Mexico: Shots Fired at Transparency Expert on University Campus

Vista de la Ciudad Universitaria, lugar del atentado. Foto del autor, J. Tade (mayo 2012).

View of the university campus where the attempted murder took place. Photo courtesy of the author, J. Tadeo (May, 2012).

Mexican jurist Ernesto Villanueva survived an attack on the morning of October 29, 2014, as he drove through the campus of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), considered by many to be the country's most prestigious institution of higher learning. Several shots were fired at Villanueva just outside the building that houses the Institute for Legal Research. 

Ernesto Villanueva (@evillanuevamx) has spent much of his career studying the right to information, freedom of expression, transparency, and accountability. Earlier this year, he was listed among possible candidates to serve as a commissioner for Mexico's Federal Institute for Access to Public Information and Data Protection, the mandate of which is to guarantee access to information.

Ernesto Villanueva. Foto de su perfil de Twitter.

Ernesto Villanueva. Photo from his Twitter profile.

In a recently published article in the magazine Proceso, Dr. Villanueva denounced the lack of transparency and other alleged irregularities that overshadowed the appointment of the director of the Institute for Legal Research, in which former Institute director Diego Valadés was also involved. Several academics, exercising their right of reply in the same periodical, vigorously refuted the allegations made by Villanueva and accused him of discrediting the institution.

In light of the dispute, according to Proceso, Dr. Villanueva suggested that Valadés could have been involved in the criminal acts:

Villanueva identificó a Diego Valadés, exdirector del Instituto de Investigaciones Jurídicas, como uno de los que podrían estar detrás del atentado que sufrió cuando manejaba un vehículo Mitsubishi, que recibió por los menos tres balazos calibre 38 de un sujeto desconocido.

Villanueva identified Diego Valadés, former director of the Institute for Legal Research, as one of those who could have been behind the assault on the Mitsubishi vehicle he was driving when it was struck by three 38-caliber shells from an unknown gunman. 

Reports indicate that Villanueva was unharmed.

Twitter user Carlos Brito shared his comments about the commission of such a violent act:

Enough is enough! Dr @evillanuevamx was attacked WITHIN the university campus. We stand in solidarity. Strength.

Mexican sociologist Raul Trejo also supported Ernesto Villanueva:

In solidarity with Dr. Ernesto Villanueva, @evillanuevamx, who denounced an attempt on his life. The matter needs to be thoroughly investigated.

Dr. Villanueva has published a variety of articles on current affairs in his Mexico, chief among them are accounts of the explosion of violence in his native Michoacán and the high public transit cost for commuters in Mexico's capital city. 

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