By THE PULSE NEWS MEXICO STAFF
After nearly 12 hours of blocking access to Mexico’s San Lázaro Legislative Palace, which houses the nation’s lower House of Deputies, a group of several hundred campesinos (rural workers) protesting the new government’s slashing of funding for the Rural Development Secretariat finally allowed federal deputies to leave the premises at about 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 21.
The group, with strong ties to Mexico’s now-minority Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) that ruled the country for more than 70 years until 2000 and during the last presidential administration that ended when the left-leaning National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party’s Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) took office in Dec. 1, refused to leave the legislative palace nor allow the government workers or deputies to exit the premises until their grievances were addressed.
As the standoff continued, tensions mounted as several deputies claimed that they were “being held hostage,” to which the campesinos responded “We want a budget!”
The legislators finally agreed to review the 2019 budget, which was presented on Dec. 15, after the Christmas holidays and to consider reallocating allocating funding for the Rural Development Secretariat.
Meanwhile, AMLO was received in Oaxaca earlier in the day by enraged Secretariat of the Treasury (SAT) workers who were fired in mass that day, along with at least 5,000 coworkers nationwide, without full severance pay, and in some cases, without their corresponding Christmas bonuses.