Now that former Veracruz state governor Javier Duarte de Ochoa has been extradited from Guatemala to Mexico City on charges of organized crime and money laundering, the institution that’s really on trial is the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) headed by Dr. Raul Cervántes Andrade.
The problem many a legal expert sees is the charges themselves which should have been embezzlement and fraud and theft of public funds. At the time of the trial it will be very difficult to prove that Duarte de Ochoa ran a criminal organization from the office of governor. There may be something to the charge of money laundering, but that remains to be seen in the long trial to come under the new legal code, a result of the U.S. sponsored Merida Initiative.
Entrepreneur and president of the Employers’ Federation of Mexico (Corarmex) Gustavo de Hoyos says that the Mexican government is about to stage “a disappointment” of the Mexican people regarding due process and the true nature of the trial in which Duarte de Ochoa is pretty much of the political system now in power.
Coparmex president De Hoyos says that in theory this should be a trial that ought to end up sending Duarte to jail, but if Attorney General Cervántes’ legal case “does not lead to a successful result, we the citizens will feel profoundly disappointed on the capacity of the Mexican State to legally prosecute those who have so clearly infringed upon the law.”
De Hoyos, who also runs an organization that operates under the hashtag of #VamosPorMás (we’re after more), said that the Duarte de Ochoa trial represents the people’s fight against corruption which represents 8 percent of the gross domestic product. This means that the sanctions against the former Veracruz state governor must be “exemplary” to stop corruption among elected government officials.
It takes a little insight into what Gustavo de Hoyos says to figure out why he doubts that Attorney General Cervántes Andrade will present a solid case and that if not there might be something wrong with the prosecution.
The Coparmex leader is not far off the mark, as Javier Duarte de Ochoa is not merely another crooked governor among many under the Enrique Peña Nieto administration, but one of the most power-abusive ones and a solid member of the President’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). So in many ways it is not just Duarte de Ochoa on trial, but the administration itself.
Let’s not forget that back in 2012 when candidate Peña Nieto was running for the presidency he introduced then elected Veracruz Governor Duarte de Ochoa as “the new face of the PRI” and to make things even more complicated for the Peña Nieto administration, other PRI state governors Borge of Quintana Roo and César Duarte of Chihuahua were also philandering their states with very corrupt administrations but who — allegedly — besides stuffing their pockets with stolen tax payer money were also making very generous donations to their alma mater PRI. Roberto Borge has been arrested in Panama after rejecting extradition and Duarte is wanted and apparently living in El Paso.
There are other cases of crooked governors but the names of these three are important because they were people very close to the president and the ones that may even drag his name and the PRI’s into the mud — depending on the Attorney General’s case.
The Javier Duarte de Ochoa case is to begin now, but also on trial is the credibility of a newly conceived juridical court system in which the face of the accused can’t be publicized without a black stripe over his eyes.
For Duarte, his freedom is at stake, but for the Peña Nieto administration, there’s a lot more under threat than just sending another crooked politico to jail: its integrity and international prestige may just tumble downhill.