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08/23/2013

The snarled traffic of Mexico City

Tens of thousands of striking teachers have brought mayhem to Mexico City.

Sit-ins and protest rallies by the teachers this week have shut down both houses of Congress, forced a change in the route of the Mexico City marathon this weekend, and partially blocked access to the international airport. The video report above is from Al Jazeera English.

Photo-7Depending on your political persuasion, municipal police have acted with extraordinary restraint – or failed to act.

In either case, more is at stake than the educational reform that has gotten teachers so worked up. Also in play is the future of Mayor Miguel Mancera. He is a member of the Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, and many in that party are opposed to the series of reforms that President Enrique Pena Nieto of the PRI has proposed. So letting protesters block traffic and shut down Congress pleases some in his party.

But by pleasing his political base, Mancera angers many ordinary residents deeply inconvenienced by teacher roadblocks and marches that snarl traffic. His reputation is already slipping barely eight months into his term. The headline in Reforma today says the city is “held hostage. 

Public security is definitely Mancera’s weak flank. Organized criminal activity seems to be picking up in Mexico City. To wit: 12 people were abducted from a bar in the Zona Rosa in May. Seven bodies turned up this week, perhaps some of the abductees. 

Pena Nieto may also have a rough couple of weeks ahead. As legislators waffle on passing the secondary education reform laws, particularly one that requires teacher evaluations, opposition may build to other reforms. Pena Nieto is scheduled to give his annual state of the nation speech Sept. 1. Then he must submit his proposed package of fiscal reform measures by Sept. 8. That package reportedly calls for taxes on food and medicines, something that may draw more protesters into the streets.

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pink schnoid

I am an educator in Mexico and am appalled at the lack of intellect and education of some of my colleagues...one guy even asked me which coast of the USA New York City was located...the public sector is rife with cronyism and the public sector is , well, also rife with cronyism....the kids lose

wtf could be wrong with teacher evaluations?

primary school in Mexico is fantastic, after that the drop off is scary

Tim J

Apologies for those readers in the United States. Apparently the Al Jazeera English video embedded above can't be seen there.

hana

Yes I just read that the bodies were those of the kids abducted. Given the abominable quality of teaching in the pueblo where I live, something needs to be done as the young bright ones are being cheated out of a future. And as far as taxes and food and medicines, frankly a PRI suicide act given that 49% of the country can't feed itself NOW because they can't afford food.

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Tim

This blog is written by Tim Johnson, the Mexico bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers.

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