Feb 27 2013

HuffPost: Elba Esther Gordillo, Head Of Mexico’s Teachers’ Union, Jailed On Accusations Of Embezzlement

Newswire | Published 27 Feb 2013, 8:40 am | Comments Off on HuffPost: Elba Esther Gordillo, Head Of Mexico’s Teachers’ Union, Jailed On Accusations Of Embezzlement -

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MEXICO CITY — One of Mexico’s biggest political kingfish sits in a women’s prison in the capital, accused of embezzling millions in funds from her teachers’ union to pay for property, private planes, plastic surgery and her Neiman Marcus bill.

Elba Esther Gordillo, 68, leader of the 1.5 million-member National Union of Education Workers, was arrested late Tuesday afternoon as she landed at the Toluca airport near Mexico City on a private flight from San Diego. Assistant Attorney General Alfredo Castillo told the Televisa network that she was taken off the plane and flown by authorities to Mexico City.

Upon arrival in Mexico’s capital, she asked to see a doctor then was taken in a caravan of Federal Police and Marine vehicles to Santa Martha Acatitla prison, Televisa reported.

The fall of one of the country’s most storied and divisive characters – unthinkable just months ago – comes with the return to power of Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party, which previously ruled for 71 years and once helped Gordillo consolidate her power. She was arrested one day after President Enrique Pena Nieto signed into law a comprehensive education reform designed to dismantle a system she controlled.

Union members had been marching in the streets against the reform in recent weeks, and the fiery Gordillo, who rose from school teacher to a maker of presidents, vowed to keep fighting.

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