The Supreme Court voted 4-1 to free 20 men imprisoned for more than 11 years for a massacre in the village of Acteal, Chiapas in 1997. Another 30 are expected to be freed soon. Citing severe misconduct by the prosecutors and lower court judges, including the fabrication of evidence and testimony, the Court ruled that the accused were denied the constitutional rights of due process and an adequate defense. The killing of 45 Tzotzil Indians, mostly women and children, by assailants from a rival community and the railroaded prosecutions by the Zedillo government during the Zapatista rebellion has long been an open wound. The Court pointedly did not declare the innocence of those freed. Columnist Héctor Aguilar Camín wrote, “Acteal continues to be a hieroglyphic. Beyond the legal aspects, it is a problem of truth: what happened during the massacre, and who were the killers…. The ruling, however, could have enormous consequences in the correction of the Mexican justice system in all the cases where guilt is fabricated, a lamentable specialty of our justice system.” Emilio Chuayffet, Government Secretary under Zedillo (and who was fired after the massacre), returns to Congress in September as a PRI deputy from the State of Mexico. (Reforma 8/12, Universal 8/12, Milenio 8/13, NY Times 8/12)
The wedding of the daughter of Emilio Chuayffet, became a symbol for the PRI’s return to power. The former governor of Mexico State and Government Secretary under Ernesto Zedillo will be the leader of the PRI’s delegation in the next Chamber of Deputies. The witnesses of honor were Mexico state Governor Enrique Peña Nieto and former president Carlos Salinas de Gortari. Also prominent in the 700-guest event was party president Beatriz Paredes. (Reforma 7/13, Universal 7/11)
Former president Ernesto Zedillo said in a speech that the economic measures taken to date were inadequate and that Mexico needed a new fiscal reform. He said:
We have to carry out a definitive fiscal reform, that gives financial solidity to the Mexican State, and enables it to carry out its responsibilities….Unfortunately, the petroleum wealth, that has given us so much has, in certain measure, also taken much from us. It has taken away our willingness to face responsibly the recognition that we are a country with needs.”
Congressional leaders of all three parties united in attacking Zedillo. PRI Senate leader Manlio Fabio Beltrones called his statements “verbal incontinence.” Senator Carlos Navarrete of the PRD said that “Zedillo is mistaken in his diagnosis; he contributes very little with his opinion.” Emilio Gamboa, PRI leader in the Chamber, said Zedillo was “irresponsible.” His PAN counterpart Héctor Larios said, “The tax laws, without any doubt, need to be reformed, however it’s not prudent or appropriate to revise them in the middle of a global economic crisis.” (Reforma 5/18, 19)
Joaquin López-Doriga’s column in Milenio is a good summary of the political environment:
With the passage of the weeks, scandal has been the constant. The book of Ahumada, from whom everyone is trying to distance themselves, without being able to deny their own past; Madrazo’s own book, as part of his effort at reinvention, accusing ex-presidents Ernesto Zedillo and Vicente Fox of ties to drug trafficking; the statements of Miguel De la Madrid recognizing that he made a mistake in selecting Carlos Salinas, talking of relationships with drug trafficking and mentioning the name of two of his brothers, Raúl and Enrique, and the civil death that Salinas decreed on his predecessor, annulling the judgment and condemning de la Madrid to political limbo; the YouTube video of Fidel Herrera and the efforts to censor the Internet; the accusations of drug trafficking against a brother of Ricardo Monreal, his saying that Amalia García has ties with organized crime, her response calling him a coward, and the counter reply saying that the governor and her daughter, Senator Claudia Corichi, were oriental queens and princesses; the flight of 53 prisoners from the jail in Zacatecas, freed by an armed commando; the dismantling of a protection network for the Beltrán Leyvas in Morelos after discovering a safe house only 100 meters from the governor’s mansion in Cuernavaca; the firing of the state attorney general, the detentions of the state minister for public safety and the Cuernavaca police chief; and the call by Manlio Fabio Beltrones to all ex-presidents to shut up until July 5th. These form the scenery against which the ongoing electoral process will yield the lowest rate of citizen participation in response to the use of scandal and double talk, cynicism and hypocrisy, as method.