We Demand Dialogue and We Are Met With Repression and Jail for our Leaders
The National Coordination of Education Workers (CNTE) wants to inform all workers in the rest of the work of the new violations of human rights and civil liberties in Mexico. On Friday June 10th and Saturday June 11th 2016, Francisco Villalobos (executive director of organizing) and Rubén Núñez (general secretary), two major union leaders of the 22nd section of the SNTE (National Union of Education Workers), were arrested by police commandos in Oaxaca and Mexico City. They are now both of them in jail with false charges. Just before the arrest, Rubén Núñez was part of the delegation of 15 teachers who went to the presidential residence that very day demanding to open a round table to set up a dialogue.
That very night, almost at the same time, hundreds of federal police troops violently disbanded the picket of the Oaxacan teachers in front of the Public Education Institute in Oaxaca. In conjunction with these attacks, the mass media controlled by the government launched a campaign of slanders and false accusation against the arrested leaders with the goal of criminalizing the struggle of the teachers. All these events have occurred in a context of multiple repressive measures from the federal and state governments and the military in the past months (teachers murdered, mutilated, imprisoned and thousands of teachers fired.)
These last years, our country has gained very sadly a world reputation for aberrant facts, like the forced disappearance of the 43 students of the Normal rural school of Ayotzinapa, after the fierce of local, state and federal police with the complicity of the army. The repression we face today is led by the same political leaders.
However, the imprisonment of our leaders, the dismissal of thousands of teachers, the armed provocations and police violence and evictions in several states against the CNTE only show the weakness and the ineptitude of the Peña Nieto government. Each blow from the government only increases the numbers of our pickets and the massive participation in our demonstrations and tours, the inner cohesion of the CNTE and the support coming from popular mobilizations and public figures of the cultural world. The struggle is still going one and alive!
We are convinced that defending public, universal, free state education we are defending a right of the Mexican people, which was won through long struggles and which was established in the constitution. The Mexican government is violating such a right in the name of a “law” designed to please the foreign corporations controlling it. We know many other governments are leading attacks against public education in other countries. In France workers have come together to respond on June 14th with a blunt general strike. We send them from our movement a fraternal greeting and we affirm our will to unite our efforts to combat the same enemies in defense of the same rights. We, the teachers and the people, will march together against any repression and in defense of public education on June 17th.
We call on all the democratic and independent unions of the country to send their letters of condemnation of the actions of the authoritarian Mexican government of Peña Nieto, and if possible, to organize protests at the Mexican Embassies or Consulates on June 17th, when we will me marching in Mexico City.
Francisco Bravo Herrera, Member of the democratic Section IX and of the National Political Board of the CNTE.