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  • Workers unload sacks filled with grain from a C-130 Hercules aircraft to be distributed in impoverished communities of Oaxaca state.

    Workers unload sacks filled with grain from a C-130 Hercules aircraft to be distributed in impoverished communities of Oaxaca state. | Photo: Reuters

Food has been dropped in parts of Oaxaca after recent protests over education reform have prevented food trucks from reaching a number of villiages.  

Mexico's air force flew tons of grain to the southern state of Oaxaca on Friday as protests by teachers opposed to education reform spread across the country and road blocks led to dwindling food supplies in some remote regions.

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Tension in the state intensified after at least nine people died last month in clashes between police and the protesting teachers, and unrest has flared throughout Mexico.

Local media reported protests by factions of Mexico's CNTE teachers union on Friday in the states of Guerrero, Oaxaca, Michoacan, Chiapas, Nuevo Leon and in Mexico City.

The union has blockaded 11 highways in Oaxaca, a hotbed of dissent for protesters opposing President Enrique Pena Nieto's education reform that allows the federal government to remove teachers who fail evaluation exams.

The protests have allegedly prevented food trucks from reaching remote coastal villages in Oaxaca, where some of Mexico's poorest people live, the country's federal food distribution chief Juan Manuel Valle said.

Valle said 108 tons of corn would be flown in on a Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft by the end of the weekend, with additional provisions on standby in case the situation deteriorated.

Araceli Hernández Ramirez, manager of a grocery store in Puente de Coyula, a small town of some 500 inhabitants close to the beach resort of Huatulco, and located about 146 miles from the state capital, said she had no rice, corn or flour.

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"There are no products," said Hernandez, waiting for a shipment from Diconsa to supply customers. "They go home empty-handed."

Fifty tons of corn were also sent from the neighboring state of Guerrero by truck, in addition to regular shipments of beans, and rice.

The CNTE, however, has accused the government of deliberately exaggerating the interruption of delivery of food and supplies in order to justify the clearing of road blockades with force.

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