The Carleton University Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) expresses its full support of teachers and students in Mexico protesting against neo-liberal reforms to the education system. More than a dozen teachers and supporters have been shot and killed by Mexican police in the last month and other teachers languish in prisons.
In light of these brutal violations of human rights, the GSA also condemns the cooperation of Carleton University senior management with the state visit of the President of Mexico by housing Canadian police providing official security.
The GSA calls on teachers, education workers and students at Carleton to condemn the actions of the government of Enrique Peña Nieto in Mexico and the complicity of the governments of the U.S. and Canada in the murders, disappearances and imprisonment of teachers and students.
On June 19, Mexican federal police officers opened fire on striking teachers and their students in the state of Oaxaca, killing 12 and injuring and arresting approximately 100 others. Widespread repression of students and teachers has been taking place throughout Mexico since President Peña Nieto introduced neo-liberal education reforms in 2013 that threaten privatization and layoffs of thousands of teachers and the introduction of U.S.-style testing.
Union leaders and Indigenous teachers and students have been particular targets for attack. Families are still seeking justice for the 2014 disappearance of 43 mostly-Indigenous student teachers at the Ayotzinapa normal school in the state of Guerrero.
On June 12, two leading members of the teachers’ union Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (CNTE) were arrested and are currently being held in a U.S.-funded for-profit prison. The U.S. government continues to supply the weaponry used in the repression and Canada is increasing its training and supplying equipment to Mexican police with new measures announced during the state visit on June 28.
As the Toronto Star noted on June 27: “Such attacks by Mexico´s highly militarized federal police on the civilian population are not rare. Excessive use of force has become commonplace… especially since the beginning of the Peña Nieto administration in December of 2012. Civilian deaths are normally presented as the result of frontal combat with narcotraffickers or ‘criminals.’ In fact… organizations have unveiled the systematic abuse of human rights by security forces in Mexico.”
Carleton graduate students applaud the determination of teachers and students in Mexico to defend their livelihoods and public education, putting their lives at risk for the well-being of future generations. GSA Carleton joins them in affirming that Education is a Right! and Teachers’ Working Conditions Are Students’ Learning Conditions!