Sunday, November 6, 2011



By Lic. Edward V. Byrne

The Angel of Independence in Distrito Federal, Mexico
Fundamental rights of free expression in Mexico’s Constitution include the following. Approximate counterparts or equivalents under the U.S. Constitution are so indicated:
Article 1, Constitution of Mexico [U.S. Constitution, no direct equivalent]
En los estados unidos mexicanos todas las personas gozaran de los derechos humanos reconocidos en esta constitución y en los tratados internacionales de los que el estado mexicano sea parte, así como de las garantías para su protección.
As normas relativas a los derechos humanos se interpretaran de conformidad con esta constitución y con los tratados internacionales de la materia favoreciendo en todo tiempo a las personas la protección más amplia . . .
In Mexico all persons shall enjoy the human rights and legal guarantees recognized by this Constitution and by international treaties to which Mexico is a party. “Human rights” shall be defined and interpreted in a manner consistent with other provisions of this constitution and with international treaties, and always to favor and promote the broadest protection thereof.

Article 6, Constitution of Mexico [U.S. Constitution, First Amendment]
La manifestación de las ideas no será objeto de ninguna inquisición judicial o administrativa . . .
The free expression of ideas shall not be the subject of any judicial or administrative inquiry, trial or legal proceeding.
Article 7, Constitution of Mexico [U.S. Constitution, First Amendment]
Es inviolable la libertad de escribir y publicar escritos sobre cualquiera materia . . .
The freedom to write and to publish about any matter is inviolable.
Article 33, Constitution of Mexico [U.S. Constitution, Fourteenth Amendment]
Las personas extranjeras . . . gozarán de los derechos humanos y garantías que reconoce esta constitución . . .
Foreign persons shall enjoy all the human rights and legal guarantees provided for in this Constitution (including the rights expressly delineated in Articles 6 and 7).

It is true that Articles 8, 9 and 33 of the Mexican Constitution specifically prohibit direct participation by a foreign national in the “political affairs” of the nation. That term is not elsewhere defined in the Constitution. However, Mexico is a party to various international human right accords, and is a member of the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Further, it submits to the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (in contrast to the United States, which does not so submit).  None of those international organizations or tribunals, which are designed to zealously safeguard human rights in the Americas, has ever construed “participating in the political affairs” of a nation to include the expression of political ideas by an individual, or the observance of a political protest by an individual not directly participating in the event. It is thus unlikely that Mexico would construe such activities as prohibited for noncitizens. “Political affairs” in Mexico can probably be interpreted essentially as they would be in the United States. Common sense will tell most people if they have crossed the line between simple discourse and active political proselytization, the latter of which is unlawful.

Note: The content presented in this article is offered solely as general information for readers. It is not intended to be specific legal advice for any person with respect to any particular case or controversy. MGRR encourages anyone who may confront a legal problem or issue, or who may need the assistance of counsel, to select with care a competent professional. Law and legal procedures may vary dramatically from country to country, as well as within governmental subdivisions of the same country. Attorneys, like all other professionals, should be evaluated on the basis of formal education and training, professional licensure and proven experience in their field(s) of expertise. ALL attorneys in the United States are licensed and diligently regulated by the highest courts of EVERY state or jurisdiction where they wish to practice law, after passing extensive multi-day bar examinations and submitting to detailed character and fitness examinations. Mexican attorneys are not licensed by any court or jurisdiction, and are not required to pass a special examination to practice law. A Mexican legal education is four to five years; a U.S. legal education is seven years, plus annual mandatory continuing legal study for life.

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