Playing hardball and crossing a line!

Yesterday (Tuesday) morning, a recording of a private telephone call between the President of Mexico’s National Electoral Institute (INE) and the organization’s executive secretary was leaked to the public. In the call which took place in April, INE head Lorenzo Córdova tells his colleague about a meeting he had with indigenous leaders and mocks the way one of them was speaking.

Definitely, what Córdova said in the phone call, was offensive and – if you want to use that concept – not politically correct. INE’s function is to make sure that parties in Mexico act according to the rules and that elections are organized in a free, fair and effective way. There are elections coming up in less than three weeks, on 7 June. Córdova very often seems like a mum telling her fighting children to stop and behave – campaigning can be a messy business in Mexico. I still have not found out which institution fulfills the role of INE in my country, Germany. I actually think, there is no one counterpart, but that responsibilities are held by different bodies, if at all. Maybe politicians also just stick to the rules more there. In México, compliance with and enforcement of the law are some of the biggest problems.

We all know that we live in a world where government institutions such as the secret service survey phone calls, messages, emails, etc. By doing so, they infringe on basic human rights, for example our right to privacy. That is not okay, and in a lot of parts of the world there are debates going on as to how far surveillance should go. Usually the argument of those using these techniques is that they are necessary for protecting national security. I do not think that the head of Mexico`s national electoral body should fall under this category.

We also know that there are, let’s call them “free agents”, who know how to infringe on people’s privacy. Making a private phone call public, however, is even a step further. INE yesterday filed a formal penal complaint, so it will be up to the attorney general’s office to find out who did the recording and who leaked it. Taken Córdova’s position, it seems the most likely that some party official has decided to play hardball. What he or she might not have considered is that with choosing the action he or she did, a line was crossed!

Mexico’s democracy is already plagued by corruption, cronyism and elected officials’ indifference to the people they represent. It is under severe threat from organized crime. Now another unlawful instrument has made its way into the toolbox of some acting in the political arena. I hope that investigators find the culprit – because he or she has not only damaged Mr. Córdova or the INE, but the whole country.

More on the story can be found here:

http://www.animalpolitico.com/2015/05/ine-denuncia-ante-pgr-filtracion-de-llamada-en-que-lorenzo-cordova-se-burla-de-indigenas/

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