The Ugly (you fill-in the nationality)

by Scott ⌂, Mérida, Yucatán, Wednesday, March 30, 2011, 23:31 (3906 days ago) @ Bill

Can you please point me to the law that says it is an indictable criminal offence for foreigners to express simple opinions like "I do not think they should build a cruise ship peer in the bay" or to have a save the bay bumper sticker, or to listen to speeches at a local rally? Because as far as I can tell, Article 33 isn't regulated. Rather, it explicitly states that foreigners have all the same rights as Mexicans as under Chapter I Title I, but the president has a special and exclusive privilege to kick you out if he wants.

First, can someone please explain to me, I'm genuinely interested in the answer, how this equates to it being against the criminal law to express an opinion or listen to someone else's opinions in Mexico? Ok, so the president has a special power to kick you out, but seriously, is he going to do that over a bumper sticker or listening to some environmentalist speeches in Zihuatanejo?

I want to see the law where it says any foreigner who dares to express an opinion in Mexico contrary to the self-interest of any federal, state or municipal authority is liable to a prison sentence between no less than or no greater than such and such a length of time.

If it isn't a criminal offence to express an opinion, then people should stop implying it is, and instead just recognize it for what it is. An special privilege granted to the president for use in exceptional cases. And, historically, primarily used to boot out common criminals convicted of non-political crimes.

Mexico isn't like the USA. Every Mexican knows everything is open to interpretation, you're liable to get a different answer from one official to the next. Two immigration officers sitting 5 feet away from each other rarely even give the same answer to a foreigner regarding immigration policies. What it comes down to is how any particular officer or authority happens to interpret the law at any given time or place. So there is of course a risk that immigration could interpret that bumper sticker in a bad way, but President Felipe Calderon still has to sign the deportation order, and if he's got time to do that over a bumper sticker or tourists listening to speeches at an otherwise orderly demonstration, with all those other problems the country is facing, then something is seriously wrong in my opinion.

What it comes down to is a drafting or continuity error in the constitution itself, whatever the legal term for that is (errores de técnica jurídica in spanish). First it grants the rights, then says the president can take them away. The confusion comes from the constitution itself.

I also fail to understand how participating in an online campaign is different from a demonstration. You're still involving yourself in the local political affairs. Whether participating in something like an online petition or email campaign to politicians or listening to the speeches in person. President Calderon could kick you out regardless. We're not talking about some technicality, like "I'm on US soil therefore it's ok". Well guess what, they can still kick you out for pretty much any reason they want and without cause, so if you're involving yourself from home it's not going to make a whole lot of difference in the long run if you intend to ever return again.

I don't see how it is morally wrong to listen to a speech or simply walk in a march like this either. It sure ain't a problem for foreigners to protest in the USA or Canada, they have every right to do so if they are have otherwise been legally admitted to the USA, or in the case of Canada, are protected by the fundamental freedoms of the Charter the moment they step foot on Canadian soil. Mexicans protest US laws all the time. The Arizona law, for example. Is it morally wrong for Mexicans to protest or express their opinion about that? So why is it different in reverse? For Calderon to enforce his Article 33 powers over simple, non-violent things like this would be extremely hypocritical.


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