Thousands of Mexican Teachers Protest Against Education Reform

June 26, 2015

6/24/15 teleSUR

Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP - Getty Images

Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP – Getty Images

Thousands of dissident teachers took to the streets of Mexico City Wednesday, declaring a 24-hour strike to protest against the education reform promoted by President Enrique Peña Nieto. The protest follows a decision taken recently by the country’s Supreme Court which declared the reform and the controversial teacher evaluation tests to be constitutional. The evaluation is the main source of anger from the CNTE teachers’ union, which is an alternative to the mainstream national union SNTE. The teleSUR Correspondent in Mexico, Eduardo Matinez, reported that at least 10,000 teachers have joined the strike, adding that other sections of the country have taken part in the protest for the first time. Today’s march started in the capital’s Revolution Monument, before going to the Senate and concluding at a rally in the Secretariat for Public Education (SEP) headquarters.

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Ayotzinapa Parents Say Mexican Government is Sowing Divisions

June 25, 2015

6/23/15 teleSUR

AFP

AFP

The government of Enrique Peña Nieto stands accused of trying to sow divisions among the movement demanding justice and the safe return of the 43 forcibly disappeared Ayotzinapa students by members of the movement. The new government maneuver was flagged up Monday by Felipe de la Cruz, spokesperson for the relatives of the students.

The National Defense Secretariat recently revealed that there were at least two active soldiers in the Mexican Armed Forces among the missing 43 students, but at first refused to reveal names. This has lead to speculation by the families that the omission was a deliberate effort to sow division. “Why didn’t they say so from the beginning?” De la Cruz asked regarding the timing of this revelation, nine months after the students were shot at and disappeared.

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Mexicans Are Furious With Their President, But Vote Won’t Show It

June 4, 2015

6/4/15 Bloomberg

When EnriquEnrique PeñaNieto 2e Pena Nieto was elected president three years ago, he was widely viewed outside Mexico as a savior — a media savvy, model-handsome leader who would guide the nation away from gang warfare and poverty.

It didn’t take too long for the story to turn sour. Last fall, dozens of students were murdered by a drug cartel linked to local officials in a southern town, economic growth failed to pick up and allegations arose of cronyism involving Pena Nieto, his wife and his finance minister. The president’s popularity crumbled. Thousands took to the streets in outrage.

Yet this Sunday, at elections midway into his six-year term, voters appear unlikely to express that anger at the ballot box.

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Mexico takes gamble on suspending key pillar of education reform

June 2, 2015

6/2/15 Financial Times

Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto and first lady Angelica Rivera salute during the military parade celebrating Independence Day at the Zocalo square in downtown Mexico CityThe Mexican government’s decision to bow to pressure from a dissident teachers’ union ahead of midterm elections that the president admits are a referendum on his rule is a political gamble that could undermine, not boost, its battered credibility.

The education ministry made the surprise announcement on Friday that it was putting teacher testing — a key pillar of the government’s much-vaunted education reform, as well as a constitutional requirement — on ice indefinitely. “This is a government that is terrified of the short term,” said Carlos Elizondo, a political analyst. “It is a sign of weakness.”

The SNTE teachers’ union, the largest in Latin America, is backing the reforms, and running ad campaigns praising ordinary teachers for their commitment and professionalism under the slogan “these are the teachers we should be talking about”. The CNTE teachers’ union, by contrast, makes headlines for its belligerent tactics, strikes and marches.

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Mexico’s Reforms Tackle Corruption But Leave Presidential Immunity Intact

June 2, 2015

5/28/15 International Business Times

Bernardo Montoya/Reuters

Bernardo Montoya/Reuters

Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto enacted long-discussed constitutional reforms this week, instituting a new anti-corruption regime and heralding it as a “genuine paradigm shift.” Corruption remains one of Mexico’s biggest challenges along with its long-standing security problem, and the reforms aim to boost accountability for both public officials and private entities. But the system also leaves the president’s immunity from prosecution intact, rankling critics.

Independent analysts and observers are also cautiously optimistic about the new system. “It’s really a major step,” said Christopher Wilson, deputy director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. “It’s a new approach to anti-corruption – instead of just focusing on one anti-corruption czar or body, this actually strengthens a number of pieces of a broader system, and that’s definitely the right way to be thinking about this and moving forward.”

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Upcoming Event! Mexico’s Midterm Elections and the Peña Nieto Administration

May 11, 2015

Collage only_MonochromeWHEN: Monday, May 18, 9:30-11:00am

WHERE: 6th Floor Auditorium, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Click here to RSVP.

The Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute is pleased to invite you to an event on Mexico’s 2015 midterm elections. On June 7, 2015, more than 86 million Mexicans will have the opportunity to elect 500 federal deputies, 17 state-level legislatures, 9 governors, and more than 300 mayors. This new cohort of legislators will replace the group that approved the major reforms proposed by President Enrique Peña Nieto during the first year of his administration. The new Chamber of Deputies will be crucial for the second half of Peña Nieto’s term in office; finding room for negotiation may prove increasingly difficult as the presidential succession nears.

These elections represent a battle in which the PRI seeks to stay strong despite the President’s low approval ratings. Meanwhile, the PAN and the PRD are trying to overcome internal divisions and emerge stronger. The PRD’s internal challenges became external with the recent founding of MORENA, led by Andrés Manuel López Obrador, which is emerging as a viable option for voters on the left. In fact, MORENA will be competing head to head with the Green Party (PVEM) to be the fourth national political force.

Speakers

Denise Dresser
Political Analyst and Professor, Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México

Luis Carlos Ugalde
Director General, Integralia Consultores

Moderator

Duncan Wood
Director, Mexico Institute, Wilson Center

RSVP here. 

Want to know more about Mexico’s midterm elections? Visit the Mexico Institute’s 2015 Election Guide.


Mexico president in crisis is losing support of big business

February 26, 2015

02/26/15 The Washington Post 

Bernardo Montoya/Reuters

Bernardo Montoya/Reuters

The full-page ad in Mexico’s national newspapers was unusual, if not unprecedented: 20 powerful business groups and think tanks publicly scolding the government for not doing its job. They demanded “conditions necessary to do their work … in total security, in all of the country.” The ad, published last month, called on President Enrique Pena Nieto to “honor your oath to observe and enforce the constitution.” The public criticism by Mexico’s business community underlines the eroding support for Pena Nieto’s administration as he enters the third year of a six-year term. Business leaders are angry over reforms that have increased the tax burden without sparking economic growth, scandals over apparent favoritism and acts of lawlessness that are hurting commerce.

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