Just a week ago the green light given by the National Electoral Institute (INE) to kick off the 2018 electoral process lit up. Contrary to expectations there wasn’t a cry of joy and not just because the nation was hit by a horrible earthquake on the Pacific and a hurricane on the Gulf of Mexico, but because the distrust existing among political parties is growing excruciatingly deeper.
The first sign of a very deep decomposition in the legal system is that both INE and the Electoral Tribunal (TRIFE) gave signs that they are acting decidedly in favor of President Enrique Peña Nieto’s (EPN) Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). For many of them the proof of the pudding was the legalization of the President’s cousin (cronyism anyone?) Alfredo del Mazo as the new governor of the State of Mexico. The TRIFE claims Del Mazo won but there will always be a shadow of a doubt.
But this sample is merely the tip of the iceberg. In the minds of many future competing politicians there isn’t the slightest doubt that Peña Nieto does not have the slightest political will to play straight and with INE and TRIFE on the PRI side he will do everything in his presidential power to win, if not all, as much as he can inherit to his successors in PRI.
The problem is that the Peña Nieto Administration is not doing as well as its jolly political advertising bandwagon claims. Also last week White House Chief of Staff General John Kelly was quoted by The New York Times saying that Mexico – with Peña Nieto at the helm – is facing a dark political future and that the political and security situation might break up. Nobody claimed this was fake news.
A position that is growing increasingly cumbersome for President Peña Nieto is the signs of corruption all over his men in government. Accusations galore are flying all over the place with the list growing longer day by day. Just this past week the official anti-corruption watchdog Secretariat of the Public Function published a report that Peña Nieto’s close protégée Transportation and Communications Secretary Gerardo Ruiz Esparza is responsible for the sinkhole on the Cuernavaca-Acapulco “expressway” that led to innocent people to die as they plunged 30 feet deep.
Ruiz Esparza is suspect of financing “a series of irregularities” in contracts afforded to Spanish construction companies Aldeco-Epccor that range from works approved without professional supervision to overcharging 1.034 billion pesos for a job poorly done.
That’s one accusation against one of the President’s men. Another one is that the Federal Police is looking the other way in the case of relatives of his close buddy Social Development Secretary Luis Enrique Miranda Nava, who was his Governance Secretary while governor at the State of Mexico, are selling stolen fuel in their chain of filling stations without having faced any charges thus far.
Many concerned Mexican pundits claim that this is a very clear message by the Peña Nieto Administration, which it is willing to allow corruption galore go scot free and the unpunished. Not only that, this attitude sends all the corrupt officials that they have until Nov. 30, 2018 to continue the pillaging of the nation’s formal federal budget approved by both houses of Congress.
In all this President Peña Nieto is keeping a straight smiling face as he rejects the idea that corruption will be one of the trademarks of his Administration. For many the President can claim all the innocence he wants but that his government is not only on a collision course against the three leading political parties – all accusing him of the above and myriad more crooked actions – as well as of being an ally to his faithful following while he duty is not to them but to the nation.
There’s still a lot of ground to cover in the remaining nearly 10 months leading into the July 1, 2018, general federal elections but as of now the crossed fire missiles are beginning to be launched with a lot of them landing on the President’s lap.
As a final comment I must say that General John Kelly’s catastrophist view of the Mexican political situation will not come to fruition because he’s not gauging the situation clearly and that be as it may, Mexico will come to the elections.
Will the elections be dirty or clean remains to be seen mainly because the three political fronts that will go against the President’s PRI want to boot him and “his cadre of mafia in power” out of government.
For sure, all factions will play dirty politicking.