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Latino Daily News

Sunday August 17, 2014

Mexican Businesses Agree to Reopen After Protests, Looting

Shopkeepers, gasoline station owners and hoteliers have reached an agreement with officials in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca to reopen their businesses, which were closed following protests by teachers that ended with vandalism and looting.

At least 48 service stations in the Valles Centrales, the region where the like-named state capital of Oaxaca is located, closed to protest looting by National Coordinator of Education Workers, or CNTE, union members during protests on Friday.

The state government did not respond when service station owners asked for assistance, Oaxaca Gasoline Dealers Association president Marco Bellasina said, adding that legal options against the teachers were being weighed.

Oaxaca Gov. Gabino Cue has offered compensation to service station owners to get them to refrain from suing the CNTE, media reports said.

The Hotel and Motel Association agreed to join the strike, as did merchants in Oaxaca city’s Historic District.

The CNTE staged a protest in Oaxaca city’s main plaza a month ago, a move that kept people away and produced losses for businesses in the heart of the state capital.

Businesses began reopening around noon on Saturday after state officials agreed to step up security so merchants could operate safely.

Teachers occupied service stations on Friday, stealing fuel and vandalizing the businesses to pressure the state government to abandon efforts to reform the educational system.

Mexico’s public education system has traditionally been controlled by unions, which fill job openings based on personal relationships or the payment of kickbacks.

President Enrique Peña Nieto implemented educational reforms last year aimed at ending unions’ privileges.

The CNTE has staged protests in several states, as well as Mexico City, to demand that the reforms be scrapped.

The union opposes the evaluation system implemented by the reforms to regulate the hiring and promotion of teachers.

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