. They requested the removal of governmental forces and repression against teachers and the general population, a space for dialogue, immediate medical attention, a stop to the criminalization of the teachers, the cancellation of the arrest warrants, the liberation of those detained, as well as the punishment of those responsible of the human rights violations.

As the International Service for Peace (SIPAZ), we are highly concerned due to the human rights violations in the context of the teachers’ mobilizations, which is why we invite you all to sign the Urgent Action from the Civil Society of Oaxaca in the web-page of the All Rights for All Network (Red TdT, in its Spanish acronym).

We also assess that the situation of high tension is not only present in Oaxaca, but in Chiapas as well, to which we invite the national and international society remain attentive and aware of the events in the state.

For more information:

AU: Sociedad Civil de Oaxaca emite Alerta Humanitaria por ataque armado del Estado a la población civil


National: Federal police deployed to states that reject the the performance evaluations; activities to repudiate the educational reform are announced

December 27, 2015

Foto @ Página 3

Photo @ Página 3

On 14 and 15 November, there was held the national exam on teachers’ knowledge, abilities, and competencies that forms part of the performance evaluation.  According to the Teachers’ Professional Docent, 40,303 teachers participated in 25 states of Mexican, comprising almost 97.8% of all teachers.  Following this first performance evaluation, protests raged in at least 10 states, and the Minister for Public Education (SEP), Aurelio Nuño Mayer, decided to dismiss the state delegates from Durango, Tlaxcala, Sonora, Zacatecas, and Morelos, after carrying out the first assessment of the evaluation.

In Chiapas, teachers affiliated with the National Coordination of Educational Workers (CNTE) mobilized from 13-15 November in marches wherein more than 30,000 teachers participated.  The CNTE teachers indicated that their demands are very clear: “suspension of the educational reform, rejection of punitive evaluations, and liberation for our political prisoners.”  With this last comment, they made reference to the 4 Oaxacan teachers who were arrested and transferred to the Federal Center for Social Readaptation in Altiplano, Mexico State, in October.  Amidst these protests, the evaluations were pushed back until December in Chiapas.

In Michoacán, 5,000 police arrived to the capital Morelia to guarantee that the exam take place on 21-22 November.  It was reported that the federal agents came prepared with anti-riot equipment, shields, and helmets, beyond their weapons.

In Oaxaca, Governor Gabino Cué Monteagudo sent his general secretary of governance, Alfonso Gómez Sandoval Hernández, to present the V Report of the State Government to the congress.  The absence of the governor had to with the fact that Section 22 of the National Union of Educational Workers (SNTE-CNTE) planned to mobilize at the site where the report was to be presented.  As such, it was surrounded by nearly 2,000 state and federal police.

In other news, Section 22 of the SNTE-CNTE made public the agreements it had made at the Broad National Representative Assembly (ANRA) on 18 November in Mexico City.  Representatives declared that on 26 November, in observance of a global day of action for Ayotzinapa and Mexico, the teachers participated in a march in the city, at the end of which they installed an indefinite sit-in for the relatives of the 43 student-teachers from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, to pressure the government to implement the recommendations made by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR).  Beyond this, on 14 and 15 November they plan to march in the national caravan to Altiplano to demand the release of the politically imprisoned teachers.  Lastly, they called on the secretary of public education, Aurelio Nuño, to hold a public debate with the CNTE.

For more information (in Spanish):

Maestros se manifestaron el fin de semana (Chiapas Paralelo, 16 de noviembre de 2015)

Cué termina como Ulises Ruiz: acorralado por el magisterio y blindado por fuerzas estatales y federales (Página 3, 16 de noviembre de 2015)

Acuerdan maestros movilizaciones y debate con la SEP (Libertad Oaxaca, 19 de noviembre de 2015)

Remueve la SEP a 5 delegados (Reforma, 18 de noviembre de 2015)

Arriban a Michoacán 5 mil policías para garantizar evaluación docente (Proceso, 19 de noviembre de 2015)

Acuden a evaluación más de 40 mil maestros de 25 entidades (Proceso, 16 de noviembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Low participation in teachers’ performance evaluation (26 December 2015)

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)


Oaxaca: Low participation in teachers’ performance evaluation

December 26, 2015

Foto @NVI noticias

Photo @NVI noticias

On 28 November was held the performance evaluation of Oaxacan educators, a process characterized by strong militarization of the state, with 8,000 to 10,000 elements involved. The statistics regarding teachers who participated in the evaluations are not clear: according to the State Institute of Public Education in Oaxaca (IEEPO), 2,981 participated, while the Secretary for Public Education (SEP) claimed 2,600 participants. It bears noting that the higher estimate would only represent about 60% of the 4,900 initial registrations among the 6,000 who had been invited, as compared with the approximate 60,000 teachers in the state. Beyond this, the head of the SEP, Aurelio Nuño Mayer, declared that “the most important thing is that we had the participation of teachers from Oaxaca who slowly are beginning to overcome the pressure and yoke that Section 22 of the National Coordination of Educational Workers (CNTE) had had, and instead they increasingly join the educational reform that favors the development of children in Mexico.”

In parallel terms, there was a protest march against the evaluation that incorporated around 20,000 people. Using slogans like “if evaluation is necessary, it must begin with Peña,” the dissident magisterium showed the strength it still has in the state. It should be mentioned that two confrontations between teachers and police took place, with Section 22 distancing itself from these acts, claiming them to have been the work of infiltrators. For the past six months there has been worsening persecution of the dissident teachers, incorporating actions like the deep reforms to the IEEPO, which traditionally had been managed by the CNTE, and the arrest of 4 teacher leaders from Section 22, who were transferred to a maximum-security prison in Altiplano, Mexico State. Beyond this, there still remain about thirty arrest-orders against other teachers that are still to be completed. In this way, members of Section 22 announced that they would continue with their actions in opposition to the evaluation.

It also should be noted that the body of the teacher Marjorie Xolio Meléndez, from Jalapa del Marqués and an affiliate of Section 22, has recently been found. In response, residents and teachers protested before the Municipal Palace and carried out a roadblock, demanding a forthright investigation of the feminicide and punishment of those responsible. “We demand before the authorities justice for this crime, because there is more concern for saving the head and protecting Peña Nieto and the federal police behind an evaluation, rather than the truth of the people,” declared protestors.

The performance evaluations have been held in all states of the Republic other than Chiapas, where it is expected that they will be carried out in the next few days. In this way, one can expect the implementation of special security operations to prevent the dissident teachers from inhibiting the evaluation as a means of blocking implementation of the educational reform.

For more information (in Spanish):

Asesinan a profesora en Oaxaca; maestros exigen cese a feminicidios (Proceso, 30 de noviembre de 2015)

Repudian la prueba maestros de Oaxaca (La Jornada, 29 de noviembre de 2015)

En medio de protestas, 60% de maestros de Oaxaca que se registraron fueron evaluados (Sin Embargo, 28 de noviembre de 2015)

Sección 22 reporta “infiltrados” en marcha a Ciudad Administrativa (La Jornada, 28 de noviembre de 2015)

La SEP presume buena convocatoria a la evaluación docente en Oaxaca (CNN México, 30 de noviembre de 2015)

Protestas en DF, Edomex y Chiapas en apoyo a maestros de Oaxaca (La Jornada, 28 de noviembre de 2015)

Aprehenden a 4 maestros de la CNTE y los trasladan al penal del Altiplano (Animal Político, 29 de octubre de 2015)

Cué cede educación de Oaxaca a la federación: desaparece el IEEPO; PF vigila instalaciones (Sin Embargo, 21 de julio 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)


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)

 


Guerrero/National: 13 months after the Ayotzinapa disappearances, relatives of the disappear continue to denounce impunity

November 19, 2015

Nos faltan 43 (@Desinformémonos)

“We are missing 43” (@Desinformémonos)

On 26 October, the 13-month anniversary of the forcible disappearance of the 43 student-teachers from Ayotzinapa, parents of the disappeared marched in Mexico City from the Angel of Independence to the Benito Juárez monument to demand the return of their sons. Among others, students from different Rural Teachers’ Colleges, teachers from the National Coordination of Educational Workers (CNTE), public-school university students, and other representatives from civil society participated in the action. Protestors demanded that the government observe the recommendations made by the Group of Experts from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) that has requested new investigations.

At the rally before the Juárez monument, parents of the disappeared demanded that “the federal government accept the [requested] interviews by the Group of Experts with soldiers and military commanders who were present during the events in Iguala.” Melitón Ortega, a relative of one of the disappeared youth, lamented that “the State authorities refuse to open lines of investigation that offer the chance for truth and justice.” As a parent of the disappeared, he said that “we cannot allow what happened 13 months ago to remain in impunity.”

For more information (in Spanish):

México: familiares de los 43 desaparecidos denuncian impunidad (RPP Noticias, 27 de octubre de 2015)

Padres de los 43 exigen aceptar entrevista de GIEI con militares (La Jornada, 26 de octubre de 2015)

A 13 meses de la desaparición de los normalistas, sus padres marcharán en el DF (Animal Político, 26 de octubre de 2015)

“No podemos dejar que lo ocurrido hace 13 meses quede impune”: padres de los 43 (Proceso, 26 de octubre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Mobilizations within and outside the country for the first anniversary of the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa (10 October 2015)

Chiapas: Actions for the one-year anniversary of the Ayotzinapa disappearances (8 October 2015)

Guerrero/National: “Fruitless” meeting between relatives of the disappeared from Ayotzinapa and EPN (8 October 2015)

Guerrero: Group of Experts on Ayotzinapa case presents its report 6 months on (13 September 2015)

Guerrero: Tlachinollan dedicates its XXI activity report to parents of the disappeared of Ayotzinapa (11 September 2015)

National/Guerrero: Nine months after the Ayotzinapa atrocity, relatives express that they will not be silenced (3 July 2015)

 


Oaxaca: More than 500 cases of torture and 26 executions: Truth Commission

June 29, 2015

(@ADN Sureste)

(@ADN Sureste)

On the ninth anniversary of the attempt to displace the teachers’ sit-in at the zócalo in Oaxaca de Juárez in 2006, on 14 June there was held a public session at the Oaxaca Truth Commission (CVO). 14 witnesses presented testimony, while members of the CVO, including its president Alejandro Solalinde, as well as the journalist Carmen Aristegui and the Mexican representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Javier Hernández Valencia, were also present.

The CVO is an autonomous organization that seeks to clarify the repressive historical events that took place in Oaxaca between 14 June 2006 and 30 May 2007, the time period covering the displacement of the teachers from Section 22 of the National Coordination of Educational Workers (CNTE) from the sit-in they had undertaken to demand better working and educational conditions. This police operation was ordered by the then governor, Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, and gave rise to the creation of the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO), a social movement that opposed the PRI-led government.

According to an advance copy of the CVO’s report, there were at least 500 cases of torture and 26 executions of social activists and those connected to the struggle. The public session gave voice to the testimony of women who lost their husbands, families that continue to seek out their disappeared, and political prisoners. According to Solalinde, the gravity of the acts is reflected well in the various testimonies that were presented, even if many other victims did not share their experiences out of fear. The public audience, which Javier Hernández Valencia understood as “a first step toward justice,” affirmed words such as those of Carmen Aristegui: “What should happen in the near future must incorporate the truth and memory, but above all justice, as Oaxacan society has sought out now for nearly a decade.” The CVO will put together a final report, to be presented before the judiciary in March 2016. The aim is to pressure authorities to put an end to the impunity of the acts, which represent crimes against humanity, in the view of Solalinde and his lawyer and assessor, Cuauhtémoc Ruiz.

On the same day of the public audience, a march organized by the CNTE took place, with the participation of 10,000 people. Protestors sought to commemorate the attempted displacement of 2006 and repeated their call for justice, the cancellation of articles 3 and 73 of the Constitution, and the cancellation of the educational reforms. They also protested in favor of boycotting the assessment exams for teachers that have been announced by the Secretary for Public Education (SEP).

For more information (in Spanish):

Hubo 500 casos de tortura y 26 ejecuciones en Oaxaca: Comisión de la Verdad (La Jornada, 12 de junio de 2015)

Ciudadanos de Oaxaca exigen justicia por el desalojo policial de 2006(CNN México, 14 de junio de 2015)

Confirman 26 ejecuciones y 500 torturados durante movimiento magisterial en Oaxaca (La Jornada, 15 de junio de 2015)

Sesión Pública de Comisión de la Verdad de Oaxaca, ejercicio inédito e importante: Aristegui (Educa, 15 de junio de 2015)

CNTE rememoró intento de desalojo del zócalo en el 2006 (e-Consulta, 14 de junio de 2015)

Comisión de la Verdad de Oaxaca (16 de junio de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Commemoration of seventh annivesary of APPO (24 June 2013)

Oaxaca: Sixth anniversary of the beginning of the 2006 social conflict (20 June 2012)

Oaxaca: Presumed killer of Brad Will is detained (5 June 2012)


Chiapas: abstentionism and blank votes “win” in midterm elections

June 25, 2015

Elecciones intermedias 2015, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas (@SIPAZ)

Midterm elections 2015 San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas (@SIPAZ)

On June 7, together with the rest of the country, federal congressional elections took place in Chiapas. The environment in the days running up to the elections was marked by tensions resulting from the violent protests that members of the National Coordination of Educational Workers (CNTE) had been carrying out since the beginning of June in the capital city of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, together with its announcement of their boycott of the elections. To guarantee that elections be held, the Secretary of Governance announced on June 6 the deployment of federal forces in Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Michoacán. In the specific case of Chiapas, reports indicated at least 18,000 soldiers and federal police arrived.

At the end of the day, the General Secretary for Governance, Juan Carlos Gómez Aranda, stressed that the elections had taken place under normal conditions in Chiapas, though he recognizes that some “incidents” had been seen, though according to him, these neither threatened the elections nor the social stability of the state.

Within these “incidents,” not all the voting booths could be installed, and 35 ballots and electoral documents were burned in Ocosingo, Chilón, Venustiano Carranza, Comitán, Salto de Agua, Chiapa de Corzo, Huehuetán, and Tuxtla. The CNTE has distanced itself from these actions.

92% of the reporting results suggested the following outcomes: 46.5% of the eligible population abstained, while 5.8% submitted blank votes. This implies that at least half declared themselves for one candidate or another.

The rest of the voting gave a clear victory to the alliance between the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and the Green Ecologist Party of Mexico (PVEM), whose candidates triumphed in the 12 districts comprising the state, obtaining 69.4% of the voters. In net terms, the PVEM consolidated itself as the primary political force, after it received 45.6% of the votes. MORENA took third place, with approximately 6% in favor.

It should be recalled that, in the case of Chiapas, there will be new elections on July 19 for local congressional positions (24 legislators by majority vote and 17 by proportion) and 122 mayorships.

For more information (in Spanish):

La coalición PRI-Partido Verde arrasa en las elecciones de Chiapas (CNN México, 8 de junio de 2015)

Gana el abstencionismo en Chiapas (Chiapas Paralelo, 8 de junio de 2015)

Detienen a campesinos en Chiapas por quema de material electoral (Proceso, 7 de junio de 2015)

Con tranquilidad concluye jornada electoral en Chiapas (Excelsior, 7 de junio de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas/National: Occupation of gas stations and burning of electoral offices during CNTE protests in Tuxtla Gutiérrez (10 June 2015)