Education in mexico

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I read with concern about an investigation of the Mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui, who has accused President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto of plagiarism: nearly 30% of his Law Degree’ thesis. The journalist Aristegui said in her website AristeguiNoticias that the President plagiarized at least ten authors who were not cited or quoted in his work.

In recent cases of plagiarism in dissertations, the appropriation of other people’s ideas has been sufficient reason for dismissal or resignation. The scandal caused by the academic’ theft ended the career of top office members even several years after its publication, as it has been the case of Annette Schavan, former minister of education in Germany; also for Pal Schmitt, president of Hungary. Other cases such as the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, who was accused in 2006 of plagiarizing his PhD thesis on natural resources by researchers at the Brookings Institute in Washington, had by the way no impact at the time.

It is very worrying that these past days the news about Peña Nieto’ plagiarism which surely will not have political repercussions. In relation to these, I’ve read on Twitter and other social networks that nowadays it is possible to hire someone to develop by order a thesis at the Mexican university. Paying it, of course. I felt shivery about.

Today it is not only about plagiarism, which is a crime of course. It is not only about the academia, but on education in Mexico, and the controversial education reform which is taking many consequences on security and public order, as we have seen in the media. One of the measures, the compulsory teacher evaluation, has led to serious clashes between teachers and the security forces. Most of the opposition to the reform has come from the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE). For months they are holding a strike against the administration, especially in the states of Oaxaca and Michoacán, two of the poorest in the country.

The Education law enforcement finishes with the incredible patronage practice for teachers’ distribution, even with hereditary seats. It is the main obstacle for trade union forces which until now, have controlled the education in southern Mexico, and they see their power threatened. These violent groups have launched a fierce offensive: airports’ assault, blocking roads and burning of electoral offices. They have subsequently directed their attacks on opponents and teachers who aside from their slogans. These incidents have caused serious violent deaths.

Enrique Graue, Rector of the UNAM, the largest university in Latin America and Mexico’ illustrated icon, has considered it an insufficient reform, as it is focused in the administrative procedures for hiring and supervising teachers, being it very necessary. Graue calls for a comprehensive review of the educational model, including the courses and contents taught in the classroom. Mexico, with half of its population in poverty, has one of the largest inequality gaps in the region’ income. It is the country which less public investment by student spends within the OECD, and as a result, it has one of the lowest rates in the international PISA index.

Education is perhaps the most important pillar for a nation’s development. Without investment in education, the population will not progress, nor the democracy. And it will increase the inequality gap. Currently only the Mexican elites enjoy the possibility to receive a good education, both nationally and in the best American universities.

The lack of education leads among other things, to the ignorance of the values that make a state to progress and democracy. I cannot understand how these teachers are publicly supported by some populist leaders who defend the equality and portrait themselves as very progressive, like Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, known as AMLO. He seems to wish to keep in ignorance to the less fortunate Mexican population, denying them the knowledge and therefore their development. Or is it precisely what he and others like him desire to continue to thrive in politics?

Without education there is no proper development or democracy. It is precisely the Mexican elites who must to commit in order to change that, like many years ago the European elites did. They have to get out of their comfortable security bubble and make a real commitment to their country. They have to elect serious leaders, enlightened, who not commit plagiarism and willing to work for the development of a geopolitically privileged status country, with many natural resources which any EU nation would envy.  Mexico is a country  of indescribable beauty which deserves to be among the first in the world.

amlo

The real Coup in Turkey

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I just returned from my well-deserved vacation. Nothing seems to have changed in the media: the same headlines about Trump, the Daesh, and down to the concrete, in my country, Spain, which is still shamefully without a Prime Minister in office. In the coming days I will touch all these issues and many other such as Nicolas Maduro who is persevering in the same terrible mistakes to Venezuela’ people, or the ‘90 birthday of Castro, which I feel them endless.

I’ll write about Turkey today, so we do not forget what is happening there, which is very serious. The attempted coup has generated many doubts about the real authorship, including to myself, in view of the harsh measures authorized, the increased repression and the growing authoritarianism of Erdogan, who has achieved the maximum powers.

Turkey is increasingly a deeply divided state with regards to President Erdogan’s project to transform Turkey, with serious doubts about his commitment to democracy. Erdogan has rejected the secular heritage of modern Turkey, Ataturk’s, and he has finally achieved his goal of being a strong President with full powers after the failed coup, powers which he could not obtain before by means of the institutions of Turkey, and it was a real obsession for him.

The Turkish government has issued many Decrees, allowed by the emergency situation created after the failed coup, such as the properties’ confiscation of those involved in, and increasing their detention periods. They also allow  to ban or censor any press’ publications, radio, television or cultural performances by the authorities.

According to the Turkish daily Hurriyet, there have been assets’ seizures from these suspected officials of belonging to Fethullah Gülen’ brotherhood, accused of organizing the coup, who have also  been dismissed without any compensation, while the movement’ sympathizers have been degraded in their positions. Schools, foundations and associations linked to Gülen have been closed. A full-fledged purge against these government’ officials which has spread to the judiciary, the intelligence services, education and the PM’s office. So far, more than 50,000 people across the country have been suspended of salary for their alleged links with Gülen.

Among the many different measures taken by decree is the expanding from 4 to 30 days’ detention’ period, before being brought to the judge. Amnesty International (AI) stated, “there is a credible evidence of abuses and use of torture against detainees in Turkey, including raping, both in official and unofficial centers all across the country. Prisoners remain arbitrarily detained”, according to information obtained by the organization from several people who requested to be kept in anonymity for security means. Frequently the detainees have not been duly informed of the charges of which they are accused, undermining their right to a fair trial, and are being denied that lawyers and family can see them.

Looking at these alarming measures has been much speculation about the true authorship of the coup. ¿A Self-Coup? It does not seem so, since it is very difficult for Erdogan founding thousands of officers willing to destroy their careers and willing to be sentenced to lengthy prison terms.

However, it seems like the government had information in advance about the coup plan, as it was an open secret that the Army had plans to purged to those military opposed to Erdogan, which caused a deep unease among the military. It is now very proved that the secret services had previously captured several conversations among military and discovered the coup plans. And they let it happen!

Among the rebel military are several groups: from the Gülen’s followers, to those disappointed on Erdogan’ because of the negotiating peace’ process with the Kurdish armed group PPK. This fact precisely provoked the enmity of Gülen and Erdogan, who before were close friends. The real cause which put the rebel group together was the hatred to Erdogan.

My opinion is that Erdogan knew about the coup’ plan and allowed it to happen, to thereby be able to take all these measures that it could not be taken due to restrictions of the Turkish legal system: purging of the army, institutions and administration from those against him or his administration. Also the strengthening of Erdogan’ powers as President, constitutional rights’ limitation in order to suspend certain media, and eventually, the reintroduction of the death penalty. A full-fledged democratic involution. As Erdogan always wanted.

Some countries such as Iran, Saudi Arabia or Russia reach out Erdogan the day after the coup to offer him support. The real examples of democratic leadership.

 

Spain without Cabinet (III)

 

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We have an Interim cabinet in Spain since December 20th, 2015´ elections. Almost for eight months. In view of the negotiating stance of the main political parties, I think we will continue for another 6 months, since seems like we are pushed to the ballots for the third time.

All the political leaders want to eliminate Mariano Rajoy from the picture, the leader and party PP which won the elections, and the very last time even with a larger majority. There are two alliances to prevent Rajoy becoming PM; one made by PSOE and ´Ciudadanos´. Also there is an unreal leftist alternative among ´Podemos´and PSOE. Pablo Iglesias, leader of the populist party ‘Podemos‘, showed up to remind to PSOE´s leader, Pedro Sanchez, about the historic opportunity for the left wing to rule, other than the PP. Sanchez said that he will assume a constructive opposition but insists that their vote to Mariano Rajoy will be an explicit No, despite of the express request made by the former PM Felipe Gonzalez, during an interview with the Argentine daily Clarin, asking for the PSOE to abstain and allow the rule of Rajoy.

But the PSOE is right in a different political strategy, denying any kind of support to Rajoy, if even the abstention would give stability to the nation and that would allow the cabinet´ formation. Given the fact that the PSOE got the worst results in its history, it is not understandable how are they persisting in such attitude.

Regarding to the centrist party ‘Ciudadanos´, I had not any faith in its leader, Albert Rivera, considering his erratic campaign´ strategy, which has led him to lose eight seats in the second round of the elections on June 26th. But the sign of saying that Ciudadanos would abstain in PM voting of Mariano Rajoy, augured some return to common sense. Since that right decision, Rivera has not done more than grope. Just by the daily press reading, it is obvious that Rivera goes from error to mistake. My prediction is confirmed. The media are baiting ‘Ciudadanos‘ for its leaders´ contradictory statements and political immaturity, who have squandered so quickly the flow of sympathy which they had hoarded. All these leads me to think that ´Ciudadanos´ (Citizens) is slowly immolating in the Spanish political arena. A friend of mine who voted for ´Ciudadanos´, pointed out recently: “This is intolerable: if there is a third election, I´ll vote for the PP.”

The extreme-left populist party, ‘Podemos’, lost in the last election of June 26th an historic opportunity to become an alternative. In the eyes of the voters, they are the new version of the Communist Party, which will never be an option in Spain. If Hugo Chavez raised his head, after having invested so much money in Spain, he would rather die again by the disgust!

Rajoy and Sanchez will meet today for the first time since the King Felipe VI asked Rajoy to be in charge of conforming the new cabinet. The interim PM intends to deliver to the PSOE´ leader a new programmatic document with the coincidences between the PP´s program and those which were included in the covenant signed among Socialists and ´Ciudadanos´ last February. It would be the basis on which to start negotiating in order to be on time to approve the State Budget for the next year, as well as the EU fiscal consolidation´ target, and eventually, to avoid the € 5,000 million´ EU fine and 1,100 million in frozen funds if Spain is without the State Budget by October 15th.

Reaching fall without a cabinet, it would be a disaster. And not just the economic cost. It also would be a great damage to the Spain´ image abroad. It is so ridiculous and nonsense to look at the possibility to go to the ballots for the third time within a year. The political leaders themselves have made clear about their commitment to avoid it. Now they must move from the intend´ declarations to the facts. The Constitutionalists parties´ leaders committed to governance (Podemos has excluded themselves) should act with utmost seriousness and stay out of the political calculations and maneuvers to wear out the opponent. What is at stake is much more important than the partisan political struggle.

The oddest of all is what the well informed people say, ‘There will be the white smoke for sure; otherwise a new election would give to Rajoy a larger majority.