“El Lic” for Borderland Beat

The following is a direct translation of a Zeta Tijuana article written by Carlos Álvarez Acevedo

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador demanded on April 25, 2024, the US Department of State retract its ‘National Report on Human Rights Practices 2023: Mexico ’ – which was published on April 22- because, according to him, it was obsolete and it violated the sovereignty of the people of Mexico. 

“It is very unfortunate that the [US] State Department relies on purely false information from our adversaries and that they lie. But there is no need to worry […] The only thing is to ask the State Department to review its recommendations, because they violate the sovereignty of [Mexico’s] people. They should not be the one extending letters of good conduct to countries and to the independent and sovereign people.” 

“They say that we have been doing them [human rights violations] since 1977, but we have already ended those violations, so it is obsolete. And then, they say, it is that we violate human rights by informing the Senate of who behaves well and who misbehaves, and that we give help just to those who behave well. That is false.”

“Do you know how long the governments of the United States have not helped Latin America and the Caribbean? Not since the alliance plan for progress that President Kennedy began, from 1960 to 70, a decade. From that date on they have given no aid or the aid is only military aid.”

On April 24, 2024, for the second consecutive day, in his morning press conference, the Mexican president attacked the United States Government, which he accused of being a liar, irresponsible, not serious, stagnant and even declining.

“But they are like this and we should not be surprised. We should not be surprised. This has been the case historically and that also, with all due respect, indicates that they are stagnant – stagnant- in decline, because they need to refresh [their info].”

“No, no, the truth is that it [the accusation] is very superficial. It has no evidence. How are we going to listen to them if they say that we promoted the dissemination of 20,000 accusations against the president of the Supreme Court? Where is the proof? It is very irresponsible. It is a joke. They are not serious. They are liars.”

“The report gets into our internal affairs. Why do they have to get into the matter of the differences we have with the Judiciary? Who are they to intervene? What is their legal basis for it? Who authorizes you to intervene? They are blatantly violating international law, violating the independence and sovereignty of our people.” 

“These reports are published. They are handled by the International Right. It is a right-wing international  group supported by the United States. We already know that those are the hitters, the hawks ”, added the national president.

However, the Mexican president clarified that Mexico would maintain bilateral cooperation to combat fentanyl trafficking, try to solve the migration problem and promote economic integration. However, he warned that his Government would hold an irreducible position when it came to the sovereignty of the country.

“We need each other. We complement each other, only they have to learn to respect us. Cooperation to combat drug trafficking and that we will help in a humanitarian way so they do not suffer from these pandemics of fentanyl consumption in the United States, yes. Find substantive solutions to the migration problem, yes. But, they must respect our sovereignty.”

US Responds to AMLO

On April 24, 2024, Vedant Patel, spokesman for the United States Department of State, rejected that the Annual Report on Human Rights in the world was a “flagrant violation” of international law. He recalled that the publication had been made since 1977, when the US Capitol ordered the US Executive. review the human rights enshrined in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, so he defended his legality.

“The publication of the Human Rights Report does not violate International Law […] It is something we have done every year since he has been secretary [Antony Blinken] and every year before him. I can’t think of a year in which the State Department has not issued human rights reports.”

The spokesperson for the US Department of State detailed that the report was “ a compilation of entries made from credible information from sources like the news, government agencies, civil rights agencies, embassies and consulates.”

The Actual Report

The US Department of State in its ‘2023 National Report on Human Rights Practices: Mexico’ wrote about the attacks carried out by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador against the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN), the press, human rights and civil society defenders.

In the 2023 edition of its annual report, the institution led by Antony Blinken listed some of the various occasions when the Tabasco politician tried to discredit critical positions against his government, including various sentences of members of the Federal Judicial Branch (PJF) and in particular of the SCJN.

“President López Obrador and other government actors verbally attacked the Judiciary, and particularly the Supreme Court, criticizing judges for ruling against their Administration on numerous occasions ”, the 58-page report of the US State Department said.

“In March, during a massive demonstration in Mexico City, supporters of the [ López Obrador government ] burned an effigy of the Supreme Court president, Norma [ Lucia ] Piña [ Hernández ], accusing it of corruption ”, the report states, regarding the demonstration carried out on March 17, 2023, in the Zocalo of the capital of the Republic.

The annual report of the US State Department also highlighted the demonstration held in May 2023, led by the Governor of Veracruz, Cuitláhuac García Jiménez, against the highest constitutional court.

“Garcia led a demonstration in Mexico City where his supporters carried coffins with the names of 7 of 11 Supreme Court justices and accused them of siding with opponents conservatives and failing to fulfill the priorities of the Administration [of López Obrador] ”, the report said.

The report also highlighted the attacks by López Obrador, carried out in February 2023, against the participants of the march to defend the National Electoral Institute (INE), of budget cuts and modifications.

“López Obrador criticized the protesters who met peacefully, to protest the cuts in electoral financing. According to newspaper sources, the president called protesters ‘allies of the drug cartels ’ and accused them of stealing wallets in the capital’s main square.”

Likewise, with various mentions of López Obrador’s morning press conferences, since the beginning of his term in 2018, the report of the US State Department. said the Mexican president’s verbal attacks on human rights organizations, as well as journalists.

“López Obrador reprimanded civil rights groups at his daily morning press conferences. Some civil rights organizations allege that he led a campaign to discredit human rights defenders.”