Teachers have been camping in the Oaxaca city zócalo for 83 days. Teachers have been camping in the Oaxaca city zócalo for 83 days. nvi noticias

Transparency urged in teacher negotiations

In Oaxaca, transit firms and other businesses plan to halt operations on Monday

In Mexico City, some politicians are calling for transparency with regard to talks with teachers, while in Oaxaca private-sector organizations — including public transit companies — are vowing to halt work on Monday.

It’s time that the Secretariats of Public Education and the Interior revealed what agreements have been made through negotiations with the CNTE teachers’ union, said the head of the Education Committee in the Chamber of Deputies.

In a prepared statement, Hortensia Aragón demanded that both government departments offer clarity and transparency regarding talks with the teachers, which have been promoted by the federal government in an effort to ease conflict over education reforms.

Aragón said there are doubts about the pacts that have been made, and observed that neither Interior Secretary Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong neither Education Secretary Aurelio Nuño have made any official comment about the discussions.

The union itself has told members of at least two locals that the government has agreed to reinstate teachers who were dismissed for not attending evaluation sessions and free union leaders who face various criminal charges, among other concessions.

Business leaders, meanwhile, have been issuing their own demands, such as using force to clear highway blockades in Oaxaca and Chiapas. One of Mexico’s leading business organizations, Coparmex, is seeking court orders forcing authorities to act to end the blockades, which have also hampered the movement of freight by rail to and from the port of Lázaro Cárdenas in Michoacán.

Another strategy will be adopted Sunday night In Oaxaca: business groups have announced a work stoppage beginning at midnight Sunday to press government for guarantees that they be permitted to work.

A letter to President Enrique Peña Nieto and other senior government officials said the work stoppage would continue until federal and state governments reinstate guarantees of peace, tranquility and freedom of movement throughout the state of Oaxaca.

Some reports said the stoppage would end after 24 hours while others said it would be ongoing.

At 6:00am Monday, nearly 1,000 buses and other transit vehicles are expected to stop running, representing a complete shut-down of transit service in Oaxaca city. Taxis and truckers will also cease operating, while 80% of restaurants that are members of Canirac, the restaurant industry association, will close their doors.

CNTE members and affiliated organizations have been blockading highways in Oaxaca and Chiapas for about 10 weeks. Earlier there were shortage of food and fuel in some parts of the state, but those have eased since as the blockades have been either relaxed or withdrawn.

Earlier this week it was reported there were only three blockades in effect in Oaxaca, two on the highway linking Oaxaca city with Puebla and another on a smaller route between the Oaxaca capital and Puerto Escondido on the coast at El Vidrio on highway 131.

The easing of blockades, said Oaxaca Government Secretary Carlos Santiago Carrasco on Thursday, was one indication that a solution to the conflict would be seen shortly. At one point during the past 85 days of teacher protests, he said, there were 37 blockades on Oaxaca highways.

Santiago Carrasco said he felt the dialogue between the union and the Interior Secretariat should continue because economic and social activities in the state would soon return to normal as a result.

He said he recognized there had been exaggerated tolerance towards the protests by the union’s Oaxaca local, Section 22, and its allies but that stemmed from a desire to avoid being seen as repressive.

Excessive tolerance is preferable to a disproportionate use of force, he said.

Sources: NVI Noticias (sp), El Universal (sp), Milenio (sp), El Imparcial (sp)

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