miércoles, 27 de febrero de 2013
Powerful Leader of Mexican Teachers’ Union Arrested
february 27th, 2013.
Miguel Àngel Domínguez Luna
The New York Times.
On February 26th Mexico’s most powerful union leader Elba Esther Gordillo was arrested and moved into jail. She is accused of embezzling thousands of million of pesos in union funds in order to satisfy her necessities. Murillo Karam, Mexico´s attorney general announced in a press conference the detention happened after confirming the participation, collaboration and head planning of the scam against the teacher’s union.
Elba`s detention occurs just one day after president Peña signed the educational reform. This reform had one big trouble that was not merely about laws or institutions, the union`s leader did not agree with some changes that this reform would bring with and she decided to take action as a response to the government. She planned along with her union to meet today in Jalisco in order to plan and discuss how would the union react. The meeting had as goal to stop the reform by taking the street and suspending classes in some states along Mexico.
Elba’s detention as well as being an act of the judiciary system is a political action. Regardless the culpability of the union’s leader the detention shows the determination of the new government to stop, neutralize and eliminate any barrier in the construction of their goals. I relate this event with the literature about the origins of mass opinion because it shows how a government can create public opinion with the help of the media. Zaller argues that presidential popularity as well as trust in government can be achieved with the proper public actions and of course the publicity and importance guided by the media.
According to Zaller, in order to create an opinion, individuals tend to evaluate the information in light of their political values and predisposition, after this exercise they convert their attitude into responses and more deeply in vote decision-making. Elba Esther Gordillo is a very important political actor in Mexico’s public life; she controls the biggest union in Latin America, she controls one a political party and more over she controls people that may or not be in power. In the past days, media at least Televisa had a special focus on Elba Esther, she was interviewed by Adela Micha and exposed as a cynical woman who’s hunger for power and wealth lead her into a public enemy. It was retransmitted 3 times in different channels belonging to the powerful media corporation, action that has never been applied to any political actor, not even a president nor a drug dealer. Televisa wanted the people to know and realize Elba as a person not as a leader and showed her as a serious thread against educational matters and interests.
I believe the government took this action to generate different scenarios of public opinion. The first is that this new and returning government can get the things done at once. The second is a message for the electorate that can be read, as “we did in 88 days what they couldn’t in 12 years”. We can’t forget that in 2015 the whole country is having elections and that the congress in renewed. If the congress is renewed whit a majority supporting the presidency is almost a fact the reelection of the PRI in next elections. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad Elba Esther will pay for years of corruption and emblazing resources I’m pleased with the fact that she will not stop or break any educational issue no more. I believe that the law and the judiciary system should be applied in all circumstances with no favoritism to any actor. Following this principle we should expect in the short-term future Moreira’s, Deschamp’s, and Sabines’s detentions among others.