“The head of Mexico’s powerful teachers’ union has been arrested at an airport outside Mexico City on suspicion of embezzling the union’s funds.
Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said that Elba Esther Gordillo, who has led the 1.5 million-member National Union of Education Worker for 23 years, was detained in Toluca on Tuesday on charges that she embezzled about $200 million from union funds.
Her arrest comes a day after President Enrique Pena Nieto signed Mexico’s most sweeping education reform in seven decades into law, seeking to change a system in which teaching positions could be sold or inherited, and no official census of schools, teachers and students was ever carried out.
Gordillo was seen controlling the union and much of Mexico’s education system like her personal fiefdom.
The overhaul was Pena Nieto’s first major proposal since taking office Dec. 1.