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Church in Mexico Intervenes in Bitter Dispute Between Government and Teachers

Catholic News Service
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June 22, 2016

Funerals have started for those killed in protests in Mexico. Eight people died during clashes with riot police and striking teachers in the southern state of Oaxaca. (Al Jazeera English)

Churchmen in the southern Mexican states of Oaxaca and Chiapas have offered to mediate a conflict between the government and protesting teachers and their supporters after an attempt at dislodging a roadblock left eight dead and dozens more injured.

They also warned of simmering social tensions as ordinary residents in an impoverished part of the country – rife with inequality, corruption and political conflicts – show increasing sympathies for protesting teachers attempting to turn back an initiative that the federal government says will overhaul the country’s under performing school system by subjecting educators to evaluations and weakening union influence.

“Each day that the government does not facilitate dialogue this is going to continue growing and will turn into a catalyst for other expressions of discontent,” said Father Alejandro Solalinde, director of a shelter for Central American migrants in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region of Oaxaca.

He plans to form a group promoting discussions between the government and teachers.

“The problems in Chiapas are serious and complex, and the teachers’ conflict is a raw nerve,” said Archbishop Fabio Martinez Castilla of Tuxtla Gutierrez, adding the church was willing to act as a mediator in a state where priests have intervened in an increasing number of local political disputes.

Local media reported the archbishop called it a “situation of social discontent.”

Read the rest at Catholic Herald

Related: Mexico Public Education Conflict: Videos Show Police Initiated Firing Guns in Nochixtlán, Oaxaca (Mexico Voices)

Related: Mexican Protesters Continue Standoff with Police, Demand Education Reform be Retracted (Fox News Latino)

Related: Who Fired First? Mexico Town Recalls Police Clash (Agence France-Presse)

Related: Burials Held After Violent Protests Leave 8 Dead in Oaxaca, Mexico (Associated Press)

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