Note: The following paper is from a graduate student at the National Autonomous University of Mexico who is known to me but who does not wish to be identified.
Higher education in Mexico and UNAM's conflict
When I write this, University (National Autonomous University of Mexico, UNAM) not only lives a very controversial agitated time such as assemblies, meetings, protest marchs, a day stoppages, but lives -for third time- the enter of the army with mask of police. UNAM problems hasn't been resolved although that "military police" (called PFP) have entered.
I mention three aspects that serve as a great big umbrellas under where some important aspects take part around high education in Mexico. One: an economical structural change is carried out in Mexico; other: the neo-liberalism economy -aspect of current globalization- needs a kind of education that corresponds with a market economy; the last one: the ancient conflicts and the crisis of the UNAM are mixed with current electoral situation, that carried to 10 months student strike which ended with the enter of the army.
Around 2 decades ago Mexico started its change in its mere economical structure. We came from a closed economy with a social economy policy in a social welfare state and began to transfer to an opened economy with an expanded market economy and a neo-liberalism policy, where social wastes began to decline.
This was a radical change that needed that others spheres of society change too. One was the social waste, that before corresponded to the state, began to be modified: i.e. health and education given by the state began to decrease, proportionally each year. (Other data are: since 1983 was put a limit to the annual rises of the salary; by decree economy was opened to international market; enterprises in Mexico began to be encouraged to export merchandises, not always were Mexican companies but transnationals; enterprises in the north boundary expanded its actions as salary was one of the lowest in the world.)
I call for attention to this point as in modern Mexico -from around the 3rd decade of XX century until middle of 80's- education was considered part of social waste. Even more, it was considered as a right included in the Constitution, not as a service. In this context -open economy and transferation of education from a right to a service- is that part of the UNAM conflict had evolved.
The economical structural change needs a type of education, one that corresponds with neo-liberal economy: an education for an extended market economy. Also everything that have a relation with education is being permeated with this orientation. (Footnote: In words of Karl Marx this would be the real and formal submition from work to capital, I mean -at the level of knowledge-: every policy, every law, every regulation, every action in education have to be related with the function of the extended market economy.)
I'll mention some changes in this direction in high education. O Traditionally, until 60's, the most sought careers were medicine and law. Since 80's and mostly in 90's there have presented a turn: youth preferred to study accounting, computer science or communication. O Other careers at UNAM has began to introduce deeply the turn to market economy: in Psychology School has increased -more than usual- student population in industrial and clinical psychology. In Economics School the study programmes were changed with the orientation to monetary-market-exportation economy; in Medicine and Engineering schools has been a traditional relation with industry.
O Other expression is the increase of the register in careers which are expected to get money before humanistic and social ones, that it's supposed they don't. I.e. In Economics School at latest 70's there were 1200 students that entered each year, in middle 80's were 800, and from the middle 90's until now there are 500. Now the whole Economics School's register oscillate between 2800-3000 students which is contrasted with that at Accounting School which is 16000.
In the route to install other kind of education power is making everything to reach its goals: deepens capitalism in its neo-liberal form; has firmed deals with international organisms as IMF, Word Bank to change the orientation of high education in the sense of deepening market economy; makes everything to reach the correspondence between education with market economy; try to remove the character of public and gratuitous of education in order to become a service.
At the latest 80's power* intended to modify part of the University structure at the level of the fees. University was not an island and also it began to be incrusted to the neo-liberal policy.
* (understood as university authorities, government, system such as: mass media, church, justice system, laws; those which have names and last names, some of those that each Tuesday have a meeting dinner to chat about political, social, economical Mexican life and take their decisions as if they were owners of Mexico and Mexicans, their life and their consciousness.)
Important vertical decisions coming from university authorities were: one intention to increase the fees was from the end of 1987 to the beginning of 1988. A student movement emerged to stop it. Later, on 1997 there was decided a regulation about ingress and exit at UNAM. Then, the recent conflict: March 1999 the university council decided -out of university spaces, without consulting no one of the community- a new RGP (payment general regulation) where fees increase and where services were regulated (services as labs, computing, English courses; payments for any kind of procedures at scholar services). In a word: power tried to pass the bill to student's parents. This latest decision was "the drop that poured the water".
The current movement
University authorities did not expected to find a student response. On one hand it was supposed that generation X was in its splendour. On the other hand, the students that probable protested were related with political opposition groups some of which were incrusted at City government at that moment, beginning of 1999. It was supposed it did not want to add more conflicts into the pre-electoral year that was carried out. (Footnote: City government is opposed to federal government, as both are directed by opposed parties.)
So, the recent student movement is to defend the character of public and gratuitous of education, specifically at UNAM. In terms of its demands are: 1. abrogate the RGP that means not to accept the increase of the fees and services for student, 2. abolish the regulation of ingress and exit at UNAM decided in 1997, 3. cut the relationship with a non university organism called CENEVAL which acts more or less as UCAS in the UK (classifies and decides which student must go to which university or to which high school), 4. create a forum or congress to discuss the transformation of the UNAM, 5. disappearance of the police corporation at UNAM, and not to be reprisals against any university at the current movement, 6. prolong the academic courses as long as the strike carried out.
The development of the movement
Student movement strike began a year ago, on April 20 with three kind of sectors among students: those who were definitively with their demands, others that were against and a big sector that was undefined. With broad strokes, the first and a half month students could maintain the strike with great enthusiasm and some population groups supported them with food and money.
At the level of the political electoral struggle, parties began some expressions: power accused City power and its party to be incrusted in students strike. On the other hand, federal power itself declared that its secret security had information of that participation, when it was supposed security police should not be inside University as its autonomous would be violated.
At the level of the mass media -more precisely: the two biggest TV channels, which are seeing by most of the people of whole country- raised a kind of vituperations against students, point them out as pseudo-students, vandals, delinquents, kidnappers of UNAM's installations. That mass media was as similar as that one of 1968, very authoritarian, drastic, rigid when it is talked about transformations at UNAM. In fact, mass media became just the spokesman of rector decisions, without any kind of objectivity or critical comments. (This was the mass media that developed the rest of the movement, and still now.)
Rector didn't want to work out anything: did not accept to abolish any regulation none to create a discussion congress, nothing. It was a tall thick wall against nothing could penetrate. Trying to make up his position, rector call to university council to a meeting on June 7. Tried to be flexible with students demands and decorated the solutions. I.e. instead to charge the fees they decided to increase the payments of the services and with that they said that gratuitous was salved.
At that moment in students strike were developed a more radical post, that rejected the council's decision. Later this radical student position would cover the whole position of student movement, organized in the CGH (Consejo General de Huelga = Strike General Council).
Later, at the end of July, a group of 8 emeritus professor entered to the lists with a document to try to reach a rapprochement between authorities and CGH. But both interlocutors rejected the proposal which was just general lines that both interlocutors should first sit face to face, and second: discuss the points. The proposal was supported by a great academic sectors, workers, also by non-university people as intellectuals, artists, writers. The emeritus proposal also had the intention to stop any possibility of a violent solution against students, but they did not read like that.
At the end of August was expressively more clear that other kind of forces were taking part in strike. Some anti-strikers students tried to enter to University by force and were repelled by strikers, they talked in the limits of University but could not arrive to any deal. When anti-strikers were taking the retreat some petards were shot. Around 20 graphic and writing press reporters declared just in that moment that the petards were not thrown out by anti-strikers but by people similar as paramilitary.
The first of September were expected that army could enter to University, as a protocol takes place each year: the annual inform of president. That expectation was false but student movement began to cross this kind of high violence. Also inside of the mere student strike were lots of voices which mentioned that movement was full of infiltrated (people paid by government) to get it more radical. At that moment lots of normal students were renounced to the strike as lots of radical positions and actions sent them to leave the strike.
At the middle of October took place a provocation coming from radical students. They planned a march just to walk on one of the main free ways in the south of the City (that means: that traffic becomes overmad, more than usual). Students first only walk by the lateral of the free way. Again, just when most of the students had gone, a small group tried to enter to the main lanes, City police participated and hit some students. That was a flag from radical students to point out City power as a repressor, but didn't see the hand that move them. Some journalists mentioned that federal power tried to discredit City power in the career of getting votes for this elections (July 2, 2000).
Also, on Nov 7, the candidate of federal power were elected and for power it was better that University was closed as usually lots of university people take part of elections with opinions, comments, acts, events. After that, just 5 days later, the rector resigned and 6 days more a new rector was designed by president, as it is used.
The mask was that this rector wanted to work out the conflict, wanted to discuss with CGH. It began the encounters at the end of November and after some meetings, on December 10 there were signed some deals that were the umbrella that should cover the following meetings, at least that was supposed. The provocation came the following day when some students again were caught by City police for making disturbances against US embassy and some commerce.
Later, along December there were other encounters, almost as CGH demanded, but they were as a dialogue of deaf. None of them, authorities and CGH, listened to each other, one talked about a topic and the other responded with other theme, there were a great deal of mutual recriminations and accusations. It appeared as if it was necessary to prolong those encounters and arrived to nothing. At the end, it seemed as if both of them did not want to reach a deal. The last meeting they had arrived to some other deals that students wanted to be signed, authorities denied as they wanted to sign a whole deal and not only separated points. Also they were trapped in a kind of an endless mesh that again, on one hand students did not get nothing of that they had already obtained. On the other hand, vertically, authorities stood up without signing nothing, let students to reflex about the points that were lack of mutual understanding and with a kind of threat summoned them to meet again on January.
January 2000 was other story. Since the beginning of the month authorities started to make a whole proposal that was taken to university council and was accepted by majority. The following day authorities took that deal and presented it to CGH. It was a kind of answer to each demand of CGH. Students began to recriminate authority actions and denied the proposal. That was the end of possible following encounters.
Authorities continued their strategy: gained lots of adherence to their proposal, gained people that before was with students, promoted it inside the community and finally make a plebiscite. This means that every university people could vote for the authority proposal to say yes or no, not more. For instance it could be better if rector would present both proposals: that one of authorities and that one of students, but not. Mass media "overturned" to promote authorities' plebiscite. Also, this time, with a kind of opened support from president.
Since then students were against authorities plebiscite as they said that it was a white arm that all the voters were giving to rector as to hit student movement. At that time, only just some few people believed them.
Plebiscite was covered by mass media, laws, functionaries of human rights (which are supposed to be neutral), manifests of intellectuals and artists, etc.
Power got the support of a great deal of university people and felt could do anything with the results.
Some few days later other manifest pushed university authorities to act with the stick policy. This time were people that hold economical and religious power: TV owners channels, industrialists, big traders, bishops, etc (those who meet each Tuesday).
Reaction did not prolong too long. After plebiscite that took place on January 20 authorities encouraged to anti-strikers students to go inside University. There were lots of confrontations, the first ones were just verbal meetings, but bit by bit they were body to body until there were used "porros" (pseudo-students paid by authorities, known by everybody) and non university people that provoked throws of stones and bottles.
Then the first tremendous encounter took place on February 1st. At an university high school called Preparatoria 3 some quarrellings took place since the morning, when some university watchmen and other paid men were asked to entered by force to that school. Strikers defended the school but were pulled out. Later, other strikers arrived at Prepa 3 and all of them intended to enter. They reach it and began other quarrelling. Until then, City police just safeguarded the installations as could not enter to University as this is considered federal lands. So, at 7pm the PFP arrived and for the first time PFP entered by force to that school, detained the students, took the school and stayed there. Later students were taken to prison.
Afterwards student protests were with the company of protest of other people: researches, professors, other students, workers, also lots of non university people as artists, intellectuals. Students of CGH demanded that their fellows left prison. There was other meeting with authorities on February 4th but it was as usual: a dialogue of deaf. Students asked for the freedom of their colleagues and proposed to continue the "dialogue" meetings. Authorities just wanted that CGH delivered the installations. There were not a deal at all and the final results were on February 6th when the PFP entered to university for the second time, at 6:30 am, at that moment to the whole installations. Army took prisoners the students of CGH that had been in an assembly.
Later, the PFP stayed 3 days, inspected all the installations, covered with white paint the students painting as if they wanted to clean students consciousness.
Afterwards, on February 9th a real large citizen march took place along the main streets of downtown of the City. The march was against the enter of the PFP at UNAM. Lots of students, professor, researches, workers of a great deal of universities participated, also of universities of other states; parent's students, employees of other state enterprises, people of neibourhoods. It was said that it was the most large march in this current movement.
Later, the story tried to be as is almost used to be in Mexico. Power tried to clean that vast movement and pretended to enter to something called normality. But how that can be possible when there're still political prisoners, it hasn't arrived to any deal with CGH, many students are finishing their 2nd semester of 1999 and begin to regularize in both semesters of 2000. How it can be possible the normality when it lives a hostile environment all over university, most relationships are permeated by a lack of confidence, there are reprisals to those professor and workers that supported students, sometimes are very direct, other times are more tenuous (as to give lots of work or don't give anything; as being checked which people join with which other, etc.)
So, power have used many strategies to get its educational project and more. It did not mind that University were closed for 10 months to reach that no one of opposite groups interfered the election of its candidate, that took place on Nov 7; incrusted a great deal of infiltrated among the centre of the student movement; waited that student movement spoilt in order to give the final strike; and the worst: after political time was beneficial to power, this decided to call the army to enter to University, at this moment for 3rd occasion; call and treat the students as criminals, put them the adjectives such as terrorist and socially dangerous; gain a kind of adherence from non-university population, even from some university (like 50%, desperate people that are tired of no solution).
Ancestral problems in UNAM
For lots of years University have accumulated lots of problems that sometimes were occasioned for its tremendous increase of its population, coming from 70's.
Some of those important aspects are: O administrators in facts give priority to bureaucracy than to academy as most of the budget goes to bureaucracy than to academy (budget is coming from taxes of Mexicans, transferred to UNAM by government). O There is a bureaucracy (public official) that passed from federal power to University posts and vice versa. O The kind of education is: memorize, accept the orders given by professors, repeat arguments at the exams.
The other position that is hold for lots of non organized university are: O give more weight to academy than to bureaucracy, represented at the budget. O At academy: extend the relationship between theory with practice; O give to students tools (or manners) to think in order to work out problems professionally as scientists; O try to develop creativity.
At the level of university government forms, the point is very complex, as there are laws and rules that most of them were dictated in 40's, when UNAM was smaller and face another kind of problems. The point is that there is a bureaucracy which is formed by various links: government board (15 people), university council (around 125), rector, the staff of directors of each high school, degree school, institute or centre of research and co-ordinator (around 80).* All the latest are designated by that which is in front of themselves; all of them of the same circle. In facts, rector is directly designated by president, although it is supposed is designated by government board; also directors of schools, etc are designated by that board.
* with a population of around 270 000 students, 20 000 workers, 30 000 academics -professors and researches.
This bureaucracy defines great part of university life: budget, academic programmes, regulations, security.
Reading the dialogue at the forum, it seems as if a movement wants to get into most of the countries. At economy: via the neo-liberal policy among globalization. At education: via education for an extended market economy. I mean the 1st world lives a kind of education from a time ago that now it is trying to be installed in the 3rd world.
The student movement just wanted and still pretend to stop the educational project and policy of power that it is carried out in the 1st world. For Mexico I refer to: 1. education is a right, not a service, 2. education is extended to humanistic, social and scientific questions, not only to market economy necessities. These 2 wide assessments are the points that students defend in the movement (although, it is necessary to say: unfortunately they have not been clear to communicate them).
At this time and how I can see, there are two great possibilities for the next times at UNAM:
1. Power's educational project could be installed through the soft hand, I mean through a congress that it is being organized by part of high university bureaucracy. Power is trying to convince university community to participate so that it get a kind of legitimacy of its project.
2. Power's educational project would be installed through the stick hard hand. This means that the threat listened along the strike would take form, this is: that University be closed for a while, change the rules, laws, parameters of University life (academy programmes, orientation of academy, budget, resources, ingress-exit for students, etc) and then be opened again with this "new" rules.
The coin is in the air.
At other level, around education, it is known that other projects, different of those of the power, are taken place in other spheres. One are in the South East of Mexico, mere inside Chiapan guerrilla conflict, there where are autonomous indigenous communities. There are professionals that are proposing and carrying out other kind of education.
Even among the mere UNAM, there were other isolated alternatives carry out by individuals professors, that in many cases were distant from official programmes and faced problems with local school bureaucracy.
Contextual information of aspects that happen or happened in Mexico.
In my last email I referred to the University situation and its link with others scenarios in whole Mexico. Well the question is not that Mexico is in a great deal of political unrest, the point is that many things are joined just in this moment that they get bigger: the economical, social, political, cultural life, whole life of the country, (as it has happened all over the word, I guess or I understand).
[Note: I wrote a kind of guide, which follows, although I didn't finish all the points.]
1. In Mexico there's a continuity of a great dominant crushing economical policy, that it has been carrying out from lots of years before (around 17), which affects many of our stages of our lives.
2.Just this year is an important political year as the designation of the candidate for presidency has to come out. In Mexico, the participation in political elections (just the act of voting), each time has been increasing. There're more oppositional political parties and some other non governmental organisations are more allowed to participate.
3.The conflict in the University is not far for this designation: some political-dominant-forces- carried out the national political scenario to the UNAM, and now there's other violence coming: not a direct brutal violence but a violence in form of a threat: the threat of closing the whole University !!!!: make the transformations that the "new" economy needs, fragment the University in 10 autonomous public universities (as one ex-rector declared some weeks ago), then open them again with new rules so that correspond to the high or "superior" education that dominant power needs.
4. There're others popular important conflicts. One of them is the guerrilla in the South East State of Chiapas, that appeared since January 1994 and power doesn't want to work out it.
5. It's a complicated, complex panorama and there're a great deal of perceptions of the whole thing, depends on where one is.
6. Of course, life continue, we, people, continue living on what each of us can-want to-have-should. Cultural life continues: Arieles-films, Festivals, Expositions: Mayans, Etruscos, Andy Warthlot+-; and of course, our own lives: dramas, assumptions, decisions, projects, etc....
This is just the panoramic scenario. Let me try to explain some of the issues above, of course, as I understand, live and believe.
1. context: -- general: globalisation a kind of power and dominant--world economy--neo-liberalism--a group of dominant transnationals enterprises (maybe they are called: corporations) dictate rules and terms-- regional countries groups.
For me, there's one spring from where many happenings come. It is the manner of globalisation is carring out. I mean globalisation -for me- is a tremendous kind of economical, political and social dominant power. World economy, in most parts of the planet, as an average, is becoming inside the model of neo-liberalism. For me, there are great stages: one is as a group of dominant transnationals enterprises that dictate economical rules, a great deal concentration in a monopoly. Other fellows of these transnationals are: the economical-financial international organism as: International Monetary Found, World Bank, OCDE, the Commerce International Organism (+-) that also put rules and terms to governments, usually of the "Third World". Other more, this kind of global economy push countries to make regional groups: as European Union, Four Tigers or Nicks (oriental countries), MercoSur (Brazil, Argentina and Chile), there're others around petroleum in Islamic countries, in Latin American countries (Mexico, Venezuela), in Central America.
Little richest groups of capitalists connect with these transnationals enterprises and organisms to dominate or try to dominate the local-domestic economies, as it happens in Mexico and all over Latin America, gaining the local governments which are connected in a subordinated way with international financial organisms.
In this context is that this very political year is unfolding in Mexico. One could think that it is one more pre-electoral year (elections would be carried out on July 2nd, 2000), but it is not as easier as it could seem. The question is that the latest 6 years +-, maybe a little more, +- 12 years, power wants to make appear that in Mexico is developing a democratic transition. For me, in this moment, I read that there're -in this point- two policies that power is developing: one is that power try to make that population believe about a political democratic transition. At the same time, the other one: power continues resolving problems with "hard hand" or with "a stick policy" that means with repression, a tenuous repression, as war of low intensity in Chiapas, not given to know by most of mass media.
To be a pre-electoral year could be seen as something that happens in many republican countries, but we, in Mexico, is an specific situation: for lots, lots of years, more than 70, only one party, the dominant, the PRI, always won the most important election: for president, an many others as senators, deputies, etc. until the middle of the 80's, when a turn (change) began to happen.
Around 1985 the State government in San Luis Potosi, in the centre of the country, was disputed by other party, a conservative one. The PAN won with a great number of votes. People rose to defend the vote and the election, conglomerated in the central plaza of that State, in front of the government palace. Probably, since then, power was pushed to respect the elections and allow that other parties win. In words of a Peruan writer, Mario Vargas Llosa "Mexico is the Perfect Dictatorship", (this was declared some years ago, like ten; then the writer was invited to leave Mexico, invitation made by government!).
Well, the top maximum of a respected election, or less electoral fraud, was the election for the first Governmental Chief of Mexico City (DF) or Major of Mexico City, that took place in July 1997. The candidate of other party won, a party of central-left: the PRD. That candidate only wanted and still wants that laws and republic rules are respected!!! no more!!! But it seems that power feels attempted or threatened.
So, from the latest 80's and this decade there has have more competence in elections, this no means that there is more democracy!* More parties are allowed, an electoral organism try to manage or carry out elections, etc. but always, ultimately, power puts its hand. So, it seems as effectively we are in a transition to Democracy.
(*I understand by democracy: not only the act of voting but the participation in decisions in all levels of life: at home (where not only men order or decide what to do with family and home; at jobs, where not only chiefs or heads order and decided around work, its organisation, etc; at schools - Universities, where not only authorities decide the academic programmes, researches, tasks, etc. So, I understand democracy in a more spread sense.)
I should say that of course many things are better now than in the past: in 50's or 60's, even 70's, as there are more possibilities to organise in parties or in not governamental organisations, that it is less persecution to left militants (although this persecution is now exerted to the Chiapan guerrilla), there're more possibilities to make expressions as mass meetings, declarations, always in the ambit of a political fight.
In 50's and 60's there were an anticommunist policy (as all over the world). Now there are no more communists but in Mexico there's a guerrilla that it's persecuted.
Well, the more recent political stage is from 1994 to now. Carlos Salinas de Gortari (who now lives in Ireland!) became president from Dec 1988 to Nov 1994, was the main maker that Mexico related with the world in a neo-liberalism way. He was an economist from UNAM, make PhD in foreign countries.
Since 1978, when he was a medium public official, he began to think up the recent neo-liberal policy in Mexico, according with the new economical policies in the world. The following period of six years (1983-1988, in Mexico presidents stay in his post for 6 years) he was the Secretary of State in Economics, with the consent of formal official rules, Mexican economy began to transfer from a closed economy with a social economy policy to an opened economy with a market economy and a neo-liberalism policy, where social wastes began to decline. I think this radical change is the centre of economical problems, and its consequences in social and cultural life, from one perspective.
In his first 5years in the presidency, Salinas increases the market economy, the relations with international financial organisms. At the level of propaganda he began to introduce, in the head of Mexican people, that we were transfering to a country of "the First World"!!!!! Many people believed that, basically the medium class, that in Mexico is very extended, well, at that time was very extended, now it has decreased. Salinas began to make a deal with the USA and Canada to form the "Tratado de Libre Comercio de Norteamerica" = North American Free Commerce Treat +-, NAFTA.
It's opportune to say that of course this policy is not only by the hand of one man, I mean by the president, but it's part of a big project that people in power perceive that is beneficent to Mexico country and to Mexicans. (I don't think so.) So, the change of project began since the latest 70's, increases in the 80's, making the basis, and has evolved in the 90's, with a very high social cost. This project has been taken also from internationals economics rules and projects.
In Latin America the first country that was introduced by this neo-liberal economy was Chile, after the State "Punch" against Salvador Allende president, elected by votes, democratically. It was needed a dictatorship to spread that policy with all its splendour. Only just a data: in the latest 70's the minimum wage in Chile was $12 US dollars! per month!!!!!!; at the same time in Mexico was around $100 US dollars/month (that still was low). Chilean worker people had to join in big families, in their neighbourhoods to make a "general food" so that all people could eat. Social classes became more polarised: more poors and just less rich people . For many Latin American economists writers, Chile was the experiment of neo-liberalism, that in the 80's extended all over Latin America. By the way, Pinochet followed the economical policy dictated by British economists, "discovered" in British Universities.
The 6th and final year of Salinas de Gortari was very fatal: 1994. "He" wanted to transfer Mexico to "the First World" but a big, uncertain aspect took place. The very first day of January the Indigenous guerrilla in Chiapas emerged. That was a very very strike to power!! It couldn't believe it. The following 12 days military were bombing and shooting against Indigenous until an extraordinary civil (citizen) march in Mexico City took place. Power, in voice of president, had to stop bombing and shooting, but military didn't go out of the State of Chiapas. Since then, military has increased: in this year they are 60 thousand soldiers, two third parts of Mexican Army!!!!!
1994 was also an electoral year, the candidate of the power was known Colosio, but something very drastic happened: from the mere political State system was taken the decision of shooting and killing the candidate of the power!!!! That candidate pretended to mark a line with the current president Salinas, some 2 or 3 weeks before his murder. He began to introduced himself to people with his own thoughts, but he was rejected, and the cost was his life!!! That was a political murder. Since the PRI arrived to power in 1928, all PRI's groups of politics subordinated to a deal made between(/among) them. But this time, 1994, that deal was broken. In the main centre of power broke. It was a fight inside the groups of the power. It was the first time, in the "modern" Mexican political life that something like that happened! After "mading up" the stage, it was put the campaign co-ordinator as "new" candidate of the power, the current president Zedillo.
Other political murder took place on Sept 1994. This time was the ex-brother in law of Salinas de Gortari. It was seemed that there were fightings inside those families and lots of stuffs of drug traffic, robs, illegal gained money, and revenges, of course.
So, the panorama was drastic, unrest in the very top of political power that flowed to the rest of society; economical and social transformations continued the path.
So, the Chiapas conflict came from 1994, lots, lots of happenings have taken place since then. With president Zedillo was signed some deals, called "Acuerdos de San Andres Larrainzar" (Deals of Saint Andrew) in February 1995. Later president and power have unknown. Actually there's no will to work out the conflict, even though there are those deals signed!! Against that, as I said above, military have increased and many paramilitary actions have come out. The population in jungle in Chiapas, the Mayan Indigenous, who form the guerrilla live a war of low intensity. In a very similar tune and form is that the Universitarian conflict lives.
Under this great umbrella of happenings, political manners of power, it's commitments with international organisms is that power needs a very specific "graduated" education (undergraduate and postgraduate) in Mexico: a kind of education that corresponds to this country, that has opened to the international market economy.
An universitary physiologist researcher says that (in my words) the neo-liberal system necessities are: to get technical, productive skilled alphabetised people, no thinker people; techniques, professionals, researchers in technical areas and less in humanistic areas. That researcher says that the graduate US people goes mainly to productive areas, around 90%; and only a 10% goes to research. That researchers in the US come from many other countries all over the world (Japanese, from ex socialist countries, from the "Third World", etc) and of course they try to control research.
So, it was and it is, now, a necessity for the market economy to create more technical and marketing areas in different levels. Since last decade, more or less, it has increased Technological Universities, Technological and Ended High Schools in cities and in rural and coast areas, in Mexico country.
I think, as a believe, that in most of Private Universities there have been cutting (or at least decreasing) branches as research in humanistic, social and cultural areas, the thinking or reflexive areas, in order to become more subordinated "machines".
(In brackets: I know 2 men, married, with family that work in transnational enterprises, one in Pepsi-Cola and other in Acer PC. For me, they work as slaves all day and, for me, in their minds they have become in the seek of their own "progress": to have all machinery apparatus at their homes, to be a great consumers. For me, they are running an endless run of consumption, they are involved in the policies of "their" companies. They also are professionals programmers, coming from National University, UNAM.)
I bring these 2 cases as something that it is happening from more than a decade: On one hand: to do a professional carrier still in Mexico is to make a possibility of promoting to other high social class; and now, these days, it seems that there's no more room for more people. It's a fact that educative policy is trying to cut this possibility. On the other hand: more and more people are including in transnational corporations, with all the "subliminal" orders they have to accept from the corporation, as to believe that one is part of the corporation, as if one were part of the owners!!!!
In other next email, I'll write the other points not developed here, at the light of the present situation and the end of the strike at UNAM, which was last Feb 6. Now, it's more clear how electoral designation for candidate for presidency were took inside University and the direct participation of power in the conflict!!, just inside the student movement!!!!!
Contact F. David Peat