Mexico’s national teachers’ union is a wealthy organization if real estate holdings are any measure.
Properties in the name of the National Union of Education Workers (SNTE) number more than 600 in 30 states.
But the figure could well be higher as many emblematic buildings known to house union offices or host events do not appear in the SNTE’s catalog of assets.
What has been accounted for includes administrative buildings, vacant land, hotels, hospitals and even a cemetery.
The union itself published the list on the transparency section of its website though it included only the type of property and the address.
But in many cases the published data is incomplete or simply incorrect, reported the newspaper Reforma.
Among the more notable properties omitted is the Puerta del Sol convention center, located in the Santa Fe business district and loaned without charge by the government of the city. Former union leader Elba Esther Gordillo, currently behind bars, intended to build a project called City of Innovation on the site.
Also loaned without charge, in 1995, was the former convent of Santo Domingo, which was to house the National Education Library. Today, however, it is the seat of the Contemporary Mexico Cultural Center.
Also missing from the list are the official buildings of the union’s Oaxaca and Chiapas locals, Sections 22 and 7, respectively. Both locals belong to the national union’s dissident faction, CNTE, or National Coordinator of Education Workers.
The real estate assets that house the national executive committee as well as those of different union locals in the country’s capital are also absent from the official list.
The director of Mexicanos Primero, an education advocacy organization, said the accumulated assets originate in the dealings the union has had with different state administrations, which have given in to the union’s demands over the years.
Besides owning administrative buildings in 30 of the 32 states, the SNTE also owns 179 urban and rural pieces of land, along with 51 hotels and vacation homes, 49 retirees’ homes, 12 child development centers, eight sports facilities and 25 vacation resorts.
The wealthiest local in the country in terms of real estate holdings is Section 56 in Veracruz, which is controlled by longtime union leader Juan Nicolás Callejas Arroyo and his family. Here the union owns 30 properties as a result of negotiations with local governments, in which Callejas demanded that the union have title to the buildings that housed local delegations.