Marcelo Ebrard defends that the transfer of the ‘Cienfuegos case’ to Mexico “is not an act of impunity”

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Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard has put his chest out on Tuesday after the unexpected announcement that Salvador Cienfuegos, accused of drug trafficking and money laundering, will be returned by the US Justice. The withdrawal of charges against Enrique Peña Nieto’s Secretary of Defense and his imminent transfer to Mexico, an unprecedented event in the diplomatic history between the two countries, has been defended as a victory resulting from a negotiation express. “We do not see it as an act of impunity but rather as an act of respect for Mexico and our armed forces,” said the person in charge of Foreign Relations during a press conference after the joint statement by both prosecutors announcing the agreement.

General Cienfuegos, the highest authority in the Mexican Army during the last PRI government (2012-2018), was arrested on October 15 at the Los Angeles airport, causing a political earthquake in Mexico, which he then complained that he had not been reported by the US authorities until the moment of arrest. The Mexican diplomatic machinery was activated immediately according to the chancellor’s account. Barely a month has passed from the arrest to the agreement announced Tuesday. A month of vertigo in the offices of the Foreign Ministry.

Ebrard detailed this Tuesday the schedule of the insistent negotiations, which included up to three communications with the US ambassador and attorney general, William Barr, showing “the surprise and discontent” of Mexico for not having been informed of the investigation. Including a formal diplomatic note underlining the alliance of the two countries on organized crime.

On October 30, the Foreign Ministry received the desired response, according to Ebrard. A DEA official letter with an attached document of more than 700 pages that contained the full investigation against Cienfuegos. The documentation was sent to the FGR, which after examining it again requested the prosecution that the US authorities also share the evidence of the investigation. “On November 11, the FGR received all the evidence provided by the DEA,” confirmed Ebrard.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador himself charged the day after the general’s arrest against the DEA and announced an imminent judicial investigation in Mexico through the Attorney General’s Office (FGR). Something that has not yet happened in relation to the case of Genaro García Luna, Felipe Calderón’s Secretary of Security (2006-2012), which is only advancing in the New York courts, and which has become an uncomfortable mirror of the case. from Cienfuegos. Given the neutrality shown from the beginning in the case of García Luna, the diplomatic machinery was activated immediately after the general’s arrest.

“If the acts that are imputed to him were committed in Mexico, why are they going to have to be tried abroad?”, The foreign minister added this Tuesday. An argument that clashes not only with the case of García Luna, also accused of working for organized crime facilitating the distribution of drugs from Mexico to the United States, but with the entire long list of members of the Mexican cartels, such as Joaquín El Chapo Guzmán, who have been extradited to the United States.

Ebrard also announced that the US Prosecutor’s Office will formally withdraw the charges tomorrow, Wednesday, before the judge who has so far handled the case in New York. Step prior to the transfer of the general to Mexico. The agreement between the two prosecutors represents one of the last negotiations between the governments of López Obrador and Donald Trump, two politicians apparently ideologically antagonistic, but who in recent times have staged an unexpected personal and diplomatic harmony.

The investigation in Mexican territory promised by the president is already a fact, opening the door to a foreseeable new high-voltage trial in the country, as is already being the case against Emilio Lozoya, the former CEO of Pemex accused of corruption in the Odebretch case. Both cases increasingly narrow the fence of Justice on Peña Nieto. In addition, the case of Cienfuegos has meant a torpedo on the waterline of the Mexican Army, which has become one of the fundamental pillars of López Obrador, which has expanded its power and influence as never before.

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