Following unsuccessful efforts to remove highway blockades in Oaxaca on the weekend, a meeting has been arranged between representatives of the CNTE teachers’ union and Interior Secretary Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong.
Eight people died in a confrontation at a blockade Sunday in Nochixtlán, in which Federal Police claimed they were ambushed by unidentified attackers.
After meeting with Osorio Chong yesterday Oaxaca Governor Gabino Cué said that both state and federal governments were prepared to meet with union representatives to reestablish peace in the state.
He said the intention was first to establish dialogue that would bring “order, peace and stability” to Oaxaca, following which other themes, such as education issues, could be addressed.
Cué recognized that the government’s actions to dislodge the blockades — there were as many as 18 in place yesterday — had generated discontent, and that groups that had infiltrated the teacher protest had committed acts of vandalism as a result.
“We have tried to remove blockades at points such as Salina Cruz, but these actions have resulted in radical groups committing acts of vandalism in Juchitán and [led to] the terrible incidents on Sunday.”
A spokesman for Section 22, the Oaxaca local of the CNTE, said yesterday his organization was ready for dialogue but insisted there would be no talks with either the Oaxaca governor, whom he held responsible for the events Sunday in Nochixtlán, or Education Secretary Aurelio Nuño.
Eligio Hernández said there would “definitely” be no talks with Nuño whom he described as having a closed mind.
The governor also said in an interview that conditions in the state have returned to normal despite the “delicate situation” of the past few days. Except for the blockades that continue in some regions, Cué said, things are normal in the city of Oaxaca and the regions.
However, at least half the businesses located around the Oaxaca city zócalo and the Alameda de León remain closed due to fears of more violence and looting. And many of those that have opened have erected metal barricades to prevent windows from being broken should a confrontation occur.
NVI Noticias reports that there were 31 motor vehicles destroyed by fire and at least seven business premises looted and damaged on Sunday and early yesterday morning in Oaxaca city.
For the Oxxo chain of convenience stores owned by the multinational beverage company FEMSA, things are not sufficiently normal that they will reopen stores that were looted on the weekend.
The company said that as a result of robberies that occurred in Matías Romero, Tehuantepec, Salina Cruz and Oaxaca city between Saturday and yesterday morning various stores would remain closed for the protection of employees and customers.
The meeting between Osorio Chong and the teachers’ union will take place in Mexico City tomorrow. The union has been calling for dialogue for over a year to press their demands for the repeal of education reforms.
Protests have escalated recently following the arrest of union leaders Rubén Núñez and Francisco Villalobos, whom they wish to see released.