This Week in Latin America: Mexico’s Union Trouble

08/22/2016 Americas Quarterly

education - classroomEducation Reform in Mexico: The CNTE teachers’ union says it will not return to classes today for the start of the new school year. Union members have for months been protesting an education reform package that would require teacher evaluations and curtail the practice of members purchasing or inheriting teaching positions. The CNTE says the reform is unfairly weighted against teachers in rural areas, and have called on the government to meet a list of demands to alter the proposed laws. The teachers’ strike will be most widespread in the restive states of Guerrero, Michoacán, Oaxaca, and Chiapas, where the CNTE exerts considerable power over local politics and recent demonstrations against the reforms have led to violent clashes with police.

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Mexico president Enrique Peña Nieto plagiarized thesis for law degree: report

08/22/16 The Guardian

PenaNieto.jpgPresident Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico heavily plagiarized the thesis for his law degree, according to an investigation by a local news outlet.

Aristegui Noticias on Sunday published an online report based on an analysis of the embattled president’s thesis by a group of academics, which it said was then corroborated by the news outlet.

It said 29% of the thesis was material lifted from other works, including 20 paragraphs copied word-for-word from a book written by former president Miguel de la Madrid without citation or mention in the bibliography.

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Child labour in Mexico

08/20/16 Al Jazeera

education - school children“Education for everyone” has been a popular slogan since the Mexican revolution over 100 years ago.

But according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, eight out of 100 Mexican children who enroll in elementary school, do not show up for classes.

While barely 50 complete middle school, 20 graduate from high school, 13 get a bachelor’s degree, and only two become graduate students.

A study released by UNESCO last year says the children who don’t attend school are mostly working. The report reveals that at least 21 percent of all Mexican youth between the ages of seven and 14 drop out of school – that’s around 651,000 children.

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Mexicans are seeking asylum in U.S. to escape the chaotic violence of a prolonged teachers’ protests

08/17/16 Fusion

EL PASO, Texas — The violent standoff between radical factions of a teachers’ union and the Mexican government has led to an unexpected push of emigrants fleeing the south of Mexico to seek asylum at the U.S. border.

A radical faction of teachers known as The National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) has paralyzed several economies in the south of Mexico by blocking roads and clashing violently with police in a prolonged protest that is paralyzing life and business for many people in the states of Chiapas and Oaxaca. Tourism has plummeted and the government has resorted to using military planes to fly in food aid into some towns.

Mexico Under Growing Pressure to Stop Highway Blockades

08/03/2016 The New York Times 

26837704764_029065cba3_oMEXICO CITY — With a top Mexican business group calling for a tax protest, authorities are under growing pressure to stop blockades of streets and highways by demonstrating teachers.

Radical teacher unions have been blocking roads in southern Mexico for weeks, causing economic losses the business chamber estimates at almost $400 million. The CONCANACO chamber says members may file tax returns showing zero income if the situation continues.

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Mexico Businesses File Appeal Against Road, Rail Blockades

08/02/16 ABC News

26837704764_029065cba3_o.jpgMexico’s private employers federation has gone to court seeking to force authorities to open highways and rail lines that have been hit by weeks of blockades by protesters.

The leader of the business chamber says 11 weeks of blockades have hurt businesses and threaten to slow the nation’s economy. Gustavo de Hoyos said Tuesday the legal appeal argues that the blockades violate the rights of business owners and citizens to work and travel freely.

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Why teachers have been occupying one of Mexico’s most alluring public spaces since May

07/25/16 Los Angeles Times

protest -- stroke -- resistanceWith its towering cathedral, stately trees and many cafes, the central plaza here usually exudes a sense of peace and elegance — a place to dine, reflect or listen to the marimba bands that perform on the ornate, wrought-iron bandstand.

But sit-ins, roadblocks and violence linked to Mexico’s roiling conflict between teachers and the federal government have cast a pall over Oaxaca City and the Guelaguetza, the signature annual celebration of the indigenous and mestizo heritage of this culturally rich state.

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