Teachers who belong to the dissident CNTE teachers’ union, not known for being shy over demonstrating for their cause, are threatening to outdo themselves with their newest political protest.
The union has demanded the federal government sit down for talks to discuss the repeal of the 2013 education reforms and if it doesn’t, there will be protest actions the likes of which “have never been seen before.”
The threat was issued on the weekend after the conclusion of the union’s fourth national congress.
Chiapas union leader Pedro Gómez refused to say what such a protest would look like but suggested reporters would know it when they saw it.
To kick things off for a season long associated with teacher protests, particularly in Oaxaca, the union has planned a couple of strikes for April and May.
The first will run for 48 hours on April 9 and 10, while the second will go for 72 hours starting on April 30.
“If our demands fall on deaf ears,” said Gómez, “an indefinite strike will start in May, probably around the 15th,” a date recognized as Teachers’ Day in Mexico and historically chosen for the union’s largest protests.
The union is also demanding justice in the case of the 2016 Nochixtlán, Oaxaca, massacre and for union members who have been jailed or have disappeared.
With election campaigning set to begin, the union doesn’t see the outcome having an impact.
The CNTE said that regardless of which candidate wins the July 1 presidential election, the union’s “fight will continue.”
“We do not believe that it will be Andrés Manuel López Obrador or whoever wins that will solve the problems that afflict Mexico,” Gómez said.
The members of the union “ratify our ideological, political and financial independence from all political parties that have today joined the electoral process,” he said.
The union is strongest in Chiapas and Oaxaca where it has been blamed for huge economic losses over the years as a result of their highway and other blockades and for the poor quality of education in the two states.
Its latest protests will likely be felt principally in those two states and Guerrero and Michoacán, where the union is strongest.