It seems that business organizations have finally run out of patience with the repeated actions of the CNTE teachers’ union in several southern states, principally Oaxaca and Chiapas, such as blockades on roads and highways, encampments at commercial centers and in the zócalos of several large cities, the hijacking of buses and commercial vehicles, and others.
These actions have directly or indirectly harmed the usual movement of merchandise and supplies, and caused a drop in clientele for the tourist industry, the main source of income for the state of Oaxaca.
The reasons for the actions of the teachers’ union and the reactions of educational authorities and the federal government have been discussed on countless occasions, and the reason for this comment isn’t to say either is right.
But what has become evident are the economic damages and losses suffered by businesses of all sizes, small shop owners, those employed by the tourist service industry, artisans and street vendors.
All this has been caused, on one hand, by the actions of the CNTE, and on the other, the irresponsible omission of municipal and state authorities, who have not shown any intention of protecting free trade and the right to travel through the use of public force.
For now, business leaders have opted for legal action against both sides, threatening also to suspend the payment of taxes.
Many people won’t be able to recover the man-hours lost in blockades, the damages to vehicles, the elevated cost of hotel tariffs, the thousands of cancellations of small trips to our state, the elevated cost of gasoline, the shortage of supplies, etc.
There is great interest in the way the courts will handle these allegations, which could also set very important precedents for the future.
As well, human rights organizations will get the chance to see first-hand the many ways that the rights of the people of Oaxaca have been violated: the rights to freedom of movement and free trade, along with the abuse and violence.
Armando González is a journalist and broadcaster who lives in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca.