Lawmakers with the ruling Morena party prevented one of the party’s senior members from speaking out against the government’s migration policy at a Congress session on Wednesday.
Porfirio Muñoz Ledo asked the president of the Senate to be included on a list of speakers at a session of the Permanent Commission of Congress at which National Human Rights Commission Chief Rosario Piedra Ibarra presented her annual report.
Morena lawmaker Mónica Fernández told Muñoz, an 86-year-old deputy who co-founded the left-wing Democratic Revolution Party and served as a cabinet secretary in the 1970s, that the speaking schedule for the session was approved prior to the session but agreed to put his request to a vote.
Opposition lawmakers voted in favor of the veteran politician being given the opportunity to speak but Morena party members rejected Muñoz’s request.
The deputy countered that he had spoken with Piedra Ibarra and that she agreed that he should be allowed to present evidence of what he called the “savage repression against migrants” when the National Guard used tear gas and batons on Monday to repel a large number of Central Americans.
Fernández responded that “the president of the National Human Rights Commission is not in charge of this Permanent Commission,” adding “things are decided here by the plenary of the commission . . . and they’ve voted not to break the rules that were approved.”
At that point, opposition lawmakers interjected with shouts of “let Porfirio speak!” and “no to censorship!” the newspaper El Universal reported.
Fernández asserted that it wasn’t a matter of censorship but rather compliance with the rules and schedule that were set for the Permanent Commission session.
“There’s no censorship, you agreed to the rules, you agreed to the times [that were set] . . .The majority has voted to respect the rules that were approved . . .” she said.
Muñoz later told reporters that by preventing him from speaking, his Morena party colleagues had succeeded in taking Mexico back “20 or 30 years” to the times of authoritarian rule by the Institutional Revolutionary Party.
“I don’t know where the instruction came from, it was very painful to see my friends voting so aggressively [against me] . . .What happened here is that there was fear of the truth . . .” he said.
The lawmaker explained that his intention was to show footage of children crying as they and their parents were confronted by members of the National Guard on the Mexican side of the Suchiate River.
Muñoz claimed that the guardsmen beat migrants up, contradicting President López Obrador who said that they acted with constraint even after they came under attack with sticks and stones.
He stressed that the increased enforcement against migrants is to appease the United States, claiming that the government could have responded differently to U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to imposes tariffs on Mexican imports if it didn’t do more to halt arrivals to Mexico’s northern border.
Muñoz told El Universal on Wednesday night that he would seek a meeting with López Obrador (Morena’s founder) about migration policy and his silencing in the Congress, asserting that he and the president “have agreed on everything” in the past and have a “telepathic connection.”
The deputy added that his Morena party colleagues “profoundly disappointed” him and caused him “immense pain” by preventing him from speaking.
“They’re living in panic, they all voted against me mechanically, it’s incredible,” Muñoz said.
“. . . What happened today makes me think . . .that we’re not a democratic party. What are they afraid of?”
Source: El Universal (sp)