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.)

Havana revisited

roofs
View from the top of Hemingway’s Ambos Mundos hotel.

WEEPY BARRY recently visited Cuba, posing in front of the murderer Ché Guevara, glad-handing with Raúl Castro, and getting dissed by the dictatorship after he’d gone home.

He’s ever the embarrassment.

This foolishness inspired me to flip through our Havana photo album from our anniversary trip in 2012. And I’m going to share a few photos from the visit, some of which some of you have seen already. But some of you have not.

tank
Felipe poses in front of the tank Fidel manned at the Bay of Pigs.
View over the tail fins of a 1059 Buick Invicta.
View over the tail fins of a 1959 Buick Invicta cruising Havana’s Malecón.
window
From our bedroom in the Mansion la Orquidea, a B&B in Vedado.
Felipe in "Old Havana."
Felipe in “Old Havana.”

It was a memorable trip, my second visit to a dictatorship, the first being Baby Doc Duvalier’s Haiti in the 1970s. Baby Doc’s despotism was far preferable to the Castros’.

As ever, a full report of that trip can be found here, and more photos can be found here.

No good guys

school

RETURNING TUESDAY from a couple of nights in a jacuzzi-equipped suite overlooking the bay of Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, we approached one of the toll booths that line the autopista from the Pacific coast to our mountaintop town.

The toll booth had been commandeered by a band of brats called Normalistas. This is fairly common. Some wore bandannas over their faces like old-school Mexican banditos. They ask for money. I gave them five pesos, which is about 35 cents, and I was waved on through.

These young people are students of a system called Rural Normal Schools, which began in the early 1920s as the Mexican Revolution was grinding to a bloody close. The schools officially are to train teachers, and they do that. But the sort of teachers you get is obvious from the photo above, which is one of the Rural Normal schools in the State of Guerrero.

In practice, these are communist training camps, trapped in a time warp.

The “student teachers” in these training camps often take to the highways for fund-raising. Commandeering toll booths is common, or they’ll simply set up a roadblock on any highway and ask for money. They are almost never threatening, but they are a nuisance. One of these communist training camps, er, I mean, schools, sits between the Hacienda and the state capital.

About 25 minutes away. If memory serves, it’s the only one in the entire state. Lucky me.

I must have passed through these roadblocks a hundred or more times. Unlike at the toll booths, the highway situations are not blocked. You just have to slow down to get past the mob. I have never donated a single peso, and never will. Other motorists do, which appalls me.

Whenever Normalistas want to go somewhere en masse, they simply stop a public bus, hustle the passengers off, and drive to their revolutionary event. To their credit, these actions are invariably nonviolent, and buses are later returned, but you still have to exit your bus.

Why don’t the cops do something, you might ask. Back in 1968, there was the Tlatelolco massacre in Mexico City. The blowback, both internationally and within Mexico, against the government was so severe that ever since, 47 years later, Mexican governments take a hands-off approach to “students.” Students can get away with pretty much anything now.

Not surprisingly, they take full advantage of that. As we passed through the toll booth, a federal highway patrolman nearby was leaning against his patrol car, playing with his cell phone.

A much-publicized event took place last year in the State of Guerrero in which a bunch of these kids, accustomed to getting away with whatever, decided to butt heads with some people with whom one should never butt heads: corrupt officials, cops and narcos in the badass State of Guerrero. As a result, 43 of the “education students” vanished from the face of the Earth.

Later, 28 or so torched bodies were found buried, most likely some of the Normalistas.

As Stalin once said: One death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic.  Or in the case of Guerrero, 43 deaths is a statistic. It’s hard to feel sympathy.

On one side, you have corrupt cops, officials and crooks. On the other side, you have young, spoiled, communists-in-training who will take up the “teaching” profession.

There are no good guys in this.

* * * *

(Note: Here’s an interesting news story from last year that gives a clearer picture of these “teaching schools” and their mindsets.

Nearby communists

workers

I’M NOT A FAN of communists and yet here they are just down the road.

Mexico has a number of political parties, and what you see displayed here is the Workers Party, a phrase that invariably refers to communists. They lack subtlety. The yellow star on the red background is a dead giveaway. It’s an emblem you might have seen on Mao’s Long March or on Ché Guevara’s beret.

As Winston Churchill said: Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance and the gospel of envy. The good news is that our commies have never come close to a big election win in Mexico. Pray that it stays so.