Resolution in Solidarity with the People of Oaxaca

[Note: The following resolution was adopted unanimously by the Delegates Meeting of the San Francisco Labor Council on Monday, November 13, 2006.]

Whereas, 70,000 teachers in the State of Oaxaca, Mexico — organized in Section 22 of the National Teachers Union (SNTE) — went on strike in May 2006 demanding that all teachers across the State receive wage increases and wage parity, and that all school children be provided with shoes, breakfast and uniforms to go to school; and

Whereas, in June 2006, the government of the State of Oaxaca, led by Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, unleashed the first brutal attack against the strike encampments set up by teachers and their supporters; death squads working with state authorities assassinated striking teachers; and

Whereas, the people of Oaxaca — through their labor, community, political, religious and indigenous organizations — then rallied behind the teachers and formed a Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) to urge the authorities to meet the strikers’ just and legitimate demands, and, with the Teachers, to demand the resignation of Governor Ruiz. At that point it became not only a teachers’ strike, but a powerful people’s strike for justice and against violent repression; and

Whereas, on October 29, 2006, the Federal government of President Vicente Fox sent in 4500 special troops to tear down the barricades and many of the encampments that the Teachers and people of Oaxaca had created to defend their strike; and

Whereas, Mexicans across the political spectrum have commented on the not-so-behind-the-scenes role of the U.S. Embassy. The Bush-appointed U.S. Ambassador Tony Garza stated on October 28 that the Fox administration had delayed too long, and needed to send in Federal troops to Oaxaca. An hour later Fox announced his decision to send in troops, which he implemented the following day; and

Whereas, over the first six months of struggle in Oaxaca, more than 20 people have been killed, including a north American video journalist, and hundreds wounded by troops, police and paramilitary forces. Hundreds have been “disappeared” (many of them feared dead). And many hundreds of union and community activists have been jailed. Yet the popular forces in their hundreds of thousands have continued to march.

Therefore Be It Resolved, that the San Francisco Labor Council, AFL-CIO, joins with labor and democratic rights organizations in Mexico and around the world in urging the federal and state governments in Mexico to seek every avenue to a peaceful solution to the conflict in Oaxaca; and

Be it Further Resolved, that we urge the Mexican authorities to settle the conflict by meeting the legitimate demands put forward by the teachers and the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca, including: (1) Immediate withdrawal of all troops and paramilitary units from the city and state of Oaxaca, (2) Stop the repression and state-sponsored killings, (3) Removal from office of Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz, instigator of the reign of terror, (4) Release all detainees and political prisoners, and (5) Governor Ruiz and others responsible must be brought to justice.

Be it Finally Resolved, that we forward these demands to our Labor Councils, National Unions, State Federations, AFL-CIO and Change to Win Federation,urging them to embrace these demands and to act in solidarity with the teachers and popular movement of Oaxaca.

(Resolution submitted by Dave Welsh, NALC #214; Alan Benjamin, OPEIU #3; and Frank Martin del Campo, LCLAA)