Road Blocks in Chiapas

Road blocks in Chiapas are a political means to demand funding from the federal government. Today November 6th, 2018 my bus ride from Salina Cruz to Tuxtla Gutierrez was twice threatened by such road blocks. As soon as we were in the bus a representative from the bus company OCC informed us that eventually near of Juchitan de Zaragoza a road block will be organized. Worst case the bus would drive back to Salina Cruz and your bus ticket gets refunded.

We made it to Juchitan without any incidence. So much luck you can have. Nearby of Tuxtla Gutierrez several road blocks were raised and one of them was in Campestre where we would have passed. We than took a 1 hour detour across small villages. The one thing to know in Mexico is that every 20 meters there is a speed bump in small villages and if the village is not that small it takes some time to get through with a weight of 12 tons.

Depending on the community specific funding is requested. In some cases the street conditions in this community are so deplorable that they block the road. In today’s case the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación asks the federal government to reconstruct schools destroyed during an earthquake on September 2017. When I drove to the bus station the taxi driver told me that the current president of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto and the governor of Chiapas Manuel Velasco Coello are perceived as being the most corrupt politicians in Mexico’s history. What annoys the mexicans the most is that specially in the health and education sector the government is failing it’s duty towards the population.

123 school are uncompleted. Promised funds not payed. So on November 5th the SNTE started it’s road blocks and you might not believe it, it goes exactly through where I’d like to go. Tomorrow I’ll be visiting the Cañon del Sumidero, Chiapa de Corzo and San Cristobal de las Casas. At San Cristobal a road block is expected. SNTE made it clear that there is a starting day but not an ending one. The day after tomorrow I’ll be heading towards Palenque and again teachers in Ocosingo will be on the road.

As this is all politically driven Nieto enacted a public education reform which restrict powers of the teachers and centralize the process of hiring, evaluating and promoting teachers. Apparently wages were spend for non existent ‘Ghost-Teachers’. It seems that both sides have their fair share of corruption allegations.

Understanding this goes certainly beyond a central european mind but my next days will be fullfilled with a lot of patience. It is also somehow odd that they don’t go on a statewide strike. Seems that no one really would worry about that but paralyze traffic seems to trigger the necessary public pain.

Andreas Schaffner