Originally published on El Enemigo Común.
By Scott Campbell
September 12, 2013
On December 1, 2012, while protests were being brutally repressed in the streets, Enrique Peña Nieto addressed Mexico for the first time as the country’s newly-anointed president. He outlined the five main goals of his administration and announced ten “presidential decisions” to achieve them. To reach his third goal of “quality education for all,” Peña Nieto stated he had decided to pursue a program of educational reform requiring the modification of the constitution and the establishment of a national evaluation system for teachers. And in doing so, Peña Nieto — the Butcher of Atenco and the signed, sealed and delivered choice of the ruling elite — made clear his intention to target education and take on Latin America’s largest union, the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE).
He wasted no time in getting to work. The following day, the heads of the three main political parties signed the “Pact for Mexico,” a document committing them to Peña Nieto’s five goals. With such backing, Peña Nieto’s proposed changes to the constitution easily passed both houses of Congress and were quickly approved by a majority of state legislatures. On February 26, 2013, the constitutional reforms related to education went into effect.