The News
Monday 22 of April 2024

Crashing Star

Cuauhtémoc Blanco on the field,photo: Wikipedia
Cuauhtémoc Blanco on the field,photo: Wikipedia
Blanco announced he will deliver his State of the Municipality Address next Friday. He demanded Ramírez remove “Mando Unico” from the Cuernavaca municipal government

Were it not because I’ve been following the career of currently besieged and on a hunger-strike Cuernavaca municipal mayor Cuauhtémoc Blanco Bravo for many years, he would most likely be minor news.

Yet he went on his hunger-strike midnight Friday to protest and reject the political trial he’s being subjected to by the Morelos state Congress, which has as its final objective to oust him from the post.

He’s being accused both by Congress — as well as Morelos state Gov. Graco Ramírez — and a set of political foes he built up in a little over a year as Cuernavaca mayor of forgery of official documents, abandoning his post without consent from the municipal council, not meeting the requisites needed to be elected and “deviating resources” which is tantamount to fraud. In short, the Congress appointed court is throwing the book at him.

Briefly, indeed Cuauhtémoc is not a native of Cuernavaca. In his nearly 20-year career as soccer star his native Mexico City, Mr. Blanco (popularly known as “El Cuau” for short) became immensely popular in his heyday with team América. But his true grit fame comes from having played for Mexico’s national soccer team in several World Cups, always as a leading star.

In Mexico City, he was best known as being a native of rough and tumble neighborhood Tepito, right in the heart of the city, and he talked like a gang boy from the hood.

As a soccer star, he always kept the on-the-turf trash-talking style typical to most soccer players and became infamous for physically attacking journalists who criticized him for one reason or another. Badmouthing university-educated reporters and soccer experts was part of his show for many a year. In fact, reporters relished in quoting him using foul language, much of which was not fit for print but with modern journalism, it got printed anyway.

When he went into politics nearly three years ago he said he was a legal resident of the state of Morelos and got launched as candidate by the Social Democrat Party (PSD), which has since pulled their support from him.

In fact, his problems began last Aug. 25 when in an open rift between “Cuau” and the PSD leadership, a spokesman for the party declared that in order to get the candidacy, which was due to the former player’s popularity, he demanded cash to run.

“Cuahutémoc Blanco charged us seven million pesos ($324,849) to participate as a candidate for municipal mayor of Cuernavaca,” money which was duly shelled out as the PSD was in dire need of a competitive candidate, according to PSD spokesman and former mayor’s secretary Roberto Carlos.

The rift got deeper after Blanco won the election and was sworn in as Cuernavaca mayor. He then claimed that the PSD people wanted a puppet in power and rebelled, claiming that was definitely not him. The entire Morelos state PSD turned against him.

He also picked a brawl with Morelos Gov. Graco Ramírez who wanted to impose a central-state government run police department (Mando Unico), something which Mayor Blanco put stiff opposition to claiming — rightly so — that the “Mando Unico” was a violation of municipal sovereignty as avowed by the Mexico Constitution.

These arguments went on for several months until next week complaints against “El Cuau” piled up in the state Congress, which finally approved last Thursday that there were enough charges against the mayor to bring him to trial.

Friday morning two groups of Blanco followers and supporters took over the Mayor’s office to impede the swearing in of a pro tempore mayor after rumors spread in Cuernavaca that the municipal council was staging a coup of sorts.

Another group protested outside Congress in Cuernavaca against the attempt at taking him to trial.

By mid-afternoon Blanco suspended all activities as mayor and by mid-night he moved into the Cathedral to stage his hunger-strike.

Cuauhtémoc Blanco suspended his hunger strike Sunday evening after the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation ordered a suspension of the political trial the Morelos state Congress is carrying out against him.

After his 58-hour long hunger strike, Blanco will still face trial but until next month after the vacation period is over.

A technical problem with “El Cuau’s” “trial” is that Congress went out on vacation Thursday and several of the judges appointed to the committee that will bring him to trial have not come to an agreement as to the date the day of judgment is to start.

Yet Congress has already voted for the trial — 27 in favor, one abstention. It may happen anytime now, but for sure it will be next January 9, when Congress reconvenes, that the trial will be staged.

In the meantime, Congress is on vacation.

This is a partial tale about the adventures of a crashing soccer star that can’t refrain from trash talking, as Friday he threatened that if Congress and Gov. Ramírez continue of their war path, “se los va a llevar la chingada.” (Make your own translation, if you can.)