Estimado Sr. Presidente Enrique Peña Nieto
President of the Republic of Mexico
Estimada Señora Procuradora Arely Gómez González
Attorney General of Mexico
Estimado Sr. Secretario Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong
Minister of the Interior of Mexico
Estimado Gobernador Lic. Gabino Cué Monteagudo
Governor of Oaxaca State
June 26, 2016
Dear Sirs and Madame:
We are dismayed at the brutal repression on June 19 against striking teachers in Oaxaca that left up to 12 teachers and students dead when federal, state and local police fired on unarmed, nonviolent demonstrators. The confirmed dead include 10 in the municipality of Nochixtlan, one in Hacienda Blanca and one in Juchitán. Many were wounded and at least 23 persons disappeared. Witnesses reported that dozens of the injured were left untreated after the police seized the hospital in Nochixtlan and allowed access to only injured police. Injured demonstrators were reportedly treated inside a nearby church.
The National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE), also known as Section 22, is leading resistance to the implementation of new education laws that would result in massive teacher lay-offs, lead to the closure of teachers’ schools (“normals”), cut educational spending, and eliminate indigenous and other cultural and community-based curricula. The reforms would replace the current emphasis on critical thinking in favor of standardized testing.
Prior to the fatal events of June 19, widespread and indiscriminate arrests were used to try to break the teachers union. Detentions include the June 12 arrest of the two top leaders of CNTE Section 22: Rubén Nuñez Ginezi (General Secretary)and Francisco Villalobos (Organizational Secretary), who were promptly flown to the distant new federal penitentiary, Cefereso 11 (Federal Center for Social Readaptation 11), in the city of Hermosillo, Sonora State.
This outrageous display of repression has resulted in the resignations of at least two government officials: Adelfo Regino Montes (Minister of Indigenous Affairs in Oaxaca) and Daniel Gutierrez (Secretary of Labor), who left his post to protest the "authoritarian actions that repress and kill Oaxacan people who defend their rights and the government’s negligence to any possibility of dialogue.”
We strongly urge that you
- demand a halt to police attacks on striking teachers;
- immediately release Rubén Nuñez and Francisco Villalobos and all teachers union members jailed for their labor activities;
- reinstate all educational workers fired for supporting the strike; and
- enter immediately and without conditions into negotiations to end the strike.
Brian J. Stefan Szittai