Mexico’s attorney general, Jesus Murillo Karam, has stepped down to a more low-key cabinet post.
The move comes after intense criticism and public anger over the investigation in last year’s presumed killing of 43 students.
At a ceremony presided by President Enrique Pena Nieto, Karam was sworn in as the new minister of rural, territorial and urban development, where the president said that Karam had “great responsibility and complex and challenging tasks, particularly his last one, an investigation like none was ever done before in recent times,” then carried on to praise his longtime friend for his “intelligence” and “love and commitment for Mexico.”
Karam’s exit from attorney general was widely anticipated, not only for the heavy criticism he experienced from human rights groups over the handling of the missing students, but also due to the new reform that will see the federal prosecutor’s office turned into an autonomous department.
Karam also drew international scorn when in November, he said, “I’m tired now,” to wrap up a press conference about the mass student killings. His remark became a trending topic on Mexico’s Twitter, encouraging protesters to use the Spanish hashtag #YaMeCanse.
Felipe de la Cruz, spokesman for the families of the 43 students said that Karam “never did what he was supposed to do” and added, “the fact that he has moved to a minor ministry is (a tactic) that the Mexican government has always used to avoid responsibility.”
Mexico’s interim attorney general was named as Senator Arely Gomez, which came as a surprise since she recently requested to leave her senate seat for a different job inside the attorney general’s office.