Political Thermometer

December 15, 2016
Political Thermometer

Mexican political news currently revolves around several governors who have concluded their terms and have been formally accused of engaging in acts of corruption. The most noteworthy has been Javier Duarte, governor of Veracruz, who requested a leave of absence a few weeks ahead of the conclusion of his term to address accusations made against him and to attempt to clear his name of any wrongdoing. A few hours after requesting leave, instead of appearing before the authorities to face the charges filed against him, he is believed to have escaped and his whereabouts are unknown. Further aggravating the situation is the discovery that millions of pesos of government funds were misappropriated while Duarte made purchases of assets with values far exceeding his income as a public servant. Some government officials are currently under investigation, while others have been formally charged and are currently in prison. Duarte is a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI, for its Spanish acronym), which is the party of the current President of Mexico. As a result, Enrique Ochoa, the young current president of the PRI, began the process that resulted in the expulsion of Duarte from the party, as he denounced Duarte’s corrupt acts and demanded justice by the authorities. Meanwhile, Guillermo Padres, former governor of Sonora and member of the conservative Political Action Party (PAN, for its Spanish acronym), has surrendered to authorities after living for several months on the run. Padres and one of his sons are currently in custody. Both are accused of, among other things, partaking in transactions involving resources derived from illicit sources and money laundering. Similarly, several of Padres’ associates are also facing criminal charges. These developments have generated similar accusations against the PRI and the PAN parties themselves. In addition, Ricardo Anaya, president of the PAN, perceived by many as a young and capable politician and a serious contender for his party’s nomination for the 2018 presidential election, has been accused in the media and on social media networks of making false statements as to his income, which does not appear to match his level of spending. Anaya has been the most vocal member of the PAN as to denouncing acts of corruption. Now, given recent revelations that he travels every weekend to Atlanta, Georgia to visit family members and makes expenditures that do not match the income he has declared, his credibility has been questioned and his image seriously tarnished. Corruption in politics will be an inevitable topic of discussion in the upcoming 2017 elections, specifically in the election for governor of the State of Mexico and later, during the 2018 presidential election.

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