MEXICO CITY: New school textbooks promoted by the Mexican government have sparked a battle between the leftist president and opponents who have burned them and taken the case to the highest court.
Critics allege that the books promote communism, homosexuality and contain factual errors. They want the government to refrain from distributing the materials from Monday, when millions of students will start a new school year in the Latin American nation.
One of the most radical protests took place in the southern state of Chiapas, where parents in an Indigenous neighbourhood set fire to books they said were the work of “the devil” and taught “communism, homosexuality and lesbianism.” Stimulating the “sexuality of our children with this type of ideology...gives rise to pedophilia,” said Jose Tomas Bermudez, a local evangelical pastor.
The president of the conservative opposition National Action Party (PAN), Marko Cortes, called on parents to “destroy (the books) in their entirety.” Speaking against the backdrop of campaigning to choose candidates for the 2024 presidential election, Cortes alleged that the texts seek to “indoctrinate” students.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a leftwing populist, has described the row as “politicking” stirred up by conservative opponents.
He frequently attacks what he calls his opponents’ “neoliberal” economic model favoring free markets and privatisation, and vowed to overturn it when he came to power in 2018.
Published in Dawn, August 28th, 2023