Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The deal that likely sealed 2012: Enrique Peña Nieto-Elba Esther Gordillo appears consecrated

The occasion was the inauguration of new branch headquarters of the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (SNTE), the teachers union headed by Elba Esther Gordillo. Indeed, the SNTE branch, Sección 36 in was personally headed by Gordillo more than 30 years ago, before she became national leader of SNTE in 1989. (For an excellent run-down of Gordillo, see this Economist article).

The key here is location. Section 36 is located in Ecatepec, Mexico State, and among the three thousands guests were none other than Mexico State Governor Enrique Peña Nieto, who also held a speech lauding Gordillo and her "goodwill."

Gordillo's contribution to the lovefest: "Our appreciation and gratitude to your government and our hope that we are able to make dreams reality."

She also used the occasion to announce the creation of yet another "evaluation system" of teachers, which will likely come to nothing: Gordillo and her ilk have fought tooth and nail against any serious objective means of evaluating teachers, many of whom are of an abysmally poor quality, yet who prove loyal foot soldiers during election time, where they may contribute their vote but also crucially be used to guard ballot boxes and polling stations.

SNTE remains a formidable force: It is the largest union in Latin America, and one of the largest world wide, with probably at least 1.4 million members. While Gordillo is known for turning her cape to the wind at short notice, this event seem to signify that she has now lined up fully behind Enrique Peña Nieto's 2012 presidential candidacy. With this added support, it will be hard to stop him.

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