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Wed Feb 27, 2013, 06:17 AM


Mexico has just arrested the head of their teachers' union, in the wake of an education reform bill.

In december an education reform bill was passed and the mexican president signed it yesterday; it gives the national government control over education, among other things:

The Mexican Congress has in near record time approved a new law on education called for by the new president Enrique Peña Nieto intended to reassert government control over the country's education system, break the power of the Mexican Teachers Union bureaucracy, and improve the quality of education. At the heart of the new law is a regular teacher evaluation with increased emphasis on merit.


Today they arrested the head of the teachers' union:

One of Mexico's biggest political kingfish sits in a women's prison in the capital, accused of embezzling millions in funds from her teachers' union to pay for property, private planes, plastic surgery and her Neiman Marcus bill. Elba Esther Gordillo, 68, leader of the 1.5 million-member National Union of Education Workers, was arrested late Tuesday afternoon as she landed at the Toluca airport near Mexico City on a private flight from San Diego...

The fall of one of the country's most storied and divisive characters — unthinkable just months ago — comes with the return to power of Mexico's Institutional Revolutionary Party, which previously ruled for 71 years and once helped Gordillo consolidate her power. She was arrested one day after President Enrique Pena Nieto signed into law a comprehensive education reform designed to dismantle a system she controlled.

Union members had been marching in the streets against the reform in recent weeks, and the fiery Gordillo, who rose from school teacher to a maker of presidents, vowed to keep fighting...

Gordillo's arrest recalled the 1989 arrest of another once-feared union boss, Joaquin Hernandez Galicia, known as "La Quina." The longtime head of Mexico's powerful oil workers union, Hernandez Galicia was arrested during the first months of the new administration of then-President Carlos Salinas. In 1988, he criticized Salinas' presidential candidacy and threatened an oil workers' strike if Salinas privatized any part of the government oil monopoly, Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex
. On Jan. 10, 1989, — about a month after Salinas took office — soldiers used a bazooka to blow down the door of Hernandez' home in the Gulf Coast city of Ciudad Madero.

Like Gordillo, Hernandez Galicia's power was believed to represent a challenge to the president, and his arrest was interpreted as an assertion of the president's authority. He was freed from prison after Salinas left office.


She probably is corrupt; however, it's also clear that her corruption didn't use to matter (and was probably encouraged) by the political parties she worked hand-in-glove with, as she was originally a creation of PRI; ergo, the sudden discovery of her corruption now is political and they're taking her out to make it harder for the union to fight the new law:

Elba Esther Gordillo Morales (February 6, 1945) is a Mexican politician who has been the leader of the 1.4-million strong National Education Workers' Union (Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación, or SNTE), the largest labor union in Latin America, since 1989. She was formerly affiliated with the Institutional Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Institucional, or PRI) until 2005, when left and founded the New Alliance Party (Partido Nueva Alianza, or PANAL), which is currently led by her grandson Luis Castro Obregón.[1]

Gordillo joined the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in 1970, at the height of its "dirty war". She has occupied several PRI positions including Secretary of Organization of the National Executive Council (1986–1987), General Secretary of the Council of National Popular Organizations (1997–2002), and General Secretary of the National Executive Council, the second highest position within the party.


It's also clear that Mexico's version of education 'reform' will be much like the US's, down to the teacher-bashing part:

The National Coordinating Committee of the Teacher Union (la CNTE), an opposition caucus within the teachers union, opposed the education reform proposal. Rubén Núñez Ginés of SNTE Local 22 in Oaxaca told the press that the "reform will not pass" in Oaxaca or in other areas where the CNTE is strong. "We consider the educational reform, and especially any changes to Article 3 of the Constitution, to be an attack on the Mexican people." It was also, he added, treason to the Mexican Revolution.

Núñez Ginés said the reform was driven by rightwing business interests. "The project hides its real objective: the labor issue. It is an attempt to do away with collective bargaining in education and to institute instead individual contracts based on evaluations with a punitive character in order to justify firings." He objected to the notion of a "universal evaluation" given the diverse character of Mexico, with states such as Oaxaca having many different indigenous cultures.

The leftwing Mexico City daily La Jornada responded to Peña Nieto's education reform with a strong editorial criticizing the proposal. "Perhaps the most objectionable part of the reform is that it insists on presenting the teachers as the ones ultimately and almost exclusively responsible for the existing deficiencies in the government educational system . . . ."

La Jornada suggested to its readers that it was the United States which was pursuing these sorts of reforms based on teacher evaluation, which it has become clear is driven by the business class and its politicians who are attacking public education and encouraging an "educational market place." It will be a disaster, concluded the editorial, if educational reform becomes a vehicle for attacking public education.


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Reply Mexico has just arrested the head of their teachers' union, in the wake of an education reform bill. (Original post)
HiPointDem Feb 2013 OP
knitter4democracy Feb 2013 #1

Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Wed Feb 27, 2013, 08:12 AM

1. This is totally about taking out the opposition.


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