Florence Cassez and the true face of the Mexican justice
The Florence Cassez’s case is unprecedented in recent Mexican justice. The so called promise of change that the right wing party, the National Action Party (PAN), bragged by its 2000 presidential candidate and former Mexican president Vicente Fox, never came. After a decade in power of the right wing it seems that the country is in a constant decline and becoming into the worst version of the Revolutionary Institutional Party’s regime (PRI). What it should have been the overthrow of a political regime of more then seven decades, where corruption, injustice, human rights abuses and anti-democratic practices prevailed, the political transition of 2000 just reinforced this.
Florence Cassez is not the only person to be lock up in jail unfairly, there are many Mexicans being sent to jail for not committing a crime. The only differences of the Frenchwoman’s case with the other cases, was that she had a TV arrest with political implications and above all an overseas impact. This in some way has brought to the public attention the inefficient and corrupt Mexican justice system and of high rank government officials.
With the drug war and the fight against the organized crime, President Felipe Calderon’s government seems to be in a constant race to detain members of drug gang and dismantle kidnapping gangs at all costs, no matter if in the process they sent innocents to prison. This urgency is due to counteract the perceptions of a large number of Mexicans that strongly believes that the drug war and the fight against the organized crime is lost.
The Florence Cassez controversy
The denial to grant Florence Cassez’s final appeal on February 10th, was the straw that broke the camel’s back between Mexico and France. Many opinion leaders and public personalities expressed in the press their outrage that French president, Nicolas Sarkozy decided to dedicate the ‘Year of Mexico in France’ to the Frenchwoman, three times convicted for her “involvement” in the kidnapped of three people, or as the local media labeled her as “La secuestradora francesa” (The French kidnapper), long before she was trial. They also blame French president Sarkozy of politicize the case. There is no doubt that this case was politicized, but not by the French government, but by the Mexican authorities.
Anyone that revised the 10,000 pages of the case dossier, in which the 36 year old Frenchwomen is just mention in 20 pages, and have a little common sense will notice that Florence Cassez was convicted, based only in the victims statements where they incriminated her, and it is fair to say, that this happened couple months later, after the defendant revealed by phone on national television, during the TV show "Punto de Partida" (Televisa) hosted by Denise Maerker, that her real arrest took place a day before her televised arrest. Beyond that, we should all raise the question, why didn’t the authorities and judges took into account the remaining 9,980 documents of the dossier where Miss Cassez isn’t mention? It’s more then evident that they didn’t investigated the others that are involved and were pointed out by the victims, and included on the case dossier. It is still hard to believe that the gang of "Los Zodiacos" operated only with just two members, can that even be considered as organized crime?!
After following closely and studying the case for the past three years, I have no doubt that this case turned out to be more of a revenge from the Mexican authorities against Florence Cassez instead of doing justice. It all looks that it was simply unacceptable and intolerable for the authorities and especially for the masterminds of the televised rescue operation, that a foreigner woman placed them on a uncomfortable and embarrassing position on national television, that they had no other choice but to accept that, what the Mexicans saw that morning of December 9th 2005 on their television screens was, what they like to call, a “recreation” by request of journalists.
What if, hypothetically speaking, Florence Cassez would have stayed quiet and not confront publicly to the high rank police officials, probably she would be freed discreetly and anyone would have known. The major concern of all this, is the fact that the Mexican judicial systems deliberated in this case in particularly in favor of the interests of the executive branch, as it was reported on the Mexican weekly magazine “Proceso” edition #1790 20/02/11. Where it points out that the private secretary of President Calderon held a private meeting with the ministers of the Supreme Court of Justice, to warn them that if the appeal is granted to Florence Cassez, “not only the Secretary of Public Security would go down but also the government’s fight against the organized crime”. Despite all of these, they are expecting to convince not only the Mexican public opinion, but the French government as well, that the Mexican justice is hundred percent independent and trustworthy.