Farm­ers stage pro-re­form protest in Mex­ico

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

TENS of thou­sands of farm­ers have staged a protest rally in Mex­ico’s cap­i­tal, call­ing for agrar­ian re­forms and more eco­nomic sup­port for ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

On Mon­day, the farm­ers ral­lied at Mex­ico City’s main square of Zocalo and then marched along Juarez Av­enue in the cap­i­tal’s cen­ter.

The protest, or­gan­ised by na­tional Au­tonomous Front of the Coun­try­side, called for more gov­ern­ment sup­port for in­fra­struc­ture and devel­op­ment in ru­ral ar­eas.

The farm­ers car­ried ban­ners, say­ing, “They’ve taken ev­ery­thing from us, even fear.” They also ac­cused Pres­i­dent En­rique Pena Ni­eto of ne­glect­ing their needs and fail­ing to ful­fil his re­form prom­ises.

They also ac­cused the gov­ern­ment of fail­ing to keep its land re­form prom­ises.

The protest co­in­cided with the 137th birth­day of Emiliano Za­p­ata, a prom­i­nent fig­ure in the Mex­i­can rev­o­lu­tion.

Mex­i­can farm­ers are suf­fer­ing un­der the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment signed be­tween Canada, the US, and Mex­ico in 1994.

The deal flooded Mex­ico’s mar­kets with sub­sidised, cheap US food im­ports, dras­ti­cally im­pact­ing the Latin Amer­i­can coun­try’s agri­cul­tural sec­tor.

Mem­bers of the Mex­i­can Elec­tri­cal Work­ers union and the Na­tional Co­or­di­na­tor of Ed­u­ca­tion Work­ers, or CNTE union, who are en­gaged in a dis­pute with the gov­ern­ment, also took part in the protest in sol­i­dar­ity with the farm­ers.

The CNTE teach­ers op­pose planned ed­u­ca­tion re­forms in­tro­duced in 2013 which they say ig­nore the unique ed­u­ca­tion needs in ru­ral ar­eas.

Pres­i­dent En­rique Pena Ni­eto un­veiled his ed­u­ca­tion re­form plans in 2013 as part of a set of 11 ne­olib­eral struc­tural re­forms im­ple­mented in his first 20 months in of­fice. Since then, teach­ers have been en­gaged in protest ral­lies, mostly in Mex­ico’s south­east states.

Ac­cord­ing to the con­tro­ver­sial plan, eval­u­a­tion ex­ams play a sem­i­nal role in de­ter­min­ing which ap­pli­cants are most qual­i­fied to fill open po­si­tions in the public school sys­tem na­tion­wide.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the Ed­u­ca­tion Min­istry has vowed to dis­miss ed­u­ca­tors that refuse to take the ex­am­i­na­tions.

The re­form plan fur­ther in­tends to elim­i­nate the power that unions have held over hir­ing de­ci­sions and end the re­ported prac­tice in which teach­ing po­si­tions were either in­her­ited or sold.

Crit­ics say the eval­u­a­tion mea­sure is merely aimed at jus­ti­fy­ing mass lay­offs and does not ef­fec­tively as­sess teach­ing skills, such as the spe­cial knowl­edge and de­meanour needed to teach in ru­ral ar­eas and in­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties. — PressTV. JO­HAN­NES­BURG — Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma has con­demned the deadly ter­ror­ist at­tack on a gov­ern­men­trun hospi­tal in the city of Quetta, Pak­istan.

A Tal­iban sui­cide bomb packed with ball bear­ings tore through the hospi­tal on Mon­day, killing at least 70 peo­ple and in­jur­ing dozens.

In a state­ment is­sued yes­ter­day, Zuma said that de­lib­er­ate at­tacks against hos­pi­tals were “con­tra­ven­tions of well-es­tab­lished in­ter­na­tional hu­man rights and hu­man­i­tar­ian law and con­sti­tute a crime against hu­man­ity”.

“The South African gov­ern­ment con­demns in the strong­est terms the in­hu­mane and grue­some ter­ror­ist at­tack against a hospi­tal in Pak­istan. Ter­ror­ism in any form and from whichever quar­ter can­not be con­doned,” he said.

He said South Africa stood firmly with the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity in con­demn­ing all ter­ror­ism.

“We will con­tinue to sup­port re­gional and in­ter­na­tional ef­forts to ad­dress the scourge of ter­ror­ism in all its forms.

“The gov­ern­ment and peo­ple of South Africa ex­tend deep­est con­do­lences to the gov­ern­ment and peo­ple of Pak­istan and es­pe­cially to the fam­i­lies of the de­ceased and wish the in­jured a speedy re­cov­ery.” — News24.

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