The inhibiting effects on freedom of expression can take various forms and have different reasons.
Many times, the common denominator of the various inhibiting effects on freedom of expression, in its different forms, is a weak rule of law, its differentiated application -of the rule of law-, weak institutions and social relations in which the stronger makes its position prevail, regardless of the brackets that the law imposes nor, most importantly, the moral and ethical limits in acting, even when it is not the case of the appointments of the Mexican foreign service.
In Mexico, the appointment by the President of the Republic of ambassadors, ambassadors and consuls general who were at the time PRI governors have been made visible.
The PRI’s national leadership has indicated through its social networks that the public servants, future members of the Mexican foreign service, violated its internal statutes and that it would analyze whether or not they would be expelled.
The Mexican foreign service according to the Law of the same name depends on the Federal Executive and although it is true, career personnel should be preferred, the truth is that this law also contemplates temporary personnel and assimilated personnel.
As regards temporary staff, which would be the case of former PRI governors and former governors, according to article 7 of the Mexican Foreign Service Law, they cannot exceed 18% of the total number of diplomats.
They must also have the favorable opinion of the Personnel Commission and can only last in their position, a maximum of 6 years. The law is clear in the sense that they cannot be considered as career personnel of the Foreign Service and that their functions cease automatically at the end of their commission, as well as that they have the same obligations, for the duration of their appointment, as career personnel. .
There are a series of requirements that are contemplated both in the law and in its regulations so that temporary staff can be considered career, but the important thing at this time is to see why the President of the Republic is appointing former governors priistas in these positions.
Perhaps one of the greatest honors that any national can have is to represent their country abroad, especially in the position of ambassador.
The goal of every career diplomat and the dream of many public servants is to become a consul or ambassador.
Being able to serve Mexico, in a foreign nation carrying the name of the country on high, represents an honor.
In addition, diplomats must show their best personal credentials to generate good and healthy international relations.
Mexico, from abroad, must be served under the principles of “transversality, coordination, coherence and professionalization of the diplomatic function,… [así como] under the principles of transparency and accountability, respect and promotion of human rights, strengthening of gender equality, as well as political neutrality and loyalty to the Mexican State and adherence to the normative principles of Mexican foreign policy” as provided in the article 1 of the Mexican Foreign Service Law.
So, being a high distinction, when the position is offered to permanently represent the Mexican State before other nations, or to serve nationals in other countries, it is very difficult to reject it. Especially if you take into account that people act in a rational way depending on the incentives that are offered to them.
One of the possible readings, for which President López Obrador in this second half of his government, has offered these high commissions to PRI members, particularly opponents, is to generate calls for attention in other or other governors who hindered his management in the past. . With this call, they will possibly stop objecting to the actions of the federal government, whether in matters of public safety, distribution of the budget, or simply to minimize the replies of the opposition.
The message may be that there is a prize for those who allow government in the terms requested by the president. Whether this is appropriate or not is not the subject of this article, if in politics, for some, anything goes, neither is it.
Another possible reason is to divide the PRI and apply the motto “divide and conquer.” The discontent within the PRI national leadership and the threats of expulsion, the only thing they do is divide that political party. What they should do is feel proud that they elected their governors to represent Mexico abroad and close ranks in their favor. However, it is also complex when the offer of these commissions generates, by itself, an inhibiting effect on freedom of expression, in the rest of the opposition governors. For the President of the Republic, however, it may be a governability strategy.
These hypotheses could be confirmed, for example, with the case of former PRI governor Quirino Ordaz Coppel, who, according to a note of The country from September 11, 2021, was an opponent of the government of President López Obrador. Once his high and honorable diplomatic post was announced, criticism from opposition governors subsided.
In addition, the fact of announcing publicly, months in advance, the diplomatic commissions, as the President does, puts all appointments under public scrutiny so that any past action of the future diplomat or diplomat comes to the surface.
This filter of public opinion is perhaps one of the strongest of all, because public scrutiny leaves no room for error, sometimes in good faith, other times in bad faith and with hidden interests behind, but for one reason or another everything it becomes visible.
For example, within this public scrutiny, acts of corruption can come to the fore, even matters of sexual harassment, prohibited by law, which, if committed during the exercise of diplomatic functions, can lead to administrative responsibility, as mandates article 58, section XV of the Mexican Foreign Service Law, which provides that “[i]A non-serious administrative irregularity will occur if, in the exercise of their functions as a Member of the Foreign Service, they fail to comply with any of the obligations set forth in article 49 of the General Law of Administrative Responsibilities, as well as when they carry out acts or omissions that constitute any of the following behaviors: (…) XV. Incurring in lack of probity or honesty, acts of violence, threats, insults, harassment or sexual harassment and workplace harassment, in accordance with the provisions of the General Law of Women’s Access to a Life Free of Violence and other applicable provisions, and …”, -what is striking is that the law qualifies the conduct as not serious, when it is of the greatest seriousness-, as happened with one of the appointments proposed by the President of the Republic on January 18, 2022 for the embassy in Panama that was accused in the institution where he taught by his students of sexual harassment and that apparently was what led him to resign from the educational institution in which he worked.
The importance of public scrutiny and the time in which the president announces the public positions when they are given, lies in this, that everything comes out. The problem can become that the principle of presumption of innocence to which every person is entitled is not respected.
However, what is important in this reflection is that perhaps behind each appointment there is a need to generate, through these incentives, governability by reducing the effects of opposition.
So that, both for the governors of other political parties to stop facing each other, and for governance to exist, the prizes for offering temporary positions in the Mexican foreign service are so honorable for any national, that they can hardly be rejected, however, on the other hand, they can be a political strategy, so that there is no opposition at the state level to federal public policies on the most sensitive social issues such as public safety issues, sustainable economic growth, inflation, social security issues -such as the access and supply of medicines, medical and hospital care- and public policies that guarantee the right to a healthy environment.
In any case, if there is silence at the state level, opposition governors could be taken into account to be appointed ambassadors or consuls and serve their country from there.