Given the resentment of the Mexican president’s statement, the parliamentarians insist that the approved text describes “a tremendous situation” and that they avoided making any personal allusions against the president.
EL PAIS.- The resolution approved this Thursday by the European Parliament, which called on the president of Mexico to stop the “populist rhetoric” against the press has provoked an unusual reaction from the Andrés Manuel López Obrador Government against the European Parliament. A few hours after the text condemning the violence against the press and human rights defenders in Mexico was made public, the president sent a statement disqualifying the MEPs, regretting that they “join like sheep” to the “reactionary” strategy and “coup” of those who are against his government project, the Fourth Transformation. The president’s anger continued this Friday at his morning conference, where he pointed out that he himself wrote the response to Parliament to what he considered a “slanderous resolution.” For their part, some MEPs allege that the president’s reply “disqualifies itself”.
Spanish MEP Inmaculada Rodríguez Piñero, from the PSOE, one of those responsible for negotiating the resolution in the European Parliament, believes that the approved text “describes the tremendous situation” that the Mexican press is facing. The document, he adds, is “a wake-up call” in a context that “has deteriorated” in recent times, as the document points out: “Since the last presidential elections (July 2018) at least 47 journalists have been assassinated, according to official sources; For the third consecutive year, Mexico has been the most dangerous country in the world for journalists, according to Reporters Without Borders; and 95% of the murders of journalists remain unpunished”.
Rodríguez Piñero believes that López Obrador’s response has been “unfortunate and inappropriate” and considers his references to the war in Ukraine “out of place.” “We do not send weapons to any country under any circumstances, as you are doing now,” says the statement issued by the Mexican government after alluding to the Executive’s pacifism. The MEP claims to have tried to avoid a personal allusion to the Mexican president in the resolution and she believes that the Mexican Executive’s reply “disqualifies itself.”
The document has a profound political origin and its shadow travels from Europe to Latin America, like a boomerang: one of its main promoters in the European Parliament is the prominent Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López Gil, who fled Chavismo in 2014 and settled in Spain. In 2019, López Gil was elected MEP (as a member of the Popular Party) and in the European Parliament he is part of the Human Rights subcommittee, from which the initiative was born. “What is happening in Mexico is not very far from what happened in Maduro’s Venezuela,” the MEP values, comparing the situation of the press in both countries.
López Gil, who is speaking in a telephone conversation from Bogotá, where he is due to the legislative elections this weekend, considers himself especially linked to the media sector in his country: he has been part of the editorial board of the Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional, whose headquarters were seized and handed over this February to the number two of Chavismo, Diosdado Cabello, as part of compensation for “non-pecuniary damage” of more than 13 million dollars ordered by the justice system after losing a case due to a lawsuit by the politician, according to Eph. Cabello denounced El Nacionalfor replicating a news item from the Spanish newspaper ABC, which claimed that the Chavista leader was being investigated in the United States for his relationship with drug trafficking.
The popular MEP considers that there are objective reasons to write and vote on the resolution, which received the resounding support of the European Parliament (607 votes in favor, two against, and 73 abstentions): “The situation [of the press in Mexico] is not new, but it has worsened since the administration changed,” says the Venezuelan, who also denounces the “singling out of journalists and the media” by López Obrador. “We cannot continue to ignore the tragedy, such a serious abuse of the right to information, recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” he denounces. In his opinion, the dark situation of the press in Mexico is linked to “corruption, drug trafficking, and populism.”
The figures also reveal that violence against the press has increased during the López Obrador government —with 31 homicides against journalists since the end of 2018, compared to 19 and 26 during the same term of office of his predecessors—. Although it is also true that Mexico is going through the most violent period in its history, with more than 90 murders a day. However, the bloodiest year for the profession continues to be 2017 —during the last year of the Peña Nieto government— in which 12 were assassinated.
The beginning of this year has reminded us of the worst time, because in just three months they have killed at least six, according to the well-known organization Article 19 , which has denounced the problem for more than two decades. Since the figures were counted, in 2000, there have been 150 crimes against reporters. The recent murders, especially those in Tijuana in January, since two were riddled with bullets in less than a week, provoked protests throughout the country and a lukewarm response from the president, more focused on the controversy that distinguishes between “allies and opponents.” , which in condemning the facts, has outraged the union more.
The text approved by the European Parliament denounces the Mexican leader’s “populist rhetoric in daily press conferences”, which he uses to “denigrate and intimidate independent journalists, media owners and activists”, which “generates an environment of ceaseless agitation against independent journalists.” MEPs also accused the president of creating “a state-owned platform to showcase, stigmatize and attack the critical press.” The platform to which the text refers is the space Who is who of the lies on Wednesday mornings, where reports or columns critical of the Government and their authors are shown.
López Gil believes that the harsh reply to the Mexican president’s resolution “is not worthy of a head of state but rather that of a populist haranguing his followers.” In the opinion of the Venezuelan, the text approved this Thursday by the EU hemicycle treats the Mexican president with respect, and the use of the term “populist” only supposes a “qualification of his oratory”, concludes the father of the well-known Venezuelan opponent Leopoldo López Mendoza, exiled in Spain since 2020.
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