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There is an Absence of Rule of Law in Mexico

The book “Rebuilding State Institutions. Challenges for Democratic Rule of Law in Mexico,” co-edited by Dr. Juan Antonio Le Clercq Ortega, a professor at Universidad de las Américas Puebla, was presented to the public. This book describes how contemporary Mexico faces a complex crisis of violence and insecurity with high levels of impunity and the absence of an effective rule of law.

Several experts on the topic presented and commented this book. Starting the conversation, Dr. Sergio García Ramírez, from UNAM’s Institute of Legal Research, said that this is a book with an extensive and complete outlook of the rule of law and its implications in different areas. “Reading the book leaves one with the painful sensation that we are not doing well, that we are not heading in the right direction, and that problems abound in this area. The entire book looks to the future and its different outcomes; but if things continue as they are, according to this book, the future is complicated. The name of the book itself suggests that the rule of law has deteriorated and that we need to rebuild it,” he explained.

Dr. Luis Daniel Vázquez, from the Latin American Faculty of Social Science in Mexico, another presenter, said that “the text is divided in three parts, the first one explaining the concept of rule of law. The second part, Explaining the Fragility of the Mexican Rule of Law, is in effect a diagnosis, and it is what makes us lament that the diagnosis is not good: all measures indicate that Latin America is in last place regarding this and, while Mexico is not the last country, our country is at the bottom. The third section talks about structural reforms, the challenges of implementing them, and how we can manage to build a true rule of law.”

Even if the book has a very marked academic focus, it also includes the participation of NGOs that are linked to the processes of building evaluation mechanisms for specific interventions, explained Dr. Le Clercq. “We have a chapter in which World Justice Project participates, where they discuss their methodology to measure the rule of law. We also have a collaboration of México Evalúa,” said Dr. Le Clercq, before yielding the floor to María Novoa, one of the authors and an expert on how criminal systems function.

María Novoa explained that the book compiles a series of essays that seek to converge on three elements: “how we understand the rule of law, what specific problems we should address in that definition, and what could be done, socially and legally, to establish or re-establish a balance in the country. From the start we consider that there is an absence of state of law in Mexico. Specifically, in the case of Mexico, the rule of law is a dream,” she added.

During his intervention, Dr. José Pablo Abreu Sacramento thanked Springer and UDLAP, and specifically the students who helped in the translation and revision processes: “as students, I hope that they have learned from this process.” On the other hand, he explained that “what this book leaves for me is that we may have invested money in new institutions, wasting a lot of time and effort to approve reforms, but we forgot to strengthen another part of this game, which is society. Citizens report only 7% (of crimes) and if Mexicans are not participating in strengthening the rule of law, we cannot enjoy this right nor achieve a common good”.

Finally, once the guests’ participation finished, Dr. Juan Antonio Le Clercq Ortega explained that after two years of hard work and enormous challenges, he is very satisfied with this book, thanks to the quality of its collaborators. Published by Springer Editorial, this book is currently available online only, but in the following months it will be published in print.