There is no question that President Enrique Peña Nieto has fallen into the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” syndrome after the arrest of former Tamaulipas and Veracruz Governors Tomás Yarrington and Javier Duarte.
On Monday during the Labor Congress Confederation of Unions, he said that “Independently of what the juridical powers determine, these arrests constitute a firm and overwhelming message against impunity.”
Of course, both Yarrington and Duarte stand accused of sacking the coffers of the states they once commanded as well as participating in directing or permitting free reign to organized crime organizations.
Yet the criticism against the government particularly regarding the Javier Duarte arrest last Saturday in Guatemala led Peña Nieto to say:
“There is no chile that fits them. If we don’t catch them we’re to blame because we don’t catch them; if we catch them we’re to blame because we caught them.”
In terms of the formality of a president’s speech using the phrase “There is no chile that fits them” (“No hay chile que les embone”) is pure trash double entendre talk as it is a phrase of sexual innuendo in which the “chile” (interpreted as a penis) leaves everyone unhappy anyway.
And he added, “Even El Peje already said that he’s an escape goat,” in reference to a twit coming from opposition party and top Peña Nieto critic Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO).
AMLO’s actual tweet in Spanish was “They are arresting Duarte to simulate they are combatting corruption. But the people are not satisfied with mere escape goats; they want the downfall of the PRIAN.” PRIAN refers to the Institutional Revolutionary (PRI) and National Action (PAN) parties.
Those in favor of the President are hailing the arrests of Yarrington and Duarte as a clear show of force and that the Mexican juridical system works and that it is after crooked politicians regardless of come what may. In short, the President’s got guts.
Those against see with suspicion everything that comes out of the President as well as the judicial system. Critics claim that in the case of the Yarrington arrest in Florence, Italy, it came because the United Staes filed an extradition claim against Yarrington and the Mexican government followed suit just in order to save face.
In the Duarte case authorities claim to have worked in tandem with Interpol and Guatemalan agents to track down and nab Duarte. But critics say that the arrest had been fixed and Duarte was allowed to first meet with his family — wife and three kids — in private before he gave himself up.
In Duarte’s “negotiated arrest,” his wife Karime Macías will not face any charges according to Attorney General’s Office (PGR) international affairs prosecutor Alberto Elías Beltrán. To everyone it is clear that Karime Macías is guilty as sin of usage of illegally acquired funds to buy as many properties she could get and spend millions in shopping sprees. In a state with 40 percent of its population living in poverty (even if not starvation) this dichotomy grabs everyone’s attention.
Plus Karime Macías has been with Duarte all along during his six months on the lam and both entered Guatemala with bogus passports. Can’t at least the Guatemalan government deport her? critics ask. The answer is no but all critics feel that there should be — to use the President’s term — no “impunity.”
This is a moment when the nation is moving within a mood of suspicion called in Spanish as “sospechosismo” in which everything President Peña Nieto does is suspect of something.
Indeed Duarte’s arrest is seen as a political move perhaps not to earn new votes for the candidates of the President’s PRI, but to stop the runoff of potential voters to other parties as Duarte and Yarrington are seen as “the seal of PRI corruption,” as even by the Mexican wide stick to measure corruption, these former governor exceed them all.
The list of monikers to describe these two crooks in the internet media (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook) is endless and the notion that these arrests is a “circus” to benefit the PRI electorally is the majority’s voice and whatever the President says is considered “a mockery of the people of Mexico.”
The one truth is that these are politically hot times and the President would do well to stay aloof from engaging in political hearsay because indeed, whatever he says or does, “damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t.”