wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy Privacy
Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07MEXICO1925
2007-04-19 15:10:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Mexico
Cable title:  

MEXICAN JUDICIAL AND EXECUTIVE AUTHORITIES

Tags:   ELAB  ECON  PHUM  PGOV  PINR  MX 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO0827
PP RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHM RUEHHO RUEHJO RUEHMC RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHPOD
RUEHRD RUEHRS RUEHTM
DE RUEHME #1925/01 1091510
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 191510Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY MEXICO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6501
RUEHOT/AMEMBASSY OTTAWA 2286
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
INFO RUEHXC/ALL US CONSULATES IN MEXICO COLLECTIVE
RUEHXI/LABOR COLLECTIVE
RUEHQU/AMCONSUL QUEBEC 0013
RUEHON/AMCONSUL TORONTO 0024
RUEHVC/AMCONSUL VANCOUVER 0033
						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 MEXICO 001925 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR DRL/AWH AND ILCSR, WHA/MEX AND PPC, USDOL FOR ILAB

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB ECON PHUM PGOV PINR MX
SUBJECT: MEXICAN JUDICIAL AND EXECUTIVE AUTHORITIES
REINSTATE DEPOSED LEADER OF NATIONAL MINERS, UNION

REF: (A) 06 MEXICO 6655 (B) 06 MEXICO 6750 (C) MEXICO

0863

MEXICO 00001925 001.2 OF 004




1. SUMMARY: In a series of ongoing events, Mexican
authorities temporarily reinstated Napoleon Gomez Urrutia as
the leader of the National Miners Union, SNTMMSRM. This
reinstatement was followed by a national SNTMMSRM convention
on April 17, 2007, in which Gomez was then definitively
reaffirmed as the leader of the Miners, union. For now, the
authorities have left open the questions of the validity of
the outstanding embezzlement charges against Gomez for
allegedly mishandling 55 million dollars in union pension
funds; or who to hold accountable for the apparently
fraudulent documents that formed the basis for Gomez, 2006
removal from office. The consequences of the decision to
reinstate Gomez potentially have consequences for both the US
and Mexico. For the US, Gomez,s deposition is the subject of
a submission filed by United Steel Workers under the terms of
the NAFTA side agreement on labor. For Mexico, the main
opposition political party believes the country,s former
President and various members of his administration should
face criminal fraud charges. END SUMMARY.

Background


--------------------------





2. A long running dispute between two leaders within
Mexico,s National Union of Miners and Metalworkers,
SNTMMSRM, took a sharply different turn in February 2006 when
the administration of then President Vicente Fox became
involved. The leaders in question are Napoleon Gomez
Urrutia; the then officially recognized head of the Miners
Union, and a continual rival, Elias Morales Hernandez, a
long-time union official. The critical phase of the struggle
between these two men appears to have begun in 2002 when both
ran to become SNTMMSRM Secretary General, the union,s top
elected executive position. In this fight for union
leadership Gomez Urrutia,s main claim to fame was that he
was the son of the previous Secretary General, Napoleon Gomez
Sada. Morales, principal argument as to why he should be
Secretary General was that he had served for years as Gomez

SIPDIS
Sada,s main assistant during much of the former leader,s
time as head of the union. Ultimately Gomez won and became
the Secretary General of the SNTMMSRM.



3. After having served for four years as the recognized head
of the Miners, union, Gomez was ousted from his position as
Secretary General by Morales and his supporters on the

SIPDIS
union,s internal affairs unit, the Council on Vigilance and
Justice (CVJ), with the concurrence of the Fox
administration,s Labor Secretariat (STPS). The basis for
Gomez, removal was an allegation that he embezzled USD 55
million in union pension funds. The allegation was supported

by a document that reportedly contained the signatures of the
five members of the CVJ. At the time at least two members of
the CVJ claimed that their signatures had been forged but no
actions where taken to verify these claims. Instead, the Fox
administration Labor Secretariat withdrew its recognition of
Gomez as the head of the SNTMMSRN, supported various charges
against him in both state and federal courts and declared
Morales the new Secretary General of the miners, union. In
response to this GOM action, Gomez fled to Canada where has
continually proclaimed his innocence. However, Gomez has
never provided a convincing accounting of what happened to
the USD 55 million he allegedly mishandled and which was last
seen in one of the Mexican branches of a Canadian bank. This
entire affair took another bizarre turn in February 2007 when
the Governor of the northern Mexican state of Coahuila
accused now former President Fox of pressuring him in 2006 to
falsely accuse Gomez in a mine explosion which killed 65
people as further proof as why he was stripped of his union
leadership position.



4. Gomez, removal as the leader of the miners, union
generated a considerable amount of interest and controversy
in labor circles both within Mexico and internationally.
Most, although certainly not all, of the rank and file of the
Miners, union continued to support Gomez. Many of Mexico,s
more established unions came out in support of Gomez. On the
other hand, the CT (Congress of Labor), perhaps Mexico,s
largest federation of labor unions, is divided over whether
Gomez should be restored to his leadership position despite
the fact that the SNTMMSRN is a member of this coalition.

MEXICO 00001925 002.2 OF 004


Internationally, the United Steelworkers unions (USW) in both
the US and Canada strongly support Gomez. The USW went so
far as to file a public submission on SNTMMSRN's behalf under
the terms of the North American Agreement on Labor
Cooperation (NAALC), a side agreement to NAFTA. Moreover,
Gomez received considerable support from the International
Metalworkers Federation.

A New Administration Views The Case Differently


--------------------------

--



5. The question of who was the real leader of the miners,
union was one of the two major unresolved labor issues that
the outgoing Fox administration passed to its successor, the
government of now President Felipe Calderon in December 2006.
Once in office the Calderon government, particularly the
Secretary of Labor, Javier Lozano, moved quickly to solve the

SIPDIS
problem of miners, union leadership dispute. According to
what a senior STSP official diplomatically told post,s Labor
Counselor, the Calderon government believed that the problems
in the miners union were not handled as well as they could
have been by the previous administration. (Post notes that
both the former and the current administrations belong to
Mexico,s National Action Party (PAN).) The official implied
that the Fox administration needlessly took sides in an
internal union matter and then essentially cut off
communication with one side of the dispute. At the time of
the conversation with Labor Counselor in January 2007, the
official stated that the new administration had already
reestablished full communication with both sides and the
Labor Secretary Lozano,s plan was to eventually call for a
new national convention that would? properly determine the
leadership of the miners, union.

Judicial and Executive Authorities Begin To Move


--------------------------

---



6. In late February media reports began to surface
indicating that the Calderon government had decided to
investigate the 2006 claims made by members of the CVJ that
signatures on the document accusing Gomez of embezzlement had
been forged. Once the investigation began it was not long
before unofficially released results supported the claims of
forged signatures. By mid-March GOM investigators officially
declared that the signatures had been forged. The results of
this investigation were immediately turned over to the PGR,
the Mexican equivalent of the US Attorney General,s Office,
and to the appropriate judicial authorities for labor
matters. The PGR began its own investigation to prepare a
case to bring criminal fraud charges, and the judicial
authorities began deliberation on an appeal by Gomez,
lawyers to overturn the previous administration,s decision
to depose him from his union leadership position and to fully
reinstate him as the SNTMMSRN Secretary General.



7. On April 13 2007, following several weeks of
deliberation, the Fourth Court of the Mexico City First Labor
Circuit ruled that Napoleon Gomez Urrutia had been improperly
removed from his union position and that he should be
reinstated as SNTMMSRN no later than three work days
following the court decision. The court decision very
clearly did not rule that Gomez was the undisputed leader of
the miners, union but only that there was no basis for
removing him from the position the GOM had previously
officially recognized in 2002. Moreover, since this was a
labor and not a criminal court it took no position on the
still pending embezzlement against Gomez.



8. Within 72 hours of the Labor Court,s ruling, on April
16, 2007 the STSP issued a statement indicating that in
compliance with the judicial determination it was withdrawing
its recognition of Elias Morales as leader of the miners,
union and reinstating Gomez as SNTMMSRN Secretary General.
The Labor Secretariat,s statement reinstating Gomez very
specifically indicated that the STSP decision was an
administrative ruling that had no impact on the still pending
embezzlement charges against Gomez, nor any bearing on
whatever outcome the PGR might eventually make in determining
culpability with regard to the forged signatures which
clearly favored Elias Morales. In separate action the Labor
Secretariat also moved to support an immediate (i.e. on April

SIPDIS
17, 2007) &extraordinary national convention8 of the
SNTMMSRN to determine the legitimate Secretary General of the

MEXICO 00001925 003.2 OF 004


miners union. According to media reports representatives of
the USW and the International Metalworkers Federation are
scheduled to attend the convention.

Stranger Than Fiction


--------------------------





9. At the same time as the events in the Labor Court and
STSP, unusual occurrences were taking place at the PRG.
Shortly before the Labor Court made its ruling that Gomez
appeal the investigation into the forged signatures that
formed the basis of his removal from union office came to a
screeching halt when all supporting case files gathered to
date were mysteriously stolen. Leaders from all of Mexico,s
major political parties expressed disbelief that such a
robbery could occur at the offices of the GOM agency
responsible for investigating crime. The investigation of
the forged signatures has been placed on hold and separate
investigation has been launched into the theft of the missing
case files.

Main Opposition Party Outraged


--------------------------





10. The Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) has
expressed outrage at the handling of the entire miners,
union affair. According to the PRG the ruling by the Labor
Court is solid evidence that the Fox administration acted
illegally when it removed Gomez Urrutia from his union
leadership position. In addition, a leading PRD Senator said
the court ruling gives further credence to the accusation
made in February by the Governor of Coahuila when he accused
former President Fox of pressuring him in 2006 to falsely
accuse Gomez of culpability in a mine explosion that resulted
in 65 deaths. Consequently, the PRD Senator said, his party
was filing criminal fraud charges in both federal and
Coahuila state courts against former President Fox and his
then Labor Secretary, Francisco Salazar.



11. Former Labor Secretary Salazar has denied any knowing
participation in errors resulting from the presentation of
forged CVJ signatures. According to Salazar, he had no way
of knowing the signatures were forged, if that is in fact the
case. For his part, former President Fox has expressed no
concern over the matter and has said that Gomez, his
supporters and the PRD should take whatever action they
believe is necessary.

Comment


--------------------------





12. The &extraordinary national convention8 to elect a new
Secretary General is still on going but it has already

SIPDIS
reaffirmed Napoleon Gomez Urrutia in his position as union
leader. Interestingly, Gomez is still in Canada and is not
expected to return to Mexico for some 30 days while the other
outstanding federal and state charges against him are
resolved. Most of the accusations stem from the charge that
Gomez has not fully accounted for the missing US 55 million
from the union pension fund. Gomez, lawyer claims that he
can prove that between USD 24-30 million of the so-called
&alleged missing money8 has been distributed to union
workers and that the rest is currently in seven frozen bank
accounts that can be reviewed at any time.



13. While the miners, union leadership saga is being played
out, other union and political actors are asking why federal
authorities (of the previous administration) moved so quickly
against Gomez while they were unable to even hold on to the
evidence of criminal fraud that could implicate Mexico,s
former president and the members of his administration. At
present all publicly available information indicates the
possibility that some members of the previous administration
may have knowingly committed fraud. Opposition PRD
politicians have been the most outspoken in condemning the
lack of action against officials of the former administration
but various media opinion leaders have expressed concern over
what type of message will be sent about the rule of law in
Mexico if no one is held accountable for willfully committing
criminal fraud.



14. The actions of the current GOM judicial and executive
authorities to reinstate Napoleon Gomez Urrutia should

MEXICO 00001925 004.2 OF 004


satisfy interested observers in the US and abroad that
Mexican institutions are up to the task of taking self
corrective actions. Consequently, it seems unlikely that the
USG will have to take any substantive actions in response to
the submission filed by the USW under the terms of the NAALC
on behalf of the SNTMMSRM.


Visit Mexico City's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/wha/mexicocity
GARZA