Director of Mexico Evalúa
I am very concerned about what is happening in the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic. In particular, the use of its punitive instruments to affect innocent people. The case that her head holds against the one who was the companion of her brother and her daughter seems to me to be the consequence of a kind of delirium that has him on a war footing, affecting his investiture as attorney general . And what about those two women, to whom I express all my solidarity. The case of Gertz Manero reminds me of episodes of the series about ancient Rome, in which some emperors simply lost their way altogether. In some cases, the initial trajectories were glorious, but ended up being pathetic. That happens when you cross the line to all power.
In reality, Gertz Manero’s profile was never ideal for the position in an institution in transition. The process by which he was appointed had a new format, but the usual criteria prevailed: the will of the president. From the #FiscalíaQueSirva collective, it was always maintained that there should be a thorough evaluation process of the profiles of the candidates to occupy the position. Specifically, it was proposed that a citizen committee do this work. An exercise in which trajectories and aptitudes could be contrasted with the characteristics of a profile that coincides with the requirements of the position. Such an evaluation would be submitted to the consideration of the legislators, as is the case today with the INE advisers, for example.
If that exercise had existed, the senators would have been able to verify the gap between the profile of today’s prosecutor and what was needed. Perhaps it would have been evident that the prosecutor does not believe in the transformation of institutions, nor is he convinced of justice reform. He would have been an excellent prosecutor in the PRI era, willing to go after political enemies, a punitive at heart who does not like to be held accountable or submit to control mechanisms. A prosecutor’s office and a prosecutor for an authoritarian system.
In the past a shout from the president would have put it in order. Who knows if President López Obrador has already shouted at him, but someone is giving him a “be quiet” with leaks of his conversations in the media. Apparently they are not the big bosses of the criminal gangs, but the political enemies within the circle of the National Palace. So no, the leak is not out of heroism or civil courage: it’s pure family feud.
While this is happening, the performance of the Prosecutor’s Office deteriorates. Impunity continues for federal crimes: 95.1 percent for cases of torture and almost 100 percent for disappearances. In the case of torture, out of a universe of more than 5,000 investigations in process, the FGR filed five preliminary investigations and prosecuted an investigation folder (according to the ASF). In terms of disappearances, of 868 investigation folders in process, in no case was the commission of the crimes investigated proven nor was criminal action sought (ASF).
The FGR investigates less. It registered a 30 percent reduction in the number of investigations between 2018 (112,635) and 2020 (78,463), with an institutional lag of 52 percent. Most of the cases processed judicially by the FGR are of common crime, not complex, such as organized crime. For 2020, 58.37 percent of the cases were for crimes related to carrying firearms, 2.25 percent for tax crimes, 1.97 percent crimes against property and 1.25 percent theft of hydrocarbons. 24.6 percent of crimes are reported as undetermined. To put it succinctly: there is no transformation, only the deepening of a crisis.
Legislators are well responsible for what happens. They are for different reasons: 1) for their carelessness and subordination in the process of appointing the prosecutor (they did not notice the consequences of thoughtlessly raising their hand to approve the Executive’s proposal); two) because they were also omitted when the prosecutor, already in office, failed to comply with provisions to which he was bound by law to give way to the transition from the Attorney General’s Office to the Attorney General’s Office; 3) because they are co-responsible for the counter-reform approved last year, which dismantles central aspects to strengthen criminal investigation and, as if this were not enough, 4) because they barely timidly suggest that they will call the prosecutor to account before the Senate. If they do, knowing them, it will not be an exercise in accountability, but rather in reciprocal flattery.
I don’t know if Gertz will last five days, five months or five years. But Mexican legislators, especially in the Senate, owe a huge debt to Mexicans. If they are still in office when the tenure of the Prosecutor’s Office becomes vacant, they will have the opportunity to vindicate themselves, to repair a little the damage they have done to us by being negligent in the face of the transition of the Prosecutor’s Office and the excesses of its incumbent. Let us not forget that they are also responsible for the prosecutor crossing the threshold of all power.