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The spin doesn’t stop here: Juan Camilo Mouriño

14 March 2008

Felipe Calderón’s nomination of Juan Camilo Mouriño as Secretarío de Gobernacion, did more to restore the relevance of AMLO, and his “legitimate presidency” than anything recently. Largely frozen out of the media, and seemingly irrelevant, AMLO’s “alternative government” has seized on the questions surrounding Moreño’s appointment not just to attack Calderón administration policy, but to call into question that administration’s governance.

Calderón’s original Secretarío de Gobernacion, Francisco Ramírez Acuña, was a disaster. Already despised by many for his cavalier attitude towards human rights, the former Jalisco Governor was a throwback to the worst in PAN – with his background in the more reactionary movements with Catholicism – and widely assumed to be corrupt. During Calderón’s “War on (Some) Drug Dealers” Ramírez was nowhere to be seen – having the top law enforcement official in the country going AWOL during a supposed national emergency is not the image the Calderón Administration wanted to present.

J uanCamilo Mouriño is another typical PANista leader. His apelledo maternal is Terrazo: as with the Fox Administration, you see in the PAN cabinets a tendency to pick the heirs of the old Porfirian-era gentry – who seem, like the colonial Bourbon rulers, to “never forget and never learn.” While they don’t expect a return to the old hacienda system, they do have a tendency to equate family business with national business. Which is Juan Camilo’s problem.

One of his problems. Mouriño was born in Spain… which is no secret. However, with no Vice-President in the Mexican system, the Secretario de Gobernacion, is the de facto back-up President – and assumes the powers of the “Internal President” when the President is out of the country, or unable to perform his duties (the only time I can remember this happening, is when Vicente Fox had major back surgery during his tenure). If the President dies or resigns, the Secretario de Gobernacion is normally selected by Congress to fill out the Presidential term, or until the next Congressional Election. Whether the Secretario MUST be constitutionally qualified to be President is something I don’t quiet know. It appears so.

Mouriño has dual Spanish and Mexican citizenship. His mother was Mexican, and he claims he is Mexican. However, AMLO’s people uncovered evidence that Moreño had used his Spanish passport while traveling. Technically, that meant he’d claimed to be a Spaniard, not a Mexican. At least on the left, that was reason enough to attack Mouriño as a “gachupin” – a throwback to the colonial ruling class. Those charges were given respectable media coverage, but – coming from AMLO – were seen as querulous complaints by a “sore loser” by the more conservative (or more deferential to those in power) major media outlets like Televisa.

Evidence, again emanating from AMLO’s people, of Mouriño’s preferential treatment for family businesses during his tenure at PEMEX, are much harder to brush off. AMLO’s people have been arguing (and I tend to agree) that the Calderon and Fox administrations have been purposely mismanaging PEMEX – or at least continued in the PRI’s tradition of using PEMEX as an investment bank for party and party-favored investments. I don’t think it’s paranoia to assume the goal was to make the company ripe for takeover (by foreign multinationals – a return to Porfirian-era “liberalismo” under the rubric of “globalization.”

There’s an interesting cultural clash at work here. Mouriño claims he has done nothing wrong – that his family businesses which he favored while at PEMEX – might have not been the best bidder on various contracts, but was the best for the job. He seems to be following the Mexican (and Chinese and Indian) code of family loyalty in business dealings. AMLO, representing people without family connections, can afford to take the high ground, and push for the more modern concept of corporate and national ethics.

With AMLO’s PRD coalition pushing for a congressional investigation, and with AMLO gaining new legitimacy thanks to the controversy, Congress finally has agreed to an investigation… though, it is stacking the deck, freezing out PRD and their allies from the investigative committee. Manuel Roig-Franzia, of the Washington Post, is missing this background, but has “the rest of the story.

 

MEXICO CITY, March 13 — The lower house of Mexico’s Congress launched a corruption investigation Thursday targeting the interior minister, a move that politically weakens the nation’s second most powerful official and imperils a major energy initiative.

A commission approved by the Chamber of Deputies will pore over allegations that Juan Camilo Mouriño, who has been interior minister for less than two months, helped his wealthy father secure government oil contracts.

The allegations date to 1997 and involve government contracts approved while Mouriño was a congressman and worked in the energy department. They are particularly sensitive because Mouriño is trying to persuade the Congress to approve controversial changes that would allow Mexico’s huge, government-run oil company to enter into development partnerships with foreign oil firms.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Keith Dannemiller permalink
    15 March 2008 10:02 am

    Juan Camilo Mouriño not Moreño. You should correct it.
    A Camara de Diputados investigative committee is nothing more than a ticket for impunity. Over the last three sessions there are a lot of cases waiting resolution. Most of the time, they never actually do any investigating, much less come out with a recommendation for action.

    That’s the second time I’ve misspelled a name in a week. My spelling sucks in the best of times, and this is embarrassing! Not that I expect impunity, even when the deck is stacked with friendly investigators, like Mouriño can.

  2. Mike Swanton permalink
    15 March 2008 11:40 pm

    “However, AMLO’s people uncovered evidence that Moreño had used his Spanish passport while traveling. Technically, that meant he’d claimed to be a Spaniard, not a Mexican.”

    I’m not sure I understand the problem of having used a Spanish passport while traveling. I understand duel citizenship is legal for Mexican citizens. Am I mistaken?

    Using one passport instead of another then could mean many things (for example, it may have simply been the document at hand). One could imagine multiple scenarios without having to fall on a negation of Mexican citizenship.

    It sounds more like this is some sort of symbolic-emotional issue much like those in the US who claim that its “un-American” to wave the Mexican flag on 5 de mayo.

    I don’t pretend to be an expert, but apparently, there is a technical question of which nationality Mouriño adopted when he turned 18. If he uses his Spanish passport while traveling, he is claiming Spanish, not Mexican nationality. Probably some questions of national pride are involved, but it is one of those weird constitutional fine points all lawyers love to argue over. If John McCain is elected President of the United States, I expect there will be some questions raised about his birth in the Panama Canal Zone… though the Canal Zone being part of the United States (and being born in a U.S. Military Hospital) probably does make him a “natural born citizen”. But, there’s no question Mouriño was born in a foreign country.

  3. David Bodwell permalink
    16 March 2008 6:04 pm

    Also, in answer to Mike Swanton, Mouriño Terrazo is a NATURALIZED Mexican citizen, so his dual-citizenship is not the same as that granted to “natural born” Mexican citizens who become dual-citizens, but something granted him by the government of Spain, since he is a natural born Spanish citizen. When he became a naturalized Mexican citizen, he forswore his Spanish citizenship, so really, he’s only a Spanish citizen WHEN HE IS IN SPAIN, even if he used his Mexican passport to get there. By becoming a naturalized Mexican citizen he forswore using a Spanish passport ever again.

    It does seem to be rather a tempest-in-a-teapot, though. I think what has the traditional Mexicans upset is the fact that the second most important office in the government is now held by a GACHUPÍN! There’s a LOT of history behind the Mexican dislike of the gachupines (or peninsulares).

    (Rich, glad you corrected the spelling of Mouriño, but couldn’t you have corrected the spelling of gachupín while you were at it?)

    Damn… tuff audience. But, then “gachupines” are “gauche

  4. Mike Swanton permalink
    17 March 2008 10:59 pm

    RICHARD:
    As I understand it, Mexico has recognized the right to multiple citizenships (apparently in the retroactive constitutional reform of 1997, cf. (http://www.juridicas.unam.mx/publica/rev/boletin/cont/98/el/el11.htm). Thus, it would appear there is no issue about “adopting” a nationality at 18 from a Mexican perspective. (Perhaps there is in Spain, but Spanish law has no bearing on who Mexico recognizes as a citizen). And as a dual national, Mouriño is free to use whatever passport he wants. In total honesty, I don’t see where the “weird constitutional fine point” is.

    I’m not sure the US comparison you offer is felicitous. In the case of McCain, the issue surrounds the interpretation of some 18th-century language that does indeed exist in the US Constitution. On the other hand, I haven’t seen where in the Mexican Constitution it says anything about the Secretary of Gobernación having to be born on Mexican soil. It does state that if you have a Mexican parent (born on Mexican soil) and you are born on foreign soil, you have the right to Mexican citizenship. The McCain comparison runs further afoul if you consider that in the US it seems no major political player is using his “natural born citizen” issue to disqualify McCain’s candidacy. Yet, Mouriño’s position in the Calderón administration as a dual national is being challenged by an ex-presidential candidate and an opposition party!

    If Mouriño has been involved in influence-peddling and corruption, without question he should be held accountable. But as for this passport issue, it seems to be simply a partisan appeal to people’s nationalist feelings and, perhaps, xenophobia.

    P.S. Another spelling mistake: it’s Nezahualcoyotl (like on the $100 bill and like the urban municipio to the south of Mexico City), not Nezahuacoatl.

    DAVID:
    If his mother was Mexican as Richard claims and if she was born in Mexico, then he would appear to have every right to be Mexican “by birth”.

    When it comes to naturalization papers, probably best to ask the man who ones one… David, in this case. But, the question of citizenship is a minor issue, only important as an opening gambit on their anti-Moureño campaign.

  5. 18 March 2008 10:35 pm

    Well, at least they found a weak spot and an avenue for Obrador and the anti-privitization advocates. I hope this will go somewhere.

    Is this guy amigos with Carlos Slim ? heehee, see ya later Richard, as always when I finally get over here, it has been illuminating.

    Smoochies.

  6. David Bodwell permalink
    21 March 2008 12:22 pm

    Mike,

    There are several different types of naturalization in México (for those who have the right to Mexican citizenship but are born in a foreign country) and one is naturalization on the basis of having at least one parent who is a Mexican citizen. This is NOT automatic! The person MUST become naturalized!

    Once a child, born under these circumstances, reaches their majority they may apply (with a lot of proofs) to SRE (the Mexican state department) for naturalization as a Mexican citizen and this is what Mouriño Terrazo did. When he was sworn in as a Mexican citizen he did forswear his other citizenship as all naturalized citizens are required to do. The Mexican government does not GRANT dual citizenship, it merely recognizes that natural born citizens of México can BE dual citizens, a right NOT granted naturalized citizens.

  7. Mike Swanton permalink
    23 March 2008 1:01 am

    Thanks for trying to clarify this for me, David! As is probably apparent from my messages here, I am not informed of the Mouriño case.

    You see, where I’m having trouble is with your insistence that those who are born in a foreign country to a Mexican parent (born in Mexico) are Mexicans “by naturalization”. This is not what the Mexican Constitution says. The Mexican Constitution clearly distinguishes Mexicans “por nacimiento” and Mexicans “por naturalización” and unequivocally puts those born abroad to Mexican parents in the “by birth” category.

    ARTICULO 30. LA NACIONALIDAD MEXICANA SE ADQUIERE POR NACIMIENTO O POR NATURALIZACION.
    (REFORMADO MEDIANTE DECRETO PUBLICADO EN EL DIARIO OFICIAL DE LA FEDERACION EL 18 DE ENERO DE 1934)

    A).- SON MEXICANOS POR NACIMIENTO:
    (REFORMADO MEDIANTE DECRETO PUBLICADO EN EL DIARIO OFICIAL DE LA FEDERACION EL 18 DE ENERO DE 1934)

    I. LOS QUE NAZCAN EN TERRITORIO DE LA REPUBLICA, SEA CUAL FUERE LA NACIONALIDAD DE SUS PADRES;
    (REFORMADO MEDIANTE DECRETO PUBLICADO EN EL DIARIO OFICIAL DE LA FEDERACION EL 18 DE ENERO DE 1934. MODIFICADO POR LA REIMPRESION DE LA CONSTITUCION, PUBLICADA EN EL DIARIO OFICIAL DE LA FEDERACION EL 6 DE OCTUBRE DE 1986)

    II.- LOS QUE NAZCAN EN EL EXTRANJERO, HIJOS DE PADRES MEXICANOS NACIDOS EN TERRITORIO NACIONAL, DE PADRE MEXICANO NACIDO EN TERRITORIO NACIONAL, O DE MADRE MEXICANA NACIDA EN TERRITORIO NACIONAL; (REFORMADO MEDIANTE DECRETO PUBLICADO EN EL DIARIO OFICIAL DE LA
    FEDERACION EL 20 DE MARZO DE 1997)

    (http://info4.juridicas.unam.mx/ijure/fed/9/31.htm?s=)

    This seems to be an important point, since Mexican nationals “by birth” cannot lose their citizenship by using another passport (see Art. 37 of the Mexican Constitution).

    What you seem to be describing is the pre-1997 procedure. As I understand it, this involved the infamous old SRE certificado of Mexican nationality, which required renouncing other nationalities. With the 1997 reform however, this should no longer be the case. Am I mistaken?

    Coming back to Mouriño–about whom, as I have already said, I know precious little—it seems rather straightforward according to the Constitution that if his mother was Mexican by birth (born in Mexican territory), then he is Mexican by birth (Art. 30) and cannot lose his citizenship by using another passport (Art. 37).

  8. Mexicana de + permalink
    6 November 2008 9:07 pm

    I wasn’t born on mexican soil but was born with mexican citizenship because my mother is a mexican citizen (the exact same thing would have happened had I been born in Mexico with American citizenship because my father is an American). Had I been born in a country that allows multiple citizenships like Canada, I could have had 3 citizenships!

    It’s not an uncommon thing these days to have multiple citizenships. When I turned 18 I wasn’t forced to choose one citizenship over another thanks to the new citizenship laws, I can keep both of them unless I decide to give up one of them (which I wouldn’t want).

    Having two passports has it’s pros for obvious reasons. When I go to the US, I use my US passport instead of my mexican one. It’s not that I don’t recognize myself as a mexican because hell that ain’t so. It’s probably because it would be really STOOPID to be entering my mother country with a mexican passport and having the embarrasment of the customs guy telling me to show him my tourist VISA when I’m American by right.

    I believe some of the laws have changed, but I think Spain requests a VISA for a mexican to visit their country even as a tourist. If you can enter a country with a passport instead of the hassle and $$$ to get a visa when technically you aren’t forced to do it, I’d say it makes sense to use a Spanish passport.

    And as for mocking Mouriño (who sadly has passed away a few days ago), I met him once and he was a very nice and friendly guy spending several minutes talking to me and my mom and sincerely saying how sorry he was he didn’t bring his business cards with him that day. He was on a presidential campaign on a busy schedule and to spend so much time with us without even expecting anything in return can show a lot about a person. Think poorly about his family business issues (FYI those things are commonplace in Mexico and ethnically indian families have major family businesses too!!!), but he was a very nice and down-to-earth person.

  9. Alejandro permalink
    17 November 2008 10:15 pm

    Lastima que creas en la forma mas imbecil que los priistas ahora disfrazados de izquierda (PRD), vayan a hacer algo bueno por mexico.

    O eres un titere y te pagan por traicionar a la patria o eres un imbecil que no sabe de historia y de como los grupos masones y judios han luchado por desestabilizar al pais junto a los estados unidos que tanto crees odiar y a los que sirves al apoyar a estos grupos desestabilizadoes a quien cnn jewish media tanto apoya, si no me crees ve el programa de aristegui (una pobre puta gachupina y de supuesta izquierda que ve a Mexicanos como indios a mexicanos como tu y yo, bueno me despido.

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