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Murat is sworn in as governor this morning. Murat is sworn in as governor this morning.

Governor sworn in amid teacher protests

Union brings back the barricades in effort to reopen talks

With Oaxaca city’s legislative precincts surrounded by protesting teachers, the state’s governor-elect chose an alternative location for his swearing-in ceremony today.

Alejandro Murat Hinojosa became governor shortly after midnight this morning, opting for a no-frills private event at a local television station instead of a public ceremony originally scheduled for 11:00am at the Chamber of Deputies.

The Institutional Revolutionary Party politician, whose father was governor from 1998 until 2004, said this morning said the time and venue of the ceremony were changed to “preserve social peace.”

He said in an interview he wished to start the day by “working in peace” and expected to meet with leaders of the Oaxaca local Section 22 of the dissident CNTE teachers’ union. “What follows is dialogue and negotiation.”

He said he had inherited a “collapsed” state but would work to make Oaxaca a preferred destination for Mexicans.

The union began a 48-hour strike yesterday to coincide with Murat’s taking office.

The union also planned to mount blockades on some 37 strategic highway points throughout the state and at the entrances to the capital city’s administrative facilities and the governor’s official residence and headquarters.

Section 22 spokeswoman Isabel García said teachers planned to “show him [Section 22’s] muscle.”

Teachers are demanding the renewal of negotiations over the federal government’s education reforms, which it has consistently demanded be repealed. Highway blockades last summer crippled much of the state and led to severe economic losses, primarily in the tourism industry.

The ADN news agency reported yesterday the actual number of blockades fell short. It said Civil Protection officials said most were in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.

Others were reported in Pinotepa Nacional, at the Puerto Escondido airport, in Pochutla, in Tuxtepec and on the Huajuapan-Juxtlahuaca highway at Tecomaxtlahuaca and Huajuapan de León-Nochixtlán.

García said this morning that closing access to the Oaxaca airport is under consideration.

Murat said at a press conference yesterday he intends to work with all the sectors in building what he called an accord for Oaxaca.

“I want to emphasize that my government is receiving a state that is in economic and social collapse,” citing “a serious situation” in the health sector, public security, with transportation workers and in territorial conflicts.

Murat described the situation as “a disaster.”

Source: NVI Noticias (sp), Milenio (sp), El Imparcial (sp), ADN Sureste (sp)

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