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.

 

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.

 

Violence Against The Press in Mexico

8/20/2018 (written by Quinn Skerlos)-  Earlier this summer, on May 29th, the body of Hector Gonzalez Antonio was found on a dirt road in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas.  According to authorities, Gonzalez Antonio’s corpse showed signs of being beaten, likely with rocks. The journalist, worked for Grupo Imagen’s TV and newspaper services, and covered a crime beat. On June 30th, Mexican journalist, Jose Guadalupe Chan Dzib was murdered in Quintana Roo, one of Mexico’s historically least violent states. Even more recently, journalist and founder of Playa News, Ruben Pat was murdered on July 24th also in Quintana Roo, bringing the journalist death toll for 2018 to at least 7. He had previously reported being threatened by local police.  A relevant report on violence against journalists by the Congressional Research Service highlights the occupational hazards that Mexican journalists like Gonzalez Antonio, Chan Dzib, and Pat experience and the counter-measures implemented to protect their line of work.

Congressional Research Service Report

On May 27, 2018, the Congressional Research Service (CRS, Library of Congress), a non-partisan research firm that provides policy analysis for the U.S. House and Senate, published a report on press freedom, or lack thereof, in Mexico. The author, Clare Ribando Seelke, is a Latin America specialist and well-published author, particularly on topics of human trafficking in Latin America. This recent report, titled “Violence Against Journalists in Mexico: in Brief” investigates the following; the status of press freedom in Mexico, violent crimes against journalists, Mexico’s efforts to address said violence, and finally, the role of the U.S. government in encouraging Mexican rule of law.

Mexican journalist Hector Gonzalez Antonio was found beaten to death in Tamaulipas.

Mexican journalist Hector Gonzalez Antonio was found beaten to death in Tamaulipas. (AFP/Getty Images)

The report leads off with a comparison of press freedom within Latin America, and a summary of crimes against journalists. Although press freedom has continued to decline across Latin America, the report argues that Mexico remains one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist. The report highlights statistics from both Justice in Mexico and the Committee to Protect Journalists to show the hazards faced by journalists (CPJ). For example, in the last decade, Justice in Mexico reports that 140 journalists and media professionals were killed in Mexico. On that note, the report identifies that Mexico sports one of the highest murder rates for journalists in the world and is in the top 10 deadliest countries worldwide for media workers. In 2017 alone, Article 19, an international human rights organization, found that there were 500 “aggressions,” or violent actions against journalists not limited to just kidnapping and murder (Article 19). This number is significantly higher than the year before and Mexican journalists continue to face economic and psychological pressures, leading some to seek asylum abroad.

The report then delves into some of the efforts taken by Mexican officials to counter and reduce violence against journalists. According to the CRS report, the Federal Protection Mechanism, established by the Mexican government in 2012, has provided protection for 380 journalists by means of armed guards, panic buttons, and other resources. Another governmental initiative, the Special Unit for Crimes Against Journalists and Violations of Freedom of Expression (Fiscalía Especial para la Atención de Delitos Cometidos contra la Libertad de Expresión, or FEADLE) was established as its own office under the Attorney General in 2010. FEADLE has the authority to investigate any case, even if it is already under review by state authorities. However, the CRS report also underlines the shortcomings of governmental protections in Mexico. For example, the U.N. and other human rights authorities maintained that the Federal Protection mechanism is “surprisingly limited,” as studies have shown that some panic buttons lacked functionality and were structurally ineffective (OHCHR). These buttons reach only local police, who potentially lack the resources or the will to help, or are in the pocket of organized crime (OHCHR). Only 12.6 percent of cases investigated by FEADLE ended in convictions against perpetrators from 2010 until 2017, leading the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights to state that FEADLE “still has not made any impact in combatting impunity (OHCHR).” The CRS highlighted a CPJ report that claims an 86% impunity rate for journalists killed as a result of their work (CPJ).

In its conclusion, the report underscores the U.S. State Department-sponsored Merida Initiative that has given 2.9 billion dollars in support of rule of law in Mexico. However, as the report points out, U.S. congressional officials have discussed concerns about human rights conditions in Mexico, including the Mexican government’s ineffective protection of journalists and human rights advocates. Governmental organizations receiving U.S. aid continue to be monitored, and in 2014 and 2016 Mexico was refused certain assets because they had not made sufficient progress on human rights issues. While there have been policy obstacles for the partnership, the partnership remains, with aid specifically directed towards strengthening rule of law, protecting human rights, and reducing impunity rates.

 

Press Freedom Currently, and in Relation to the World

Members of the press hold images of colleagues during a protest against the murder or disappearance of more than 140 journalists and photojournalists in Mexico since 2000, in front of the National Palace in Mexico City on June 1, 2018. (AFP PHOTO, Yuri Cortez)

Members of the press hold images of colleagues during a protest against the murder or disappearance of more than 140 journalists and photojournalists in Mexico since 2000, in front of the National Palace in Mexico City on June 1, 2018. (AFP, Yuri Cortez)

According to Justice in Mexico’s “2018 Drug Violence Report,” 133 Mexican journalists have been killed from 2006 to 2016. The report highlights that journalists in Mexico are three times more likely to be killed than the general public. Last year alone, 14 media workers were killed, including the prominent corruption and organized crime reporters Miroslava Breach and Javier Valdez. La Jornada, one of Mexico City’s daily newspapers, reported that Mexican journalists do not feel confident in government institutions to protect them, and that more than 60% of journalists surveyed have reported aggressions pointed towards them regardless of public protections (La Jornada).

Even with government measures, such as FEADLE and the federal protection mechanism, Reporters Without Borders listed Mexico as 147th in world press freedom for 2018, a worse ranking than South Sudan and Afghanistan (RSF). In a statement made by the CPJ, impunity “has made the country one of the most dangerous places in the world for reporters” and the 2000 acts of violence against journalists in Mexico recorded by the CPJ since 2012 seem to echo this sentiment (CPJ). Journalism across Mexico is being affected by violence and impunity, and while the government appears to have taken steps to help, there is room for improvement in order to fully protect press freedom and journalists in Mexico.

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

Aguilar, Roberto. “Condenan asesinato del periodista Héctor González Antonio.” El Universal. May 30, 2018. http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/nacion/seguridad/condenan-asesinato-del-periodista-hector-gonzalez-antonio

Calderon, Laura. Shirk, David. Rodriguez Feirerra, Octavio. “Drug Violence in Mexico: Data and Analysis Through 2017.” Justice in Mexico. April 2018. https://justiceinmexico.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/180411_DrugViolenceinMexico.pdf

Linthicum, Kate. “Anther Journalist has been killed in Mexico- the sixth this year.” Los Angeles Times. May 29, 2018. http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-mexico-journalist-killed-20180529-story.html

Muedano, Marcos. “Feadle inicia investigacion por asesinato de Hector Gonzalez Antonio.” Excelsior. May 30, 2018. https://www.excelsior.com.mx/nacional/feadle-inicia-investigacion-por-asesinato-de-hector-gonzalez-antonio/1242150

Olivares Alonso, Emir. “Periodistas desconfian de instituciones,” La Jornada, June 27, 2017. http://www.jornada.com.mx/2017/06/27/economia/003n2pol

“Mexicn Journalist Hector Gonzalez Antonio Beaten to Death.” Al Jazeera, May 30, 2018. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/05/mexican-journalist-hector-gonzalez-antonio-beaten-death-180530053135595.html

“Mexican Journalist Found Dead in Tamaulipas State.” Committee to Protect Journalists. May 30, 2018.  https://cpj.org/2018/05/mexican-journalist-found-dead-in-tamaulipas-state.php

“2018 World Press Freedom Index.” Reporters Without Borders. 2018.  https://rsf.org/en/ranking

“Libertades en Resistencia: Informe 2016 de Article 19.” Articulo 19. April 2017. https://articulo19.org/informe2016/.

“Preliminary Observations by the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression and the Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression of the IACHR following their joint visit to Mexico.” United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner. December 4, 2017. https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=22484

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Justice in Mexico Completes Second OASIS Study Trip

7/18/2018 (written by Quinn Skerlos)- From July 2 to July 14, Justice in Mexico held the second 2018 Oral-Adversary Skill-building Immersion (OASIS) Study trip at University of San Diego (USD). The participants were 13 administrators, students, and law faculty from the Universidad de Guadalajara (UdeG), and Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León (UANL), and Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP). The OASIS study trippers were primarily composed of 12 law professors and law students from UdeG and UANL, but also included the Director of BUAP’s School of Law and Social Sciences, Luis Ochoa Bilbao. Now the eleventh OASIS study trip implemented by Justice in Mexico, these study trips provide a cultural immersion and study opportunity for selected Mexican law professors and students to experience the United States criminal justice system and meet with relevant legal experts, academics and public officials, including judges, professors, and attorneys. This program is made possible by a grant from the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs under the Mérida Initiative.

With the direction of OASIS Training Director, Janice Deaton, and OASIS Regional Director and USD law professor, Allen Snyder, the OASIS study trip participants attended a variety of lectures given by legal experts and academics, toured various facilities relevant to the United States criminal justice system, and engaged in group discussions guided by Janice Deaton and/or Allen Snyder. The majority of the study trip was held in San Diego at USD, however, participants also had the opportunity to visit San Francisco and meet with several public officials and representatives of the San Francisco community.

OASIS participants have the opportunity to meet and engage with various members of the legal community, including judges, attorneys, and law professors.

OASIS participants have the opportunity to meet and engage with various members of the legal community, including judges, attorneys, and law professors.

In San Diego, agenda highlights included: site visits to the San Dan Diego State and Federal Court, a tour of the San Diego Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC), a mock-trial simulation, and lectures led by legal professionals from the Public Defender’s Office, Office of the Attorney General, Pre-trial Services, etc. In San Francisco, participants visited and met with members of the Ninth Circuit Court and the San Francisco Superior Court, and toured the Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, a historical landmark and former high-security prison. Overall, the trip focused on providing analysis of the U.S. criminal justice system, and reinforcing the theory behind and practice of oral, adversarial and accusatorial criminal justice systems. This focus is intended to promote the participants’ appreciation for judicial reform in Mexico and reflect positively in their forthcoming academic and professional trajectories.

The program agenda’s accomplished guest speakers included: Allen Snyder (USD), Associate Dean Margaret Dalton (USD), Gregg McClain (Office of the District Attorney, San Diego), Scarlet Espinoza (Ninth Circuit Court, San Francisco), Judge Gerardo Sandoval (San Francisco Superior Court), Maria Elena Lopez Evangelista (Office of the Public Defender, San Francisco),  George Gascon (District Attorney of San Francisco), Judge Christopher Whitten (Superior Court of Maricopa County), Tony Da Silva (Office of the Attorney General, San Diego), Theresa Talplacido (San Diego MCC), Judge John Houston (District Judge for the Southern District of California), Janice Deaton (USD), Monique Carter (Office of the Public Defender, San Diego), Scott Pirrello (San Diego District Attorney’s Office), and Veronica Cataño Gonzalez (Supreme Court of Baja California).

Justice in Mexico Completes First OASIS Study Trip

OASIS Study Trip 1 participants and Justice in Mexico staff.

OASIS Study Trip 1 participants and Justice in Mexico staff.

7/2/18 (Quinn Skerlos) – From June 10 to June 23, 12 administrators, representatives, and law faculty from the Universidad de Guadalajara (UdeG), and Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo Leon (UANL) took part in the first of three 2018 Oral-Adversary Skill-building Immersion (OASIS) study trips at University of San Diego (USD). This group of 12 study trip participants included the deans of the law schools of both the UdeG and UANL, José de Jesús Becerra Ramirez (UdeG) and Oscar Paulino Lugo Serrato (UANL). OASIS Study trips are designed by Justice in Mexico to provide a training and study opportunity for Mexican law professors and students that allows participants to experience the United States criminal justice system. This program is made possible by a grant from the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs under the Mérida Initiative.

Under the direction of the OASIS Training Director, Janice Deaton, OASIS Regional Director and USD law professor Allen Snyder, the UdeG and UANL participants met with legal experts, academics and public officials, including judges, professors, and attorneys. While the majority of the study trip was held at USD facilities, the study trip participants also had the opportunity to briefly visit the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law in Los Angeles, CA.

OASIS Study Trip participants have the opportunity to meet with legal experts, academics and public officials.

OASIS Study Trip participants have the opportunity to meet with legal experts, academics and public officials.

The study trip was comprised of daily sessions on the stages of the United States legal system, which included group debriefs, site visits and meetings with public officials and institutional representatives. OASIS study trip participants had the opportunity to visit both federal and state courts in Los Angeles and San Diego, including the Appellate Court and the Federal Court. The visits were bookended with breakout sessions to discuss relevant legal topics pertinent to the U.S. criminal justice system. Aside from experiencing the foundations of the United States legal system, the group learned about legal topics such as alternative sentencing, separation of powers, and the use of evidence.

The program agenda’s accomplished guest speakers included: Tony Da Silva (Office of the Attorney General), Ruby Anaya (California Western School of Law), Carlos Varela, Luis Guerrero, Janice Deaton (USD), Michael Ramsey (USD), Judge Mitchell D. Dembin (Southern District of California), Professor Allen Snyder (USD School of Law), Associate Dean Margaret Dalton (USD), Judge Lisa Rodriguez (San Diego Superior Court Judge), Dean Stephen Ferruolo (USD), Professor Máximo Langer (UCLA), Professor Rubén Hernández-León (UCLA), Dr. Peter Reich (UCLA), Professor Laura Gómez (UCLA).