Federal District remains tense, as union rallies its members for a new offensive; meanwhile, AMLO lets it all hang out - but will the latest verbal barrage convert him into a relic of political history?
2013 may have been the year of Enrique Peña Nieto, but former two time presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador doesn't plan to join the parade.
López Obrador hit the political circuit bright and early this morning, looking a bit on the thin side but no worse the wear after a December cardiac event sidelined him at home for a month. While he was away from the partisan battlefield, Mexico's federal congress and an easy majority of its 32 states passed the historic PEMEX reforms, and in record time considering the multi-step legislative process required for constitutional amendments.
López Obrador, 60, founder and leader of the ultra-left National Regeneration Movement (Movimiento de Regeneración Nacional, commonly known by its acronym MORENA), was twice denied Mexico's presidency (2006, 2012). Most expect him to be a candidate again in 2018. Mexican politicians already looking ahead to next contest. Today he demanded that "all of the so-called institutional reforms" of the Peña Nieto administration be "abolished immediately."
López Obrador was referring not just to energy law matters, but the overhaul of Mexico's broken - and sometimes corrupt - educational system which was passed by overwhelming 5-1 support in Mexico's senate and house of deputies last September. New laws provide that school teachers may not purchase their positions or inherit them from family members, and must pass periodic competency examinations. López Obrador is flatly opposed to the changes, and today he told a MORENA gathering that Enrique Peña Nieto had committed "the crime of treason to the nation" by pushing both categories of reform through congress.
The education reforms have been the law of the land for four months
"Today the Mexican State has been converted into a committee in the service of corrupt politicians," he said during a 20 minute speech which was much quieter in tone than his customary style. "It's obvious that the corruption in our country continues, but now they're focusing on the energy sector. The plan is to sack the energy resources of the nation, and to share them with foreign magnates," López Obrador claimed.
In an unclear reference to his immediate plans, AMLO added, "In the days ahead we will present a formal international complaint against Peña Nieto for treason." He promised to launch a nationwide tour, "to keep the spark of hope alive."
Concluding, López Obrador told MORENA supporters, "We have to continue the struggle to get rid of this political regime which is characterized by prepotency, thievery and infamy." Referring to notorious Mexican president Porfirio Diaz, he said, "I urge you to defeat the tyrant."
But right now the voice of Mexico's ultra-left has nothing behind him other than his vocal cheerleaders. MORENA, which is still organizing, has yet to appear on any political ballot, and holds not a single legislative seat at either the federal or state level.
Jan. 30 - MORENA says it's done with the left wing (but far less radical) Democratic Revolution Party, which López Obrador campaigned for in 2006 and 2012 as presidential candidate. "PRD handed itself over, sold out, to Peña Nieto's government," AMLO said today.
Feb. 5 - On Constitution Day, far Left pol files criminal complaint against Enrique Peña Nieto for treason
Sept. 19 - Mexico's Left determined to shackle the nation to the past
Sept. 21 - Andrés Manuel's vision for Mexico
Oct. 7 - López Obrador calls for campaign of protest and civil disobedience over PEMEX reforms
Dec. 12 - Exit Stage Left: PRD says "The Pact for Mexico is dead"
CNTE - they're B-A-A-A-C-K
Just hours before López Obrador's reappearance on stage, one of his closest political allies - the radical and often violent Coordinadora Nacional de los Trabajadores de la Educación (CNTE) - was nicely dislodged from the heart of Mexico City by local DF police forces. That's the teachers' union, which doesn't want its members tested - or answering to any federal education agency, either.
"CNTE extremists leave policeman in a coma"
CNTE occupied the heart of Mexico City from Aug. 19 until Sept. 13, when its members were finally evicted by federal security forces. The union forced the senate and the house of deputies to relocate legislative operations to private office facilities during part of that time, and left considerable physical damage - together with more than 80 tons of trash - in the capital's largest plaza. Mexico City labor violence, through the lens. Economic damages occasioned to local businesses have been estimated at $20 to $60 million dollars, leaving some small proprietors virtually insolvent. Secret Service locks down Mexico City's Zócalo. Here's a clip of what they left behind:
For those reasons and more Federal Police and military units were out in force early last evening, and threw out CNTE members who had been infiltrating the city's heart in recent days. Spokesmen for Canacope-Servytur (Cámara de Comercio, Servicios y Turismo en Pequeño de la Ciudad de México), which represents small businesses in the capital city's Centro Histórico - hard hit by weeks of CNTE occupancy - said they were delighted by the clearance operation. "We cannot afford further damage to our local enterprises, nor interference with Mexico City commerce, in a space which belongs to all of us," said one local businessman. But tonight CNTE officials said reinforcements are on the way, and they'll be returning in larger numbers in a few days. 2014 may prove very difficult for Mexico City.
"And who's going to evaluate the congressman?," queried union members last fall
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
Sept. 14 - Opinion: Elena Poniatowska, entirely out to lunch in New York
Oct. 1 - Radical teachers' syndicate returns to Mexico City streets, attacking police
Oct. 15 - Oaxaca's governor caves to school teachers
Oct. 31 - Teachers return to Guadalajara streets, 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.
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