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The News Line: Feature MEXICAN TEACHERS CONDEMN TRUMP’S MILITARY THREATS! MEXICO’S main teachers’ union has defended Venezuela against US President Trump’s threats of military action.


In a formal statement, the Oaxaca branch of the Mexican National Educational Workers Union, CNTE, criticised the United States for ‘violating’ Venezuela’s sovereignty and issued a declaration in support of the Venezuelan government.

The CNTE declaration ‘manifests its support for the democratic process of the Venezuelan Constituent Assembly and repudiates US external intervention that has led to the death of our Venezuelan brothers.’

The statement also attacks the ‘inequality, poverty, marginalisation, impunity and scarcity’ provoked by countries like the United States and reiterates the union’s support for social movements fighting against neoliberal governments.

Venezuela has received worldwide support since Trump warned of a ‘military option’ against Venezuela. Uruguayan and Spanish groups recently denounced US interference in Venezuela’s internal affairs, joining governments from across the political spectrum to reject Trump’s threats.

The CNTE, Mexico’s main education union, has been at the forefront of many social justice battles in Mexico. The union has fiercely fought the government of President Peña Nieto to improve education for the rural poor and provide teachers with more resources.

Meanwhile, an open letter from the people of Venezuela to their counterparts in the United States urges them to demand US President Donald Trump stop its ‘warmongering’. It called on the people to join Venezuela in defending peace, freedom, and cooperation between the two nations.

The letter, which was published in the New York Times and the Hill, includes Trump’s recent threat of a direct military intervention and the unilateral economic sanctions on the country, that the letter notes is intended ‘to economically isolate’ Venezuela.
‘These threats and unilateral decisions will affect our economy and our means to obtain resources for food, healthcare and production, seriously impairing our citizens’ everyday life,’ the letter says.
It further states that this was recognised by the US government to be the same plan used in 1973 to overthrow the government of Salvador Allende in Chile which paved the way for the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

‘Furthermore, these actions also affect ordinary US citizens who would face the possibility of a hike in gasoline prices,’ says the open letter. ‘While thousands of workers risk losing their hard-earned savings as retirement funds are affected by the ban on Venezuelan bonds.’

The letter, which was published by the Foreign Affairs Ministry, warns: ‘As was the case in Iraq, we might be on the verge of an unfair and baseless military intervention, where oil is
paramount.’ These actions create problems inside the US making life harder, while outside it ‘generates global rejection and resentment towards the US government and indirectly towards its people, who have nothing to do with these warmongering actions,’ the letter explains.

The latest sanctions ban the trading of Venezuelan debt and prevent the country’s state-run oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA, from selling new bonds to US citizens or financial groups.
‘Venezuela is neither an enemy of the United States nor does it represent a threat to its security,’ the text says.

Meanwhile, in the latest attack on journalists in Mexico, Juan Carlos Hernandez Rios, a contributor to La Bandera Noticias has been shot dead after he left his home in the state of Guanajuato.

29-year-old Hernandez was attacked by two men dressed in black and carrying large-calibre weapons. He worked as an editorial assistant and photographer for the news website that is known to have received threats in recent months, local media reports said.

Hernandez, who also worked as a taxi driver, was rushed to the community hospital in Yuriria but later died from his injuries. According to a recent report by Article 19, the press freedom group, 2016 was the most deadly year for the press in Mexico over the past decade with 11 journalists murdered and more than 400 attacks on media workers.

The organisation says a journalist is now targeted every 15 hours, equalling a 23 per cent increase in attacks against media workers, compared to 2016. Mexico has become increasingly dangerous for reporters as they expose organised crimes in the region. More than 100 journalists have lost their lives since 2000.

Before Rios, 10 fellow media workers were killed in the country; Candido Rios, Luciano Rivera, Javier Valdez, Cecilio Pineda, Filiberto Alvarez, Ricardo Monlui, Miroslava Breach, Maximino Rodríguez and Jonathan Rodríguez and Honduran Edwin Rivera. Salvador Adame is still
missing.

Mexico recently ranked first in Latin America on the 2017 Global Impunity Index with many crimes going unpunished. The press freedom organisation also said that perpetrators of these crimes get away with murder 99.7 per cent of the time.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, at least 48 journalists were killed in Mexico in 2016 and 72 in 2015. Reporters Without Borders said in February that Mexico is now the most dangerous country in Latin America for the profession.

The International Federation of Journalists warned in July that press freedom and journalists’ safety in Mexico are in serious danger. The IFJ said: ‘On 15 May, Javier Valdez, a journalist and an expert in covering issues relating to “narcotrafico”, was shot dead. His is killing is not the only one that threatens journalism in the country.

‘Eight journalists have been killed so far in 2017 and more than a hundred have died since 2000, according to figures compiled by the IFJ and its Mexican affiliate, Sindicato Nacional de Redactores de Prensa (SNRP).

‘Against this background the IFJ, together with the SNRP and the IFJ’s office in Buenos Aires, is launching an international campaign, both aimed at prompting investigations into the attacks and improving security measures in order to prevent more attacks against our Mexican
colleagues.

‘We aim to put pressure on the authorities to ensure justice is done for the crimes committed.
‘On 30 June, we sent a letter to the President, Enrique Peña Nieto, urging him to show his commitment and political willingness by financially strengthening the protection mechanism for journalists, as well as the resources available to the Special Prosecutor in charge of investigating crimes against freedom of expression – Fiscalía Especial para la Atención de Delitos cometidos contra la Libertad de Expresión (FEADLE).

‘Our President has also sent a letter to the Attorney General asking him to turn the fight against impunity into a priority for the Mexican justice system.’
 
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