The Mexican Center of the University of Texas announces a binational symposium to discuss how the death penalty has impacted Mexican History, its Constitution, and the bilateral relationship between Texas and Mexico.
“The death penalty remains a concern and a significant obstacle to good relations between Mexico and the United States. Mexico has asked the World Court to invalidate more than 50 death sentences of their nationals. In Texas, sixteen Mexican nationals are on death row, second only to California,” said Professor Peter Ward, Director of the Mexican Center. “Added to which, few people realize that notwithstanding its current moratorium, Mexico has a long history of legal executions,” Ward said.
Mexico’s last execution occurred several decades ago, but some jurisdictions still sentence people to death. In November 2003 a military court condemned two soldiers for killing officers. “At that time President Vicente Fox stepped in to commute the sentences to life imprisonment,” said Patrick Timmons, doctoral candidate in the History Department and conference organizer. “It’s incorrect to characterize Mexico as an abolitionist country, which is why President Fox has introduced constitutional reforms that would formally abolish capital punishment,” Timmons said.
President Fox opposes the death penalty, particularly when imposed on Mexican nationals in the United States. About eighteen months ago Fox canceled an official visit to Texas after the execution of a Mexican national for killing a Dallas narcotics officer. However, few observers understand Mexico’s opposition to capital punishment, or its past use of the death penalty. “The international dispute about Mexican nationals on death row in Texas and other states has politicized and hindered understanding about capital punishment, both in Mexico and in the United States,” Timmons said.
Scholars, public officials and lawyers from Mexico, the United States and Great Britain , will participate in the one-day symposium to analyze the underlying nature of Mexico’s dispute with the United States on the issue of capital punishment, and to assess the state of the bilateral relationship. Mexico’s former Attorney General Mr. Sergio García Ramírez, who now serves as a leading judge at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the judicial branch of the Organization of American States, will deliver the keynote address.
The Symposium and Exhibit are free and open to the public.
DEPT OF HISTORY
UT AUSTIN, TX 78712
Phone:(512) 627 2019
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