One of the more consistent highway blockades in Oaxaca during the past three and a half months has been that at El Vidrio, where a mountain highway between Oaxaca city and the coast meets the road to the town of Juquila.
Now it has been reported that parents have been forced to man the blockade by a rural farmers’ organization, which has threatened that their children would not receive report cards if the parents did not support the protest action.
That information was provided by a local resident who did not wish to be identified after a meeting Friday at which it was established that parents who did not report to the El Vidrio blockade would be fined up to 1,000 pesos.
There are three schools in the community of San Miguel Panixtlahuaca; all three have been closed since teachers belonging to the CNTE union went on strike May 15.
Local residents have also been required to make a “voluntary contribution” of 50 pesos to buy food for those manning the blockade.
Meanwhile, the teachers’ union said on Saturday it would intensify its protests in the state of Oaxaca, blocking highways and even cutting off access to the Pemex oil refinery in Salina Cruz. But there has been no report yet today of the latter taking place.
The union wants to return to the bargaining table with federal authorities, who have said there will be no dialogue until teachers return to work. Several thousand schools did not reopen for the start of the new school year last Monday in both Oaxaca and Chiapas.
Today, Interior Secretary Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong said if those negotiations did resume they would be conducted in public. Meetings during July and August were held behind closed doors in Mexico City, leading to speculation that the government was giving in to teacher demands and prepared to water down the education reforms that helped trigger their protests.
But Osorio Chong said there would be transparency around future talks so that the public would be aware that “we are not negotiating the law.”
He said the government has neither given in nor negotiated education reform with the teachers.