The Continuing Esquivel Plagiarism Saga, Season Two


Embattled Mexican Supreme Court Justice Yasmín Esquivel. Photo: Google


It seems that Mexican Supreme Court (SCJN) Justice Yasmín Esquivel just can’t get a break.

After finally managing through a court order last week to hush the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) from disclosing details of the already-blatantly public claims that she copied her 1987 professional thesis from another student who graduated a full year earlier than her, poor little Pauline — oops, sorry, Esquivel — has yet again fallen prey to the evil intentions of those who would seek to sully her otherwise sterling reputation.

On Friday, Feb. 24, the “unscrupulous” Madrid-based publication El País — which for over 50 years has been the most-read and most-respected daily newspaper in Spain — dared to publish evidence that she also plagiarized her 2009 doctorial thesis for the Anahuac University’s School of Law.

After reviewing that document extensively, literary experts working for El País concluded that 209 of the 456 pages of Esquivel’s thesis, “Fundamental Rights in the Mexican Legal System and their Defense,” correspond to works previously published by 12 other authors, including works by a former UNAM rector, a former Spanish minister of culture, a former president of the Spanish Supreme Court, a former president of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) and a string of Mexican, Italian, Spanish and German jurists (hey, no one can claim that Esquivel didn’t do her cribbing homework).

Two of those authors have already confirmed the plagiarism to El País.

The Spanish newspaper also reported that two Mexican academics, who blindly reviewed the texts, without knowing that they corresponded to a work by the SCJN justice, also deemed Esquivel’s doctorial thesis as plagiarism.

“In the case of the chapter that was taken from my work, the plagiarism was immediately recognizable,” said former Spanish Culture Minister and current Ambassador to the UNESCO José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes.

“It was a textual, literal reproduction of pages and pages. She did not put quotation marks, therefore it constituted plagiarism. What she did was to cut and paste. It is evident that what she has done is to copy my work directly. And it was not even done subtly. She did it in a very crude way.”

The lifted segments of Esquilvel’s thesis were taken from Rodríguez Uribes’ “Rousseau and Human Rights,” which was published in 1998.

In addition, El País also reported that Mexican jurist Miguel Carbonell has confirmed that Esquivel also copied several pages from his book “Fundamental Rights in Mexico,” published 2004 after 15 years of extensive research.

“This was plagiarism, outright,” Carbonell said.

“If we understand plagiarism to be publishing under your name a text that you did not write in an original way, this was an act of plagiarism. There is no other way to define it. And she used both the main text, which involved an effort that I made when writing it, and of the sources that I reviewed and quoted. It is plagiarism; there is no other way to qualify it.”

According to the literary experts’ analysis, about 46.5 percent of Esquivel’s thesis was plagiarized.

So, faced with these new disclosures, the Supreme Court justice will no doubt argue that the remaining 53.5 percent was not pirated, which means that, in terms of an overall majority, her doctorial thesis was original, right?

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