June 16, 2016
By Avispa Midia
Photos: Heriberto Paredes and Santiago Navarro F
“Welcome to Oaxaca” says a metal plate at the entrance to this city. A city worth knowing, with a great gastronomic and cultural diversity, colors, sounds and tastes. One of the states of Mexico with the most diversity in native languages, one of the richest in natural diversity, but also the 3rd poorest state in Mexico, according to statistics of the National Council for Evaluation of Social Development Policy (CONEVAL). Although, truth be told, there have always been two Oaxacas, the profound and everyday Oaxaca, and the one sold in advertising- a made-up Oaxaca offered to a wealthy sector. Today, an intense day of demonstrations throughout the entire state, the legend “Welcome to Oaxaca” was a welcome for the federal police sent by the federal government to establish peace and order in this federal entity and “to apply the Education Reform with military methods,” says the housewife, Jazmín López, who has joined the reception.
In this entry to Oaxaca for those coming from Mexico City, known as la Hacienda Blanca, (White House), teachers and residents of the surrounding settlements blocked the access and detained hundreds of trucks carrying luxury cars, goods for commercial centers, building materials and machinery. They only allowed civilian vehicles to pass.
The same reception was given in each of the four corners of Oaxaca. For example, in the Isthmus de Tehuantepec, 8 hours away from the city of Oaxaca, at least three large barricades were erected to prevent access to the elements of the Gendarmería, a partnership created for the fight against drug trafficking.
The federal police arrived by air along the Pacific coast and with the use of tear gas, immediately tried to deter the barricades in Tehuantepec, Jalapa del Marqués and Tequisistlán, all located in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region. However, the operation failed. Section 22 teachers and villagers regrouped to reinforce the resistance. At the end of the day, they added at least 9 barricades in this region. “The Istmo is a land of warriors and police will have to wage a fierce struggle if they want to get in,” Professor Demetrio Bautista said.
Unable to enter land due to the strong resistance and barricades set up in the state capital Oaxaca as well as in Istmo, the federal police have chosen to use helicopters and airplanes. This June 16th, at least three federal police aircraft landed at the “Benito Juarez” International Airport of Oaxaca, located in Santa Cruz Xoxocotlán. They carried about 500 armed federal agents.
Meanwhile, the encampment in the historic center of this city has been maintained since May 15 and the blockade of the Freeway 190 in the district of Nochixtlan (which links Mexico City to Oaxaca), completes its fourth day today. The same is true of the one set up by the people of San Andrés Chicahuaxtla in the district of Putla de Guerrero, Oaxaca, as well as those in the communities in the Southern Highlands and la Cañada, where the barricades are still in effect.
The blockade at Hacienda Blanca is expected to be maintained until Friday, June 17. It’s a symbolic place where on Wednesday, June 15, riot equipment from the federal police was burned. Preparations are also underway for a massive mobilization in Mexico City on Friday, where more than 100,000 teachers are expected to join in.
The teachers are still demanding the release of their thirteen imprisoned comrades and the suspension of dozens of arrest warrants, but above all, the total rejection of the so-called “Education Reform”.
Radio Plantón, frequency 92.1, has become critical to this resistance, because it’s a way to publicize the activities carried out in the 7 regions of this state.
It is a means of communication triangulated with several community radio stations and with free and independent media platforms on the Internet, but with a constant warning that the State will pull its signal, as has happened before. At the same time the mass media maintains a media war to criminalize teachers. A huge demonstration on June 14, for example, was not covered by mass media even though at least 90,000 education workers, parents and organizations were mobilized.
This radio frequency has also given those against this resistance the opportunity to speak, but they are immediately turned off with dozens of calls from parents in support of the struggle of their childrens’ teachers.
The bus company Autobuses de Oriente (ADO) decided to suspend trips from Mexico City to Oaxaca and back, indefinitely.
This post is also available in: Spanish