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.
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.