By MARK LORENZANA
Amid the electoral reform spearheaded by deputies from the leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena) of Mexican President Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), which seeks to eliminate Mexico’s National Electoral Institute (INE), the Mexican Human Rights Commission (CDNH) has labeled the INE as a “body that sabotages the will of the people,” and has claimed that “for years it has tainted electoral processes” in the country.
In an official statement released on Sunday, Oct. 30, the CDNH compared the INE to the defunct Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) and the former Federal Electoral Commission (CFE), entities that it accused of sabotaging the will of the people and dirtying the electoral process.
On Tuesday, Oct. 25, Lorenzo Córdova, head of the INE, said he believes that Morena’s initiative of eliminating the INE will not improve the democratic system, but rather is aimed at keeping the status quo. In his statement, Córdova mentioned the CDNH as an example.
The CDNH took exception to Córdova’s statements, and said that in recent days it had been subjected to scathing comments by the head of the INE.
“Faced with this, we call for responsibility and self-criticism, and so that instead of dirty wars, an honest discussion of the electoral issue is encouraged, beyond unspeakable interests and prejudices,” said the CDNH in its statement.
The CNDH likewise called on Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies to “take the democratic struggles in the country as a reference, so they can review the current electoral legislation, carry out an honest and serious analysis that takes into account the current expectations of Mexican citizens, and build a reform that grants certainty about the organization of the elections.”
Morena deputies had already begun the legislative process for the electoral reform that seeks to eliminate the INE, which would be replaced by another smaller body whose councilors would be elected by popular vote at the polls.
The proposal seeks to shrink the Electoral Court, apply financial cuts to electoral bodies and eliminate plurinominal legislators, which would essentially strengthen the presence of Morena and weaken its political opponents.
However, in a recent national survey conducted by Mexican business-focused daily El Financiero, 68 percent of the people interviewed approved of the work carried out by the INE in organizing elections, which means that the autonomous, public electoral agency has the support of two-thirds of the country’s citizenry.
Marko Cortés, president of the conservative National Action Party (PAN), criticized the recommendations of the CDNH to the Chamber of Deputies regarding the INE on electoral matters, accusing the INE — and its head, Rosario Piedra Ibarra — of “being at the service of the AMLO government.”
Cortés also said that if one can read between the lines, the CNDH’s recommendation revealed its alleged preference to benefit the current administration and not the citizenry.
“With its illegal recommendation on the elections and the INE, the CNDH confirms that it is no longer useful for anything, because it has become a vile instrument of the current regime,” Cortés said.
For his part, political commentator F. Bartolome, of Mexican daily newspaper Reforma, wrote that “It is strange to see the way in which Morena uses the CNDH not to defend human rights, but to defend the government.”
“In the Illustrated Dictionary of López Obrador’s Fourth Transformation, the word ‘meanness,’ the emblem of the CNDH and the photo of Rosario Piedra Ibarra appear,” Bartolome wrote.
“In a disconcerting recommendation, the CNDH joined AMLO’s attacks against the INE and asked the Congress of the Union to end the electoral institute. Without offering a single argument, the commission attacked and disqualified the 32-year history of the INE. If the legislators want to see what happens when an autonomous body is dismantled so that it remains under the orders of the executive, it’s just a matter of turning to see what the National Commission of Fake Tyrants — sorry, of Human Rights — has become.”
In September of this year, Santiago Corcuera, a human rights expert, accused the CNDH of “acting deplorably” in the face of reforms to militarize the Mexican National Guard (GN).
In interview with El Financiero, Corcuera explained that it is clear that “the CNDH had forgotten its mandate to protect Mexicans,” and had instead “decided to bow to the government.”
“I found it truly regrettable, I would rather say deplorable, the response that the CNDH gave to this serious situation,” Corcuera said at that time.
“There has not been a single international body on human rights that has visited the country, or that has heard of any case related to Mexico, that has not clearly and emphatically pronounced itself against the use of the Armed Forces in public security.”