This past Friday, over 1,500 teachers protested President Vicente Fox's visit to Ciudad JuÃ¡rez in defense of their social security. Recently discovered federal proposals call for the privatization of state workers' social security program, the State Workers Security and Social Service Institute (INSTTEE, Instituto de Seguridad y Servicios Sociales de los Trabajadores del Estado) and raising the retirement age. An independent teachers union, the National Coordination of Educational Workers (CNTE, Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la EducaciÃ³n), has pledged to create "a front of national resistance" against the proposed reforms. The attempted privatization of social security is the most recent round in a long-time effort by the Mexican stateÂ—whether in the hands of Salinas and Zedillo's long-ruling Party of the Institutional Revolution (PRI) or current President Vicente Fox's right-wing National Action Party (PAN)Â—to impose extremely unpopular neo-liberal reforms. |
The protest was extremely militant. The teachers first gathered at the Chihuahua state government building. From there, a car caravan made its way to the prestigious Misiones de Los Lagos country club, where Fox was to meet with local government and corporate leaders. When Fox arrived on the road to the country club, the mass of teachers followed Fox's caravan into the country club, moving past several security barriers onto the club's private property.