Over 15 thousand imprisoned Mexicans abroad do not rely on consular assistance. The Secretariat of Foreign Affairs assures that this is due that they did not solicit it. However neither Moreira did.
Unlike the unusual and disproportionate consular assistance that the PRI affiliated Humberto Moreira Valdés received during his detention in Madrid, Spain- occurred between the 15th and 22nd January 2016-, at least 15 thousand 478 Mexican citizens incarcerated abroad do not have any type of assistance by the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs, its embassies and consulates.
In an official document the General Directorate for the Protection of Mexicans Abroad of the Mexican Foreign Office admits that from the 1st of January to the 31st of December 2015 provided support to only 14 thousand 479 persons of the over 29 thousand 490 imprisoned Mexicans abroad.
In the document UDE-0717/2016, dated on the past 8th February, the Secretariat justified this situation indicating that “one of the principles that rule the protection and consular assistance is the voluntariness to receive it on behalf of the Mexican nationals”. Henceforth it says “it is provided by request of the party”.
According to the entity that is led by the also PRI Affiliated Claudia Ruiz Massieu Salinas, “many Mexicans chose not to exert their right to receive consular assistance”. Nonetheless the former leader of the Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI), Moreira Valdés did not have to request the intervention of the embassy; rather the latter acted on their own account.
This is revealed by the own press communiqué 74 of the Secretariat, where it literally states that “when through the news outlets this was known, the Embassy of Mexico in Madrid looked forward to confirm officially this information. Therefore the established mechanisms of collaboration were carried out contemplated in the existing legal instruments between both countries”.
The latter did not occur in the case of the 15 thousand 478 nationals that were not attended by the Foreign Office and that find themselves deprived of their freedom in US jails, refer the statistics of the Federal Bureau of Prisons of the United States. According to the data updated to the 31st of January 2016, out of 193 thousand 442 prisoners in the US jail system 29 thousand 490 are Mexican nationals.
“Foreign Affairs and the own Embassy of Mexico in Spain gave a VIP treatment to Mr. Moreira: they chose a preferential option for the powerful”, thinks the scholar of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) Héctor Lerín Rueda, former Consul of Mexico in Puerto Rico and former Head of Chancery at the Embassy in Nicaragua.
He adds that “normally an embassy does not operate with such a diligence, with that much fuss, neither with phone calls nor by mails before another government to know the fate of a person. Imagine if the millions of Mexicans in the United States had this fate that their embassy consulate would work lite this, this would be ideal”.
In accordance with the Spanish daily newspaper El País on the 15th of January when the ex-governor of the State of Coahuila was detained for alleged money laundering and presumable links with the Zetas cartel, the public servants of the Embassy of Mexico in Madrid received orders to search for Spanish lawyers for his defense and to attend his wife Vanessa Guerrero and the daughters of Moreira Valdés.
The information of the journalist José María Irujo states that the management of highest level was provided when the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic, Arely Gómez, also PRI Affiliated, dialed her counterpart Consuelo Madrigal, General Prosecutor of the State, to ask for details of the case and to know the position of the Spanish prosecutors. This happened on the past 21st of January, one day before the judge of the National Court Santiago Pedraz let the politician Humberto Moreira free.
Concerning this, the former Consul Lerín Rueda thinks that “the Foreign Office, and even worse, Mrs. Arely Gómez and her entourage overstepped themselves”.
Out of the 14 thousand 479 imprisoned Mexicans that the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs registered in its scope of protection within the diplomatic and consular network of Mexico abroad, by the closing of 2015, 12 thousand 985 were men and 1 thousand 494 were women.
By the official data it shows that 14 thousand 12 nationals are confined in US prisons and 467 in other territories overseas.
Out of the Mexicans assisted by the consular authorities, 1 thousand 891 have been or are being processed for offenses against health: 1 thousand 648 in the United States and 243 in the rest of the world.
In the case of Spain –where the disproportionate consular assistance of the former national leader of the PRI happened-, the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs had knowledge of 43 imprisoned nationals: 35 men and eight women.
The scholar Lerín Rueda observes that “these are not the same problems, nor the same amount of problems that have the Mexicans in Europe, where a lot lesser are, than in the United States. Nonetheless it would be desirable that all Mexicans would receive the attention that was given to Mr. Moreira.
He adds that not all authorities in the world inform the embassies when they detain a national, and this further complicates the consular assistance. Yet he observes that this does not occur in the case of Spain, where seemingly the authorities do inform about the detentions.
“Undoubtedly with Mr. Moreira they overstepped in the terms of participation. The own Embassy sent a document to the Spanish Foreign Office asking to intercede before the judge in order for him to give information. This is completely unusual, it is unprecedented; it is practically not to be done: this is outside the consular and diplomatic legality. After all the Embassy and the consuls have to participate in the matter and this is regulated by the Geneva Convention, but evidently this has been absolutely in excess”.
Among the territories in which the other dozen of nationals have been deprived of their liberty highlight by the number of Mexican prisoners: Colombia, 71; Ecuador, 54; Peru, 53; Costa Rica, 31 and Paraguay, 21.
Furthermore there is China, Belgium, Germany, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Egypt, Turkey, Japan, Venezuela, Brazil, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Argentine, Australia, Cuba, Ethiopia, Belize, Israel, Bolivia, Korea [sic], Italy, Chile, Vietnam and Guatemala.
In the case of the imprisoned Mexicans in the United States that are assisted, the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs ignores the place of origin of 2 thousand 299.
Out of the rest, highlight those stemming from the State of Michoacán (1 thousand 48), Sinaloa (750), Guerrero (727), Federal District (708), Jalisco (675), Guanajuato (667), Sonora (657), Tamaulipas (638), Oaxaca (577), Chihuahua (572), State of Mexico (555) and Puebla (541).
Concerning the imprisoned Mexicans in other countries, it ignores the origin of 29; of the rest, highlight those born in the Federal District (now Mexico City), 132; those of Jalisco, 88; of Sinaloa, 34; and of Chiapas, 20.
17 million in salaries of the Embassy of Mexico in Spain
The public servants of the Mexican Embassy in Spain –who in past January would have had a preferential treatment towards the PRI Affiliated Humberto Moreira Valdés during his short detention in the prison of Soto del Real, located in the outskirts of Madrid –cost to the Mexicans 76 thousand 426.86 euros a month (i.e. 1 million 493 thousand 380 pesos at an exchange rate of 19.54 pesos for a euro).
We are dealing with 12 public servants of the Mexican representation, headed by the Ambassador Roberta Lajous Vargas, who militates in the Revolutionary Institutional Party.
The annual cost of these dozen of public servants ascends to 17 million 920 thousand 570 pesos. The amount to pay would reach 245 thousand 352 minimal wages, fixed by the National Commission of Minimal Wage at 73.04 pesos daily. Also, to acquire 1 thousand 111 urban food baskets with an estimated cost by the National Council of Evaluation of Social Development Policies at the price of 1 thousand 343 pesos.
Concerning the acting of the Embassy in the case of Moreira, Héctor Lerín Rueda, former Consul of Mexico and former Head of Chancery of the Mexican Embassy in Nicaragua, argues: “In the context of the foreign policy of Mexico in which the case Moreira was attended in midst of a context of failure, serious limitations in the foreign policy of Mexico. It happens in midst of a highly damaged international image of the country”.
The ambassador that has been pointed out for leading the defense of the former governor of Coahuila and former national leader of the PRI, the Mexicans are paying a salary of 2 million 400 thousand 457 pesos per year (117 thousand 730.68 euros), refer the official data of the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs.
Among the annual benefits, Roberta Lajous has the right to social security, worth 54 thousand 754 pesos; salary protection, worth 33 thousand 519 pesos; personal insurance worth 35 thousand 402 pesos and a Retirement Savings Fund worth 4 thousand 268 pesos, reveals the Expenditure Budget of the Federation 2016, at the analytical appendix of Workplaces and Wages for the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs.
Concerning Roberta Lajous and her role in the case of Moreira, the scholar Héctor Lerín Rueda recalls: “The own ambassador of Mexico in Spain, despite being career staff, has been a member of the PRI for years. Hence this explains that she has shown herself highly diligent and very fast to attend one of her political colleagues”.
In the special coverage of the PRI Affiliated politician other staff of the Embassy would have taken part. According to the journalistic work of the Spanish daily newspaper El País, the public servants looked for the attorneys for the defense and attended personally the family of the former governor of Coahuila.
Moreover on the 18th of January the Consul of Mexico at Madrid went to the prison Soto Del Real to pay a visit to Moreira Valdés. “At the same time, the public servant of the Consulate called Victor called on several occasions the buffet of lawyers Manuel Ollé, the Spanish counsel that assisted Moreira, to get in touch with the case and to know the aspects of the instruction”, points out the journalistic work of José María Irujo.
According to the directory of the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs, in addition to the head of delegation, the Embassy is made up by three ministers, two counselors, one appointed consul, one first secretary, one third secretary, one administrative attaché B, one administrative technician A and one administrative technician C.
Víctor José Koyoc Cauich is the appointed consul (with a salary of 5 thousand 494.10 euros monthly), and is directly under the coordinating minister of the consular section, Bernardo Córdova Tello (with salary of 8 thousand 339.26 euros a month).
The other staff off the Embassy are the minister León Francisco Rodríguez Zahar, Chief of Chancery; the minister Pablo Raphael de la Madrid, director of the Cultural Institute of Mexico in Spain; the counselor Roberto Israel Quiñonez Sedano, responsible for Bilateral Issues; the Press Secretary, Salvador Musalem Santiago; the first secretary for Political Issues, Isaura Araceli Portillo Flores; the third secretary of Multilateral Issues and Cooperation, Iván Antonino Sosa Espinosa; the administrative attaché B of the Consular Section, María del Socorro González Ramírez, who is in charge of the protection issue; the administrative coordinator Jaime Álvarez Medrano; the deputy administrative coordinator Priscila Martínez Carbajal; the regional computer specialist Miguel Diego Orozco García.
In this context the former consul Lerín Rueda observes that the foreign policy of Mexico “would not be a complete disaster as there is a body of career diplomats and consuls that do their job the best they can. Thanks to this, the foreign policy barely holds together. But neither can you say that the Mexican foreign policy is the eighth world wonder, as it is in virtual ruins like everything the government of Mexico does.
“Thus, it is sustained a little upon a certain dignity, by those people that are career staff. But if it was by those who are being brought in, or want to be put inside, like the consul of Barcelona, Fidel Herrera, or the Ambassador in the United Kingdom that does not know the history, and many other consuls that are being designated in the United States, this would fall apart completely”.
The addenda of the PGR
According to the daily newspaper El País, also since the 15th of January –date on which Moreira was detained- public servants of the General Attorney’s Office of the Republic (PGR) ascribed to the Embassy got in touch with the Unit of Economic and Fiscal Crime, of the National Spanish Police, to ask for the reasons of the detention.
Currently the PGR relies on six public servants in the Legal Attaché Office for Europe with its seat in the Embassy of Mexico in Spain: the legal attaché, Érica Cervantes Albarrán (with a salary of 61 thousand 969 pesos a month); the deputy legal attaché, María Fernanda Pérez Galindo (with a salary of 31 thousand 52 pesos of net monthly salary); the deputy counselor Carmen del Pilar Loboguerrero Carrasco; the deputy counselor José Humberto López Portillo Sánchez (with a salary of 36 thousand 969 pesos), the legal assistant Fidias Hernández Ubaldo; the administrative assistant Sergio Arturo Moreno Aguirre (with a salary of 31 thousand 52 pesos).
For this work a version was solicited to the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs, through Rafael Lugo Sánchez, General Director of Social Communication; and to Arturo Ignacio Tornel Moreno, director of National Information. Up to the closing of edition no positive response has been received.
(Translated by: Axel Plasa)
Contralínea 484 / del 18 al 23 de Abril, 2016