Yazmín Esquivel’s thesis and the chain of plagiarism. Pandora’s box opens

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Let’s imagine the case of a young lady, a law student, maybe 23 or 24 years old, who must submit a thesis to graduate. Perhaps she already has a job, her life at that time is not easy, and her thesis advisor makes her an offer to solve “fix” her “thesis problem.

The young intern accepts and pays for this “arrangement,” and eventually graduates. Years go by, and life takes the lawyer to new and distant professional horizons while simultaneously studying a master’s and doctorate degrees. Finally, her talent, more than 35 years of experience as a public servant, participation in the three levels of government, or perhaps her connections took her to the Supreme Court of Justice, the highest tribune of the country. In February 2019, she was proposed by president Andres Manuel López Obrador as minister of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation and ratified by the Senate of the Republic.

Life is looking good, and so does the future, except for a journalistic investigation published on December 21, 2022, which points out that the minister plagiarized her law degree thesis at the UNAM. The investigation shows copying of a previous work entitled: “Inoperability of the unions in the trust workers of Article 123 Section A”, whose original author is Edgar Ulises Báez Gutiérrez, in 1986. These two theses can be reviewed in the TESIUNAM Digital, in the “Dirección General de Bibliotecas, departamento de tesis.”

Word for word, they are two identical works. They share not only the table of contents, introduction, and chapters but, even more pathetic, the same spelling and grammatical errors. The only difference between these two works is that, in the original thesis, the author Edgar Ulises Baez Gutierrez includes fieldwork that Minister Esquivel’s thesis needs to have.

Yazmín Esquivel (Photo: Plano Informativo)


This opens a can of worms. According to an investigation by the Spanish newspaper “El País,” there is another thesis exactly like the 1986 thesis and Esquivel’s, presented in 1993 by Juan Carlos Blanco Silva. Who was, until 2018, an agent of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, assigned to the Prosecutor’s Office for the Investigation of Crimes Committed by Public Servants of the PGJDF. Now with the title “Sindicato para los trabajadores de confianza,” this thesis demonstrates a situation of corruption so far unsuspected but not uncommon in this country. The corruption points to the thesis advisors since the works of Baez Gutierrez and Esquivel have Martha Rodriguez as an advisor, while the thesis of Juan Carlos Blanco Silva to Maria Estela Gonzalez Vidal. The same paper was submitted three times but by two different professors.

When “El País” went further into their investigation of theses related to the subject of “trust workers,” they found the thesis of Rodolfo César Navarro López in 2008 and that of Juan Carlos Martínez Mendoza in 2010, both authorized by Martha Rodríguez. In the same way, copied exactly, identically, about 25 pages corresponding to the chapter “Antecedents of trade unions.” The most pathetic is a grammatical error that has been repeated throughout the years in these plagiarisms: the same comma misplaced between subject and predicate in five theses of the UNAM: “English trade unionism recognizes antecedents,” found on page 17 in 1986, on page 14 in 1987, on page 20 in 1993, on page 56 in 2008 and on page 11 in 2010.

If this were to happen in a country with a high rule of law, there would be consequences from the slightest one, which could be a reprimand, the obligation to redo the thesis again with another topic, to the possible revocation of your professional degree. This last scenario could trigger many other factors for Minister Esquivel, such as the loss of her professional license, the invalidation of her master’s and doctorate degrees, the review of her rulings, and, of course, her departure from the Supreme Court.

Esquivel has tried to minimize what has happened, to no avail. Using Twitter, she has published a series of documents from colleagues that validate and endorse her professional trajectory. Unfortunately, it has not helped much. The Twitter community has been merciless and has presented evidence of how the texts are identical, word for word.

Esquivel’s situation does not look like an easy way out, especially since she aspired to take the place that Minister Saldívar would leave on December 31. Yasmín Esquivel was seen as the candidate for López Obrador and the 4T. Of the ministers who ran for the position, Norma Piña, Alberto Pérez Dayán, Alfredo Gutiérrez Ortiz Mena, and Javier Laynez, she was considered to be the person closest to López Obrador due to her marked trajectory, the record of rulings, and votes.

Now, the outlook darkens for the minister and AMLO since it is difficult for the other ministers to accept a president who would always be questioned. Moreover, the renewal of the SCJN presidency will be very different after having had, during the last four years, a president who was perhaps too close and complacent to López Obrador. Now the ministers will have to weigh the remaining candidates’ trajectories, backgrounds, and styles, which will not include closeness to AMLO.

So far, the president has not come to the defense of Yazmín Esquivel, whom he chose to join the Supreme Court in 2019, only the text servers in the service of the 4t.

One thing is certain: For the time being, the 4T’s attempt to take control of the Judicial Branch seems distant, although if there is something demonstrated in this government, it is that they are willing to blackmail or coerce to get their way. In the meantime, this story still has many more places to go.

For Times Media Mexico

José E. Urioste
Merida Yucatan, Mexico
December 23, 2022

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