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National Confederation of Popular Organizations
The Alliance for Quality Education
Democratic Federation of Unions of Public Servants
Jongituds Revolutionary Vanguard
Loyal, Hardline Member
New Alliance Party
National Teachers' College
When, in the late 1980s, the teacher rank-and-file seemed poised to take control of the national union, Mexico President Carlos Salinas (PRI) intervened and assured the ascension of Elba Esther Gordillo, a supposed reformer, to leadership of the union.
Gordillo, who had been part of the Jongitud Barrios administration, re-created the same sort of dictatorial party machine, running the union through fear and favors, the latter including, one year, the gift of a Hummer to every single union delegate to the national convention. Against Gordillo, unions in Oaxaca and Chiapas, joined by some in Guerrero and Michoacán, have continued the fight for union democracy and teacher power to the present day. In February 2013, President Peña Nieto's administration also arrested and imprisoned Elba Esther Gordillo, head of the Mexican Teachers Union on well-founded charges of embezzlement. Jailed because she had made the mistake of challenging PRI leaders, Gordillo remains in prison. The union is now headed by Juan Díaz de la Torre, long an associate of Gordillo and head of the union's political machine and its New Alliance Party, which is allied with the PRI.
Elba Esther Gordillo, the former head of the union, remains in prison following her arrest by Peña Nieto's administration in February of 2013.
In February, Peña Nieto's Attorney General arrested and jailed Elba Esther Gordillo, the head of the Mexican Teachers Union (el SNTE) and for decades one of the most important political figures in Mexican politics.
She was charged along with other union leaders of el SNTE with embezzlement of millions of dollars in union funds in what was widely viewed as punishment for opposing the education reforms. Gordillo's arrest sent a powerful message to both "official union" and independent union leaders and to activists in other social movements that the government was prepared to use all of its power to against any opponent of its political program. Her own union did little to defend her and the public, including teachers' union members largely applauded her arrest; she was despised for her arrogance, her corruption, and her conspicuous displays of her wealth and power.
After taking office, Calderón formed an alliance with Elba Esther Gordillo of the Mexican Teachers Union (el SNTE) who had supported him during his campaign.
Calderón and Gordillo created the Alliance for Quality Education (ACE). Throughout the last year the National Coordinating Committee has led teachers in strikes, marches, and protest demonstrations against Calderón, against Gordillo, and against ACE. Gordillo has used her powerful bureaucratic machine and all sorts of shenanigans against the opposition, while the Calderón government has frequently responded to the teachers demonstrations with violent repression. The campaign clearly aims to unite the country's teachers, wrest power from Elba Esther Gordillo, who controls the Mexican Teachers Union (el SNTE), and, finally, to drive Calderón from power. (24) Some see a popular movement for the impeachment of the president as the first step in the convocation of a new Constituent Assembly to create a new more democratic, more nationalist, and-some would say-socialist Mexican government. (25) The Mexican workers movement and its allied social movements-farmers, environmentalists, and indigenous peoples-will after the dark days of 2009 first have to rebuild the strength and confidence of the movement from the grassroots before they can succeed in accomplishing these broader goals.
Teachers are protesting the Alliance for Quality Education (ACE) negotiated by President Felipe Calderón and Elba Esther Gordillo, head of the Mexican Teachers union.