Libertarian view · Mexican life

Trains running again

THE VAGABOND sound of passing trains has returned.

We live just one block from the rail line, so it’s long been a part of our daily lives. But the sound vanished for more than a week till the day before yesterday.

Rail traffic had stopped due to a blockade just up the highway, “teachers” unhappy with a reform of the educational system recently implemented in Mexico.

The unhappy “teachers” had set up an encampment, blocking the rails with rocks and logs.

The economic loss was reportedly vast.

“Teachers” down in Oaxaca and Chiapas have been blocking highways now for weeks, causing economic and other forms of chaos. These are “teacher” unions.

The educational reform, like the energy reform, is something new in Mexico, something good. The energy reform is opening the energy sector to foreign competition. We will have options for gas stations like in the United States.

For decades, there has been just one gas station in Mexico, the government’s omnipresent Pemex.

Left-wingers, of whom we have many in Mexico due to the high percentage of ignoramuses, oppose the energy reform because they oppose choice and the free market.

Plus plenty of xenophobia.

And no group is more left-wing than “teachers” who have a number of unions. They also have their “teacher colleges” where “teachers” are made. These schools are communist indoctrination centers that sport murals of Ché Guevara.

No joke.

“Teachers” in Mexico are the most disruptive element in the nation, constantly causing problems.

What has their Red panties in a twist about the educational reform? A number of things, but my favorites are that they will have to take exams to show competence.

Oh, my goodness! Imagine that.

starAnd they will lose the right to hand their jobs over to a friend or relative when they retire.

The “teachers” are so numerous and have so much support among the lamebrain population that the government is afraid to take action against the protesters. Its tactic often is wait-and-see. This has worked in the past.

And example of this wait-and-see took place a few years ago in Mexico City when electric service was taken from the hands of a union and handed over to the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) that runs service outside the capital.

The union went berserk and set up blockades outside the CFE high-rise downtown. After a few months, they wearied and went home. Electric service in Mexico City is run now by CFE, and it’s immeasurably better than before.

Even an old lefty like Franklin D. Roosevelt said unions have no place in the public sector. A union fussing with its private-sector employer is one thing. Interrupting services like police, firemen, education, electricity, etc., is quite different.

It should be illegal.

In the meantime, trains are passing the Hacienda, but how this education reform ends up is yet to be seen. Will we modernize, or we will continue swimming in seas of corruption?

Will the government buckle?

The energy reform is being phased in with more success, and we’re already seeing gas stations in some areas that do not fly the once ubiquitous green colors of Pemex.

There is also a legal reform that will lead to open courts. Left-wingers haven’t tried to block that yet.

They’ve been too busy blocking highways and railroads.

These “progressives.”

* * * *

(And meanwhile.)

19 thoughts on “Trains running again

    1. Bev: Thanks for the reminder. I remember reading that some while back. Another version of “The Mexicans are coming! The Mexicans are coming!”

      If Hillary wins in November, you guys might as well just hand over the keys to us.

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  1. There is a whole lot of jockeying going on with the gas station franchises and who they will be affiliated with as the reform gets phased in. The owners have the choice of remaining with Pemex or aligning themselves with another oil company or even forming their own brand. There is a huge amount of dinero at stake here and someone will come out filthy rich. At least it doesn’t appear that the state-owned monopoly will turn into a privately owned monopoly as was the case with Telmex.

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    1. Clete: While Carlos Slim does have the market cornered on land lines, the cell business does have competition, which is a good thing. And who uses land lines anymore anyway? Not me.

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      1. Telmex doesn’t have competition to speak of. Telcel is another story. And land lines are still very common, especially for businesses. In many areas of the country Telmex’s internet service, Prodigy, is the only game in town and you need a landline to get it, IIANM.

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    2. Clete: I am flabbergasted that you’ve not come to the defense of the teachers here in their righteous battle against the capitalist oppressors and corrupt government which is trying to take away the hard-won benefits that they’ve struggled so hard for over the years. Not to mention the personal sacrifices they’ve long made for the well-being of Mexican schoolchildren.

      Flabbergasted, I tell you!

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  2. In the few months that I have been visiting your blog I have noticed that you are prone to making strange assumptions from time to time.

    There is nothing that I have ever posted here that would lead someone to assume I support violence and property destruction even if I supported the teacher’s cause. I do believe in their right to protest, whether I or you are in agreement with their goals. But not their methods.

    I am well aware of how the education system works (or doesn’t) having sent three children through school here, in both public and private. In some cases the teachers may have legitimate beefs, in others they might not. But there is also some blame to be placed on the government. The way in which the reforms are being implemented could have been done better which could have helped to avoid the present situation or at least minimized the violence.

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  3. Oh, and BTW (by the way) the next time you’re feeling flabbergassed maybe try some extra strength Gas-X.

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  4. Having missed two charter flights back in the days when our annual vacation to Puerto Escondido due to ‘teachers’ blocking bridges between us and the airport, and then having to shell out for tickets to get home, as well as seeing the mess they made in the Zocalo of Oaxaca year after year, I am pleased that the government is finally standing up to them. I am in favor of the right to protest and strike, (excluding essential services) but refusing to do your job is one thing, and causing people to miss work, keep food from getting to the stores etc., is something entirely different.

    We in Canada also have strong teacher’s unions, our teachers are very well paid, but they go on strike regularly, ‘for the good of the students’. Invariably, the strike is in April or May, so that the students they are trying to help are in danger of losing their year. In my opinion, and I’m pretty sure yours too, Ronald Reagan had the answer. Fire them all, disband the union, and open the jobs for all applicants, like he did with the air traffic controllers.

    I am a left-wing radical!

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    1. Kris: Whether the government is standing up to them remains to be seen. It did pass the reform, but enforcing it is looking dicey. Did you click on the link at the very bottom that says “meanwhile”?

      Public-sector unions should be outlawed everywhere. What Reagan did with the air controllers was absolutely beautiful. If only our Mexican president had such cojones, but it seems he does not.

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  5. Given how pathetic Mexico’s education system is, it would seem that almost any reform would likely be an improvement. Sadly, I write better Spanish than the average Mexican.

    As for the blockades, they are inexcusable. While I support peoples’ right to publicly demonstrate, I do not support their right to close vital transportation routes. I have a young friend here in CDMX who had planned to spend a couple of weeks in Oaxaca, but had to cancel his plans due to the blockade. And no, he couldn’t afford to just fly instead.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    CDMX, México
    Where, in the bad old days, we heard many a tale of horror of dealing with Luz y Fuerza, the predecessor to CFE in Mexico City.

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    1. Kim: Since the student massacre in Mexico City in 1968 and the stupendous blowback from that event, the government has been very hesitant to get tough with mobs. This, of course, simply encourages mobs. It’s far past time for teargas and billy clubs and even more.

      As for Luz y Fuerza, we had to deal with it the first couple of years when we regained control of our apartment in Mexico City in 2007. It was like dealing with Mexican bureaucrats in the 1930s, or at least how I imagine such. It’s a million times better now with CFE, which is likely one of the best run outfits in the nation.

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