Thursday, October 31, 2013

Teachers return to Guadalajara streets in large numbers, protesting alleged education privatization

The heroes of Mexico (top row) gave their lives for the country. But two who sold it out, according to some teachers, are former president Carlos Salinas de Gortari (1988-1994) and Enrique Peña Nieto.

Guadalajara -
On the same day that president Enrique Peña Nieto and his secretary of education Emilio Chuayffet traveled to three Mexican states to deliver tens of thousands of computers to elementary and high school students, several thousand Jalisco teachers shut down major thoroughfares in Guadalajara yesterday afternoon, protesting what they say is a plan to completely privatize education nationwide.

Although teachers opposed to recent federal educational reforms are a distinct minority, more than a few continue to demonstrate against new regulations which will require them to submit to professional competency exams beginning in 2015. Those laws were passed overwhelmingly by Mexico's federal congress in early September, and were signed into law by Peña Nieto several days later.

On his whirlwind tour yesterday, the president stopped in several classrooms to visit with students who were the beneficiaries of the free laptops. With a heavy contingent of the press recording it all, Peña Nieto promised that education would always remain a matter of entitlement, and free of charge.

But the teachers who marched here yesterday afternoon disagree. They claim that a month ago Jalisco's secretary of education distributed a memorandum to the state's more than 11,000 public schools, urging principals and faculty members to explain to parents that it is their own obligation to provide for the support of local schools with the purchase of books and supplies and the payment of utility bills and physical plant maintenance and upkeep costs. Marchers passed out handbills detailing their allegations during the three hour peaceful demonstration in central Guadalajara.

Yesterday's police escorted protest was much larger than one on Sept. 11. National labor strike fizzles in Guadalajara and elsewhere, as federal education reforms take effect across the nation. Teacher strikes closed classrooms in the southwestern states of Oaxaca and Chiapas for weeks earlier this year, where instructors just returned to their duties in mid-October. Michoacán teachers walked off the job two weeks ago. But over 95% of Jalisco instructors have not participated in work stoppages or public demonstrations against the educational reforms.

All the Guadalajara protesters were members of one of two powerful educators' unions, either the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (SNTE) or its far more radical and politicized cousin, the Coordinadora Nacional de los Trabajadores de la Educación (CNTE). The surprise in yesterday's local march was that many more demonstrators carried SNTE signs than CNTE ones.

The teachers, who are opposed to pending energy reforms as well (stories below), struck out at all the familiar targets. They accused Mexico's major media sources - especially the loathed Televisa network - of distorting the educational reforms and the basis for their opposition to them. They claim the PRI administration is determined to remove federal and state governments from the educational sector, and abandon it to private, for profit institutions. Referring to the Sept. 13 forced dislodging of tens of thousands of CNTE protesters from the heart of Mexico City, where they been encamped for weeks causing property damage, huge economic losses to local commerce and engaging in sporadic violence, the Guadalajara demonstrators compared the event to the recent capture of Z-40, a top Los Zeta operative who was arrested in July. His widely published photograph arriving in the capital city without handcuffs or restraints raised some eyebrows. Mexico City labor violence, through the lens.

Fellow teachers in the Federal District were treated worse than Z-40, some GDL protesters claimed

Education reform protests
Aug. 19 - Continued teacher strikes idle almost a million students in Oaxaca
Aug. 25 - Opinion: PRI government shows no resolve against thug teachers
Aug. 29 - Teachers' union calls for nationwide strike
Aug. 30 - Oaxaca education at the mercy of omnipotent syndicate
Aug. 31 - Oaxaca freezes pay of striking teachers
Sept. 2 - Mexico's House of Deputies passes education reforms
Sept. 3 - Mexico's Senate passes education reform bill, as labor unions threaten civil disobedience
Sept. 4 - Oaxaca governor holds tough and refuses to pay dissident teachers
Sept. 4 - Teachers' union ups the ante, calling indefinite strike in Chiapas
Sept. 6 - School closings spread to Yucatán, but Peña Nieto says "there's no turning back"
Sept. 12 - Yucatán teachers fold, agree to return to the schoolhouse
Sept. 14 - Opinion: Elena Poniatowska, entirely out to lunch in New York
Sept. 17 - Secret Service locks down Mexico City's Zócalo
Sept. 19 - Opinion: Mexico's Left is determined to shackle the nation to the past
Sept. 21 - Opinion: Andrés Manuel's vision for Mexico
Sept. 22 - La CNTE: entre la revolución y los privilegios
Sept. 25 - "Peña Nieto completely under the control of Obama," says MORENA official
Sept. 29 - The "mafia CNTE"
Oct. 1 - Radical teachers' syndicate returns to Mexico City streets, attacking police
Oct. 4 - Mexico City rioters caused millions in damages; PRI, PAN and PRD call for new laws
Oct. 15 - Oaxaca's governor caves to school teachers

Energy reform
Oct. 7 - López Obrador calls for public protest and civil disobedience over pending PEMEX reforms
Sept. 23 - Energy reform debate opens in Mexican Senate; warnings of foreign takeover of PEMEX
Sept. 21 - "The fix is in" on energy reform, says AMLO: new laws "designed for foreign business"
Sept. 20 - Without energy reform, Mexico will need more than half a century to reach U.S. output

© MGRR 2013. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.

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