Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Spain's supreme court denies political asylum to Mexican family fleeing drug cartel threats

Guadalajara -
Spain's highest court has denied an asylum petition filed by a Mexican national who alleged that he and his family are being "persecuted" by narcotics traffickers.

The man was identified in court papers only as Luis Alberto V.H., with no hometown listed. He claims that he and his family were ultimately forced to abandon Mexico due to threats by organized crime, which culminated in the kidnapping of one of his sons. The man, a bank employee, alleged in his legal petition that cartel operatives repeatedly demanded detailed information on the bank's clients, including names, addresses and account balances.

In addition to the narcotics industry, Mexican drug cartels generate huge revenues from commercial extortion and kidnapping for ransom. Almost all of the victims of those crimes are Mexican citizens.

After the Spanish Foreign Ministry denied Luis Alberto's asylum application he filed suit in a Madrid court, but lost the case. His appeal to the Audiencia Nacional, a tribunal of special jurisdiction which reviews rulings and determinations of government ministers, was also rejected. The Supreme Court upheld the Audiencia, finding that the petitioner failed to prove his claims of political persecution, the legal standard for asylum in Spain and many other countries. Mere fear of common crime in one's own country, ruled both courts, is never sufficient to warrant asylum, no matter how legitimate or well founded that fear may be.

"We find no evidence of persecution for political, ethnic or religious reasons which would entitle the applicant to an award of asylum - only the fear of ordinary crime," concluded the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court also held that Luis Alberto had failed to prove that Mexican authorities were incapable of or unwilling to protect him and his family from the threat of domestic narco violence. The latter is a familiar complaint throughout Mexico, where "crime with impunity" is a theme continually addressed by politicians, the press, from the pulpit and by ordinary citizens. Public confidence in duly constituted law enforcement is so low in some areas that communities have taken matters into their own hands. Mexico's troublesome policías comunitarias prompt some to argue Failed State theories.

The Mexican government did not participate in the litigation, but the allegations of an ordinary citizen that it is unable to protect its own nationals from organized crime won't help the country's already compromised security reputation. The nine month old administration of president Enrique Peña Nieto, who campaigned on a promise to drastically reduce violence in the first 100 days of his administration but later said he would need at least a year, has suffered major embarrassments in recent weeks.

July 28 - Mexican vice admiral killed in further Michoacán violence
May 23 - Fiasco in Michoacán suggests little has changed under new government
Apr. 21 - Mexican drug cartels have their tentacles in Canada
Apr. 12 - Mexican drug cartels have strong foothold in Europe

© MGRR 2013. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.

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