On 19 June, government forces attacked striking teachers in Nochixtlan [more here] and elsewhere in the state of Oaxaca, where they had been conducting ongoing protests against corporate-friendly neoliberal education “reforms” designed to strip educators of their classroom autonomy.
The ongoing strikes have been organized by members of the Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación [CNTE], a teachers union strong in Southern Mexico and created in opposition to a the government-backed union, the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación [SNTE].
On Thursday, members of the government of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s Office of the Attorney General [Procurador General de la República, or PGR] offered preliminary results of their investigation of the killings, and promptly drew fire from leftist legislators.
From teleSUR English:
Officials seemed to be more interested in outlining the alleged misdeeds of the residents of Nochixtlan, specifying the investigation into a series of crimes was already open before the massacre took place.
They also went to great lengths to emphasize the alleged presence of weapons in the hands of the civilians in Nochixtlan.
“A relevant fact is that the PGR confirmed that there were civilians carrying weapons and a Federal Police helicopter was damaged by these weapons and a second was damaged by impact of rockets,” said conservative Senator Mariana Gomez del Campo, who also participated in the press conference.
She added that over hundred police officers had apparently suffered injuries.
No police were killed, meanwhile at least ten civilians were killed in different clashes throughout Oaxaca on June 19, six alone were killed in Nochixtlan.
Senator Alejandro Encinas, from the center-left PRD, grilled Higuera on this point during Friday’s session of the special commission of the Mexican Congress following up on the incident.
Encinas said Roberto Campa, the undersecretary for Human Rights from the Interior Ministry, had no problem entering the town in order to interview witnesses and had done so several times.
“Campa went in, talked with the victims, with the authorities … he has assembled the facts … the PGR cannot pretend it has dementia, because it has the elements it needs to go further in the investigation,” said Encinas, as quoted by La Jornada.
In addition, a consortium of human rights organizations were even able to produce a preliminary report, based on interviews with the town’s residents, detailing the human rights abuses committed by the state in Nochixtlan.
Encinas also questioned how the PGR could claim civilians were armed without offering proof.