Sunday, January 21, 2007

Mark in Mexico: Guest blogger

Mark in Mexico is Mark in the Hospital right now. He has some type of infection and I am going to try to maintain the weblog until he can return. I am an English teacher from BC, Canada.

I will be translating local news reports for you as well as using his Word files because he has several dozen writings stored there that he has never published. If I can figure out all of his secret codes for his links and image locations, I will be able to post these quite informative articles and reports for you.

I helped him put together the quite enlightening report on Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), one of Mark's favourite subjects, yesterday but I was able to find only two of the six images that he intended to include. Sorry.

When sitting at another person's computer, it takes a while to figure out how everything is organized. He has some files encrypted and others which are password protected. He has given me instructions on how to open those files but his wife and I cannot get them open. Until we figure out how to open those files, I can only use the reports and analyses that I find in his Word files.

Stay tuned.

Susan Waxley
Oaxaca de Juarez, Mexico

Elba Esther Gordillo
Secretly spends $5 million US per month of union teachers' dues.

Elba Esther Gordillo, leader of the SNTE, the teachers union, has a political action committee, called the Comité Nacional de Acción Política (National Political Action Committee), which has been carefully hidden from view sonce 1999. This has been revealed to Reforma newspaper by three former members of that commitee who now oppose Gordillo and the SNTE as well as by a dissident opposition group with 100,000 members calling itself the Asociación Ciudadana del Magisterio (ACM - Citizens' Teachers' Association).

Noé Rivera-Domínguez of the ACM says that Gordillo's secret political "network" is composed of 372 full time "coordinators" who are paid between 35,000 and 80,000 pesos per month -- in addition to their teachers salaries -- by the union. That is to say, the 372 full time staff members are being paid two salaries concurrently.

Do we wonder where all the money goes? Do we wonder why the teachers, at least in Oaxaca, go on strike every single year for more money? They need it to pay for things like this.

When Gordillo had her falling out with the failed PRI candidate for the presidency, Roberto Madrazo, she formed her own political party, comprised almost wholly of SNTE members, and put forward her own candidate for the presidency. Her party, PANAL (Partido Nueva Alianza), won 1 Senate seat, 12 Deputy seats, has 8 high ranking members of Felipe Calder'ns government, and 4 state Secretaries of Education are members.

Panal means "nappy", or "diaper", in Spanish, if you were curious. That seems a bit odd to me for a choice of names.

Homero Pólito, former SNTE boss in Veracruz who now opposes the union and Gordillo, says that the 372 coordinators recieved computer training in 1999 when the network was launched. He said he was told, "Don't leave anything that can be discovered."
"All aspects of the network are clandestine, from public opinion pollsters to election poll representatives to district representatives. In every SNTE district they have set up offices with computers, each member is equipped with a telephone or calling cards and each memebr receives 100 to 300 pesos per day in travel expenses," said Pólito, now a member of the SNTE dissidents.
Héctor Lara, now the leader of yet another anti-SNTE teachers group in Baja California, said that Gordillo uses teachers' dues to pay for "get out the vote campaigns, poll watchers, observers and opinion pollsters".

I think what we have to remember here is that every peso spent for the personal political gain of Elbla Esther Gordillo is a peso unavailable for a child's education in Mexico.

By Susan Waxley, Oaxaca, Mexico

See also: Mexico City: Do you wonder where the children's education funds are going?

Please visit the Pale Horse Galleries online store
for art, gifts and collectibles -- all hand made
by Mexican indigenous artists.

Cross posted at Pale Horse Galleries

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