The Federal government has finally agreed to a dialogue with the CNTE, the national organization of teachers, in an apparent concession to make some modifications to the Reform. So far the talks have been in secret, and the teachers are skeptical about the process. The blockade in Nochixtlán has been removed, but other blockades, marches, and protests continue throughout the country.
The teachers don’t want to stop their demonstrations in order to keep the pressure on the government until they see some meaningful changes in the Reform. Several leaders have been released from prison. This social unrest has caused economic harm to mostly international businesses, such as Wal-Mart, which has threatened to leave Oaxaca… please do! Of course these blockades and marches are inconvenient, but people who are conscious of what is at stake deal with them in good humor. We need to keep in mind that the government is run behind the scenes by Carlos Salinas de Gotari, who trashed the Mexican economy in the 90s and is at it again.
While the overall situation is relatively quiet in Oaxaca today, the struggle continues. We don’t know what will happen next, but the teachers are committed to nonviolent protests, and our prayer is that nonviolence will prevail and bloodshed will be avoided.
The Reform package of laws the Federal government passed include reforms not only to education, but also to the health care system, the electrical system, (CFE), the petroleum industry, (PEMEX), land rights, water rights, and taxation of small businesses. There is widespread opposition to these other “reforms” as well, since they were instituted without consultation of the people and will ultimately lead to privatization of these services and resources.