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Appointment of (Mexican) ambassador to Panama opposed due to harassment complaints

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Appointment of ambassador to Panama opposed due to harassment complaints


Posted 18/01/2022

Students and alumni of the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM) condemned President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's proposal to appoint historian Pedro Salmerón as ambassador to Panama.

"Given the assignment of Pedro Salmerón as Mexico's ambassador to Panama, we want to express our indignation and concern about the multiple complaints against him for harassment that are being ignored," explains the ITAM Feminist Student Organization in a press release.

"During his years as a professor at ITAM, Pedro Salmerón took advantage of his position of authority to sexually harass his students, which is why an investigation was launched against him."

"Since then, he has dismissed our colleagues' complaints as false and has denied on several occasions that these complaints were the reason he left the institution. However, both the complaints and the investigation have been recognized on several occasions by directors of the ITAM", maintains the Student Organization.

“In addition, this situation is repetitive and systematic, Salmerón has complaints of harassment in the @MeTooAcademicosMx account, at UNAM and eight women have denounced him for harassment. Given this situation, we want to reiterate that it is important to make this violence visible and for institutions to take a stand against it.

"His assignment as ambassador is of great concern because he has proven to be a person who abuses his position of power to violate women. With his appointment, hundreds of women are put at risk of suffering gender-based violence."

"This decision is a lack of respect for the victims and reinforces the system of impunity in which we live where there are no consequences for the perpetrators. If the country's foreign policy is feminist, it should not be made up of harassers, much less cover them up."

"We hope that their assignment will be reconsidered and that justice will be done for the victims," the students affirm.

Salmerón is currently the director of the Regional Museum of Guadalajara.


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“Holy Inquisition” sparks withdrawal of Ambassador to Panama nominee


Pedro Salmeron.

Posted 01/02/2022

Historian Pedro Salmerón announced his resignation as a candidate for Mexico's ambassador to Panama said Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, in a morning conference on Tuesday, February 1.

López Obrador said that he received a letter from Salmerón (dated January 30, 2022) – “whom I highly esteem and consider a first-rate historian” – in which he informed him of his withdrawal.

Salmerón's appointment raised countless questions because the doctor of history has been accused by former students and fellow supporters of alleged sexual harassment.

“As if it were the Holy Inquisition, the Foreign Minister of Panama [Erika Mouynes] was dissatisfied because they disagreed at the ITAM [Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico] and asked us not to send the approval request," said the president, who said he regretted the decision.

ITAM, where Salmerón worked as a teacher, began a formal investigation process into complaints of students and former students. An ITAM investigation committee found sufficient evidence of sexual harassment in one case and a pattern of conduct that led to repeated situations of gender-based violence and sexual harassment in the university environment.

López Obrador indicated that Salmerón is the victim of a smear campaign with a "conservative component." He announced that he will find a way to use the historian's knowledge "in another field” and dismissed the accusations against Salmerón, calling them a "media lynching."

"The current lynching has crossed our borders," says the historian in the letter.

“When the proposal for my appointment became an issue of gender and international politics, I have believed it pertinent, Mr. President, to do as in 2019, if you believe that the best thing for Mexico and for the government that you preside over is for me to take a step aside, I put at your disposal the declination to the position you offered me, ”Salmerón wrote. "Your friendship and trust are more important to me than any position or job, I never looked for it."

After the letter was read at the conference, López Obrador revealed that they were going to present a proposal "to see if the government of Panama accepts it." "I don't think the president of Panama is aware of it, I think this has more to do with the chancellor," he added.

Finally, he announced that he would appoint alternate senator Jesusa Rodríguez to the position of ambassador of Mexico in Panama.


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Why Mexico’s president shows disrespect for Panama


Andrés Manuel López Obrado .

Posted 05/02/2022

“Why would Andrés Manuel López Obrador send Pedro Salmerón – a history professor at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico, accused by his students of being a sexual harasser – as Mexico's ambassador to Panama?” asks La Prensa columnist Rolando Rodiguez  “In my opinion,”  he writes  “ It all boils down to what Panama inspires in him: disrespect.

“I doubt very much that such an embarrassing situation would have occurred with countries like Chile, Canada or the United States, because, contrary to Panama, surely the Mexican president treats them with greater respect.

“The election of Salmerón as representative of his government tells us what AMLO thinks of our country and that is why he dared to cross the line. His appointment was irresponsible, not only because knowing that Salmerón was accused of sexual harassment, AMLO insisted on warmly and publicly defending him. And in his eagerness, he crossed another border: Smiling and unconcerned, he offended the dignity of our chancellor, with which he accentuated his contempt for Panama.

“Why does AMLO insult us in such a stark way? It is at this point that we need to reflect. Does Panama inspire respect? Answering this question can be painful if we examine what we transmit. How many times have we not heard of ourselves that we make international fools of ourselves at every turn? AMLO's decision to appoint that person –and another unpresentable person to replace him– may be the direct consequence of making an international fool of himself.

“That message seems to have caught on. Or is it that we forget that our justice sucks? That politicians are our greatest source of local and international shame? Who does not know that our officials sell themselves, collect bribes, traffic political and judicial influence? Do we forget that there are local lawyers who claim to have "contacts" to fix rulings or to modify and create custom laws; to stop paying taxes; or that they can hide fortunes –legitimate or illegitimate– in banks that look the other way?

“Does no one remember that a US judge found merits to extradite a former president accused of violating private communications and twice was released by our "neat" justice while his children pleaded guilty to corruption in the US? Didn't Mexican companies come to build highways in Panama and while they were building them, they did whatever they wanted, and then they came out as millionaires without any consequences? Does no one remember that AMLO himself criticized a company from his country, singled out by his government for alleged tax fraud, but in Panama, the CSS welcomed him with a $168 million contract?

“Respect is earned…and also lost. It disgusts me how condescending we are with ourselves. We never analyze our behavior or do introspection. Quite simply, we always blame others for our bad image. We forget that we are the people who elect those scoundrels who manage —in their likeness— the image of the country. Hopefully, AMLO's unforgivable and widespread offenses against the country also serve to look at ourselves in the mirror and answer, far from any self-condescension, what do we see.”


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