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Legal Gate Opens to Start Construction of Santa Lucía Airport


Photo: YouTube

By RICARDO CASTILLO    

One thing is for sure: Mexican lawyers are specialists in the delicate art of unscrambling eggs in order to scramble them again, and easy over to boot!

On Tuesday, Oct. 8, Mexico City Fifth District Judge in Administrative Affairs Juan Carlos Guzmán published a mandate nullifying one of eight “definite suspensions” to initiate the construction of the new international airport located at the Santa Lucía Air Force Base to be renamed, when and if it ever gets built, Felipe Ángeles.

The judge published in the report to the jury of his sentencing, which awarded the National Defense Secretariat (Sedena) a determination of acting in accordance with the law. Sedena, on Aug. 29, filed a countersuit against a slew of amparos (legal injunctions) against the airport’s construction, claiming that not building the airport at the military base would make national security vulnerable since the base is – and will remain, even with a commercial airport functioning – the central core for Mexican air troop movements.

Lawyers for the collective nongovernmental organization  #nomasderroches (#nomorewaste), Luis Asali and Luis Alvarez, authors of over 140 amparos against the construction, immediately came out against the judge, claiming that his decision “only goes to show the great pressure under which the judge was put on the part of the government.”

The resolution is “totally unsustainable from a legal point of view,” Alvarez told reporters after the publication of the mandate nullifying the amparo. “Santa Lucía was never considered a strategic facility for national security,” he said.

The resolution is “totally unsustainable from a legal point of view,” Alvarez told reporters after the publication of the mandate nullifying the amparo. “Santa Lucía was never considered a strategic facility for national security,” he said.

Of course, the solicitors have to defend their cause, but on Monday, Oct. 7, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) announced that the “deluge of challenges” filed by the #nomasderroches lawyers would be defeated one-by-one. At this point, it is one down and seven to go.

Asali jumped rapidly to assail the judge’s decision in calling Santa Lucía “a strategic facility.”

“That’s absurd,” he said. “The judge hasn’t no knowledge of the subject, and his decision has to do more with political pressure than with legal reasoning.”

Be that as it may, legally speaking, the “definite suspension” of the amparo opens up the gate for other district judges’ mandates to follow the same course, as AMLO wishes, and for construction of the new facility to begin.

“Everything is ready to go,” AMLO said on Monday, “and we’ll start as soon as the judges clear the path.”

The #nomasderroches collective is made up of business and civilian organizations and the lawyers described the judge’s decision as “the chronicle of an announced maneuver,” paraphrasing Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez novel´s “Chronicle of an Announced Death.”

The formal meeting with Judge Guzmán took place on Friday, Oct. 4. Alvarez attended the meeting and, on leaving the court, said he could foresee what the decision on it would be and announced “we will challenge that decision,” which is the first of seven suspensions that might in the end cancel out the 147 legal challenges filed by the #nomasderroches lawyers Alvarez and Asali, whom President AMLO claims are clearly financed by Claudio X. Gonzalez. Jr., a sworn ideological enemy of López Obrador who had a most irate reaction after the cancellation of the New International Mexico Airport (NAIM) a year ago. Originally, the judge summoned him to court last Sept. 24, but he postponed the meeting thrice.

AMLO has described the amparos as “dilatory cheap shots” aimed at delaying the construction of the airport. He’s not far off the mark.

Lawyer Asali said that his firm will be challenging each of the already-foreseen suspensions one-by-one and that the objective is to land the issue in the lap of the National Supreme Court of Justice (SCJN), where he believes his suits will not be shot down.

“This was just the rebuking of one of the suspensions still valid today,” Asali said. “Surely, the courts will apply the same criteria on the other seven construction suspensions so as to shoot down the case. That will happen in at least one more month, but after that, the matter will last several more months because what follows is the revision by a collegiate tribunal. and we will do everything to have the Supreme Court decide the case in order to definitely revise the suspension revocations.”

Asali also accused Judge Guzmán of yielding to the pressure stemming out of the National Palace, which he claims is great. AMLO denies any such thing.

Asali also accused Judge Guzmán of yielding to the pressure stemming out of the National Palace, which he claims is great. AMLO denies any such thing.

“It’s obvious,” Asali stated to La Razón newspaper on Tuesday Oct. 8, “that the pressure is coming from the government, and I say so because the judge changed his resolution from one moment to the next.”

Asali was asked if his firm would consider filing suit against Guzmán.

“We’re going to think about it,” he said. “We won’t discard the idea. We’ve always been people fighting for judicial independence, but in this case today, there was no independence and we will fight to recover it.”

The problem is, this is Mexico, where the power of presidents has been, is and will always be awesome.

Thinking it over, it doesn’t look like the #nomasderroches lawyers may be unable to unscramble the omelet they’ve beaten up together.

Which has AMLO claiming victory and saying “the airport is a go.”

 

 

 

 

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