Parents and teachers blocked Federal Highway 200 yesterday to demand that the Oaxaca state government finish repairs to an earthquake-damaged elementary school in San Andrés Huaxpaltepec in the state’s coastal region.
Benito Juárez Elementary School principal Guadalupe Cruz Vásquez accused the state and federal governments of abandoning the work to replace five classrooms that were damaged in the September 2017 and February 2018 quakes.
“It is unacceptable for them [the government] not to reply to this petition. We demand the work’s completion and a decent space for our students’ education. They cannot just abandon us.”
Of the four damaged classrooms the government was going to replace, only one was completed, the principal said. Such repairs fall under the jurisdiction of the Oaxaca Institute for Educational Infrastructure Construction (Iocifed).
Teachers at the school, whose enrollment is 170, complained that the institute abandoned the construction and repair work in December after completing only about 50%.
For more than a year and a half, fourth and fifth-grade students have had to study in temporary and improvised structures made of materials such as metal sheeting and tarps.
Vehicles traveling on the federal highway linking Pinotepa Nacional and Puerto Escondido were impeded by the roadblock, which was lifted intermittently to allow a few drivers at a time to pass.
A spokesman for the CNTE teachers’ union said the blockade would continue Wednesday to pressure authorities into resuming work. “If there is no pressure, the work will not proceed.”