Why has the president
of a Mexican union been carrying out his duties in Vancouver, rather than in
Mexico? A puzzling question.
Gomez is the of the Mexican National Miners’ Union and has been forced into
exile because of his campaigning to get a mining company to be held responsible
for what he calls “industrial homicide.”
His members working in northern Mexico were trapped by a collapse of a
mine. The government and the company
just left the miners to die.
seeking accountability of the Mexican government and the company. They allowed unsafe conditions and abandoned
the miners who paid the penalty for company greed and government corruption.
government brought criminal charges against Gomez to try to shut him up. He then came to Canada to avoid being unjustly
imprisoned. His members re-elected him
as president and he has used technology to be engaged in the work of the union
from a distance.
written a book called Collapse of Dignity: The story of a mining tragedy and the fight
against greed and corruption in Mexico.
One commentator said the book is “a powerful testimony to the attack by
corrupt politicians and cynical businessmen to silence a union and its leader.”
Steelworkers’ union has been supporting Gomez in Vancouver as an act of
solidarity. Our teacher colleagues in
Mexico have also faced repression and sometimes death when they stand up to the
corruption in government and in their own union. They have organized in the CNTE, a group
within the SNTE teachers’ union to challenge corruption and democratize their
If you are
interested in how teacher unions in Canada work with colleagues in Mexico, you
can find a link to an article posted at the bottom of the Tri-national
Coalition webpage at http://bit.ly/1noJx2W.