Repression in Morelos as Teachers Rise Up Against Neoliberal Reforms

October 16th, 2008 – AWK writes: For almost two months, the teachers union in the Mexican state of Morelos rose up against the “Alliance for Quality Education”, a neo-liberal plan akin to “No Child Left Behind” that would pave the way to the privatization of education, among other things.

They were supported by the people of Morelos in their marches, encampments in public plazas, and blockades of interstate highways. On Oct. 7, 8, and 9, the army and state and federal police were sent in to brutally smash the movement. This model is a mirror of the crackdown that occurred in Oaxaca in 2006 and has enraged teachers and the public across Mexico.

There is little to no information in English about the situation in Morelos, but there are photos that don’t require translation. These are some that have been widely sent around. Please continue sending them around and spreading the word of the Morelos rebellion – which may have been brutally repressed but has not been extinguished.


Forty Years After The Tlatelolco Massacre, The Mexican Army Attacks Civilians In The Indigenous Town of Xoxocotla

by Gregory Berger – October 11, 2008

On October 2nd, tens of thousands of people, young and old, took the afternoon off and marched in the streets of Mexico City to the cry of “¡Nunca Más!” – Never again!

On that same day in October, forty years earlier, scores of young people, mostly striking University students, were gathered in Tlatelolco Square for a protest meeting. Suddenly, and without provocation, Mexican Army troops opened fire on the crowd, killing at least 200 people,wounding countless more, and “disappearing” hundreds more . The State-controlled media neatly covered up the story, and the Federal government denied that a massacre had taken place. But forty years later even the Mexican government now admits that it was guilty of the shameless crime of using the armed forces against its own citizens to supress a non-violent protest movement.

Initially, the attacks silenced popular protest. But very soon after, and up until the present day, Mexicans from both town and country have continued to organize and resist, in a perpetual struggle to make good on the unfulfilled promises of the 1910 Mexican Revolution.

In the forty years since that bloody day, Mexican society has undergone profound systemic changes. Social movements have seen important victories, but also crushing setbacks. One crucial victory has been public recognition of the Tlatelolco massacre and an increased awareness on the part of the general public that use of the Mexican military to repress social movements is illegal according to the Mexican constitution, and must never be tolerated. The Mexican army has unfortunately continued to fight against organized social movements in recent decades. But even this counterinsurgency has only been allowed to happen in Mexico’s most rural areas, in the shadows, and far from the public eye.

Until now.

On Wednesday, October 8th, Morelos Governor Marco Adame called out more than 1,500 police personnel from the State Police and from the Paramilitary Federal Police force to the indigenous town of Xoxocotla. Law enforcement agencies were instructed to dismantle a series of road blockades along the Alpuyeca-Jojutla highway. Residents of Xoxocotla, long known for their effective community organizing and for their willingness to show solidarity with other social movements, had set up the blockades to show solidarity with teachers who have been on strike in Morelos for nearly two months.

The teachers of Morelos and the townspeople of Xoxocotla are united in a common struggle to stop the rapid privatization of public resources. Teachers on strike in Morelos are trying to halt a new set of educational reforms they say would open the doors to the participation of private capital in the public education system. Xoxocotla, on the other hand, is desperately trying to save the aquifer which feeds its municipal water system from being sucked dry from private condominium developers who skirt local zoning laws.

As poorly organized police marched on Xoxocotla, they were quickly outwitted by the highly organized women and men of the town. When police advanced on the roadblocks, the townspeople removed one of the barricades, allowed a few of them to enter, and then established the withdrawn barricade once again. These hapless police officers were trapped within the confines of Xoxocotla’s barricades. The officers were effectively penned in for several hours, during which they were unable to dismantle the roadblocks.

Later that night, between 500 and 1000 members of the Mexican Army from the 24th Military Zone barracks in Cuernavaca were given the order from the National Defense Secretary to assist police in their efforts to dislodge protesters in Xoxocotla. Accompanying these soldiers was a vast mobile arsenal, including humvees, tanks, and helicopters. It is important to note that such use of force can only take place under authorization from the executive branch of the Federal government.

Representatives of the newly arrived army and the police informed a negotiating team from Xoxocotla that if the police officers trapped in the town were not allowed to leave, that the order would be given “to attack the town.”

Just two short years ago, in a nation still grappling with the murderous legacy of Tlatelolco, the use of the army to contain a protest action in central Mexico would have been unheard of. And in 2008, the people of Xoxocotla couldn’t believe what they were witnessing. Shocked by the brazen display of military might, the town let the police officers retreat and removed the road blockades. In return, they were promised that all security forces would leave.

As dawn approached, the vast majority of state security forces remained in place. Reports emerged of arbitrary beatings, illegal home searches, and detentions by police. And in the early afternoon, the women and men of Xoxocotla went back to the highway in protest once again. At that point, members of the State and Federal police, with the cooperation and participation of the Army, launched an attack of collective punishment on the entire town.

Helicopters flew overhead and shot tear gas into private homes, most of which were filled with small children and whose inhabitants were not involved with the road blockades at all. This reporter was led into several homes the following day and saw several large spent containers and saw small children still coughing from the gas.

Houses were raided by police and soldiers, and men taken and beaten in front of their families. There are reports of at least 70 missing persons, of whom only 20 have been officially “arrested.”

Yesterday night, I passed 4 checkpoints of armed troops to enter Xoxocotla. I watched as all men entering the town, returning from work were frisked, insulted, and harrassed by troops armed with submachine guns. I headed into the center of town. Hundreds of scared and angry residents emerged from their homes to tell stories of their shock and rage. Many were shcoked at the participation of army troops, tanks, and helicopters.

“Why are they sending the army out against us?” Cried one woman. “We aren’t criminals. The President says he is using the army to fight drug traffickers, but he is using it against poor indigenous people.”

Demonstrating the short-sighted nature of the government’s strategy, another woman whose brother is among the missing echoed a sentiment I heard many times. “Before today many of us didn’t even support the teachers’ strike. But now we are all with them.”

How is it that even as Mexico remembers the 40th anniversary of the Tlatelolco massacre that the army has been allowed to turn its weapons against its own citizens once again?

Despite serious allegations of fraud, Felipe Calderon was sworn in as President of Mexico in December, 2006. Almost immediately following his inauguration, Calderon gave all members of the armed forces a pay raise. Soon afterwards Calderon increased the role of the Mexican Armed forces in Mexican society by announcing that the armed forces would be used to conduct a new heightened war against drug traffickers. Within a few short months, the army was authorized to perform police duties in several Mexican states. Random, illegal military checkpoints targeting civilian vehicles on federal highways became commonplace.

Nearly two years later, with thousands of people killed in Calderon’s drug war, there has been no significant disruption in the flow of drugs to the United States. From the outset, critics claimed that Calderon never intended the army’s presence in the Mexican countryside to serve as an anti-narcotics force, and that his aims were in fact twofold: To leverage his ability to serve out his Presidential term in light of massive calls for his resignation before his inauguration, and to legitimize the use of the armed forces in domestic affairs as a means to repress Mexico’s abundant social movements.

The repression in Xoxocotla this week overwhelmingly supports this hypothesis. Had the citizens of Morelos not seen a gradual increase in the presence of soldiers far from their barracks doing vehicle checks, patrolling the streets, and policing highways, there would surely have been more of a public outcry in this week’s use of the army to repress the people of Xoxocotla.

Even more distressing is another clue I witnessed in the ruined home of one woman of Xoxocotla yesterday: a tear gas cannister with English text written on it:


Apart from the obvious and cynical irony of this “warning label” on a weapon that had been used to terrorize small innocent children, the cartridge proves that the weapons shot from Federal helicopters have been provided by manufacturers from an English speaking country, presumably the United States. Recently, the U.S. Congress authorized 400 million dollars in funding to provide support for the Mexican military in its “war on drugs” in a package known as “Plan México” or “The Merida Initiative.”

Declassified documents from the U.S.’ National Security Archive have established evidence of Washington’s participation in the Tlatelolco massacre. In 2008, once more, the U.S. is helping to arm the Mexican military to attack its own citizens.



  1. Video Report From the Occupied Town of Xoxocotla, Morelos: Eyewitnesses Talk of Indiscriminate Attacks From Helicopters Using Weaponry Supplied by the United States
    “Take a Look for Yourselves and Size Up the Absurd Amount of Firepower Sent to Squash a Public Protest”
    By Gregory Berger
    Special to The Narco News Bulletin
    October 14, 2008


    Military Occupation of Xoxocotla, Morelos, Mexico

    Videos sobre la represión en Xoxocotla en Morelos

    Represión en Xoxocotla Morelos

    Reporte televisa sobre Xoxocotla

    Represión en Morelos

    represion movimiento magisterial en morelos

  2. Mexico: Morelos teachers’ strike continues with national support

    October 3rd, 2008 by Alan

    Schoolteachers in the state of Morelos today complete their 48th day of an indefinite strike against proposed a educational reform being forced through by their union leader which would remove their job security. Yesterday their march was joined by other teachers from around the country.

    As well as striking, the teachers – from Sección 19 of the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores para la Educación (SNTE) – have established a plantón (permanent encampment) in the city of Cuernavaca and also have employed motorway blockades, the “liberation” of tollbooths and even marched 85km north to Mexico City in order to demand the reform’s reversal.

    The reform bill, named the Alianza por la Calidad de la Educación (ACE: The Educational Quality Alliance), was negotiated between Elba Ester Gordillo, the SNTE head, and the federal government, of whom Gordillo is a prominent supporter and crony, to the extent of organising a rival scab union branches in order to break a 2006 strike of her own union members in Oaxaca. In a country renowned for its charrista, government-controlled unions, Gordillo stands out as an extreme example.

    Teachers say that the ACE will strip them of any sort of security in their positions and jeopardise their ability to plan classes. The bill has already seen direct action from teachers in the states of Quintana Roo, Oaxaca, Guerrero, Michoacán and Veracruz. Strikes have been called, party propaganda (from all three main Mexican parties) has been burnt, state education offices occupied, encampments erected in the capital city of every active state and school students have offered solidarity (although parents – especially in Morelos – have been less keen).

    Marching teachers in Morelos were yesterday pleasantly surprised to hear the approaching chants of “BROTHERS FROM MORELOS, OAXACA WILL GIVE YOU A HAND!” and “HOLD ON MORELOS, OAXACA WILL RISE UP!”, coming from the Oaxacan SNTE delegation who had finally arrived – accompanied by other delegations from Zacatecas, Puebla, Tlaxcala and Veracruz – to offer solidarity mid-march.

    The movement is spearheaded by a growing and influential rank and file group within the SNTE which calls itself the Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores para la Educación (CNTE: National Coordination of Education Workers), set up in the aftermath of Gordillo et al‘s treacherous betrayal of the Oaxacan teachers’ strike of 2006.

    In Morelos, the teachers vow to continue their strike until the ACE is dropped and allegedly plan to disrupt parliamentary elections scheduled for this Sunday. Libcom will keep you posted.


  3. Mexico: Morelos teachers’ strikers now seek “solution”

    October 11th, 2008 by Alan

    After two violent and tense months, striking teachers in the Mexican state of Morelos have started negotiations with the state over an education reform bill being forced through parliament with the support of the teachers’ union head.

    The last week have seen motorway blockades, occupations, national demonstrations and police violence that the people of Morelos had not seen in a long while, but now moves are being made towards a statewide deal on the Alianza por la Calidad Educativa (ACE) bill, co-written by Elba Ester Gordillo – head of the Sindicato Nacional para los Trabajadores en la Educación (SNTE), the teachers’ union.

    For two days running, hundreds of officers from the hated Policía Federal Preventativa (PFP), who were responsible for the Atenco massacre of 2006, cleared a motorway blockaded by indigenous teachers in the village of Xoxocotla. Following that, a blockade further up the road in Amayucan was also evicted. In Xoxocotla, teachers seized three PFP officials but later released them after receiving “direct threats” from the Mexican military.

    Now talk in Morelos is turning to the human cost of the strike. Around 50 teachers have been formally detained by the state, but the location of many more is still undetermined. Many worry that they have been kidnapped by Gordillo-aligned hoods, a tactic that has been applied with alarming regularity ever since the Oaxaca uprising of 2006.

    Other parts of the republic are starting to mobilise against the bill. The infamous Sección 22 of Oaxaca has once again hit the streets, occupying motorways throughout the state. The Coordinadora Nacional para los Trabajadores en la Educación (CNTE) – the anti-gordillista rank and file group within the SNTE – marched through Mexico City, breaching police barriers and a police line protecting the Secretaria de Educación Pública (SEP), the national education headquarters. The now traditional plantón (permanent encampment) remains there to this date.

    The aforementioned occupation of the Guerrero state electoral offices however, was finally brought to a close via negotiations but further activities are being planned in that state while in Chiapas, teachers have held public meetings and demonstrations about the ACE.




    El movimiento magisterial en Morelos lucha legítimamente contra la Alianza por la Calidad Educativa por ser esta un instrumento que avanza hacia la privatización de la educación.

    El magisterio morelense ha recurrido a una huelga constitucional desde el 18 de agosto (con movilizaciones que iniciaron el día 13 de agosto) desconocida por la misma autoridad que debería proteger los derechos laborales de las y los trabajadores de la educación que están en paro de labores en 2,700 escuelas donde participan el 90% de los 29,300 trabajadores de la educación que atiende a más de 400 mil alumnos.

    A pesar de la ofensiva gubernamental panista que solo ha logrado abrir algunas escuelas donde asisten no más de 20 mil alumnos que son expuestos irresponsablemente por las corruptas asociaciones depadres de familia presidida por quienes quieren la privatización de la educación con el apoyo de los empresarios y la derecha.

    El magisterio morelense se ha unificado desde la base y ha creado sus propias instancias democráticas para tomar decisiones y conducir su movimiento, desconociendo a la dirigencia sindical charra y recuperando al sindicato como un instrumento de lucha de las y los trabajadores de la educación.

    Esta unidad del movimiento democrático de bases es lo que le da fuerza para resistir durante estos dos meses la ofensiva del gobierno panista de Marco Antonio Adame y Felipe Calderón el espurio en alianza con Elba Esther Gordillo y su recién nombrada comisión del CEN del SNTE que no ha logrado dividir al movimiento.

    Todos los esfuerzos unitarios y de apoyo al magisterio de Morelos deben ser canalizados para fortalecer esta lucha, que forma parte del proceso de democratización del SNTE en el país, para ponerlo al servicio de la clase trabajadora y no de la burocracia dirigente.

    Ante la represión generalizada en Morelos contra el magisterio y los pueblos indígenas los días 6 al 9 de octubre, con saldo de cientos de heridos, detenidos (ya liberados pero sujetos a proceso legal), intervención dela PFP como lo hizo anteriormente en Atenco y Oaxaca, además de la intervención del Ejército Mexicano con tanques y helicópteros en contra de la población civil para tomar la comunidad indígena de Xoxocotla, así como la represión generalizada y la violación sistemática de las garantías individuales y los derechos humanos del pueblo morelense (manifestación, organización, libre tránsito, expresión, presunción de inocencia, debido proceso, entre otras).

    Por todo lo anterior exigimos un alto a la represión, el retiro inmediato del Ejército y la PFP, castigo a los culpables y el inicio del proceso de juicio político al gobierno de Marco antonio Adame Castillo, así como evitar más desapariciones y en contra de la crimnalización de los movimientos sociales.

    Nuestro partido, el PRT, manifiesta su solidaridad al magisterio morelense en lucha y con los pueblos indígenas, quiens han sido capaces de constituir el Movimiento Magisterial Democrático de Bases que está en pie de lucha, así como el Concejo de Pueblos de Morelos que tiene a los 13 pueblos en defensa del agua, la tierra y el aire como columna vertebral de la lucha en defensa del medio ambiente y por su libre determinación, así como instancias de coordinación unitaria como la Convergencia Sindical y Social, que han sido pilares de la lucha en Morelos y han sido promotores del Diálogo Nacional y del FNCR.

    Por ello es que seguiremos luchando unitariamente en el marco del respeto a las organizaciones e instancias de lucha que hoy reclaman de la más amplia unidad de acción frente a las políticas neoliberales que lleva a cabo el capital contra la clase trabajadora y los pueblos indígenas de nuestro país y del estado de Morelos, por lo que asumimos el compromiso de reforzar las medidas de solidaridad desde el lugar donde nos encontremos en las diferentes regiones del país y del estado de Morelos, así como el apoyo internacionalista.

    Cuernavaca, Morelos, octubre de 2008.

    Comité Político del PRT







    Ante la brutal represión que sufrimos pro parte de usted y de sus corporaciones policíacas los días 8 y 9 de octubre del presente año en la comunidad indígena de Xoxocotla, Morelos, hechos que usted conoce y coordino junto con el gobierno federal y con su partido el PAN, con el afán de cumplir su voluntad e imponer un programa educativo que por nombre le pusieron ALIANZA EDUCATIVA, programa que rechazamos rotundamente porque nunca fuimos consultado como comunidad y que a los maestros tampoco lo hicieron. Violentando de esta manera los derechos del pueblo en conocer y participar en la elaboración del plan de desarrollo de los programas que se aplican en las comunidades indígenas, en donde usted se ha negado categóricamente a dialogar con las comunidades indígenas y con los maestros respectivamente; este programa que usted ha querido imponer apoyado por el presidente de la República Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, la Sra.Elba Esther Gordillo y la Sra. Josefina Vázquez Mota y todos los que simpatizan con su gobierno y su partido, quienes ante su falta de calidad moral y sensibilidad humana han recurrido a la prepotencia masacrando a nuestro pueblo, encarcelando a quienes no estamos de acuerdo con su gobierno, destruyendo hogares, matando maestros, intoxicando a niños inocentes, destruyendo vehículos, cateando domicilios particulares, golpeando a niños, mujeres y ancianos; antes estos hechos ventajosos, ante esta injusticia, ante esta masacre, ante la sangre derramada por nuestros heridos, exigimos los siguientes derechos:

    1. El retiro inmediato del ejercito militar, la policía federal preventiva, la policía preventiva estatal de nuestra comunidad y del estado de Morelos

    2. Por la masacre sufrida, por los heridos inocentes e injustos, por la destrucción de hogares y vehículos, por la arbitrariedad y el abuso del poder tenemos todo el derecho a exigir la destitución y a que no ocupen ningún cargo en nuestro país a los que a continuación señalaremos:

    a) Al gobernador del estado de Morelos Marco Antonio Adame Castillo, por su participación directa y autor intelectual en los criminosos hechos en Xoxocotla, Maluca y Tres Marías.

    b) Al Secretario General de Gobierno Sergio Álvarez Mata, por su participación directa e ineficiencia en la solución del problema magisterial así como las de los Padres de Familia.

    c) Al Ing. José Luis Rodríguez, Secretario de Educación Pública, por su falta de capacidad y su falta de interés en la solución del problema magisterial.

    d) Al Ing. Aroldo Aguirre Vences Director del IEBEM por su inoperancia al frente de dicha dirección y por su falta de interés en la solución del problema magisterial, dando por resultado la represión que todos conocemos.

    e) A todos los profesores aliados del PAN y del gobierno por provocar y promover estos enfrentamientos en las diferentes comunidades del estado, quienes no son otra cosa que creadores de la violencia. Ante estos acontecimientos, tenemos todo el derecho a pedir juicio político para el presidente espurio Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, al gobernador del Estado Marco Antonio Adame Castillo, a la Sra. Josefina Vázquez Mota, a la Sra. Elba Esther Gordillo mafiosa del SNTE, como los principales culpables de estos actos. Muchos de nuestros heridos, han dejado de ser sustento para su familia, unos de manera temporal y otros definitivamente, por estos hechos tenemos el derecho de que sean indemnizados de por vida. Sabemos y conocemos que algunos de los funcionarios de su gobierno están tratando algunas ordenes de aprensión para algunas personas de la comunidad, así como a maestros que participaron y apoyaron el bloqueo carretero acusándolos de actos criminales que ellos jamás cometieron, somos testigos presenciales de los hechos y por tener la verdad de nuestro lado no permitiremos más injusticias, no permitiremos más represión, por haber sido objeto de la masacre ocurrido los días 8 y 9 de octubre del presente año, responsabilizamos al gobierno estatal y federal, Marco Antonio Adame Castillo y Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, de cualquier tipo de represalia que sufra algún miembro de la comunidad y de los maestros que se solidarizaron con nuestro movimiento, no aceptaremos más represión al Pueblo de Xoxocotla y la sociedad morelense nos apoya, tenemos la fuerza y la razón de Morelos, estos derechos son nuestros y exigimos al gobierno estatal y federal su debido cumplimiento.





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