By RICARDO CASTILLO
The public outcry against the new Law for Interior Security is already deafening even it was approved by the Mexican congress just last Friday, Dec. 15.
The first public protest against the new law was organized by twitter users on Sunday, Dec. 17, and while that protest was composed of just a couple of thousand people, it suggests that there are a significant number of additional protests in the making which promise to make President Enrique Peña Nieto’s last year in office a veritable nightmare he was not expecting.
But the twitterers are merely the street branch of the protest.
On Monday, as this was being written, the United Nations Organization was readying to have full discussion on the law, which it has rejected as an organization.
The High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said it was “deplorable” to have the Mexican Congress approve a law that has the potential of unleashing the Mexican Armed Forces (Army, Navy and Air Force) against civilian populations.
“The project lacks solid control mechanisms to guarantee that (military) operations be carried out with full respect for human rights,” he said.
“(The law) has no provisions for intelligence activities to be carried out under civilian and judicial supervision.”
Amnesty International has also weighed in, unleashing a furious attack on the Mexican Congress for approving such a monster regulation in an “in-a-hurry” manner as both deputies and senators approved the law on a last-minute basis before heading home for their Christmas vacation.
And mind you, all this – and a lot more you’ll be hearing about – is happening before the final draft of the Interior Security Law (LSI) even reaches President Peña Nieto’s desk for rejection or approval.
International community human rights organizations are warning Peña Nieto to nix the document and send it back to Congress to revamp 14 clauses that leave soldiers on the streets of Mexico with a free rein to commit anything from minor violations to atrocities.
The LSI allows for states and municipal and state governments that have unequipped police departments to call in cases of dire necessity or emergency and to call upon the Armed Forces or the National Defense Secretariat to intervene and clamp down against the myriad of criminal organizations that have made 2017 the most violent year of the Peña Nieto administration.
If approved – many activists believe – the on-going blood bath will only get worse.
The Mexican Congress has launched a campaign to discredit the United Nations and Amnesty International as not knowing what they are talking about, demanding they “study the law” before issuing an opinion. But the international organizations have already cast their stone.
Deputy Cesar Camacho, leader of the president’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in the Chamber of Deputies, says that the LSI was designed and written within the Mexican Constitution legal framework and that it does not aim to violate the human rights of any citizen, but rather to give the Defense Secretariat the legal leeway to to take action in situations that are sometimes not merely civilian police work but attacks on criminal organizations.
In Congress, several political parties voted against the law — 73 versus 43 in the Senate – and they are now joining the opposition to try to force the president to not approve the law as it stands. But Senate President Ernesto Cordero insists that the law was fine as it is written, while another senator from the conservative National Action Party (PAN), Javier Lozano, says that the LSI opposition is turning things upside down.
“It now turns out that the criminals are the good guys and the bad guys are our Armed Forces,” he said. “They ought to be ashamed of themselves.”
At the crux of this issue is the eternal failure of Mexico to develop a strong municipal system with competent police who can prevent criminals from becoming strong organized gangs of banditos who eventually reach regional power. Then, they become statewide powers and this is what has brought the situation to a crisis of national security endangering the entire country.
That is what we are experiencing today and what brought about the issuance of this controversial law.
Probably, by the time you read this, the LSI will have reached the president’s desk at his Los Pinos residence.
It all now depends on what Enrique Peña Nieto will do.
Basically, he has three options: He can approve it as it is, nix it altogether for a fresh start now with the experience of this draft, or send it back to Congress with recommendations to change some of the statutes, particularly the 14 issues the UN is offering advice on.
But let’s not forget that this law is the Peña Nieto’s baby. What will he do? That is hard to predict, but he knows what’s ahead if he approves it.