MEXICO CITY, June 15 (Reuters) — Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Thursday he will not negotiate with farmers demanding guaranteed prices for grains, as protests by agriculture workers forced an airport in northern
to suspend operations for a third day.
Producers have urged Mexico’s government to guarantee prices for corn, wheat and sorghum to counteract a fall in international prices, and since Tuesday have protested at highways, government offices and the airport in Culiacan, the capital of the northern state of Sinaloa.
Lopez Obrador said he would not send in police to remove the protesters, and argued he is supportive of small farmers.
“Most people realize that we’re helping the producers and the most needy, and we want to support food self-sufficiency,” he told his daily news conference.
He added that protesters at the Culiacan airport numbered about 200 people, and accused them of being backed by his opponents.
“We’re not going to give in, even if they have the airport … our government does not allow blackmail.”
Baltazar Valdez, a protest leader and president of the United Farm Workers of Sinaloa, said many agriculture workers initially supported Lopez Obrador, but no longer believed the president was looking out for their interests.
“He is not interested in protecting agriculture … we are producers and we all contribute to food self-sufficiency,” he said.
The Culiacan airport, which has domestic flights and an international route to Phoenix, Arizona, said on Twitter that flights would be suspended Thursday and recommended passengers not come to the airport.
(Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon and Cassandra Garrison Editing by Frances Kerry)
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