Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mexican Attorney General resigns

Mexico’s Attorney General resigned for the second time since President Felipe Calderon assumed power in late 2006.

Arturo Chavez Chavez cited personal reasons for his resignation on Thursday as Mexico’s chief law enforcement official. He served for eighteen months during a period when drug-related violence continued to escalate. His work came under increased scrutiny this month after Wikileaks revealed a September 2009 cable where U.S. diplomats blasted Chavez as "a less capable political operator...stymied by his considerable human rights baggage."

Chavez also came under fire this year with the uncovering of the "Fast and Furious" operation where U.S. law enforcement agencies illicitly permitted gun smuggling into Mexico with the purpose of tracking the activities of drug gangs.

Chavez’ resignation opens the doors for Mexico’s first female Attorney General. Calderon named investigative prosecutor Marisela Morales to the post with the aim of deepening “the strategic role of the attorney general's office, in particular in the fight against organized crime". Morales, who was a co-recipient of the State Department’s International Women of Courage award, is best known for creating Mexico's first federal witness-protection program and combating police corruption.

Morales’ appointment needs to be confirmed by Mexico’s Senate that is considering a reform that would allow the legislature and not the executive to select the Attorney General. It’s unknown how long the confirmation process will take or whether it will be as contentious as the one for Chavez. (The former top prosecutor for Chihuahua was criticized during confirmation hearings for botching up investigations into the murders of women in Ciudad Juarez).

The following video from Mexican daily El Universal delves into Calderon’s announcing of Morales as the nominee for the next Attorney General:

Video Source – El Universal via YouTube
Online Sources- Voice of America, Canadian Press, CNN, The Latin Americanist, El Universal, BBC News,

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