Why teachers have been occupying one of Mexico’s most alluring public spaces since May

07/25/16 Los Angeles Times

protest -- stroke -- resistanceWith its towering cathedral, stately trees and many cafes, the central plaza here usually exudes a sense of peace and elegance — a place to dine, reflect or listen to the marimba bands that perform on the ornate, wrought-iron bandstand.

But sit-ins, roadblocks and violence linked to Mexico’s roiling conflict between teachers and the federal government have cast a pall over Oaxaca City and the Guelaguetza, the signature annual celebration of the indigenous and mestizo heritage of this culturally rich state.

Read more…

Mexico’s Wind Farms Brought Prosperity, but Not for Everyone

07/26/16 The New York Times 

energy -wind_energyLA VENTOSA, Mexico — At night, Juan Piñeda López hears the hum of a wind turbine that churns 300 yards away from his adobe house. Sometimes he catches the stench of lubricant that spews down the turbine’s mast.

Beyond that, Mr. Piñeda said, the forest of turbines that has sprung up on the plains here in the southern state of Oaxaca in recent years barely affects him.

And that is the problem.

Read more…

A battle to feed young minds

07/08/16 The Economist

CNTEPEOPLE in one of Mexico’s poorest states breathed a sigh of relief when over 170 tonnes of food were flown in at the start of July to restock local shops. The scarcities in Oaxaca were not caused by a natural disaster or a besieging foreign power. They followed a blockade by teachers, indignant over education reforms, who have once again shown how effectively they can paralyse commerce. In between bursts of lethal clumsiness, the authorities have mostly left the protesting pedagogues free to man their barricades.

Read more…

Teacher blockades force Mexico to airlift food into cut-off villages

Reuters 07/02/16

CNTEMexico’s air force has flown tonnes of grain to the southern state of Oaxaca as protests by teachers opposed to education reform spread across the country and road blocks led to dwindling food supplies in some remote regions.

Tension in the state intensified after eight people died last month in clashes between police and the protesting teachers, and unrest has flared throughout Mexico.

Local media reported protests by factions of Mexico’s CNTE teachers union on Friday in the states of Guerrero, Oaxaca, Michoacan, Chiapas, Nuevo Leon and in Mexico City.

Read more…

The Ugly Reality of Police Violence Against Mexico’s Protesters

06/28/16 CityLab

The photos are reminiscent of a war zone: hundreds of people run through the streets, shooting, launching tear gas, throwing stones and firing rockets. In the background, cars burn and the wounded await medical attention.

Nine have died since a violent clash erupted just over a week ago in Oaxaca, Mexico, between police and protesters. Most of the protestors are teachers from Section 22 of Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (CNTE), a teachers’ union that opposes education reforms put in place by President Enrique Peña Nieto. The country’s public education system is in a dire state, and the reforms have been supported in other parts of the country.

Read more…

What Fueled a Deadly Clash in Mexico?

26/06/16 The Wall Street Journal 

9620147010_4dc9006051_bA violent confrontation in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca last week pitted federal and state police against an antigovernment mob. Protesters burned buses and cars, lobbed Molotov cocktails and set piles of debris on fire. At least six people were killed.

Now another battle is under way over who gets to write the definitive history of what actually happened on the bloody Sunday of June 19 in Nochixtlán. The narrative that becomes the accepted version of events matters greatly for the future of Mexico.

In polls ahead of the July 2018 presidential elections, the hard-left, antidemocratic demagogue Andrés Manuel López Obrador has an early lead. He’s allied with the militant teachers union known as the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE), which set up the roadblocks that triggered the showdown with the government.

Read more…

Clashes Draw Support for Teachers’ Protest in Mexico

26/06/16 The New York Times 

Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP – Getty Images

NOCHIXTLÁN, Mexico — The battle over education here has suddenly turned literal.

Violent protests have claimed the lives of at least nine people in little more than a week, littered the roads with the charred remains of cargo trucks, and tapped a deep vein of anger and mistrust toward the government.

Thousands of students here in the southern state of Oaxaca have been without school for months as their teachers have taken to the streets, rejecting national efforts to improve the enormous, abysmal education system.

But after government forces clashed with demonstrators here in the town of Nochixtlán last week, leaving at least nine dead and dozens wounded, the protest movement appears to have gained steam, plunging President Enrique Peña Nieto’s signature education changes deeper into controversy.

Read more…