Former Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari obtains Spanish nationality | International

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The former Mexican president Carlos Salinas de Gortari obtained Spanish nationality at the beginning of last year. The former president applied for a Spanish passport through the procedure that the Government enabled for Sephardim or their descendants and finished obtaining all the necessary documentation in 2019, according to sources familiar with his case.

Salt Flats of Gortari, 74 years old and whose family is originally from Nuevo León, one of the States where the process of Spanish nationality has been most resorted to through the Sephardic route, has lived in the United Kingdom for years and his visits to Spain are regular. Asked by this newspaper about the motivation that led him to apply for Spanish nationality, Salinas defended that, according to the Constitution, all Mexicans have the right “by consanguinity, residence, marriage or other conditions to apply for another nationality without detriment to the Mexican.” “Of my personal motivations, it is enough to mention that these are of a genealogical order, affective and consistent with a modern vision of the interrelationships shared between nations and nationalities; of pride for our roots, multiple and diverse. It is, at the end of the day, a right of Mexicans, for whose exercise, like any other new generation right, it is not necessary to prove any justification, ”adds the former president, who adds that it is not a phenomenon only of Mexico: “Gustavo Petro, the president of Colombia, has Colombian and Italian nationalities; Boris Johnson, Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom: British and American; Andrew Scheer, leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, is Canadian and American; Ignazio Cassis, Swiss, Italian and Swiss president, and so on and so on”

A neoliberal mandate shrouded in corruption

Salinas de Gortari, who once presented himself to the world as a liberal technocrat against decades of statist monolithism, is one of the most controversial figures in the recent history of Mexico. President between 1988 and 1994, he was the penultimate leader of the PRI before the right-wing PAN put an end to more than 70 years of uninterrupted presidencies. In his six-year term, involved in successive corruption scandalsMexico began an era of great privatizations, experienced the outbreak of the Zapatista movement and signed the Free Trade Agreement (known as NAFTA, today TMEC) with the United States and Canada.

Salinas de Gortari has been the target of criticism from the current president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, for having implemented the neoliberal model in Mexico. For years, he considered him the boss of what he called “the mafia of power.” Salinas, the current president, has been held responsible for the economic crisis that broke out in the country just after his term, already under the government of Ernesto Zedillo, also a PRI member.

Another of López Obrador’s targets, former PRI president Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018), also decided to link up with Spain. The former president obtained in October 2020 the so-called gold visa, a residence and work permit for large investors. Peña Nieto fulfilled one of the requirements: having invested at least half a million euros in real estate. The former president settled in a luxury urbanization in Madrid.

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The Sephardic route that Salinas de Gortari opted for has been the fastest and easiest to obtain nationality so far. After the creation of a specific law in 2015, more than 42,600 people obtained their passport after proving that their ancestors were some of the tens of thousands of Jews expelled from the Iberian Peninsula in the fifteenth century, in addition to their special connection with Spain.

After years of mass concessions (with hardly any denials), the Sephardic nationality procedure was involved in a heated controversy last year, when the Ministry of Justice began to reject applications. Some Jewish communities and lawyers specializing in this process accused the current government of being anti-Semitic, but the denials revealed an apparent fraud.

In 2018, a police alert warned of fraudulent businesses linked to obtaining Spanish passports. This included that some Jewish communities in charge of issuing certificates proving Sephardic ancestry were supposedly not being rigorous enough. After the alert, the Ministry of Justice began to look much more closely at the files and discovered that, indeed, there were thousands of files that did not meet the requirements. In the case of Salinas de Gortari there is no evidence of irregularity, according to the sources consulted.

The relationship of the former Mexican president with Spain is known, his visits are recurrent. Asked if, now that he has nationality, he intends to change his country of residence, the former president was not concise: “Any citizen of a European country can settle in any of the 27 nations of this great region. There are no national restrictions on him in any of them. My family home and my family belong to Mexico; Mexico is my homeland, my greatest pride, my endearing homeland and it will always remain so”.

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