Education Is Latest Casualty In Mexico's Drug War In Mexico, drug-related violence has delayed the opening of hundreds of public schools in the coastal city of Acapulco. Teachers who say they're facing threats of extortion and kidnapping are refusing to return to their classrooms.

Education Is Latest Casualty In Mexico's Drug War

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In the Mexican coastal city of Acapulco, teachers are out on strike and it's not because of wages or working conditions or pensions. They're refusing to work because of crime. Teachers say they're being extorted, kidnapped and intimidated by local gangs and they're refusing to return to their classrooms until the government does something to protect them. Acapulco has been terrorized over the last two years by drug cartels fighting for control of the once-popular tourist resort.

NPR: some of you might find the details of this report disturbing. Here is NPR's Jason Beaubien.

JASON BEAUBIEN: In the middle of what should be a school day, hundreds of teachers have gathered at a school near the center of Acapulco waiting for instructions from their union leaders.

BETY: (Spanish language spoken)

BEAUBIEN: A primary school teacher, who for security reasons only wants to give her first name, Bety, says we are being attacked, extorted and kidnapped with impunity. Manuel Lozano Hernandez says the teachers are publicly fighting a problem that's plaguing taxi drivers, shop keepers, restaurant owners and even street vendors in Acapulco.

MANUEL LOZANO HERNANDEZ: (Through Translator) I believe that this fight that the teachers are making is a defining moment, because having been a teacher for 32 years, I'm convinced that teachers have their finger on the pulse of what's happening in every house, every neighborhood, every street and every family. Thus, this issue is very important.

BEAUBIEN: One local college student says the recent crime wave is like a psychosis that's gripped Acapulco. A waiter says violent crime is crushing the economy. And now it's delayed the start of classes at many schools across the city by more than a month.

MERCEDES MARTINEZ CALVO: (Spanish language spoken)

BEAUBIEN: Jason Beaubien, NPR News.


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