I'll update you a bit on where we are now, although the situation is very fluid, to put a fine point on it. Unstable and chaotic, not to put too fine a point on it.
There have been two more people shot dead, one in Oaxaca and another in an outlying town. On Wednesday night, a teacher was gunned down after leaving an APPO meeting. Yesterday, a campesino leader of another dissident organization allied with APPO was shot outside his home in San Agustín Loxicha.
The teachers voted, supposedly, on Thursday and Friday to return to their classrooms. Enrique Rueda Pacheco, leader of the striking teachers of Section 22 of the SNTE, had announced earlier in the week that the teachers would no doubt approve the idea of returning to their classrooms. He more or less announced in advance the results of the poll taken amongst the rank and file. As the results came in from the various polling places around the state, Rueda Pacheco began to announce the results. His numbers showed that some 25,000 teachers voted to end the strike while some 15,000 voted to continue. The murmurings commenced. Every time Rueda Pacheco stood to announce the final results, he gave a different number. Eventually, Rueda Pacheco announced that the final, final and final tally was 25,692 in favor of returning to classes and 17,483 against.
Just one little problem. The questions that the teachers were asked to answer were: 1.) Do you accept the agreement made with the Secretary of Interior?; 2.) What date should we return to classes - next Monday (today) or the following Monday?; 3.) Do you wish to continue the strike until Governor Ruiz Ortiz leaves office?
12,129 teachers voted both to return to classes today and also to continue the strike until the governor is forced to step down. Rueda Pacheco, after all the wining and dining by Interior in Mexico City, having his ass kissed by Secretary of the Interior Abascal himself as well as having already announced to the press the results of the as yet uncounted votes, chose to ignore the 12,129 votes to continue until Governor Ruiz says, "Adios!" He announced that the teachers would return to work today, Monday.
The shouts and rocks, bottles and fists began to fly. "Rueda Pacheco you cursed traitor!" and "How much did you sell out for?" were among the printable epithets hurled at the until now popular social activist. Rueda Pacheco was reminded by a member of his staff -- no doubt a mathmetics teacher -- that 15,000 votes against returning to work and 12,000 votes for continuing the insurrection until the governor's ouster equalled 29,000 votes, a larger number than 25,692. Rueda Pacheco was forced to scrap the poll and announce a new one to be held this coming Thursday and Friday. Hopefully, the new poll will be a bit easier for the teachers to answer unequivocally, easier for the counters to count and easier for Rueda Pacheco to understand.
When he finally left "election central", he was again bombarded with epithets, missiles and kicks and punches. Hence, no school today.
To help assure that there will be no public schools, APPO mechanics have spread out through the city with portable welders and are welding the gates shut at every public school property they can find.
Meanwhile, at the permanent (24/7) barricades around the city's center, more and more APPO thugs can be seen carrying homemade rocket launchers to use against a possible assault by federal police. There were many gunshots in and around the barricades in the pre dawn hours yesterday but no casualties were reported. All that the APPO security details found was a pickup truck on fire.
And in those schools where parents, teachers and students had arrrived before the APPO gate welding specialists, armed mobs of APPO supporters strode upon the scene, forcing the parents to evacuate their children. At 11:00 this morning, a mob armed with clubs, rocks, pipes, iron bars and machetes approached the primary school Francisco Zarco, in colonia Pueblo Nuevo. There were 800 kids inside and a number of parents performing cleanup and guard duty. The parents had to evacuate the children. A mother went after a machete armed masked APPO thug and tried to take away his weapon. She failed but she did send him packing, running away and hurling threats at her over his shoulder.
And, in a somewhat humorous note, angry parentrs turned the tables on striking teachers in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec this morning. When some teachers arrived to reopen the secondary school Secundaria Técnica Número 5 and the primary school 20 de Noviembre, parents who had opened the schools themselves back on the 7th of September threw the teachers out. The parents accuse the teachers of showing up just to perform minor clerical duties so that they can claim to be working and begin receiving their salaries. One angry mother who has been teaching in the school since September 7 told the teachers, "We're not going to allow you to come in here just to perform student signup work so that you can receive your last two weeks' pay."
Sources: El Univeral
for art, gifts and collectibles -- all hand made
by Mexican indigenous artists.
TAGS: Oaxaca, Mexico, Oaxaca teachers strike, APPO, Sección 22, SNTE