Location Venezuela Venezuela

Mexican Interior Minister Agrees to Meet with Striking Teachers

The education minister, who has a strained relationship with the teachers, was not invited to the meeting.

Mexican Interior Minister Osorio Chong finally agreed Monday to meet with representatives of the CNTE teachers union after violent repression by police left at least 12 demonstrators dead in the southern state of Oaxaca.

The CNTE had requested formal dialogue with the government for months, but were met with steadfast resistance from officials who demanded teachers return to classes before talks commenced.

The union is fiercely opposed to President Enrique Peña Nieto’s controversial education reforms, saying it will only serve to justify mass layoffs.

 In a statement, the government tacitly acknowledged that the protest actions taken by the CNTE, such as shutting down roads and organizing mass rallies, forced them to the negotiation table.

According to the Interior Ministry’s statement, the objective of the meeting is “to listen to the ideas and arguments of said organization, and advance in the construction of solutions to return calm to the regions of the country that have been affected by their recent demonstrations.”

The Peña Nieto government appears to be in damage control mode with the president indicating on his official Twitter account that he had “given instructions so that, in the framework of the law, the necessary actions to resolve the conflict are taken.”

However, only hours later, officials in the state of Michoacan arrested another leader from the CNTE, undermining Peña Nieto’s stated commitment to end the conflict.

Education Minister Aurelio Nuño Mayer, who has been the subject of heavy criticism over his handling of the education reform, will not participate in Wednesday’s meeting between Chong and the CNTE leadership in Mexico City.

Nuño Mayer said Tuesday that he would not step down from his post. He refused to accept any responsibility for the events that led to the deaths of at least 12 people.

The education minister also said that his efforts to impose the controversial reform on teachers were unrelated to Sunday’s repression in Oaxaca.


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