Saturday, June 15, 2024

Teachers union continues efforts to persuade AMLO to engage in talks

A day after protesting teachers prevented him from getting to his own morning press conference in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, President López Obrador was once again held up by CNTE union members on Saturday.

Members of the dissident teachers’ union blocked the president’s vehicle as he traveled toward Motozintla, a town in southern Chiapas just north of the border with Guatemala.

Disgruntled about employment issues including remuneration, working conditions and recruitment, the teachers attempted to persuade López Obrador to get out of his SUV and listen to their demands, among which is the resumption of talks with the federal government.

But the president refused to disembark, although he rolled down his window to rule out negotiation while union members continue to show disrespect for him.

CNTE members also protested on Saturday outside a theater in Comitán, where López Obrador did get out of his car and briefly greet the protesters.

A day earlier, the president described the CNTE in Chiapas as a “vested interest group” and declared he wouldn’t allow it to take him hostage. On Saturday, he acknowledged the brief delay he faced in a social media post.

“In the road along the border with Guatemala, from Amatenango to Motozintla, the CNTE people stopped us, but a lot of supporters of the 4T [fourth transformation] also greeted us,” López Obrador said, referring to the government by its self-anointed nickname.

Speaking at an event in Motozintla, the president asserted that his government retains the support of “the people” and that no one will be able to “defeat the transformation movement in Mexico.”

Although López Obrador was visibly annoyed by the two-hour-long blockade that prevented him from appearing in person at his presser at a military base on Friday, a member of the CNTE’s leadership committee in Chiapas claimed that the president deliberately allowed himself to be halted by it.

“… The president of the republic is very astute, he could have entered [the base] wherever he wanted to but didn’t; they told him that we were waiting for him there,” Virgilio Cruz said.

“… He needed the media– almost the majority of whom now support him – to see him as a victim and us as the guilty ones – teachers who don’t let him move forward,” he said. “… If he has all the security forces of the Mexican state [at his disposal], why didn’t he do anything?”

In describing the blockade on Friday as “improper,” López Obrador appeared to forget that he was once the leader of a protest movement that paralyzed sections of Mexico City in the wake of what he claimed was a fraudulent presidential election in 2006.

Realizing that the president had gotten a taste of his own medicine on Friday, many social media users took the opportunity to repost video footage from 2019 in which a Tamaulipas farmers’ association president declares that López Obrador taught him how to protest.

“… This … blocking of highways was taught to us by our own president,” Rogelio Ortíz said. “I learned from him, he was my teacher.”

CNTE members might well say the same thing.

With reports from El Universal and Reforma 

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