Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Illegal Cuotas

Francisco Ortiz Bello 

After I read Chivis' excellent post, I decided to post this editorial, which appeared in today's El Diario de Juarez, to illustrate just one of the many problems facing Mexican families trying to educate their children. As the article mentions, this is a perennial problem for Mexico's poor. While not directly related to the narco problem, it is one of the many factors that prevents Mexican children from obtaining an education, which, as Chivis' article shows, is related to the narco problem. Keep in mind that the Mexican Constitution states that every child has the right to receive a free education.
                                                                                                                                               --un vato. 

El Diario. 7-31-2012. For over three years, the term "cuotas", in our city, has acquired a connotation of danger, of alarm, closely linked to extortion and payments for supposed "rights" to do business by border enterprises.

Today, this potential threat exists for anybody who owns a business in this city. The recent case of seven auto parts stores riddled by bullets made it clear that, while some crime indicators show a detectable decrease, such as violent executions on the streets, or kidnappings, others, like extortion, continue in force.

But this time, I'm not talking about those "cuotas", but of others equally terrifying, traumatizing and stressful for parents dealing with the approaching return to school. More than 25,780,000 pre-school, elementary and secondary students; and around 4,300,000 higher level middle school, preparatory and technical-professional students are finishing their (summer) vacations. And, with that, beginning next week, with the initiation of registration procedures, begins also a real torment for thousands of parents, who barely earn enough to half support a family, and who, despite all that, will have to obtain huge and costly lists of school supplies, school uniforms, books, and, as if this weren't enough, they will have to pay the (in)famous  school "cuota."

This (cuota) is equally illegal in its creation, fascistic and authoritarian. It's a payment that is generally agreed upon among parent organizations, in the form of a contribution to pay for things the schools lack. But it is the schools' principals and teachers who take it upon themselves to make these contributions "obligatory."

Just around that time --they'll be out soon-- all the nation's educative authorities come out and say that education is one of the basic rights enshrined in the Constitution and that, therefore, nobody may prevent a child from receiving (an education) under any circumstances.

However, thanks to those inexplicable and suspicious agreements among parents --members of parent committees--, and other similar requirements, the yearly sad and deplorable story will repeat itself.  Dozens of children will not be able to start classes next August 20th, even if they have their place in the school and even if they have every desire and willingness to do so. It may be because they do not have a uniform, because they lack school supplies or because their parents have not been able to pay that famous "cuota," despite the fact that it is illegal --and even inhumane--; teachers and school principals will deny them access to the class rooms. So,then, how can we expect our children and our young people to become decent, responsible persons, I ask myself?   

There are some truly extreme cases, and not a few, unfortunately, where the demands are such that uniforms, books and school supplies must be purchased in places specifically identified by school managers or parents' associations. This is because there may be prior arrangements or agreements by which the schools obtain certain benefits from the fact that all the students buy uniforms, for example, from the same business, or because the owner of the "official" stationery shop is a relative, friend or partner of one of the parent's committee board members.

This is how shameful and serious this issue gets every year when classes start.  And, even though it's the same every year, and even though these disagreeable practices are denounced or, in some cases, sanctioned, they keep happening.

We're in the final stretch of the return to school. The period in which parents go crazy trying to get everything their children need to begin the new school year, and in which, undoubtedly, the main problem will be money.

If everything I've just described is a repetitive and cyclical scene that happens every year when classes start, is there some educative authority that is taking steps to make sure this doesn't happen? Are teachers and school principals willing to obey the law? If we truly want our children and young people to study and become responsible men and women, we need to behave like responsible men and women towards them, not like gangsters who extort "cuotas" from them for whatever reason.  If we don't, the "cuota" they will make us pay later will be very high.   


  1. If your scared??? Go to church!!!!

    1. What a stupid comment. One of many.

      This kind of extortion is been a problem in Mexico for decades. School cuotas, sindicate cuotas, transit cuotas. And nobody does anything about it. Where is the authority, the law? Corruption plain and simple.

    2. AUGUST 2.2012. 1:42.Calm down ICE CUBE.CARTELS ARE BAD FO YA HEALTH

    3. @11:30 I'M TRYN NOT TO LOSE MY HEAD

  2. Juarez isnt the most dangerous city anymore....get over it

  3. Educate your children and you won't have to worry about them. Most of the bad guys are not very educated and prove it on a daily basis by doing very stupid things.

  4. Uncle sam in u.s is the "cuota/taxes" bigest collector... to park your car in public you need to pay... to take a dump in public restroom you need to pay.. Every paycheck you work for you need to pay... To cross a brige from one town to another you have to pay... If you buy a a pencil at local store you need to pay extra ontop of the pencil price... If you dont pay your "cuota" in the u.s your in trouble... Everybody is money hungry even the rich want more... Money is evil...
    People would do anything for money everybody has a price.... My point is that this is nothing new of public places to charge extra for there own pocket. You have no choice you have to pay or they wont let you in.. Thats how sistem works, til someone gets cought.....

    Att: obama nation

  5. Using lack of money to deny public services is a form of discrimination and is despicable. It costs money to create a great country, but everyone is out for themselves. This is a world-wide problem. A BIG problem, unless you are one of those with the money, of course.

  6. What? The kids are getting fucked over too? Your kidding! They should teach one thing in the schools, and that is CHARACTER. I'm starting to wonder if there is a gene in the Mexican DNA that thrives on taking bribes and payoffs. So now the teachers and principals demand bribes? So now that means every single person in Mexico with any kind of power over anyone requires a kickback from the time your a kid to the time you have to bribe the lady at the morgue to get the paper work done so you can bury them?

  7. Holy Macaroni!! -> 1:42 AM August 2, 2012 <-

    And if the church is visited by armed criminals, THEN WHAT?!

    Please, plan B.


    1. Sorry, being a mother of several hispanic children an americana with no father around no other income lucky to have crayons for my children to do their homework!!! We go to church!!! They supply my childrens supplies!! SO IF YOU SCAREd you can't make it by yourself!!! Go to church!!! Now u see no one can holds me down!! If your scared? Go to church!! Amen

  8. true,this is how i went to school in mexico wile i was young. we had to buy our uniforms not from a specific place but it was a must to have one. we didnt get free lunch nor breakfast. we had to buy our lunch since kingdergarden-till you finish school free school materials none of that. you had 2 pay to register to go to school like i said from kindebrin rgarden till u finish school.
    the only thing i can say about mexican schools is they have good dicipline. strict one. mondays we did our honors to the flag in the courtyard.
    you didnt go into your class if you had not done your hw. you wont be allowed into school if your late. your parents must MUST! bring you to school if your suspended,your parents were contacted if cutting,lack of assigments due. n trust me they will find your parents.
    it was really good education i cannot lie, but there was no funds to actually become a real proffesional. i mean how can u actually be 100% in school when u scared people will critize you for not having good shoes, but actually old wasted ones,ou cannot afford alot of food n sometimes not even afford 2 eat lunch as a 2nd, 3rd grader imagine how that feels like. or what about when you cant turn in your hw or assignment because your notebbook has run out of pages or you cannot afford material needed for assignments.
    its reality for alot of young kids in my home country. thats why i give it to this country welfare programs,food stamps, n free education untill college n free lunch n breakfast. yet the majority of this kids in the united wth the food,throw it out without even touching it, talk shit about how shitty the food is. dont respect their teachers,constantly disturb classes. but the one that annoys me the most is how kids think is fucking cool to be stupid. the arrogance their have makes me wanna punch them in the face. if i had what they have im sure i wouldve accomplish more then what i could. we need 2 start apreciating what we have in america. seriously!

  9. Just one part of the complexity of the problem in Mexico. If its not one form of severe crime its another.

  10. Mexico spends more time and effort enforcing people driving vehicles and bringing car parts into Mexico.
    Yet, extortion is not enforced. This is so bad its sad. An old man told me many years ago that about every 100 years in Mexico there is somekind of serious instability. He was right.
    Just looks at its history. 1821 , 1910-1920, what now......

  11. Vato
    What an outstanding tie in to my post! Thank you for that. Some people are misinformed that Mexico has free education for all children. In effect nothing is free from workbooks to toilet paper the student is responsible for. After grade school the government does charge a tax/tuition that amounts to 1-2 weeks of average salary for each child in addition to uniforms, and all the supplies which are marked up 2 and 3 times the cost transportation is not free. If the school has a bus, which is rare, it is up to the school to maintain, provide a driver and diesel. By “School” I mean the students.

    I was thinking about the many obstacles Mexican children have simply to get to school:

    Search for a school that has an opening for the student (many children must wait and try again the following year and then are held back)

    Pay quotas or fees for supplies and uniforms

    Many have to provide transportation (some parents work to pay taxi @ 5dollars a day

    In rural Districts and impoverished areas:
    There are schools in remote areas that teachers must stay M-F but the schools have no accommodations such as showers, dorms or kitchens. They makeshift a classroom as sleeping quarters, hanging blankets for privacy. Those schools have a high rate of resignation during school year that results in a lack of teachers by the end of school year.

    Or a visiting teacher, this is what El Chapo and his siblings had. However the teacher stopped coming when he was 8 years old resulting in his illiteracy.

    Or a “video” teacher. Classes are projected onto screens.

    The high majority of teachers are now are not credentialed.

    The majority of teachers fail to pass competency exams, the teachers union issued a statement that it was not necessary to pass the exams to teach.

    Special education students suffer even further. One school that was once bustling is down to 10 students. I called the parents to inquire why. The answer: We cannot afford the quota on top of the transportation.

    Our schools have been hit hard by cartels. The one in control of our area used to be “friendly” now our therapy centers (which I build on school land) and kitchens have been hit multiple times. I actually went to the media appealing for the return of the Braille machines and zoom text computers; my answer was to stop and was told who was responsible. This via parents in the surrounding colonia. My security system and iron bars were useless against this gang of heartless thieves. I feel helpless.

    Even after conquering all the obstacles a student then faces a system that is woefully inadequate for teaching even the basics.

    If I had to choose one element in order for Mexico to have a turn around it would be a strong system of law and order. That would have a positive impact on just about everything….Paz Chivis

  12. Great Piece. The irony is overwhelming, charge the students a "cuota/extortion", the ones who can't afford it will go on to a life of crime/poverty, when said kid grows up he will return to these schools as a successful sicario/halcone/capo and demand a "cuota". The circle jerk of life.

  13. And wheres the motivation to even go to school. It's like pay a quota to get an education so you can have a career where you will pay another quota to some narco scumbag to be able to conduct business, and pay a third quota to the local authorities to keep them from shaking you down. Or I could go the other route like ole Chapo and be an illiterate billionaire.


  14. Wow just when I thought I had heard it all about Mexico. What's wrong with the people of Mexico ??? is the whole country corrupt?? corruption seems systemic down there ...USA intervention please !!!

  15. Thank you for sharing this 'vato'.
    It is obvious that Mexico's politician's and elites ignore the poor. A lot of this is a legacy of the 70 year PRI rule where there was no accountability. It is terrible how 'classist' Mexico is, how the rich look down on the poor , and the rich exist in a totally different world with mansions, bodyguards, maids, drivers and untold riches. Although the Mexican economy has improved over the years, the spoils have been mostly to the already wealthy elites or the corrupt politicians and bureaucrats.

    Ironically, the US is on a similar path, with slashing education funding and college tuition costing $50-100K.
    Private schools, tutors, and Harvard are no problem if you worth 300 million dollars!

  16. Come on people and wake up. Mexico is a pathetic failed society. Nothing, I repeat nothing, is ever going to change in this country unless the citizens revolt and take up arms or the United States military treats it as an Iraq and Afghanistan.......sadly, these solutions will never, never take place. I can tell you one thing....the beautiful Mexican people, unlike the aholes in Iraq and Afghanistan, would appreciate our intervention......tragic and pathetic

  17. If America don't care bout their neighbors/Mexico!! All the lifes talken!! Open borders an let's c if anyone gets scared!! Like all them poooor young children!! Its all ready here America!! Colorado aint nothin but one day in Mexico!!! an American s can't believe, to bad only about 1% of USA see these article s!! Oil/Obama!! Its not humane to let Mexico hurt their chilfren like this !!!

    1. Why do people compair Colorado
      to whats going on Mexico.
      Colorado was just when Americans
      sold guns to retarded person who thought he was the joker.
      Now Mexico is just a massive drugwar
      Not a cinema billding.

  18. Excuse me intervention know it all yeah we here to brink peace! Yeah you guys are stupid . Naive. Blah bkah blah.....
    Idiots like you there is enough . There should be a law against idiotisn.

    Encased you didn't know
    yesterday .. It was revealed President Obama sign a cover CIA operation to destabilize Syria. Matter fact it wasn't signed way before since the arm conflict started. We have been aiding.the Rebels wth weapons
    N guess what every one saying The UN backed them up. To the Point Secretary General Had to resign shamefully.

  19. Kidnapped people are tortured and executed. Innocent bystanders killed. Hospitals bombed. Oil stolen from pipelines. Cuotas to go to school. Cuotas extorted from teachers. Cuotas from businesses large and small. Towns and ranches taken over. Criminal policemen. There is no hope. What can fix this?

  20. There is no hope. Not on the horizon.

  21. Hola 4:31 PM (August 2)

    Whenever you share such details with us here, it really gets me more involved and connected 'heart mind & soul' to the Mexican plight and I just wanted to thank you for taking the time it takes to write it all out for us. Hoping you'll continue taking us further down that long winding Mexican road giving us more of a panoramic view of life in Mexico.


  22. Hola 3:35 AM Agosto 3,

    Que Dios te bendiga señora


  23. i agree with the writers story iam so tired paying 1000S of dllrs to the school my children attend may be i will send them to U.S 4 there school jajajaja 31 and 32 in math and scince stupid kids monterry is the best in mexico better then the U.S stupid gringos keep your free stuff i will pay for mine gringos are so lazy

  24. "U.S stupid gringos keep your free stuff i will pay for mine gringos are so lazy"
    Really constructive that,yes great.Another racist Mexican.You showing what you are really like.
    A poster above wrote"the beautiful Mexican people"
    Very disillusioning,but you can only go by what you see and read on these posts.I didnt think it was this vitriolic.


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