Against common sense and republican tradition, the designation of the new attorney general wasn't checked out with the Senate, where the appointment must be confirmed. Among senators, the naming of Arturo Chávez Chávez caused surprise. But above all that the president didn't even take the trouble to lobby caused a great deal of head-scratching. Now, various sources in the Senate (where Felipe Calderón doesn't have a majority) tell us that the appointment of the ex-attorney general of Chihuahua is at risk. In any event, Chávez Chávez provokes irritation in a wide swath of civil society. Let's not forget that he served as attorney general during the governorship of Francisco Barrio Terrazas, and at that point the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the National Commission on Human Rights, Amnesty International, the UN, and many other organizations requested everything from his removal to a jury trial for his contempt, from the final years of the 1990s and 2002, for various recommendations about the murder of women in Ciudad Juárez. The governments of Mexico, Chihuahua, and Juárez were implored to hold Chávez Chávez responsible on numerous occasions. And now the president names him attorney general without even consulting the other branch of government. How should this decision be taken? Is there something that hasn't been communicated to everyone else?Ouch. I don't know anything about Chávez's performance in Chihuahua and therefore I'll have to reserve comment on that element of the controversy. But as to the rest of it, if the Senate sources are correct, it's hard to imagine that Calderón, a former federal legislator, would ignore established protocol, especially given the inevitably controversial nature of the nominee, simply because it slipped from his radar screen. So how should this be taken? If the above is true, I'd say as a sign that Calderón has no intention of altering his execution of Mexico's federal security policy, election results be damned.
Along those lines, the Wall Street Journal (H/T) has a quote in its rundown of the changes from Jorge Montaño:
Jorge Montaño, a former ambassador to the U.S. and a native of Chihuahua, said Mr. Chávez did a good job, but lamented that the president hadn't reached out beyond the ranks of the PAN. "It's all the same gang," he said.Like Obama with Robert Gates, this seems like it would have been the right post at the right time to hand over to a member of the opposition.