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Feature 092313 Pazos

Monday, September 23, 2013

What Worries the Leaders of the Dissident Teachers in Mexico

By Luis Pazos

Some 34 years ago groups of Marxists of various persuasions: Leninists, Trotskyists and Maoists, mostly teachers, formed the National Coordination of Education Workers [CNTE] that since the 1980s has been taken over by varied sections of the Teachers Union.

The PRI governors extended privileges in order to keep them calm, or to strike down their political enemies inside and out of their party. With the resources they received from the Secretariat of Education of Oaxaca, and "voluntary" quotas from more than 70,000 teachers, they took power and control over education in such a way that currently the allocation and retention of the majority of teachers' positions in Oaxaca belong to the CNTE.

Based on Marxist-Leninist principles, among them class struggle -- which is part of that group's statutes, they justify the violence. And they are not willing to accept an educational reform that would take away power over teachers in Oaxaca, Michoacán, Chiapas and Guerrero.

They handle, with their own discretion and without accountability, millions of pesos, and they decide on the recipients of teachers' salaries in several states. Some of those leaders appear several times on the payroll, and they receive more than $130,000 pesos [US$10,116.00] a month without teaching classes, as was reported in Morelos. They have at their disposal an army of commissioners and teachers who they compensate, who devote full time to "altercations/melees" and the indoctrination of teachers in obsolete Marxist theories.

The teachers know if they do not attend political meetings, rallies, blockades or participate in strikes they might lose their position. They tell them that the education reform is going to take away their jobs and privatize education.

What in reality worries the leaders of the radical left of the CNTE is that the reform will take away their power to manipulate positions and payrolls at their whim, insofar as assignment of the positions will be based on an evaluation, the posts going to the best and not to those the leaders' name.  This methodology means the loss of complete control over teachers and millions in resources to finance their political aspirations and ideologies, with the low quality of education and keeping millions of children without classes having no importance to them.


Luis Pazos (e-mail:, who heads the Free Enterprise Research Center (CISLE) in Mexico City, holds a master's degree in Public Finance and a doctorate in Law from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).  A prolific writer and forethoughtful analyst, Dr. Pazos' commentaries on Mexican economics, finance and politics have appeared in newspapers and magazines throughout the Americas.  As well, he is the author of 39 books.  Edited translation by

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