Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto
Wednesday, June 29 — 12 pm
Human Rights Monument, Elgin at Lisgar St.
Demonstration outside an official dinner for Mexican President Peña Nieto on June 27 where Canadians denounced his government’s actions, shouting “Assassin! Assassin!” as he was greeted by Prime Minister Trudeau
The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) condemns the ongoing state terror against teachers and students in Mexico as well as the support and open arms of the Trudeau Liberal government and Couillard Liberal government in Quebec for Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto during his state visit to Canada June 27 to 28.
Twelve striking teachers and their supporters were shot to death near the town of Nochixtlan, northwest of Oaxaca City, Mexico on June 19 by federal, state and local police who fired on them as they protested the government’s neo-liberal education reforms. Up to 100 more were injured and arrested. Instead of negotiating with the teachers’ union and respecting their rights the government had earlier jailed several of its leaders and announced its intention to fire several thousand teachers for participating in the strike actions. A number of teachers are now being held in maximum security prisons. The harsh repression against teachers, particularly those from Indigenous communities is meant as an example to the entire Mexican people if they dare resist.
The latest killings come following the state-organized disappearance and presumed murder in 2014 of 43 Mexican students, many of them student teachers at the Ayotzinapa normal school in the state of Guerrero. Two years later, no justice has been provided, and far from the government being held to account, disappearances continue with impunity.
June 26 protest against Peña Nieto in Quebec City condemning the disappearance of 43 students in 2014
Since May, teachers, education workers, students and their families have been waging ongoing strike actions to oppose the government’s reforms in education. The reforms specifically target teachers and education workers’ working conditions and the very existence of their unions as a block to restructuring the Mexican education system on a neo-liberal basis. The reforms are part of a broad restructuring of the Mexican state being undertaken by the Peña Nieto government which is opening more of the country’s public assets, in particular its energy resources and roads, to privatization.
The Mexican working class and people are standing with their teachers. The killings and repression have sparked massive demonstrations by students, parents, the country’s doctors and others in support of the teachers. Tens of thousands marched in Mexico City on June 27 led by the Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (CNTE) teachers’ unions. They are calling on the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto to stop its brutal attacks and to engage in dialogue with the teachers over their proposals for a new model of education that meets the needs of their students and Mexican society instead of the private business interests driving the government’s education reforms. In Canada, teachers’ unions such as the BC Teachers’ Federation and Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation have strongly denounced the repression and called for justice and the release of political prisoners.
It is telling that under such circumstances Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, whose claim to fame during the federal election was being a former occasional teacher himself, will sign agreements with President Peña Nieto during his state visit on “educational exchanges,” and share “best practices” on what media described as “ending the social isolation and exploitation of Indigenous people in both countries.” Canada is also offering “intelligence and training” to Mexico’s murderous security agencies under the guise of combating drug violence.
In this way, the Canadian government is assisting to whitewash brutal violations of human rights of workers and Indigenous peoples in Mexico the same way it arrogantly praises its own human rights record to divert from problems facing the people.
This is also the meaning of Quebec Premier Couillard’s statement on June 27 that Mexico is “moving in the right direction” as concerns human rights. Couillard called for support for the “very ambitious program of reforms” undertaken by Peña Nieto. Trudeau, for his part, said “It is important that we move forward towards greater respect and defence of human rights, and that’s… part of the things that friends work together on well… Obviously, as a teacher, I had a good conversation with the president on this…”
CPC(M-L) pledges its support for the fighting workers and people of Mexico and calls on Canadians and Quebeckers to not permit the murder of workers and Indigenous peoples to be covered up by those who claim to speak in their name.