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MEXICO: Striking teachers

Education forms the next generation of citizens, but all around the world it is underfunded, while huge sums are spent on armaments. Even in the US teachers are losing their jobs. In Latin America the situation is especially acute. There has been a mass strike in Peru. In Mexico on Teachers Day (May 15) several thousand teachers staged protests, scuffled with police and violently took over the teachers' union building. Protesting teachers belonging to dissident groups which oppose the official union leadership tried to tear down police barricades in front of Los Pinos, the official residence of President Vicente Fox. The protesters wanted to meet with Fox to press their demands for higher wages; a small group was finally invited to meet with members of Fox's staff. Education Secretary Reyes Tamez said the government had offered to increase teachers' salaries by 5.5 percent this year, in addition to increases in benefits. The protesters marched through the streets to downtown Mexico City, where they smashed doors and walls at the teachers' union building, seized the building, and allegedly beat security guards. Presumably there were similar disturbances in other Mexican cities.

Ronald Hilton - 5/20/03