The News
The News
Sunday 03 of July 2022

Rail Track Blockade


A woman holds up a flag ahead of protesters from the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) teachers’ union as they march against President Enrique Peña Nieto's education reform, in Mexico City,photo: Reuters/Henry Romero
A woman holds up a flag ahead of protesters from the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) teachers’ union as they march against President Enrique Peña Nieto's education reform, in Mexico City,photo: Reuters/Henry Romero
The teachers seem to not care, as they are out to harass the federal government while trampling the national economy in their madcap race against their dream of bringing down President Enrique Peña Nieto's Education Reform

The current situation of the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) minority union reminds me very much of an old joke I heard in a Psychology 101 class of yesteryear when I went to junior college in California.

It tells the story of a masochist and a sadist who make a fine couple. But one day the masochist demands from the sadist “beat me up” and the sadist, with a sadist grin, of course, responds “no.”

That’s inflicting cruel pain.

But this joke pretty much depicts the “dialogue” between the Mexican government and the CNTE union leaders who, upon seeing that the President Enrique Peña Nieto administration is not going to use the Army to remove them from their road blockades, they keep pushing, seeking for a violent reaction.

Besides blockading roads in the states of Chiapas, Oaxaca, Guerrero and Michoacán last week, the CNTE teachers, in their quest to provoke their bosses in the administration, blockaded the one railroad track that leads from Port Lázaro Cárdenas on the Michoacán Pacific coast to Laredo, Texas.

The CNTE teachers’ cry was, and I quote one of the blockading teachers, “to stop the transnational,” whatever that may mean.

In case you’re not familiar with deep-sea Port Lázaro Cárdenas, I can update you by saying that it is currently the main venue for Pacific Rim trade. Thousands of containers arrive from Asian nations, many of them to feed national manufacturing companies while others are U.S. bound, as many eastern companies have opted for this route for one reason: it is cost effective.

The track is operated by U.S. railroad managing company Kansas City Southern Industries Mexico (KCSICM) which got into a legal bidding concession back in 1998.

Up until last week, KCSIM didn’t have much of a problem with their customers but now — as I write this on Sunday — over 100 double-stack freight trains are stalled in Port Lázaro Cárdenas, as the CNTE union teachers set up track blockades in 17 different municipalities within the state of Michoacán.

Their blockade has forced Port Lázaro Cárdenas management to stop receiving shipments laden with containers from many Pacific Rim nations. Many of those containers are delivered to different auto assembly companies (Toyota, Nissan, etc.) located for the most part in the state of Guanajuato, which is smack in the middle of the route to Laredo.

Just as an observation, most of these companies work under the “just in time — no inventory” manufacturing system that demands proper timing from delivering companies to meet their manufacturing schedule. Can you imagine what a railroad track blockade does to them?

Well, the teachers seem to not care, as they are out to harass the federal government while trampling the national economy in their madcap race against their dream of bringing down President Enrique Peña Nieto’s Education Reform.

Needless to say, there was an immediate reaction from the affected business, who is demanding that the government show what it is there for, that is, to instill order on misbehaving unionists who are clearly violating federal law by obstructing federal highways and now railways.

And one more thing, this rail track blockade comes at a time when President Enrique Peña Nieto is festooning Mexico’s adherence to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement that links the continental Pacific coast to the several Asian nations in a day and age of global trade.

The complaint by the above quoted teacher that they are against “transnationals” sounds to me of ancient anti-gringo communist jargon that was so popular in Mexico back in mid-20th century Mexico.

But the case at hand is what to do with the CNTE unionists’ rail track blockade.

Strategically, the CNTE blockaded tracks at 17 different points in the Michoacán state municipalities of de Uruapan, Paracho, Yurécuaro, Pátzcuaro, Lázaro Cárdenas, Maravatío, Ciudad Hidalgo, Zitácuaro, Los Reyes, Arteaga and Coahuayana, where the international track runs with literally dozens of trains passing through on a daily basis. Lázaro is a busy port.

But going back to the sadist and the masochist, the ball is now in the court of commander-in-chief of the armed forces of Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto.

The time for law and order has come.