Governor elect in BC seeks to extend his term

Jaime Bonilla Valdez, governor elect of Baja California

Jaime Bonilla was elected Governor of Baja California on June 2nd, 2019. Source: El Tamaulipeco

08/06/19 (written by lcalderon) — Jaime Bonilla Valdez was elected governor for Baja California on June 2, 2019, along with five mayors and 25 state Congress representatives. He was initially elected for an extraordinary term of two years, from November 1, 2019 to October 31, 2021. This extraordinary period of governorship was set forth by a Constitutional reform in 2014 that established that the governor elected in 2019 would serve a term of two years (instead of six) in order for the federal midterm elections and state governor elections to coincide, exactly three years after the presidential election.

However, on July 8, 2019, Baja California Congressman Víctor Moran (Movimiento Regeneración Nacional, Morena) called for a secret, unscheduled session, which was held in Playas de Rosarito –about two and a half hours from the state’s capital, Mexicali. At said session, Congressman Moran passed a motion to extend governor-elect Bonilla’s term from two to five years, ending in October 31, 2024 instead of 2021. Mr. Moran’s argument was that having another election in two years would impose a grave economic burden on Baja California’s economy, which is already facing a serious public spending deficit, thus making it more desirable to postpone it until 2024. He also emphasized the importance of giving the government-elect enough time to complete their long-term projects, specifically those designed to address public security concerns at the state level. The motion passed with 21 out of the 25 votes in favor, only three of which were affiliates of the Morena Party. Congressional representatives voted through concealed voting slips and only one National Action Party (Partido de Acción Nacional, PAN) Congressman expressed his disagreement with the procedure and the motion. Congressional representatives from the local party, Baja California’s Party (Partido de Baja California, PBC) were not present at the session; allegedly, PBC representatives were not even summoned.

During that same session, State Congress also approved to create two important positions: Counselor for the Instituto de Transparencia y Acceso a la Información Pública (Institute for Transparency and Access to Public Information, ITAIP) and Superior Auditor for the State. Sources such as El Economista and Sin Embargo allege these positions were Morena’s negotiating assets to convince PAN and PRI’s Congressional representatives to vote for the initiative. Allegations grew stronger when the appointment of Carlos Montejo Oceguera, a longtime PAN member and collaborator of current Baja Calfornia Governor Francisco Vega de Lamadrid, as Superior Auditor was deemed official immediately after the confidential session. Montejo’s appointment became notably suspicious when he was declared to be in charge of auditing the state government’s performance during the last three years. This came just weeks after the Federal Superior Auditor declared that Governor Vega’s government was involved in the embezzlement of over $4.5 billion Mexican pesos (roughly $240 million USD).

Initial reactions

Citizens' protests

Citizens protest against “Bonilla Law.”
Source: Diario de Mexico

Public opposition to what is now being called “Bonilla Law” manifested soon thereafter. Citizens throughout Baja California called for protests at the local office for the National Human Rights Commission (Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos, CNDH), demanding that the national Supreme Court (Suprema Corte de Justicia Nacional, SCJN) evaluate the reform. They also requested that Congressmen who voted in favor of what they perceive as an unconstitutional action be politically tried. Additionally, they argued that the opinion expressed on June 2nd must prevail, which is when citizens elected Bonilla for a term of just two years – not the expanded five years.

Bonilla’s decision to extend his term made it to the national headlines almost immediately, and the reactions came from all political levels. One of the first institutions to show its discontent was the National Action Party (PAN). The PAN’s national management expressed its condemnation of the term extension, highlighting its discontent with the state Congressman representing their party who voted in favor of extending Bonilla’s governorship. A few weeks later, the PAN started removing its state Congressmen from Baja California.

For his part, Bonilla argued that the term’s extension eliminates the need to have another round of elections in two years. Regardless of the vote on the governorship, Baja Californians still have to vote in five mayors and 25 Congressmen in 2021. The Morena Party also threw its support behind Bonilla’s term extension, noting that the two-year term represents a violation of Bonilla’s political-electoral rights, a claim that Bonilla already submitted to the Electoral Court. This challenge was successful at the state court, but not at the federal court.

Government Response

When concerns began to be raised, President Andres Manuel López Obrador during his morning address to the media and public said, “If [Jaime Bonilla] would have asked, I would have not approved it” (Jimenez, 2). According to López Obrador, Bonilla’s policy does not does not align with his political ideology;. It is important to note, however, that such topics are often not the types of issues brought before the president. Still, President López Obrador did weigh in given the gravity of the situation. For one, the president clarified that extending the governor’s term did not mean that Bonilla would seek reelection, as  he was not looking to violate the Constitution. Similarly, he stressed, this was certainly not implying that he would seek presidential reelection when his sexenio expires (2018-2024). López Obrador finished by saying that he would not intervene in the matter. It is up to the Judiciary’s Electoral Court to decide whether the term extension is valid in an impartial process that is not deserving of presidential influence, he said.

In response, the federal Congress approved a resolution asking state Congressmen to revert the approval

Congress of Baja California confirms term extension

State Congress confirms “Bonilla Law” after being called to a session to re-consider it.

of the “Bonilla Law.” Doing so would  respect the two-year term that citizens chose for governor-elect Bonilla. In return, the Congress of Baja California decided to have an extraordinary, closed-door session in Playas de Rosarito with only 14 Congressmen present. Instead of revesting their decision during this session; state Congressional representatives instead confirmed Bonilla’s term extension from two years to five years. They justified their decision by arguing that the economy of the state had to be preserved and that it was of outmost importance to prioritize state sovereignty in this matter.

After reconfirming “Bonilla Law,” federal legislators started a movement to take the matter to the national Supreme Court arguing that this extension is an act against the Constitution.

State Status

In the meantime, outgoing Governor Vega de Lamadrid announced that he would not declare the new reform in the State’s Official Newspaper out of respect for the citizen’s decision to vote for a two-year term. This statement is Governor Vega’s declaration of support for public opposition to the “Bonila Law” since the State’s Official Newspaper is the medium to publish State legislation.

The President of the PAN in Baja California also noted that it would have been possible for Bonilla to challenge the 2014 two-year term reform within the state legal frameworks if he followed the proper procedure 90 days before the election. Bonilla failed to meet the dates and conditions to submit his disagreement, however, thus removing that possible course of action.

Sources

“AMLO se habría pronunciado en contra de ampliación de mandato de Bonilla,” El Sol de México, July 12, 2019.

“Ciudadanos protestan contra ‘Ley Bonilla’ en BC; piden la intervención de la CNDH,” Milenio, July 15, 2019.

“El ‘agandalle’ de Bonilla en BC es parte de un pacto de protección al Gobierno de ‘Kiko’ Vega, acusan,” Sin Embargo, July 18, 2019.

“El pacto: ampliación de mandato a cambio del auditor,” El Economista, July 21, 2019.

“En 2021, BC elegirá a cinco alcaldes y 25 diputados,” La Jornada, July 9, 2019.

“Impunidad a ‘Kiko’ Vega, entrega de cargos públicos y ‘sobornos’ millonarios, a cambio de la ‘Ley Bonilla’,” Proceso, July 16, 2019.

“Jaime Bonilla gobernará cinco años en Baja California en medio de controversia,” San Diego Union Tribune, July 23, 2019.

“‘Kiko’ desvió 4 mil 600 mdp, ocultó 802 en deuda y pagó intereses sin razón,” Zeta Tijuana, March 4, 2019.

“Kiko Vega no publicará en Diario Oficial ampliación a periodo de Jaime Bonilla en BC,” Proceso, July 9, 2019.

“Mexico border state extends governor’s term amid criticism,” Washington Post, July 24, 2019.

“PAN inicia expulsión de diputados que ampliaron la gubernatura de Jaime Bonilla en Baja California,” Aristegui Noticias, July 11, 2019.

“Panistas regalan gubernatura de cinco años a Bonilla,” Zeta Tijuana, July 8, 2019.

 

 

 

 

Panel analyzes the 2018 Mexican Election

From left to right, moderator Dr. David A. Shirk and election panelists, Amb. Jeffrey Davidow, Dr. Victor Espinoza, Dr. Clare Seelke, and Dr. Emily Edmonds-Poli.

From left to right: moderator Dr. David A. Shirk and panelists, Amb. Jeffrey Davidow, Dr. Victor Espinoza, Dr. Clare Seelke, and Dr. Emily Edmonds-Poli.

10/03/2018 (written by Rita Kuckertz) – On Thursday, September 20, 2018  Justice in Mexico, in collaboration with the University of San Diego’s Master of Arts in International Relations (MAIR) program, hosted a panel of experts in order to discuss the significance of Mexico’s 2018 Presidential Election and what to expect from the incoming administration. Panelists included Clare Seelke of the Congressional Research Service; Dr. Victor Espinoza, Director of the Department of Public Administration at the Northern Border College (El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, COLEF); Amb. Jeffrey Davidow, former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico; and Dr. Emily Edmonds-Poli, faculty member in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of San Diego (USD). Dr. David A. Shirk, Director of Justice in Mexico and the Master of Arts in International Relations program, moderated the panel discussion.

A Watershed Election

Each guest speaker shared their expertise on the topic of Mexican politics in order to reflect on the nature and outcomes of Mexico’s July 1st vote. Given the exceptional nature of these elections, Dr. Shirk asked the panel of experts to especially consider the historic upset of traditional party alignments, the future of the U.S.-Mexico relationship, and the observed increase in political violence leading up to July, 2018.
Clare Seelke explained the triumph of Morena party candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador as the result of the public’s desire for radical political change. Seelke posited that other candidates running for the Mexican presidency, including Ricardo Anaya and José Antonio Meade, were essentially the same in the public eye. According to Seelke, the simple fact of López Obrador’s singularity amidst other traditional candidates may explain the “magnitude of the victory” at approximately 53% of the total vote.

The Future of U.S.-Mexico Relations

Reflecting on the implications of this outcome, Seelke questioned the future of U.S.-Mexico relations in the context of the shared drug and security crisis, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and Mexico’s energy reform enacted during President Enrique Peña Nieto’s tenure. While Mexico has collaborated with the United States on each of these dimensions under Peña Nieto’s term from 2012 to 2018, Seelke expressed uncertainty regarding future bilateral cooperation on these matters.

The Vote from Abroad

Dr. Victor Espinoza from COLEF spoke at length about the significance of votes from abroad during the 2018 election. He explained that since 2006, there have been a total of twenty-six presidential, senatorial, gubernatorial, and local elections that allowed voters to participate from abroad. However, increasingly, the percentage of eligible voters living outside of Mexico has declined since 2006. In the July elections, Dr. Espinoza noted that this figure was “infinitesimal,” at less than 1% turnout. With 97% of eligible abroad voters living in the United States, this raises questions about the specific factors that have so drastically reduced the participation of eligible Mexican voters there. However, as Dr. Espinoza explained, other trends characterizing the abroad vote in previous elections were reversed; while Mexican voters living outside the country typically opt for conservative candidates, in 2018, the vote leaned left with Morena’s López Obrador.

Radical Change or Return to Ruling Party Politics?

While a historic election, Former Ambassador to Mexico Jeffrey Davidow argued that, in general, we tend to overanalyze the election of politicians. According to Amb. Davidow, López Obrador won the election because the vast majority of Mexicans who registered to vote were disillusioned with traditional political parties. Concerned about high levels of corruption and what they perceived to be a “rigged” system, the Mexican public opted for a new approach to politics. As such, Amb. Davidow argued that voters did not necessarily stand behind all of López Obrador’s policies; they simply wanted to prevent traditional party candidates from entering office.

However, despite his candidacy representing a change in the political order to many Mexicans, Amb. Davidow argued that López Obrador’s policies are reminiscent of the Institutional Revolutionary Party’s (Partido Revolucionario Insitutional, PRI) “ruling party” politics of the 1970s and 1980s. In his words, Amb. Davidow described López Obrador as “[tending] to view Mexican politics and policies not as a radical, but as someone who has never really accepted the modernization of Mexico.” Thus, while some have likened the incoming president to Hugo Chávez, Amb. Davidow argues that López Obrador hardly fits this characterization. Much like his PRI predecessors, López Obrador’s platform rests on the centralization of authority and the invigoration of state enterprises. As such, recent reforms, such as the historic energy and criminal procedure reforms, may see changes under the new administration. As Amb. Davidow put it, “Will it be devastating? We don’t know. But it will be different.”

Looking Ahead: Implications of an AMLO Presidency

Dr. Emily Edmonds-Poli, adding to Amb. Davidow’s analysis, reminded those in attendance that López Obrador was once a “staunch priista,” and much of his political behavior today is similar to that of thirty years ago. However, despite López Obrador’s steadfastness, Dr. Edmonds-Poli argued that his election was unprecedented in Mexico’s democratic era. As she explained, historically, those observing Mexican politics have argued that no candidate would ever win with a majority in the multi-party system, especially with a majority in Congress. Thus, the July 1 election was unprecedented in and of itself.

Given his election by majority, Dr. Edmonds-Poli contended that López Obrador does indeed have a mandate. However, what remains to be seen is whether the future president will be able to successfully fulfill this mandate. According to Dr. Edmonds-Poli, the stakes are certainly high; with the “groundswell of excitement” that accompanied the rise of Morena, López Obrador supporters (i.e., the majority of those who participated in the July 1 elections) are expectant of change. Should the future president remain in his 1970s political mold, this could severely damage not only his base of support and future legacy, but also, Mexico’s democracy itself. As Dr. Edmonds-Poli reminded viewers, recent public opinion polls found that only 49% of people expressed faith in democracy in Mexico. As such, given this fragile perception, any failure by the incoming government to fulfill its imperatives could inflict significant wounds on Mexican democracy. As with all matters discussed throughout the course of the panel, analysts will have to wait until December 1 to reevaluate Mexico’s course moving forward.

Please find the archived Facebook Live video below:

To learn about future events, click here.

Exitoso IV Simposium Internacional sobre Sistemas de Justicia Orales Adversariales

09/25/2018 (escrito por Alejandro Morán) – Durante los días 6 y 7 de septiembre de 2018, se llevó a cabo el IV Simposium Internacional sobre Sistemas de Justicia Orales Adversariales en el marco del programa Oral Adversarial Skill-Building Immersion Seminar. El evento fue organizado por el programa Justice in Mexico de la Universidad de San Diego en colaboración con la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), la Universidad de Guadalajara (UdeG), la Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León (UANL), y el Instituto Belisario Domínguez del Senado de la República. En el evento de dos días de duración, se expusieron temas relevantes al funcionamiento y la evaluación del Sistema de Justicia Penal Acusatorio (SJPA) en México.

Dr. Sergio García Ramírez analiza el NSJP en IV Simposium

Conferencia Magistral del Doctor Sergio García Ramírez

El Simposium dio inicio con una Conferencia Magistral a cargo del Doctor Sergio García Ramírez en la que desarrolló un profundo análisis del SJPA. El Dr. García Ramírez habló acerca de las herencias de los siglos pasados, la liberal y la positivista y la necesidad de armonizarlas. Criticó al sistema de justicia como uno punitivo y no de justicia, haciendo énfasis en la palabra reinserción dentro del sistema y expuso la necesidad de generar especial énfasis en la seguridad humana y la justicia formal. De igual forma García Ramírez cuestionó la capacidad operativa de los principales actores dentro del sistema, usando una analogía de una obra de teatro, brindando especial atención a la figura del policía como “el actor principal de la obra”.

En el panel“Retos y avances en el sistema de justicia en México”,   el ex Embajador de México en los Estados Unidos, Miguel Basáñez, expuso los resultados de un programa de capacitación a jueces mexicanos llevado a cabo en las ciudades de Boston (E.E.U.U.), Santiago (Chile) y Bogotá (Colombia) que permitieron identificar los 15 eslabones principales para poder afianzar la transición al SJPA: 1) respaldo político total; 2) exigencia de la sociedad civil; 3) reformas legales; 4) plataforma informático-tecnológica; 5) responsabilidad mediática;  ; 6) apoyo académico; 7) colegiación obligatoria; 8) profesionalización de policías; 9) profesionalización de fiscalía y defensoría; 10) Infraestructura; 11) símbolos e incentivos a operadores; 12) estadística; 13) capacitación permanente; 14) administración especializada; y 15) ejecución de penas y sistemas carcelarios.  Dentro de ellos, el Embajador Basáñez destacó como los principales el respaldo político y el apoyo de la sociedad civil. Posteriormente, la Doctora María de los Ángeles Fromow Rangel, ex Directora de la Secretaría Técnica para la Implementación del Sistema de Justicia Penal Acusatorio (SETEC), se enfocó en la importancia de establecer un modelo de conformación del servicio profesional de carrera, sobre un sana y operativa trilogía de investigación (policía, ministerio público y peritos), así como en la importancia de homogenizar las carpetas de investigación en el país. Por su parte, el Maestro Juventino Pérez Gómez, encargado de la Fiscalía Especializada para la Atención a Delitos de Alto Impacto en el estado de Oaxaca, mencionó que para la etapa de consolidación del sistema se tienen que considerar las relaciones de los principales operadores, poniendo especial análisis en la relación ministerio público-policía, recalcando que aún falta un plan de investigación, y además, que existen problemas serios en la operación del SJPA, en especial en el caso de Oaxaca y sus 570 municipios. Asimismo el Mtro. Pérez Gómez se unió a la conclusión del importante papel que juegan la sociedad civil, y las partes en general dentro del proceso.

En la mesa panel “Justicia en Marcha” se expusieron los resultados preliminares de un proyecto de investigación estadística del SJPA desarrollado por Justice in Mexico, el cual reúne a un grupo de destacados egresados de la UNAM que además, fueron participantes en los distintos seminarios de litigación que dicho programa de la Universidad de San Diego, lleva a cabo a través de su proyecto OASIS. En la mesa, moderada por el  Maestro Octavio Rodríguez Ferreira, el Licenciado Alfredo Ramírez Percastre comenzó resaltando la falta de indicadores suficientes para evaluar el SJPA de una manera eficiente y que los existentes no son útiles para el diagnóstico. El ponente presentó los resultados de una encuesta piloto sobre los retos y losgros del SJPA, y señaló como principales retos la corrupción, los medios obsoletos de investigación y la no utilización de mecanismos alternativos. De la misma forma resaltó mayor honestidad en los operadores, comparando con indicadores que sugieren que el 76% de los operadores afirman sentirse preparados para el SJPA a diferencia del 93% de los operadores encuestados en 2016 por Justice in Mexico, a través de la iniciativa Justiciabarómetro. Acto seguido, El Licenciado Héctor Esteban García destacó varios problemas actuales en la operación del SJPA, como es el poco uso del procedimiento abreviado que en México apenas alcanza un 40% mientras que en otros sistemas (por ejemplo en los Estados Unidos) la media nacional sería de un 93 a un 97 porciento. También se identificó el uso excesivo de la prisión preventiva en varios estados de la república, destacando a Jalisco con un 46 porciento de uso de la medida precautoriua y a Puebla con un 41 porciento. Como parte de la misma iniciativa “Justicia en Marcha”, el Maestro Juan García expuso los resultados de un estudio comparado de casos tanto en el sistema tradicional, como en el SJPA, en donde cotejó diversos aspectos dentro de ambos sistemas, como las duración del  proceso; el tamaño de los expedientes en cuanto su número de fojas; así como la cantidad de pruebas presentadas en juicio. El maestro García destacó una mayor rapidez y eficiencia del SJPA, en donde, sólo por mencionar un ejemplo, se excluyen un gran número de pruebas irrelevantes, a diferencia de lo que ocurría en el sistema tradicional. Para cerrar dicho panel, la Licenciada Pamela Soto Valdivieso, habló de la importancia de la capacitación de los operadores, y destacando que, de acuerdo a los resultados preliminares de la iniciativa “Justicia en Marcha”, apenas el 23 por ciento de capacitaciones son realizadas por parte del gobierno federal, mientras que el 77 por ciento,  son realizadas por instituciones extranjeras, como lo es OASIS. Con respecto a esta iniciativa de capacitación de Justice in Mexico, la Lic. Soto anunció el desarrollo de un manual para la capacitación en destrezas de litigación oral, que contendrá todos los elementos  del procedimiento, y cual estará disponible para todo el público.

Estudiantes, profesores y académicos del derecho se sumaron a la discusión del IV Simposium

Más de 200 profesores, estudiantes y académicos atendieron al IV Simposium Internacional sobre Sistemas de Justicia Orales Adversariales

El primer día de actividades concluyó con el panel “Riesgos de contra reforma”, moderado por la Maestra Susana Martínez Hernández, investigadora del Instituto Belisario Dominguez. En dicho  panel, el Mtro. Carlos Ríos Espinosa, investigador de Human Rights Watch y experto en reforma penal, expuso sobre la historia de la reforma y su recibimiento, abundando en los intentos de contra reforma desde 2014. El Mtro. Ríos Espinosa comentó acerca de la ampliación de un régimen de excepción dentro del mismo SJPA, en el que “se crea un régimen paralelo al sistema y este sólo lo entorpece generando leyes que violan DDHH” y puso como ejemplo la ley de seguridad interior. Según Ríos Espinosa, otro factor altamente problemático es el de las resoluciones de los jueces que tienden a ser contrarias al sistema, lo que genera que la credibilidad social se pierda.  A su vez, el Dr. Carlos Galindo, investigador del Instituto Belisario Domínguez, expuso cómo se ha ido modificando el SJPA atendiendo a temas políticos y a presión social, como en el caso de Chihuahua, que a pesar de no haber redactado originalmente un catálogo para la prisión preventiva oficiosa, a raíz de un caso se terminó por redactar uno, como ha ocurrido en todos los estados del país. El Dr. Galindo habló  también de varios casos de intentos de contra reforma de baja escala, como el último del 30 de agosto del presente año, que propone introducir los delitos de corrupción al catálogo de prisión preventiva oficiosa. Haciendo eco de la misma problemática, la Maestra María Novoa, Coordinadora del Programa de Justicia, en México Evalúa, comentó  resaltó la presión social en contra del SJPA, e identificó varios factores (como el incremento en la violencia) que se han relacionado de manera imprecisa con la implementación del SJPA y del principio de presunción de inocencia, provocando que:  “socialmente se [haya] generado la idea de que a más encarcelados, más justicia”, lo que harepercutido de manera negativa en las resoluciones de los jueces, pues a nivel federal, manifestó Novoa, “7 de 10 solicitudes de prisión preventiva son otorgadas y a nivel estatal 9 de 10”. Novoa además desarrolló otros temas importantes como el fenómeno de la puerta giratoria, el tema de la reincidencia delictiva, concluyendo que lo anterior ocurren en un mayoría por una mala operación y falta de implementación, más que por un problema del sistema en sí, poniendo en evidencia que, por ejemplo, de las 32 Unidades de Medidas Cautelares (OMECAS) posibles, a la fecha sólo existen tres en el país.

El segundo día de actividades del Simposium inició con la mesa panel: “Reformas procesales en Latinoamérica”, moderada por el Mtro. Pablo Héctor González Villalobos, Magistrado Presidente del Tribunal Superior de Chihuahua, en la cual se expusieron las perspectivas comparadas de Chile, Colombia y Argentina, en sus reformas procesales. El Maestro Claudio Pávlic, defensor público en la reforma chilena, abrió la mesa hablando de la implementación del sistema en Chile en el 2000, y de cómo desde los cinco años de su entrada en vigor ya se veía una considerable disminución en la población penitenciaria. Expuso que consideraba  como factores importantes el hecho de que existió un apoyo político significativo, de que había transparencia y publicidad en las audiencias—lo cual provocó críticas de los medios de comunicación y del público en general que detonaron cambios importantes al sistema. De la misma forma, Pavlic destacó la gran cantidad de información estadística disponible, que identificaba los problemas del sistema y la evaluación de los operadores, esta última realizada por inspectores que eran los mismos operadores del sistema. Posteriormente, La Mtra. Ana María Ramos, Directora Ejecutiva de la Corporación Excelencia en la Justicia, expuso que existen serios problemas con el sistema colombiano, siendo el problema principal la eficacia. Dijo también que existe un descontento social que ha generado que se promuevan reformas como reducción de beneficios al imputado o quitar el procedimiento abreviado, que terminan por entorpecer el sistema. Ramos advirtió que identifica muchas similitudes en las discusiones actuales en México con las que Colombia tuvo hace unos años. Por último, el Dr. Máximo Langer, Director del Programa de Justicia Penal en la Universidad de California en Los Ángeles (UCLA), señaló que existen problemas parecidos en Argentina y en México. Mencionó que si bien la celeridad de los procesos aumentó, aún existen problemas en cuanto a la investigación, particularmente de los delitos graves, e igualmente identificó la eficacia como el principal problema de los sistemas de corte acusatorio. El Dr. Langer continuó hablando de la importancia del procedimiento abreviado y dijo que, para muchos, es este el sistema, y no tanto la oralidad del proceso. Según Langer, apenas el 45 por ciento de los casos en Argentina, se van por esta vía.

UNAM, UANL y BUAP discuten planes de estudio durante IV Simposium

Directores de las Facultades de Derecho discuten los retos a la reforma de planes de estudios

El Simposium concluyó con el panel “Retos en la reforma a los planes de estudio”, que reunió a directores de las facultades de derecho de la UNAM, el Dr. Raúl Contreras Bustamante; la UANL, el Mtro. Oscar Lugo Serrato; y la Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP), Dr. Luis Ochoa Bilboa; y moderada por la Maestra Trilce Ovilla Bueno, Coordinadora de Asuntos Internacionales y Multidisciplinarios en la Facultad de Derecho de la UNAM, en la que se analizaron los retos de la reforma a los planes de estudio en las facultades de derecho mexicanas. Dr. Raúl Contreras expuso los cambios que se han generado en la UNAM respecto a su plan de estudios. Comentó que la Facultad busca un enfoque transversal enfocado en temas como los derechos humanos, la equidad de género y las convenciones internacionales,  poniendo especial atención en los temas de la constitucionalidad y la convencionalidad. Afirmó que se buscan sistemas de estudio flexibles y  rescató el hecho de la autonomía de la UNAM para realizar estas acciones a diferencia de otras instituciones internacionales. El Mtro. Oscar Lugo expuso que en la UANL se ha estudiado el perfil que se necesita para el abogado, y que se ha buscado un estudio multidisciplinario adecuándose a los cambios al sistema de justicia, introduciendo materias como la de Mecanismos Alternativos de Solución de Controversias (MASC) , así como la materia de litigación oral, como obligatoria para los ocho mil estudiantes de la licenciatura de derecho de la UANL. Por último, el Dr. Luis Ochoa se enocó en la renovación de los planes de estudio que se lleva a cabo cada 5 años en la BUAP. Sin embrago el Ochoa alertó sobre la poca cantidad de investigadores con los que cuenta la carrera de Derecho en la BUAP, y sobre  “resistencia por investigar”, en donde los alumnos dan mayor importancia a las cuestiones prácticas que enseñan los abogados litigantes, antes que en el desarrollo de investigación original, concluyendo que este es un problema importante para la implementación y modernización de de planes de estudio a la luz del SJPA.

El IV Simposium Internacional sobre Sistemas de Justicia Orales Adversariales marcó la conclusión de otro exitoso año de actividades del proyecto OASIS de Justice in Mexico de la Universidad de San Diego, en su colaboración con las facultades públicas de derecho más grandes de México. En los próximos meses, el proyecto estará arrancando los Talleres de Litigación Oral en la UANL, la UdeG y la BUAP, continuando con su esfuerzo permanente para la actualización y capacitación continua de los operadores del sistema de justicia en México.

 

Justice in Mexico completes second OASIS study trip

07/24/2017 (edited by lcalderon) —From July 2nd to July 15th, six professors and six students from the UNAM Law School (Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) participated in the second 2017 OASIS study trip to the United States in order to learn about the U.S. criminal justice system as a part of the Oral-Adversarial Skill-building Immersion Seminar (OASIS). This program is

OASIS study trip 2 participants

UNAM Law School professors and students at the James R. Browning Courthouse

made possible by a grant from the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. UNAM faculty and students had the opportunity to meet and learn from prominent public officials and legal experts in the Bay area community including University of California Berkeley Professors Melissa Murray and Andrea Roth, University of San Francisco Professor Connie de la Vega, representatives from the California Bar Association, Noel Belton and Veronica Ramirez from Probation Services, Rich Sarlatte from Pretrial Services, Prosecutor Andrew Scoble from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Public Defenders Geoff Hansen and Carmen Smarandoiu, Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler, Superior Court Judge Gerardo Sandoval and California Supreme Court Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuellar. The classes and meetings were designed and organized by two distinguished OASIS Regional Coordinators: Professor Charles Weisselberg from the University of California Berkeley and OASIS Training Coordinator and practicing criminal defense attorney Janice Deaton.

OASIS study trip participants had the opportunity to visit both federal and state courts in San Francisco, including the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. They were able to engage with federal judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys to gain insight from both sides of the courtroom. Aside from visits and discussions, participants were able to learn training skills to disseminate oral trial techniques. OASIS Training Coordinator and Instructor Janice Deaton led two “Train the Trainer” sessions on teaching oral trial skills. Mrs. Deaton guided the participants through the training, allowing participants to practice oral trial techniques and learn to provide effective critique and feedback.

Huachicoleros on the rise in Mexico

Policeman inspects barrels containing stolen fuel Source: The Huffington Post Mexico

05/20/2017 (written by Laura Calderon) – A new form of organized crime has become a significant problem for Mexican authorities in over 22 states of Mexico: thefts of petroleum. Petroleum thieves are commonly known in Mexico as huachicoleros, a name adopted by gasoline truck drivers to refer to the stolen hydrocarbon, or chupaductos (pipeline suckers). Although petroleum stealing has been spreading throughout the country over the last few months, most of this activity takes place in an area called the Triángulo Rojo (Red Triangle) which encompasses the municipalities of Tepeaca, Palmar de Bravo, Quecholac, Acatzingo, Acajete and Tecamachalco, all in the state of Puebla. The Red Triangle has the most huachicolero activity because it is a transit zone for 40% of the fuel distributed from Mexico City to the rest of the country.

On average, huachicoleros are stealing 5.5 million liters of fuel nationwide. Huachicoleros are stealing petroleum in a variety of products: raw oil, gasoline, diesel, and other hydrocarbons found in major pipelines throughout Mexico and property of Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX). Pipeline thefts became more popular as the gasoline supply in some areas decreased and prices drastically increased across the country. As a result, huachicoleros identified an opportunity to steal petroleum products and sell them in heavily transited highways for half the market price, costing PEMEX approximately 6 million pesos in losses from 2011 to 2016. Given these losses, foreign investments have become more difficult to attract to the Mexican government’s energy sector.

Social Impact

Groups of huachicoleros have managed to gain community approval and support in a variety of ways. First, they offer gasoline at significantly lower prices than official gasoline stations, benefiting from volume sales rather than pricing. Second, they take advantage of special holidays and events to give some of the stolen fuel and other goods to residents within strategic areas for fuel stealing and distribution in an effort to create stronger partnerships with the community. For example, every Mothers’ Day in San Salvador Huixcolotla (state of Puebla), huachicoleros give units of stolen gasoline and home appliances to residents in an effort to build rapport and ensure protection. Finally, local communities have adopted a new kind of huachicolero subculture reflected in a new character inspired by a Catholic saint “El Santo Niño Huachicolero,” to whom residents offer barrels of fuel as an offering and prayer for protection and abundance.

Violent altercations between huachicoleros and security forces

Huachicolero activities have not only had significant economic impact for PEMEX and local governments, but violent altercations have

Military officers seize stolen fuel from huachicoleros. Source: El Universal

ensued between huachicoleros and federal police and military forces in at least two different cities in Mexico.

On March 30th state and military forces and a group of huachicoleros were caught in an armed conflict in the city of Cuesta Blanca (state of Puebla). When officials were surveilling the zone and observed a group of huachicoleros with at least nine units full of stolen fuel, the huachicolero group began firing. The huachicolero group was identified to be part of the criminal gang headed by Roberto “El Bukanas”. Two people were wounded and arrested for being linked to the Bukanas gang, a gang presumed to be tied to the Zetas cartel.

Another shooting between military forces and huachicoleros occurred more recently on May 3rd in Palmarito Tochapan (state of Puebla). At least two military officers were killed and one wounded when they recognized several units of stolen fuel and were attacked by the huachicoleros who were reportedly shielding themselves behind women and children. However, this shooting is highly contested by the media and Mexican authorities due to security camera footage that captured the altercation. With the videos made public, there are now contesting narratives about the specific events during the shooting and number of casualties. As this event highlights, special attention must be paid to the extrajudicial execution of a presumed huachicolero by a military officer.

Government response

After the May 3rd attack, local, state, and federal authorities began to implement more strict surveillance operations in strategic areas, in an effort to deter huachicoleros from stealing more fuel. This increase in security measures has impacted the gasoline black market in two meaningful ways: First, given how much more difficult the extraction of petroleum has become for huachicoleros, the resale price of gasoline has increased 40% over the last couple of months. As a result, consumption of their gasoline has significantly decreased forcing huachicoleros to only provide their services for a limited number of days a week and to a privileged list of frequent consumers.

In addition, on April 28th the Mexican Congress approved a legislation reform that increases sentences for fuel stealing to up to 25 years in prison and fines up to 2 million pesos if found guilty. Congress approved this initiative with 321 votes in favor, 18 against, and 37 abstentions and is planned to become effective in September. However, the head of the Ministry of Treasure and Public Credit (Secretaría De Hacienda y Crédito Público), José Antonio Meade, recently appealed to Congress to expedite the reform’s effective date  given the gravity of the situation and to initiate further comprehensive reforms to address fuel stealing.

Huachicoleros have gained increased attention from the media after their recent confrontations with federal and military authorities. As they continue to challenge local and state measures, Congress will need to continue its search for more efficient measures to tackle the issue from its source in order to eliminate that practice and hopefully eradicate the violence generated by it.

 

Sources

“¿Quiénes son los huachicoleros?.” El Debate. 4 May 2017.

“Aprueban diputados aumentar penas por robo de combustible.” El Diario. 28 April 2017.

“Decomiso de combustible desata enfrentamiento en Cuesta Blanca.” El Sol de Puebla. 31 March 2017.

“El Bukanas, El Toñín y La Negra, los tres líderes huachicoleros de Puebla.” El Sol de Puebla. 15 May 2017.

“Mueren dos militares en enfrentamiento con huachicoleros en Palmarito Tochapan.” El Sol de Puebla. 3 May 2017.

“Perfil: el sanguinario capo del huachicol.” Diario Cambio. 13 March 2017.

Badillo, Jesús. “El Triángulo Rojo, mina de ‘oro negro’ de huachicoleros.” Milenio. 05 May 2017.

Flores, Leonor. “Pide Meade acelar reformas pendientes contra robo de gasolina.” El Universal. 16 May 2017.

Hernández, Gabriela. “Puebla: enfrentamiento con ‘huachicoleros’ deja dos integrantes de Los Bukanas detenidos.” Proceso. 30 March 2017.

Molina, Héctor and Torres Rubén. “En video, presunto choque con huachicoleros.” El Economista. 10 May 2017.

Pérez, Fernando and Xicoténcatl, Fabiola. “Huachicoleros aplican su ‘gasolinazo’; incautan 50mil litros en Tabasco.” Excelsior. 14 May 2017.