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The Cienfuegos case: announced chronicle of impunity in Mexico

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PHOTO: MARIO JASSO / CUARTOSCURO

Yesterday, the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic (FGR) announced that after analyzing the evidence sent by the North American authorities, as well as the evidence provided by General Cienfuegos, it was concluded that he did not hold meetings or have communication with any criminal group, therefore, not having sufficient evidence against him, it determined that he could not exercise criminal action against him.

Despite how implausible it may seem to us the decision of the FGR, I think almost all of us imagined that this was going to happen. Except for a few like Chancellor Ebrard, who said that not judging Cienfuegos would be almost a suicide or like John Ackerman who claimed that the arrest of Cienfuegos had been a forceful blow of Q4To the rest of us, the announcement seemed expected, but hasty and even with a tone of derision.

Regarding the decision not to criminally prosecute General Cienfuegos, I have several questions that will never be answered, but that will not mean that I will stop asking. For example: what were the elements that the FGR dismissed from the investigation carried out by the Americans? Which – I will never tire of saying it – was carried out for several years and by agents who take their work very seriously, being scrapped from head to toe by the FGR that, since it was configured as such, it has demonstrated time and again its inefficiency, lack of diligence and technical ignorance but, above all, its full and indisputable obedience to the chief executive. Indeed, this body was the one that, in less than two months, managed to dismiss an investigation that took years to complete.

Another question would be What evidence did Cienfuegos provide to refute the accusations of the US prosecutor’s office? Will those also be made public by the Mexican government?

Why was this case treated from the beginning by the Mexican authorities as an eminently political case? Cienfuegos was an official in the Peña Nieto administration, an administration that Q4 has not tired of calling dishonesteven purging its ranks of those who worked in that administration. Why protect this official? Or is it that the president’s spoiled institution is being protected?

What did the Mexican government commit to do or not do when it negotiated with the Americans to dismiss the Cienfuegos affair? ¿Why were Prosecutor Barr and Judge Amon so sure that the authorities of one of the countries with the highest rates of impunity in the world would investigate and prosecute a former secretary of state and member of the army for drug trafficking and corruption?

What are the agents of the DEA that for years carried out the investigation and that, in addition, today they were accused of fabricating a case against General Cienfuegos? Why would they make a case for you?

How, after this, will the federal executive continue to have the guts to say that it is fighting corruption and impunity? How is it that with this precedent they will sustain their “moral chart” and have the audacity to carry out a consultation on the investigation of past crimes against former presidents?

What this case makes clear to us is that there are untouchable people and institutions, it does not matter that there is evidence, call it a file, videos or documents against them, because they will not even “stage” a long investigation, since, as we have seen, they have the impudence of simply and simply dismissing it as soon as possible, while the good and wise people continue to justify their works.

* María de los Ángeles Estrada has a law degree from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) and a master’s degree in International Law from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy of the University of TUFTS, in Massachusetts.

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Ben Oakley
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