The ins and outs of low politics in science and technology

Mexico City /

Concern in the Science and Technology Council regarding a common law initiative on the humanities, technologies, and innovation is well known. If they believe in the majority of Morinistas in the House of Representatives, why worry?

At the request of the academic community, the science, technology and innovation committees, as well as the education committee, agreed to hold seven parliamentary open tables. As soon as the second table ended, the head of Consit tweeted that the aforementioned committees were in a position to issue the opinion before April 12, but the official did not anticipate the response of Rep. Carlos Madrazo Limón, who responded in the same network. ¡Of course not, I did not try against the division of powers and the rule of the legislative authority. In the committees we agree on seven agendas and our goal is to listen to the entire academic, scientific and business community.

Interference, exclusion and intimidation from Consit and some institutions have been going on since voices calling for some changes to the bill. At the two Open Parliament tables, which were meant to be spaces for listening to the proposals of the academic community, we saw a parade of officials from all levels of the Conacyt and public think tanks who had chosen dialogue. Well, the last straw was the presence of a member of the Armed Forces.

Where we on the side of the academic community value coherent and meaningful arguments, exclusion comes from the other side. The attempt at imposition that we have witnessed, unfortunately, faces a sector whose function is to reason, discuss their criticisms, and maintain loyalty to the criteria of objectivity.

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The Open Parliament was inaugurated by statements sent to the House of Representatives and voluntarily signed by hundreds of academics. On the other hand, the CPI ‘status’, reads the official position promoted by Consit itself, with a few exceptions, shows 2187 signatures where the majority correspond to administrative staff, officials and people working on the project (nowhere), is it correct That we are “not like previous governments”?

If you read the bill, you will see an imbalance among its sections: some are over-regulated, like the CPI, others are in the realm of generalities, like the universities. There is no need for a crystal ball to conclude that the intention is to fully control these centers and that they cannot at the moment with the university group. The initiative fluctuates between a general law and a basic law. It’s bipolar.

There is a series of interrelated concerns that run through the restriction of academic freedom, which in turn are linked to the definition of a “national agenda” and how that agenda is determined. Let me explain: Federal secretariats and other agencies will determine what is to be studied and therefore what can be financed with public money. Although the official response guarantees that there will be participation from the scientific community through a representative, doubts remain. The amazing and sad story of an appointed official who stole a dissertation shows us the scenarios of participation of unconditional supporters of the regime.

Now, let us suppose the remote case in which a person from the academic sector is chosen for his qualifications and is in no way conditioned to participate in the design of that agenda, what effect would he have before an armed body? Powers when they are the subject of studies of human rights violations? What weight will your opinion and vote have if it turns out that you question massive government projects for their environmental, archaeological and cultural impact? Or if you question immigration policy or security?

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Conacyt could be a good coordinator of the sector, but not a director of science as the initiative pretends to be. Some years ago, that agency had commissioned a study on the effects of Mayan train construction, but because the results of academic work were adverse to the massive project, it decided not to support publication. The work finally emerged thanks to other forms of support, it is about “Mayan territories in the passage of the train. Predictable risks and autonomous positions in the Mayan train ”, in which researchers from institutions such as El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, INAH, UNAM, ITESM, civic associations, public and private universities participate . This is just a sampling of the common actions, actions that would be legitimized by the approval of the questionable bill.

Camilo Contreras Delgado

* Professor – Researcher at the University of Golf

Myrtle Frost

"Reader. Evil problem solver. Typical analyst. Unapologetic internet ninja."

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