AMLO Says without Legal Charges, Salmerón Is Innocent

Proposed Mexican Ambassador to Panama Pedro Salmerón Sanginés. Photo: Google


Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) — who is infamous for making unfounded and baseless accusations of corruption and other crimes against his political enemies and members of the press — said Wednesday, Jan. 19, that he would only consider formal legal suits currently under review in reconsidering his controversial appointment of former National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) professor Pedro Salmerón Sanginés as his ambassador to Panama.

Despite numerous allegations of sexual assault by Salmerón by women who worked with him both during his tenure at UNAM and when he worked at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM), as well as purported victims within AMLO’s National Regeneration Movement (Morena), López Obrador said that to take these claims into account “would be unjust” since no formal evidence has been presented in court.

“No one should be tried if there is no process in accordance with the law, if there is no evidence,” AMLO said, despite the fact that he constantly accuses his enemies of crimes for which they have never been charged, much less convicted.

The president went on to say that he was certain that the allegations against Salmerón were “invented as part of the political attack on the part of his opponents.”

“As in everything, these opponents are ready to use everything,” he said.

He said that Salmerón’s accusers should present their complaints before legal authorities to determine their validity.

Consequently, he said, the Mexican public “should not make summary judgments, and more so when it comes to political matters.”

Meanwhile, in Panama, AMLO’s appointment of Salmerón has stirred concerns among human rights activists, who have claimed that his designation as ambassador sends the message that in Mexico those who are violent are rewarded.

“When I heard the news … the first thing that jumped out at me was the question of whether Mexico’s resident would have considered such an appointment at his embassy in Costa Rica or Colombia,” said Gaby Gnazzo, an actress, feminist and human rights activist in Panama.

“Because, beyond what President López Obrador as the leader of his country considers correct or not, my question is: What made him think that Panama would not present objections to receiving a person who comes with a curriculum of sexual harassment?”

Gnazzo also said that the appointment suggested that Panama offers “a fertile terrain of impunity, perhaps backed by a lack of laws and a lack of enforcement of our judicial system.”

When the #MeToo movement broke out in Mexico in 2019, Salmerón was accused of sexual harassment by ITAM students and former students, but resigned before the institution sanctioned him.

Chevy Solís, an activist with the Panamanian organization Espacio de Encuentro de Mujeres, urged Mexican authorities to reconsider this appointment.

“I ask you to value the voices that are repudiating this appointment, and that when there is a reaction from social movements, that they listen, because the message that is also sent abroad is that, in Mexico, those who are violent are rewarded.” she said.



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