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Implementation to Foster Change

Ángel Junquera - Junquera y Forcada
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Wed, 02/21/2018 - 09:05

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The reforms approved by the Mexican Congress during the first years of President Peña Nieto’s administration represent a before and an after in the country’s history. The challenge for the next occupant of Los Pinos will be implementing these reforms in a way that delivers the expected results, says Ángel Junquera, Founder of law firm Junquera y Forcada. “The reforms represent an enormous legislative change. The objectives outlined during the campaign were achieved, but for all the legislative changes, implementation still has a long way to go.”

While some reforms are progressing and generating positive results, such as the Energy Reform, there are others that are equally important but whose implementation has been delayed. This is the case of the Criminal Justice Reform. In 2008, the Mexican Congress approved a constitutional reform aimed at changing the face of justice in the country. However, according to Junquera, the accusatory criminal system shows deficiencies nine years after its approval. “There was no investment in training, hence the country has not been able to enforce an adequate implementation of the reform.”

The application of a comprehensive Justice Reform is an issue that addresses several subjects and directly affects investment in the country in addition to the impact on legal certainty. “For those who have done business in Mexico and who have experienced the judicial process, the perception is that local judicial bodies tend to overlook the law. However, once the conflict escalates to the federal level, there is greater professionalism and respect for the rule of law,” says Junquera. “We have to make a clearer effort to strengthen, professionalize, revise and sanction local judicial bodies.”

Junquera believes that the Mexican Congress has overlooked two pillars of the new legal system the country is working on: the appointment of an anticorruption prosecutor and the creation of a new, independent Attorney General’s Office. “If corruption is the condition that hurts Mexican Society the most, it is unacceptable that the SNA has not been completed and the anticorruption prosecutor has not been designated,” says Junquera. “On paper, the creation of the SNA and also the new Attorney’s General Office was perfect; however, problems emerged from the moment of implementation.”

While the Justice Reform is among the most pressing issues, Junquera says the most neglected is the Educational Reform. “The Educational Reform is fundamental for the future of the country. It is the main vehicle of transformation. Without it, we will not change anything,” he says. It is true that several advances have been made, but Junquera believes that the reform has yet to reach small communities. “We have to make sure that the reform is implemented in the most unattended states and municipalities of the country.” He believes the proper implementation of the Educational Reform will create new opportunities. “In Mexico, we tend to disdain technical careers, but those are among the country’s most in-demand fields.”

Ensuring the implementation of Mexico’s rule of law and the reforms has always been one of Mexico’s opportunity areas. However, Junquera says that these are just symptoms of a larger disease: the lack of political cultural in Mexican society. “Citizens must demand clear governmental accountability, but we do not do it. I would dare say that less than 1 percent of the country’s population knows the name of their representatives at both the local and federal levels. Hence, only a small percentage of the population complains to their representatives.”

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