Mexican president's appointments to posts raise questions
Mar. 03, 2015
MEXICO CITY (AP) — President Enrique Pena faced new pressure Tuesday, this time for his choices for attorney general and to fill a vacant seat on Mexico's highest court.
Questions arose over Pena Nieto's nomination of Arely Gomez to replace Jesus Murillo Karam as attorney general because she's the sister of top Televisa news executive Leopoldo Gomez.
Pena Nieto has been criticized for close ties to the television giant, including his marriage to first lady Angelica Rivera. Rivera, an actress, acknowledged last year that she made $10 million from Televisa the year she retired and received a house from the network.
Leopoldo Gomez denied in a newspaper column Tuesday that he had any influence over his sister's career.
"Nobody can supply one single piece of evidence that links my career and hers," Leopoldo Gomez wrote. "We are united by blood. But we each have our own careers."
Later Tuesday, the Senate approved Gomez's appointment as attorney general 106 votes to 5 with three abstentions.
Eyebrows were also raised over Pena Nieto's nomination of Mexico's ambassador to the United States for a vacant seat on the Supreme Court.
Opponents say Ambassador Eduardo Medina Mora filed legally questionable cases while attorney general from 2006-2009, many of which were later thrown out because of procedural problems, unreliable witnesses or insufficient evidence.
Under Medina Mora, federal prosecutors arrested 12 mayors and 23 other officials in the western state of Michoacan in 2009 on charges they aided a drug gang. All 35 were later acquitted and released.
A purge of allegedly corrupt federal law enforcement officials also carried out under Medina Mora's watch later fell apart. Almost all of those implicated — many by apparently unreliable secret witnesses — were acquitted or had charges against them dismissed.
At a Senate committee meeting Monday to evaluate the three nominees for the Supreme Court position, Sen. Dolores Padierna told Medina Mora that his record suggests "you do not respect the rule of law."
Medina Mora also drew criticism for his terms as head of the country's top intelligence-gathering agency — Mexico's equivalent of the CIA — and as head of federal police in the 2000s.
"The chain of acts and omissions by Medina Mora during his previous government jobs repeatedly shows an attitude contrary to human rights and the best interest of the Mexican people," according to the feminist group Network for Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Mexico.
Medina Mora defended his record.
"Certainly there are lessons that must be learned," Medina Mora said about his office's use of secret witnesses, who are usually in a federal protection program and whose names are withheld from court proceedings.