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Teachers raise fists in protest. Teachers raise fists in protest.

Feds losing against ‘CNTE lawbreakers’

But the battle may be lost as union reveals gains in talks

Day by day the federal government is losing a battle against individuals who systematically break the law, a national business organization said today of the conflict with the CNTE teachers’ union.

And a report this afternoon suggests the analysis by the Mexican Employers Federation, or Coparmex, may be correct.

The organization said a crisis of governability is shaping up in which the state appears to be losing to the dissident teachers, who are now in their 10th week of blockades affecting Oaxaca, Chiapas, Michoacán and, to a lesser extent, Guerrero.

The Interior Secretariat has taken the lead role in conducting dialogue with the teachers’ union, setting up working groups to address education and political issues but the talks have produced nothing concrete while highway and railway blockades continue.

Access to the Oaxaca city airport, which has been blocked intermittently, was behind another roadblock again this week as was that of the Chiapas capital, Tuxtla Gutiérrez.

Coparmex president Gustavo de Hoyos Walther said that while the CNTE blocks airports, which he described as a federal crime, “the authorities carry on with a strategy of dialogue in which its voice is receding due to a lack of forcefulness and for providing no answers for society, which continues to be the big loser.”

De Hoyos allowed that he was in favor of dialogue but wondered how much more time would be required by those involved in it to resolve the conflict which is leaving “irreversible damage to inhabitants, to businesses and to tourism in those states and to the security and peace of people’s daily lives.”

It is the responsibility of the Interior Secretariat to ensure the governability of the country yet “the criminal actions of the CNTE infringe upon governability,” de Hoyos said.

“We are issuing a clear call to the Interior Secretary to assume his responsibility and enforce the law.”

This afternoon, the newspaper Reforma reported that Section 22, the CNTE’s Oaxaca union local, has revealed that the Interior Secretariat has agreed to release all teachers and social activists currently being held on various charges ranging from money laundering to homicide.

Teachers who have been dismissed will also be rehired, the report said, and the union local’s bank accounts freed. Several thousand teachers have been fired, either for failing to show up for work or for failing evaluation exams.

A key element in the government’s education reforms has been teacher evaluation. It has been a common practice for years in states such as Guerrero and Oaxaca for teachers to sell their positions or pass them on to family members with no regard for the training, or lack thereof, of those who purchase the posts.

But the union has been steadfastly opposed to the process, objecting to what it says is its punitive nature.

Source: Milenio (sp), Reforma (sp)

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