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Our maxim: “understanding before action”
Our purpose is to encourage the knowledge and the debate of issues connected with art and military science. Selection of articles attempts to reflect different opinions. Beyond any ideological ascription. In order to impulse critical thought amongst our readers.

lunes, 17 de noviembre de 2014

México y el imperio de la ley.



http://online.wsj.com/articles/mary-ogrady-mexicos-rule-of-law-crisis-1416179932



Mexico’s Rule of Law Crisis.

The fate of 43 missing university students and corruption allegations test President Peña Nieto’s pledge to transform the country.

Teachers-union members protesting in Chilpancingo, Mexico, Nov. 14.ENLARGE
Teachers-union members protesting in Chilpancingo, Mexico, Nov. 14. ZUMA PRESS
By MARY ANASTASIA O’GRADYNov. 16, 2014 6:18 p.m. ET


What do the September disappearance of 43 university students from the custody of local police in the state of Guerrero, Mexico, and new allegations of federal corruption in the awarding of public infrastructure contracts have in common? Answer: They both show that Mexico still has a huge problem enforcing the rule of law.

The two developments have sparked a political crisis that could sink Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) President Enrique Peña Nieto ’s ambitious reform agenda if he doesn’t take quick and decisive action to restore confidence.

Until now the president has been able to ignore Mexico’s legendary lawlessness. He has been riding an international wave of excitement around the opening of the energy sector, with few questions asked. But unless he wants to make common cause with the hard left—which thinks it has him on the ropes because of the missing students—he needs to admit his mistakes, purge his cabinet and make the rule of law job No. 1.

According to a 17-page report issued Wednesday by the Mexican Embassy in Washington, the missing students were political activists. They had entered the town of Iguala in Guerrero to “forcefully borrow two private buses” for a journey to Mexico City for demonstrations.

The embassy says police opened fire on the students and that in the melee that ensued six civilians died. The students arrested were handed to a local crime cartel. Gang members allegedly confessed to killing the young men and burning their bodies. The governor of Guerrero has resigned. The mayor of Iguala, his wife, 36 municipal police officers and more than 35 other individuals are under arrest.

The governor and the mayor are both from the left-wing Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD). But teachers unions and the hard-left former mayor of Mexico City, Andrés Manuel López Obrador are now trying to destabilize the Peña Nieto government by linking it to the disappearance of the students. Last week the militants seized town halls, attacked government buildings, blocked roads and burned cars in at least three states.

The good news is that few issues have united Mexican civil society like the disappearance of the students and the violent response of the extreme left. There is little sympathy for Mr. López Obrador. The public’s top priority is the rule of law.

To re-establish the rule of law at a time when criminals have so much power is a tall order. U.S. drug policy and the American appetite for narcotics have conspired to overwhelm law enforcement in many places in Mexico. Mr. Peña Nieto can make a start if he demonstrates that the state can handle this investigation with transparency. But he will have to go much further.

To show that Mexico is committed to ending impunity and to improving public security, the president should use his influence to push for the full implementation of the new criminal code mandating that all federal and state judicial systems move, by 2016, to the oral accusatorial system, away from Mexico’s traditional written, inquisitional system.

Monterrey lawyer Ernesto Canales founded the civic group Renace (Spanish for “rebirth”) in 1994 to work for this reform in his home state of Nuevo León. In an interview in New York in the spring he told me that the change will “mean an increase in substance over formality in public trials and an increase in transparency. It will also raise the odds that judges actually know what’s going on in their courtrooms.”

Sounds important. Yet congressional approval of the federal regulations necessary to complete the reform is moving at a glacial pace, and the judiciary is in no hurry to comply. Many of the 32 states have yet to make the transition.

Everyone knows why: The oral system will challenge the traditional use of the criminal-justice system as a profit center for the state. In that tradition the accused can either pay or do time. Culpability is beside the point, and there is no need for competitive police salaries, forensics or transparent protocols to ensure accountability and communication among municipal, state and federal authorities.

This works well for the establishment, and Mr. Peña Nieto has not wanted to spend the political capital to change things. Becoming the champion of a reform that originated with civil society is now his best option to restore his credibility.

The president also has to deal with the drip, drip of allegations that his government is in the habit of trading contracts for kickbacks. Investors might forgive real or perceived transgressions if he fires his discredited ministers and agrees to a new bidding process for infrastructure contracts that puts his team at arm’s length. The center-right National Action Party (PAN), which wants to see the successful opening of the energy market, may be willing to help if it can be assured that the PRI will keep its hand out of the cookie jar.

That’s a lot to ask of the PRI, but Mr. Peña Nieto’s promise to transform Mexico depends on it.