“This type of crime, especially the sensational type, always has a negative effect on tourism,” said Christopher Wilson, a Mexico expert at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.
“Look at the example of drugs and weapons smuggling,” Wilson says. “There are drug demand issues on the U.S. side, but there are weapons demand issues on the Mexican side, where there are also rule-of-law issues and violence. The task force sought ways to share responsibility and work together to confront these interconnected problems.”
"This goes way beyond education. It's about sending a signal to other unions in particular that they need to come on board to the government's program," Wood said. "As it has played out, I think it has been a stroke of genius."
The cuts probably won’t dramatically increase crime or significantly compromise border security, said Chris Wilson, an associate with the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute, a Washington-based research group. The number of Border Patrol agents has doubled in the last decade, and illegal activity along the border between the ports of entry has fallen.
Known as La Maestra or 'The Teacher', Gordillo headed the National Union of Education Workers or SNTE, which is estimated to have 1.5 million members. Christopher Wilson spoke to AlJazeera about her recent arrest.
“The businesses that are affected by security issues are generally the small businesses, the mom-and-pop operations,” says Christopher Wilson, an economist at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars’ Mexico Institute. “If someone is going to try to extort a business, they’re not going after a company like Audi that has layers of protection.”
“They are talking seriously about allowing private investment in the oil sector in general, [but] they want the state to retain control. So what that actually means in reality is very tough to work out,” he said. “Because retaining control could be legislative, regulatory; it could be the dominant player. No one is quite sure what that means.”
Last Saturday’s vote by the PRI party to change its statutes to allow for the application of the value added tax (IVA) to food and medicine, and to allow for increased private participation in the oil sector, significantly improves the prospects for the reform process under Enrique Peña Nieto. This marks an important victory for the reformers within the party, and is a sign that the government now faces minimal internal party divisions that could hold back the reform process.
The so-called “Pact for Mexico,” along with the PRI’s likely passage of rule changes this weekend, give Pena Nieto the momentum needed to push for sweeping reforms, said Duncan Wood of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Duncan Wood, director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, said that while a great deal of attention has focused on the arrest’s likely impact on education in Mexico, it is only one part of a larger story about the exercise of power. “It’s not just about education,” he said. “It’s about so much more than that.”