Going … going … GONE.
The “sudden” disappearance of two former state governors accused of rampant corruption is seen by the Mexican populace with distrust.
Last week former Sonora Gov. Guillermo Padrés just vanished from the face not just of Mexico, but the earth itself. The Attorney General’s Office (PGR) issued an arrest warrant which in turn passed on to Interpol and now Padrés is being sought in 190 countries, or so authorities claim.
And just this week former Veracruz Gov. Javier Duarte went missing from state capital Xalapa where he’s supposed to have used a government-owned helicopter to take him to Puebla from where he took off — it’s not known whether by air or land — to an unknown location.
Now, Duarte is the same guy who last week bought television time to allege his innocence and declared to be dirt poor in comparison with most Mexican politicians. And he swore he’d never escape as he had “nothing to fear” as he’d never stolen a nearly-worthless Mexican centavo from the state arks. Yet, now there is also an arrest warrant out for him.
Now, nobody knows where they are, not even the nation’s master political spy, Interior Secretary (Segob) Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, who on Wednesday declared ignorance on the whereabouts of his Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) colleague.
This writer means no offense to the Interior Secretary, but indeed when answering the question as to the whereabouts of Padrés and Duarte, saying he did not know looked more like faking dementia than being honest with the press.
The same goes for Veracruz Interim Gov. Flavino Ríos, who swears he did not facilitate his former boss’s departure and when asked “Where is Duarte?” he just answered “I don’t know.” Dementia, anyone?
Since Guillermo Padrés is a member of the National Action Party (PAN), his disappearance is being used by PRI President Enrique Ochoa to pinpoint what is in store for the nation if more PAN officials are elected to office.
Countering, PAN President Ricardo Anaya says that Duarte’s case only comes to prove that under the PRI, corruption is “a tradition.”
And while PRI and PAN fight over the medal to see which of the parties is the less corrupt, the lone figure of President Enrique Peña Nieto stands out and particularly, as put by columnist Francisco Garfias of the Excelsior daily newspaper: “Their disappearance leaves Enrique Peña Nieto on a poor standing. The president said in August that the governors facing a trial for mismanagement of public resources will have to respond to the charges against them. ‘I will not cover up for them’ he said in an interview. It is raining a downpour on the tenant of presidential residence Los Pinos.”
But again, from the stands the show is seen by all voting Mexicans with a grain of salt because the judicial system has proven to be adjustable to the needs of those in distress, particularly when their corruption, as in the cases of Padrés and Duarte, was open and obvious. But, and this is the question, can they be proven guilty?
Of course not. In the first place they stole so much money that they can buy the finest defense lawyers and regardless of all the puritanical claims of anti-corruption campaigns, cops and judges for the most part live out of graft and are part of the system.
Now and then, as in the case of former Tabasco Gov. Andrés Granier who is still on trial while in prison for exactly the same reason as Padrés and Duarte, there are exceptions. So if Padrés and Duarte are caught and brought to trial, at worst they may end up like Granier, who is currently comfortably living in a luxury cell in a Mexico City prison.
And in terms of corruption, the audits in the states where there have been outgoing governors such as Chihuahua and Quintana Roo, figures show that the now former governors left the states deeply indebted and near bankruptcy.
Persecuting an allegedly corrupt former governor is a “tradition” that the Mexican government invented to make it look like justice is being done.
Yet Mexicans know this well and see how politicians fake dementia with a smile and a grain of salt.
It’s the system!