Mexico’s Striking Teachers Stand Firm Against State Repression

08/25/16 The Nation

Oaxaca—Since the killing of 11 demonstrators at a street blockade in the Oaxacan town of Nochixtlán on June 19, Mexico has been in an uproar over the use of force against teachers resisting corporate education reform. As the Mexican school year is starting, teachers and supporters in four states have refused to return to classes until there is a negotiated agreement to change the government’s program, and until the perpetrators of the Nochixtlán massacre are held responsible.

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One thought on “Mexico’s Striking Teachers Stand Firm Against State Repression

  1. This is not a balanced analysis of the conflict and its roots. While it presents the positions of the CNTE, it does not look at the history of that group´s participation in the long-standing, corrupt system of union control of teacher appointments and promotions and the organization’s desire to retain those “perks”, which the new reform removes.

    In those states where the CNTE controls local sections of the SNTE (National Teachers Union), the CNTE has also controlled hiring and promotions. According to the Superior Auditor of the Federation and investigative journalism reports, until recently, in Oaxaca, Section 22, under control of the CNTE, also controlled many positions in the state education agency and used federal government education funds to pay union staff not in teaching positons. Thus, while the timing of the recent arrests of Section 22 leaders on charges of misuse of public funds is likely politically motivated, it may also not be unfounded.

    It is common Mexican government practice to have knowledge of officials’ corrupt use of funds, but only to prosecute when it is politically useful. Hence the arrest of Elba Esther Gordillo in 2013. She was widely seen as corrupt, wearing designer clothing and owning multiple million-dollar homes, but no action was taken against her until Peña Nieto became president and announced his goal of taking back control of teaching positions.

    Furthermore, teaching jobs, as government positions, were guaranteed for life by the Constitution. They could be bequeathed to family members upon retirement or even, de facto, sold. They were patrimony, inherited assets.

    FYI, see:


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