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Victory is ours! Not Chapo, human rights

12 April 2010

Everyone seems fixated on the A.P. “exclusive” claiming some unnamed U.S. source believes Chapo and the Sinaloa Cartel has “won” the “war” in Juarez.   According to “a U.S. federal agent who sometimes works undercover” — one unnamed person — U.S. intelligence agents believe what everybody in Juarez has been saying all along… that the gangsters were fighting amongst themselves for control of export routes, and the Army’s role has been counterproductive.  And one of the gangster organizations apparently is now the “winner”.  Big whoop.

Foreign bloggers and even the Mexican press are picking up the story, but as Judith Torrea, in her essential reading for narco-war-porn fanatics, “Ciudad Juárez, en sombra del narcotráfico” reports, no one in Juarez believes this, nor, for that matter, does it really matter.  Whether Chapo “wins” or not,  Juarez is still in an economic and social freefall and narcotics exports are going to continue to be a local business.

What was important, and not even noticed except in passing by the Mexican press was a huge change, partially a result of reaction against the “narco war” that affects the rights of Mexicans (and foreign residents in Mexico) much, much more than this war.  By a vote of 96 to nothing, the Senate has approved sweeping changes to the Constitution, that strengthen civil rights, for the first time give the Human Rights Commission legal authority to pursue violations and specifies that human rights concerns take priority over economic and political considerations in international affairs.

There has been pressure from the United States to regularize the position of the military in internal policing just as Mexicans of all political persuasions have been noting the constitutional irregularities which arise from using military authority when there is no declared “state of exception”.  Under the new provisions, the basic constitutional rights of citizens (and residents) under Articlo 1 cannot be abrogated even during a times of civil unrest.

Also, by giving the Human Rights Commission the authority to sue on its own behalf — and to sanction — those authorities who reject its findings

While this is only a Senate vote, and the changes must be ratified by the Chamber of Deputies and the States, with all parties on board, this will correct a massive oversight in the original composition of the Human Rights Commission.  It is, technically, a court (as commissions are in Mexico), but as one without the power of bringing sanctions, rather toothless.

Finally, this reforms will also specify that Mexican courts can enforce international treaty obligations, something the courts were reluctant to do in the past.

No matter what “a” U.S. agent says, the only real winners in Mexico last week were the Mexicans.

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