Mexico: AMLO Laughs Off Alarm over Venezuelan Socialist Helping Rewrite Schoolbooks

President of Mexico Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador gestures during the Presidential Daily Morning Briefing on November 13, 2019 in Mexico City, Mexico. Lopez Obrador gave details about the asylum granted to Former President of Bolivia Evo Morales Ayma after Mexican government acknowledged a coup and demanded respect for the constitution …
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Mexico’s National Action Party (PAN) released a public letter on Monday denouncing the Mexican government and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) for reportedly putting a former member of Venezuela’s socialist regime in charge of redesigning the contents of the nation’s free schoolbooks.

In the letter, PAN identifies the official as Venezuelan Sady Arturo Loaiza Escalona, who in the past served in government positions of Venezuela’s socialist regime and who currently serves as Deputy Director of Educational Materials of Mexico’s Secretariat of Public Education (SEP).

“The contents of SEP books cannot and should not be in the hands of an ideologue and populist who collaborates with Nicolás Maduro,” the letter asserted. “We cannot allow López Obrador and his government to propagate his ideology through education to our children and youth.”

Loaiza Escalona was appointed by Venezuela’s socialist regime director of the country’s national library between 2014 and 2018, a key position for the dissemination of the socialist regime’s ideology and propaganda. Prior to being in charge of the Venezuelan national library, Loaiza Escaola worked as general director of special projects of the People’s Ministry for Communes and Social Movements.

“Populist governments in Latin America have been characterized by indoctrination in education, mainly at the basic level, to create feelings and ideology in favor of their movements,” PAN’s letter read.

The party’s letter continued by citing Bolivia and Venezuela as examples of indoctrination in education.

In Bolivia, the example cited was Las aventuras de Evito (“The Adventures of Little Evo”), a series of children’s books released in 2014 that exalted the image of former far-left President Evo Morales, depicting him as a child in situations “inspired” by Morales’s childhood.

In the case of Venezuela, the letter cites the Maduro regime’s distribution of toys of Súper Bigote (“Super Mustache”) and Súper Cilita (“Super Little Cilia”), the superhero alter-egos of socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro and his wife, Cilia Flores, that took place on December.

“Since the beginning of his six-year term, López Obrador has shown without shame that his friends are the dictators of the region. Nicolás Maduro is one of them. However, the participation of a former chavista official in the design of the contents of the Ministry of Public Education is unacceptable,” Mariana Gómez del Campo, PAN’s Secretary of International Affairs, said in the letter.

According to a report published by news website Latinus, Sady Loaiza Escalona joined Mexico’s education secretariat at the invitation of Marx Arriaga Navarro, SEP’s General Director of Educational Materials.

In 2022, under the guidance of Marx Arriaga Navarro, Mexico’s Education Secretariat announced its intention to remove “neoliberal” words and concepts from Mexico’s free schoolbooks such as “efficiency,” “competitiveness,” “productivity,” and “knowledge society.” Arriaga Navarro has expressed in the past that he intended to include a discourse that confronts colonialism and “Western, white and male gazes” in the schoolbooks. In 2021, Mexican writers heavily criticized Arriaga Navarro for claiming that “reading for enjoyment is an individualistic act.”

“We cannot allow López Obrador and his government to propagate their ideology through education to our children and young people,” PAN’s letter concluded.

Mexican far-left President Andrés Manuel López Obrador defended the participation of a former Maduro regime official and Marx Arriaga Navarro in the redesigning of the nation’s schoolbooks on Thursday during a press conference.

When questioned about the scandal, López Obrador laughed away questions and claimed that Loaiza was appointed due to his “experience” and insisted that Marx Arriaga is the one in charge of the project.

“Yes, and there are a lot of people. The one in charge of the contents is Marx Arriaga. He has a doctorate in literature from the Metropolitan University, he is one of the best, an expert and, like him, there is a whole team,” López Obrador said.

The Mexican president downplayed the controversy by stating that “conservatives” are always claiming “we are already becoming Venezuelanized” and asked not to “stigmatize” the Venezuelan people.

“One swallow does not make a summer, or two. It is politicking of conservatism. It is the same as ‘we are going to become Venezuela, we are going to become Cuba,’” he said. “Now a professional or two who were in Venezuela and who are working in the SEP – a scandal.”

In 2022, Marx Arriaga Navarro stated that, during López Obrador’s six-year presidential term, the contents of 97 free education books had been reformed so far, and that they now contained a more “solidary and communitarian approach,” but asserted that it was “not enough.”  

“We need all of them to reflect the model of the New Mexican School, leaving behind the neoliberal period of education,” Arriaga Navarro said. 

Christian K. Caruzo is a Venezuelan writer and documents life under socialism. You can follow him on Twitter here.


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