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: Several criticisms of the presentation of Peña Nieto’s Third Report of Government

September 13, 2015

Enrique Peña Nieto during the presentation of the Third Report of Governance. Photo: @cnn méxico

Under the slogans “Mexico at peace,” “inclusive Mexico,” “Mexico with quality education,” “prosperous Mexico,” and “Mexico with global responsibility,” President Enrique Peña Nieto (EPN) presented his Third Governance Report on 2 September. During the presentation made at the National Palace in Mexico City, EPN made public his evaluation of the first half of his presidency, noting that he would not change the path of the reforms he had promoted, but rather accelerate this. “We will continue to build on the base we have established during the first half,” he expressed.

EPN discussed the previous year (September 2014-August 2015) as “difficult.” “Our country was profoundly hurt by a series of lamentable cases: the events of Iguala and the escape of a criminal recall the situations of violence,” he noted. According to La Jornada, the president’s comments alluded to the forcible disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa and the escape of Joaquín Guzmán Loera, “el Chapo.” Beyond this, he recognized the indignation and social rejection of both acts due to “indications of conflicts of interest that even involved the Executive branch.”

EPN also announced that there would be no new taxes or increases on those already existing, despite the decline in income from the petroleum sector. He also reported the fall in impactful crimes and the increase in poverty rates, according to the Measurement of the National Council for the Evaluation of the Policies of Social Development (CONEVAL). Beyond this, he declared that the changes to the State Institute of Public Education in Oaxaca (IEEPO) were oriented toward the “liberation of public education in Oaxaca, the particular interests that have maintained it captive for decades,” beyond ratifying the progression of the Educational Reform: “For our children and youth in Oaxaca—and throughout Mexico—the law will be applied. There will no retreat: despite the difficulties, the Educational reform will reach the last corner and school of the country.” He also warned of the risk of “believing in demagoguery, intolerance, and populism” in these moments during which there reigns “frustration and pessimism.” At the end of the report, he presented a new decalogue called “10 measures for new challenges.”

The Third Report received many criticisms by national and international organizations that believe Mexico is passing through a severe human-rights crisis that they feel was ignored in the presidential report.

For more information (in Spanish):

3r Informe de Gobierno 2014-2015 (Presidencia de la República)

El Tercer Informe de Peña Nieto en 10 frases (Animal Político, 2 de septiembre de 2015)

Iguala perturbó a México, reconoce Peña Nieto (La Jornada, 2 de septiembre de 2015)

Al dar un balance de su mandato, EPN reconoce hechos que causaron desconfianza e incertidumbre (Animal Político, 2 de septiembre de 2015)

A casi 1 año de Ayotzinapa, EPN no ha cumplido decálogo en seguridad (SinEmbargo, 7 de septiembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Nacional: Lack of confidence and strong criticisms of the Second Governmental Report presented by EPN (15 September 2014)

National: Submission of First Governmental Report amidst protests and mass-disturbances (13 September 2013)

National: Polemical ascension of EPN (7 December 2012)


Oaxaca: indigenous organizations and peoples challenge federal reforms, considering them to be “a legalized land grab”

July 27, 2014

(@Otros Mundos Chiapas)

(@Other Worlds Chiapas)

On 14 July, upon the close of the “Water and Energy” seminar held in Oaxaca de Juárez, civil organizations and communities pertaining to the Mixteco, Chatino, Zapotec, and Mixe peoples of the state of Oaxaca as well as organizations from Chiapas and Mexico City issued a communique denouncing the reforms being implemented in the country.  They indicated that said reforms betray a lack of respect for humanity rights and represent “a legalized land grab,” given that they were approved to favor national and international firms.

The authors of the communique explained that the laws on Hydrocarbons, National Waters, Mining, Public Service of Electricity, Geothermal Energy, Housing, Foreign Investment, Expropriation, National Goods, Labor, Regulation of Energy, Public and Private Associations, the National Agency on Industrial Security, Protection of the Environment, Education, and Telecommunications “have been presented and approved without the participation of the communities and citizenry in general who live in the country.”

They denounced that “they have found the three levels of government to lie, trick, threaten with death, repress, arbitrarily arrest, forcibly disappear, and even execute communal human-rights defenders,” and they affirmed that they will continue defending their lands and territories amidst this new attempt at looting.

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado de organizaciones y pueblos indígenas (14 de julio de 2014)

Pueblos de Oaxaca repudian despojo de Peña Nieto con Ley Energética(Ciudadanía Expres, 17 de julio de 2014)

Rechazan comunidades las reformas de EPN (Noticias.net, 18 de julio de 2014)

Reforma Energética legaliza el despojo territorial a pueblos indígenas: ONG´s (Página3.mx, 18 de julio de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English): 

Chiapas: Las Abejas Civil Society against the “Proposed Hydrocarbon Law” (28 June 2014)


Chiapas: end of Zapatista “little school”

September 13, 2013

Material de estudios en la Escuelita zapatista

Material for study from the Zapatista “little school”

From 12 to 16 August, more than 2000 students from several Mexican states and other countries attended the Zapatista “little school” which was held behind closed doors in the five caracoles and CIDECI-Unitierra in San Cristóbal de Las Casas.  Some of these students could also follow the classes on “Freedom according to the Zapatistas” online, by accessing the Enlace Zapatista webpage.  The students received a package containing two CDs and several books dealing with the issues “autonomous government, participation of women in autonomous government, and autonomous resistance,” and they moreover were invited to stay with a “votán,” or an EZLN member who was especially designated to serve as comrade, teacher, and guide.

The first day examined the question of “autonomous government” in which was detailed the functioning of the Good-Government Councils (JBGs) which are based in the five caracoles, 10 years after their creation.  The Zapatistas noted that the fact that they are called JBGs does not mean that they are already good, “but rather refers to the tendency permanently to be vigilant.”

The second day explored the participation of women at the local level, in the autonomous municipalities and the JBGs.

The third day presented the paths of the Zapatista communication media, educational system, and communal organization, which include farms, stores, shoe-stores, and autonomous banking systems, all of these based on communal work.

The fourth day saw discussion of the question of justice, thus strongly challenging the failures of the official system and presenting the model of autonomous justice which the EZLN has implemented in its spaces of influence as an alternative.

On the fifth and last day, democracy was discussed, with the contrast established between the operation of the “official democracy” with its elections every 3 or 6 years and the Zapatista system, in which “the most important thing is that the people give their opinion and proposals, and if they make mistakes in electing their authorities, remove them.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Parten a los caracoles casi 1,700 alumnos que asistirán a la Escuelita zapatista (La Jornada, 12 de agosto de 2013)

Inicia clases la Escuelita zapatista en San Cristóbal de las Casas (La Jornada, 12 de agosto de 2013)

A puerta cerrada inician clases mil 700 alumnos en la “escuelita zapatista” (Proceso, 12 de agosto de 2013)

Detalla EZLN el sistema de gobierno en sus Caracoles (Proceso, 12 de agosto de 2013)

Destaca EZLN participación de mujeres en la segunda jornada de la Escuelita (La Jornada, 13 de agosto de 2013)

Presumen zapatistas sus granjas, zapaterías y banco (Proceso, 14 de agosto de 2013)

Manifiestan en la Escuela Zapatista que en el gobierno autónomo la justicia no se vende (La Jornada, 15 de agosto de 2013)

El EZLN muestra en su ‘escuelita’ los logros de 19 años de autonomía (CNN México, 16 de agosto de 2013)

La democracia se simula con elecciones cada 6 años: EZLN (La Jornada, 17 de agosto de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: EZLN denounces nocturnal military overflights above Zapatista caracoles (21 August 2013)

Chiapas: Celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Zapatista caracoles (21 August 2013)