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

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Chiapas: Pilgrimage by the Believing People for the release of professor Alberto Patishtán Gómez

April 23, 2013

Peregrinación por Patishtan en Tuxtla @ Pozol Colectivo

On 19 April, on the birthday of professor Alberto Patishtán Gómez, some 8,000 people participated in a pilgrimage for the release of this Tsotsil teacher in the capital city of Chiapas, Tuxtla Gutiérrez.  This was a pilgrimage organized by the Believing People, a Tsotsil team from the San Cristobal de Las Casas diocese, and the Movement of El Bosque for the Release of Alberto Patishtán.  The march was accompanied by teachers from Section 7 of the National Union of Educational Workers (SNTE); the route was to end at the First Collegiate Tribunal of the Twentieth Circuit, where there may be held discussions regarding the liberty of Patishtán in the next few days.  Beyond this, there was held a rally at the Council on Federal Judiciary in Mexico City, besides the protests held outside Mexican consulates and embassies throughout the world.

Different communication media made public the state government’s intention to cancel this pilgrimage, given that it coincided with the visit of Enrique Peña Nieto and the former president of Brasil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, to relaunch the National Crusade against Hunger in Navenchauc, Zinacantán, which is not far from Tuxtla Gutiérrez.  These pressures were communicated by the subsecretary of governance, Moisés Zenteno, from the mayor of El Bosque, Orlando Martínez, and two residents of the community who “only want money,” as professor Martín Ramírez said, being a member of the Movement of El Bosque for the Release of Alberto Patishtán;  he added that he had replied by saying that he could not “arrest the mobilization, given that it is a national and international affair,” to which was replied that “the mayor threatened that Patishtán could be held longer in prison if the march in fact took place.”  Subsequently, Martín Ramírez received a call from Moisés Nimrod, warning him that the pilgrimage had to be canceled “because the governor will release Patishtán.”  Requesting that the official confirm this deal, Nimrod reneged and recognized that it was not in the hands of the government, but that “he will see what he can do.”

In other news, the governor of Chiapas, Manuel Velasco Coello, visited Alberto Patishtán Gómez in prison no. 5 in San Cristóbal de Las Casas a day before the pilgrimage, and he committed himself to promoting the release of Patishtán and a new review of the cases of the other prisoners from the organizations the Voz del Amate and those in solidarity with the Voz del Amate. Accompanying the governor were the state attorney general, Raziel López Salazar, and teh state secretary for public security, Jorge Luis Llaven Abarca. Before Alberto Patishtán, Velasco Coello expressed his personal interest in the case, declaring that he believes in his innocence, and committing himself to discuss the case with president Enrique Peña during his visit the following day.

Víctor Hugo López, director of the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights (CDHFBC), indicated that the government “demands a cancellation of the pilgrimage programmed for this Friday, because it wants to demonstrate a scene cleansed of social protest; this would be the first mass-mobilization in the state capital during this new administration.”  He also added that the CDHFBC was concerned for the security both of Patishtán and Martín Ramírez, “because the tone of the demand changed from request to threat and, as we have seen in other cases, repression can be used after negotiations fail to achieve what is desired.”

Lastly, the Believing People published a communique during the pilgrimage, expressing that “Today the federal and state governments […] have proposed strategies of a crusade against hunger.  That is not true in their words; we believe and are convinced that it is in fact a CRUSADE AGAINST THE HUNGRY; we indigenous and campesino peoples ARE HUNGRY, but we have hunger for the truth and justice in the Acteal case, and HUNGER FOR THE IMMEDIATE AND UNCONDITIONAL RELEASE OF OUR BROTHER ALBERTO PATISHTAN.”  It continues: “Mssrs. Justices of the First Collegiate Tribunal of the Twentieth Circuit, do not continue staining your dignity and prestige maintaining imprisoned our brother.  Within the historical memory of the Mexican people the decision that you take regarding this innocent person will remain forever remembered.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Tzotziles y maestros marchan por la libertad de Patishtán (La Jornada, 20 de abril de 2013)

Peregrinan tzotziles por libertad de Patishtán (El Universal, 19 de abril de 2013)

Palabra de Pueblo creyente en la peregrinación por la Libertad de Patishtán (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 19 de abril de 2013)

Se compromete Manuel Velasco a gestionar la libertad de Patishtán (La Jornada, 18 de abril de 2013)

Presiones para detener las movilizaciones a favor de Patishtán por visita de Peña Nieto (Desinformémonos, abril 2013)

El Gobernador de Chiapas Manuel Velasco Coello reconoció inocencia de Patishtán (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 19 de abril de 2013)

Liberación Inmediata e incondicional a nuestro hermano Alberto Patishtán Gómez (Blog Las Abejas de Actea, 19 de abril de 2013)

Audio-video:

Retransmisión de la peregrinación y entrevistas (Koman Ilel, 19 de abril de 2013)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: Petition from the CDHFBC to release Alberto Patishtán (15 April 2013)

Chiapas: Forthcoming actions for the release of Alberto Patishtán (8 April 2013)

Chiapas: “Justice is its opposite,” declares Alberto Patishtán (20 March 2013)

México/Chiapas: SCJN rejects review of case of Alberto Patishtán(20 March 2013)


Oaxaca: March-meeting of Section 22 of the SNTE in commemoration of 25 November

November 30, 2012

 

Meeting of Section 22 @ SIPAZ

On 25 November, Section 22 of the National Union of Educational Workers (SNTE) marched toward the zócalo of Oaxaca City, in observance of the six-year anniversary of a confrontation with the police which marked the struggle of its movement, in repudiation of the repression experienced in 2006 to demand punishment of those responsible.  This march ended with a rally in their offices in downtown Oaxaca.  Rubén Núñez Ginez, general secretary of Section 22, finalized the different interventions in which was requested the release of their comrades who remain imprisoned as well as judgment of those responsible for the incident in 2006, beyond other recurring demands such as increases in wages and working-conditions as well as rejection of federal evaluation measures.  Also was recalled the incident of 21 October when teachers of the union section had a confrontation with residents of the municipality of San Pablo Villa de Mitla regarding the highway blockade they had maintained in rejection of the control regarding some schools in the state as exercised by another faction of the union, Section 59.  This confrontation resulted in the arrest of five teachers who were publicly exhibited as half-naked, blindfolded, and with their hands tied in the middle of the municipality.One of the banners on display in the zócalo read “Gabino Cué we demand the transfer of schools to Section 22 and the cancellation of modules of Section 59, a commission for truth and punishment against Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, resources for PTEO and alternative education, punishment of the PRI members responsible for the repression in Mitla.”It should be remembered that on 25 November 2006, just days before the accession of Calderón to the presidency of the republic, the teachers and popular movements organized a megamarch to end in downtown Oaxaca, the objective of which was to install a human siege that would last 48 hours around the federal agents to protest for the exit of the PFP and the resignation of governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz.  This march ended in the worst confrontation that until that time exercised by police against members of the movement; it was followed by arson as directed against different buildings, and it culminated during the night with strong social repression against the social movement and a sector of the population that had nothing to do with APPO.

For more information (in Spanish):

Maestros marchan en repudio a la “represión” de 2006 en Oaxaca (CNN México, 25 de noviembre de 2012)

Maestros de la Sección 22 anuncian movilizaciones el 1 de diciembre (Proceso, 25 de noviembre de 2012)

MARCHA MAGISTERIO OAXAQUEÑO EN REPUDIO DE LA REPRESIÓN DEL 25 DE NOVIEMBRE DE 2006 (Sección 22, 25 de noviembre de 2012)

Marcha Sección 22 del SNTE para recordar hechos del 2006 (Quadratín Oaxaca, 25 de noviembre de 2012)

Marcha Sección 22 por desalojo en Mitla (Reforma, 25 de noviembre de 2012)

Sección 22 marcha por desalojo en Mitla (Terra Noticias, 25 de noviembre de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: March of teachers and social organizations in observance of the repression of 25 November 2006 (28 November 2011)

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

Oaxaca: Urgent Action for new harassment against Juan Manuel Martínez Moreno (30 September 2010)


Oaxaca: Sixth anniversary of the beginning of the 2006 social conflict – teachers’ march and act of recognition by state government

June 20, 2012

Acto de reconocimiento del gobierno de Oaxaca @ Educa

Act of recognition on the part of the Oaxacan government @ Educa

On 14 June, on the sixth anniversary of the beginning of the social conflict in Oaxaca, several actions were taken regarding the events of 2006.  Section 22 of the National Union of Educational Workers (SNTE) commemorated the failed attempt to displace the protests on 14 June y 2006 with a march and rally in the capital of the state.  This attempt at displacement gave rise to the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO).  Azael Santiago Chepi, secretary general of Section 22, indicated in an interview with local media that the teachers’ demand continues until justice is done for the attacks suffered against teachers during the social conflict, and he called it a “farce” that the former governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz (2004-2010) would carry out actions in favor of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in the state during the present electoral campaign, given the crimes committed by his government.

Beyond this, and also on 14 June, the Oaxacan governor Gabino Cué Monteagudo carried out an act of recognition for the responsibility of the state government regarding the human-rights violations committed during the social conflict.  Cué noted that all state institutions have the obligation to recognize and offer comprehensive attention to the victims of human-rights violations committed in 2006 and 2007.  Within this act of recognition, an accord was signed that creates the Comprehensive Plan of Reparation of Damages that promises compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction, and guarantees of non-repetition.  In a joint communiqué, the Gobixha AC Committee for Comprehensive Defense of Human Rights and FUNDAR Center of Analysis and Investigation expressed that “this act of public recognition of the responsibility of the Oaxacan State contributes to the rehabilitation of the victims and their reintegration into society, as well as constituting a process of a reconstruction of the social fabric that will only be possible if it based on truth and justice.”  They demanded furthermore that “as soon as possible the investigations carried out by the Prosecutorial Office of Crimes of Social Importance associated with the State Attorney General’s Office must bear fruit and establish the penal responsibility for the acts that occurred during 2006 and 2007.  This is a necessary step to break with the authoritarian past and put in place a democratic transition from the point of transitional justice, in terms of the reconstruction of the social fabric and the reconciliation of different sectors of society.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Comunicado de CODIGO-DH y FUNDAR (14/06/2012)

Comunicado del Gobierno del Estado de Oaxaca (14/06/2012)

Proceso: Cué reconoce responsabilidad del gobierno en el conflicto de 2006 (14/06/2012)

Noticias: Impunes, los crímenes de 2006: Santiago Chepi (15/06/2012)

Noticias: Responsabilidad oficial en hechos del 2006-2007(15/06/2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

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

Oaxaca: Urgent Action for new harassment against Juan Manuel Martínez Moreno (30 September 2010)


Oaxaca: Paso de la Reyna dam may be built in seismically active zone

April 4, 2012

Photo @ Noticiasnet.mx

Since 29 March, members of the Council of Peoples United in Defense of the Río Verde (COPUDEVER) and teachers from the Section 22 of the National Union of Educational Workers (SNTE) have blocked the highway between the states of Guerrero and Oaxaca, demanding the cancellation of the construction work for the Paso de la Reyna dam, which the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) seeks to carry out.

The protestors accuse the governments of Felipe Calderón and Gabino Cué of pursuing the construction of infrastructure in a zone that is highly seismically active.  The dam is planned to be built at the intersection of two large tectonic plates, “and the risk we run is that when there might be a strong earthquake, the dam would be destroyed, inundating the communities that are downriver,” warns COPUDEVER.  In a letter sent to the state governor, the organization explains that 43 municipalities of the southern sierra and the coast do not favor the construction of the dam, as they argue that with these latest earthquakes observed in the region, the project could imply severe consequences for communities.

In these terms, Governor Gabino Cué asserted that he would not support any work that would imperil the lives of people and that would require the displacement of indigenous peoples.  He indicated that “dams are necessary, as clean energy is necessary, but more so in these moments during which wind energy is important for contributing to the negation of the effects of climate change.  In the case of dams, when this implies a movement of peoples, this must be carried out with the consetn of the people.”

The Interdisciplinary Center of Investigation for Wholesome Development, which is associated with the National Polytechnic Institute, reports that the beginning of the construction of the Paso de la Reyna dam, located in the coastal zone, has been suspended now for at least 10 years, due to lack of knowledge regarding environmental impacts.

For more information (in Spanish):

Bloquean carretera entre Oaxaca y Guerrero por obra de CFE (Milenio, 30 de marzo de 2012)

Paso de la Reina, sólo con consenso: Gabino (Noticiasnet.mx, 29 de marzo de 2012)

Afirma Gabino Cué que no avala proyecto hidroeléctrico del “Paso de la Reina” (ADN Sureste, 29 de marzo de 2012)

Rechazan construcción de la presa Paso de la Reyna (Despertar de Oaxaca, 30 de marzo de 2012)

Afirma Gabino Cué que no avala proyecto hidroeléctrico del “Paso de la Reina” (Foro Político, 29 de marzo de 2012)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: COPUDEVER makes demand against Gabino Cué (13 December 2012)

Oaxaca: COPUDEVER mobilizes in defense of the Río Verde (20 March 2011)

Oaxaca: Assembly cancels the authorization given to the CFE in project “Paso de la Reina” (31 July 2009)


Oaxaca: Murder of professor from Section 22; mobilization of teachers regarding disappeared

April 14, 2011

Flyer for the day called for by Section 22 @ Sección 22

On 5 April, in the community Dos Caminos (municipality of San Agustín Chayuco) was killed professor Luis Quiroz Quiroz, member of Section 22 of the National Union of Educational Workers (SNTE).  Quiroz Quiroz had been traveling in his car toward the municipal city when he was shot and killed by unknown subjects.  The professor had been a candidate in the elections for mayor of this municipality held in November 2010, a bid he lost to the candidate of the Party of Democratic Revolution (PRD), Claudio Bautista Nicolás.  For its part, the Oaxacan Section of the teachers union denounced the attack and demanded that authorities investigate it and punish those responsible.  Furthermore, the Section continues denouncing the forced disappearance of Professor Carlos Rene Román Salazar, which occurred on 14 March in Oaxaca de Juárez.  Teachers from the union installed a camp-site in front of the Palace of Governance in the capital of the state to demand his presentation with life.  Gabino Cué Monteagudo, governor of the state, met with the teachers on 5 April, committing his government to a compensation of 500,000 pesos to those who can provide information regarding the whereabouts of Román Salazar.  On 7 and 8 April, Section 22 programmed a day of searching for the disappeared.

For more information (in Spanish):

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):


Oaxaca: Denunciations and initiation of mobilizations by Section 22 of the SNTE

March 25, 2011

Since 14 March, at approximately 6:30pm, teacher Carlos Rene Román Salazar, member of Section 22 of the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE) finds himself disappeared.  The Oaxaca State Attorney General’s Office has offered 500,000 pesos “to those persons who provide utile, true, efficient, and opportune information regarding the identity and whereabouts of those presumed responsible for the disappearance of the victim or data that would permit the localization of Professor Carlos René Román Salazar.”

In other news, on 18 March, unknown subjects set on fire a bus from the Normal School of Pre-School of Oaxaca, leaving a threatening message directed at the General Secretary of the SNTE, Azael Santiago Chepi.  Section 22 rejected “these aggression and provocations on the eve of the State Assembly, with the clear intention of destabilizing the movement and provoking instability in our state.  We reject the mediatic politics of terror undertaken against the direction of Section 22.”

In its assembly that closed on 20 March, Section 22 of the SNTE agreed on a week of mobilizations to demand the appearance with life of Román Salazar as well as the resignation of three officials of the government of Gabino Cué, found to be responsible for the repression visited on protestors in Oaxaca de Juárez on 15 February.

For more information (in Spanish):

 

Ofrecen 500 mil pesos por profesor desaparecido (El Universal, 18 March)

Queman autobús escolar en Oaxaca (El Universal, 18 March)

Aprueba Sección 22 movilizaciones en Oaxaca (Radio Formula, 20 March)

Amagan maestros con más movilizaciones y protestas (Milenio, 20 March)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Oaxaca: Confrontation between protestors and police during visit of Felipe Calderón – teachers mobilize themselves (20 de febrero de 2011)