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Feature 031912 Canto

Monday, March 19, 2012

To a Mexican Presidential Candidate: Target Education Reform

By Silvio Canto Jr.

Let me be honest and tell you that I don't know much about Josefina Vazquez Mota, the National Action Party (PAN) candidate for the presidency of Mexico.

In 2000 and 2006, many of us in the US were familiar with Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderon, the PAN nominees. They had reputations outside of Mexico as conservatives and men who understood that the country needed reforms.

We were also very familiar with Vicente Fox because he had a close relationship with our Governor of Texas, George W. Bush, in the late 1990s. Plus they were both elected president in 2000 and worked together well.

Again, Josefina Vazquez Mota does not enjoy that reputation.

I am not saying that she is a bad candidate.

I'm just stating the obvious: Nobody knows Josefina!

Besides that, she faces an uphill battle because the voters usually want change after a party has been in power for 12 years, or Fox and Calderon.

Nevertheless, I am going to give her a campaign issue that the other two guys running for the presidency of Mexico won't touch.

I am talking about public education reform, or an issue that no one has really addressed in Mexico because the teachers' union has always delivered votes on election day.

We call on Sra. Josefina Vazquez Mota to read Israel Ortega's article about a movie going around Mexico: "Opening in theaters all across Mexico, the documentary titled ¡De Panzazo! -- loosely translated 'Barely Passing' -- is a hard-hitting film exposing the sorry state of the Mexican public school system."* According to the film, roughly 54 out of every 100 Mexican students will fail to receive a high school diploma. As a result, Mexicans, on average, spend only about 8.6 years in school. In other countries, such as Norway and Canada, students average about 13.2 years in school."

Josefina Vazquez Mota needs something to establish her credentials with a public tired of 12 years of PAN, but not totally sold on PRI candidate Enrique Peña Nieto's "hope and change," or Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (PRD) part II.

Sra. Vazquez Mota must remind Mexicans that they will always be a third world country as long as there are monopolies like PEMEX, and a public education system run for the benefit of the teachers' union.
Why should Mexican taxpayers pay taxes to support public schools but be forced to send their kids to private schools to get a quality education?

I think that my idea will give Sra. Vazquez Mota an issue that the other two guys are afraid to touch. It will be a winner for Josefina Vazquez Mota and PAN. It will also demonstrate that she is not afraid of taking on "sacred cows." And it will be a big hit with Mexicans who don't think that they are getting their money's worth from the bureaucracy.

* To view ¡De Panzazo! go to YouTube (five parts, in Spanish).

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"My View by Silvio Canto Jr.," Mar. 16, 2012.  Silvio Canto Jr. is the host of "Canto Talk," at BlogTalkRadio (www.blogtalkradio.com/cantotalk/).  Reprinted with permission.


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