Corruption is rife, and is everywhere according to the news these days.
But I disagree: not all teachers act or look, like Mexico’s Elba Esther Gordillo, nor do most get arrested on the tarmac after landing back home in their private jets.
Sixty-eight-year old Elba has been working with different Mexican presidents for the past two decades and is known by the public as La Maestra, the teacher. She was, until very recently, head of the 1.5 million-member National Union of Education Workers, which she ruled with an iron fist.
The attorney general has accused the power-monger Shebug of organized crime. Prosecutors allege that La Maestra engaged in systematic embezzlement of the union’s funds between 2008 and 2010. The amount she got her hands on comes roughly to £103 million.
Looking at her, we may conclude that a portion has been invested in plastic surgery: her choice of look is a unique mix of Java The Hutt and Chucky--a perfect choice that reflects Gordillo’s true character.
But ‘the most hated woman in Mexico’ is not perceived as evil by all. Neiman Marcus loved La Maestra. Her shopping sprees netted the US department store £2 million pounds. However, the stylist who sold her this boardroom-to-bedroom ensemble should now be fired. The Mexican people beg you!
After 2008 conference, she presented her côterie of regional bosses with shiny new Hummers; five years ago, a Hummer cost $65,000. The property market benefitted from Elba, too. She invested in multi-million dollar properties in California which kept realtors busy and smiling.
But this Shebug's house of cards took a tumble once Santander bank sounded the alarm. The very day Gordillo was apprehended and handcuffed coming back from another spot of shopping across the border, the Mexican president signed into law education reforms intended to change the system dominated by her union in which positions could be sold or inherited (yes, you read correctly). Now teachers will be tested and checked to ensure they ‘pass the grade’.
But if you believe her innocence, this woman must be very clever to have acquired all this-- and all on a Mexican teacher’s salary.