Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Photo: presidencia.gob.mx

By KELIN DILLON

Following the decision of Mexican District Judge Juan Pablo Gómez Fierro to suspend Mexico’s controversial electricity reform on Thursday, March 11, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) announced he would order an investigation into Gómez Fierro’s suspension of the electric law, accusing the judge of working for private companies and showing, once again, that anyone who does not comply with López Obrador’s commands will become his public punching bag.

The bill’s suspension, a decision likely applauded by the multitude international organizations and experts who publicly denounced the potential effects of the electric reform, was met with complete disdain by López Obrador, who claimed Gómez Fierro’s decision was the judge “acting as an employee as a subordinate of private companies.”

“We are going to go to the Supreme Court and we want the judiciary of the judiciary to review the behavior of these judges,” said AMLO of his intentions to pursue an investigation into Gómez Fierro. “It would be the last straw if the judges of Mexico were at the service of individuals to the detriment of the country.” 

As a judge, Gómez Fierro specializes in economic competition, broadcasting and communications, and has recently ruled over judgements in the energy sector, including recent decisions on the topics of electricity public policy and fuel import permits, giving him the proper experience and authority to order a suspension of AMLO’s electricity reform.

However, credentials and background mean nothing to AMLO in regards to respecting the judge’s decision, especially someone standing in the way of the electric reform he forced the legislative branch to pass “without even changing a comma,” as López Obrador has repeatedly and publicly spoken out against Mexico’s judicial branch in favor of reforming it in his own best interest.

“The judicial power is being reformed,” said AMLO in June of 2020. “We fix it with this judge, we fix it with this magistrate, we fix it with this minister.”

“There are still judges and magistrates who do not understand that this has already changed,” continued López Obrador, showing his long-term intent to dismiss any judiciary official who does not agree with his decisions or agenda, culminating in the current issue with Gómez Fierro.

AMLO also accused Mexico’s judges of being corrupt in February 2020, when he claimed that criminals leave jail “laughing, because a judge of the judicial power, whether local or federal, released him” after only a few days under false claims, and how “that is corruption, you have to call it by its name.” 

The Mexican president had previously presented an idea in March 2019 to expose to the public purportedly corrupt judges, who, according to him, had ruled in favor of criminals, a decision he described as “cleaning” up the courts, though AMLO ironically has a history of protecting alleged criminals himself.

López Obrador’s has recently drawn criticism for his current protection of his longtime friend and National Regeneration Movement (Morena) gubernatorial candidate for Guerrero Félix Salgado Macedonio, despite the multiple allegations of sexual abuse and rape against him, and vocal outcry within Morena itself for Salgado’s to resign from the nomination. 

His quest against the judiciary goes as far back as August 2019, when AMLO claimed a judge who decided to suspend the construction of the Santa Lucia Airport indefinitely was committing “legal sabotage,” solely because the judiciary official didn’t allow López Obrador’s controversial pet project to sail on without a hitch. 

Now, AMLO is up to his old tricks, accusing yet another judge of corruption and “sabotaging” his plans in an almost fill-in-the-blanks type format, whipped out anytime a dissenter presents itself in the judiciary branch. 

With Morena having full control over the legislative and executive branches of Mexico’s government, getting rid of any judges in the judiciary who cause trouble for AMLO’s agenda is the last step to assure López Obrador’s full, unbridled control of the government, leaving no barriers or roadblocks for him to dictatorially ram through whatever legislation he see fit to fulfill his vision for the nation.

Unfortunately for López Obrador, the judiciary doesn’t seem to be going down without a fight.

Federal judges act with independence and autonomy,” said Arturo Zaldívar, president of Mexico’s Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN), in response to AMLO’s announced vengeance against Gómez Fierro

“The Council of the Federal Judiciary (CJF) guarantees that they can exercise their function with absolute freedom,” continued Zaldívar. “Their rulings can be appealed, but always respected from the perspective of judicial independence.”

While, much to the chagrin of López Obrador, the SCJN may not have any intention to investigate Gómez Fierro, AMLO will likely follow his established pattern and continue to speak loudly against the judge’s decision in his own version of a public trial, because in AMLO’s world, anyone who isn’t with him, is against him.

…March 15, 2021

 

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