Two private events were the political shows of the week. One was a funeral, the other a birthday party. Indeed both were anything but “private.”
On the surface neither had to do with the other, but they indeed shed light onto the conflicts within Latin America’s largest union, the National Education Workers Union (SNTE), and the life and friendship of what a left-wing politico describes as “the mafia in power.”
The funeral was that of Senator Mónica Arriola Gordillo, 44, who passed away Sunday after suffering from a brain tumor. She happens to be the daughter of an imprisoned former SNTE leader who was allowed to visit the funeral home where she paid homage to her daughter.
Senator Arriola was for a while the leader of the National Alliance Party (PANAL), which was founded by her mother and whose voting power is for the most part the 1.3 million-strong SNTE teachers’ union.
In any case, the funeral was considered “a family affair” and only those “close” to the family were allowed. But as it happened in this case, reports are that outside the Premiere funeral home in the Cuajimalpa borough of Mexico City several hundred friends lined up to be allowed to pay the last homage to Senator Arriola; so far so fine.
But here comes the double-dip political scoop. Among those standing in line were PANAL’s current leader, Luis Castro, and SNTE leader Juan Dìaz. When the turn of each of them arrived to enter the funeral home, they were told to wait a minute. Inside there was group of people screening those who could enter and who could not, and in the end, both Castro and Dìaz were forced to wait for nearly an hour, after which the message that they were not welcome at Mónica’s funeral was more than apparent. Castro and Dìaz left knowing that inside the funeral home was “la profesora” Elba Esther Gordillo, their former boss, who has been in jail now for three years under charges of money laundering and pilfering 2.6 billion pesos from union fees.
There are clear reasons for the rejection of these two “traitors” who shouldn’t have attended the funeral home to begin with.
Back in 2013 Senator Mónica Arriola, the deceased, made public the fact that now-PANAL leader Luis Castro literally staged a successful coup against her to keep the party leadership.
Needless to say that from that moment on she hated him because he forced her to resign, and said so publicly even with police presence. From that moment on Castro, from being a protégée of “la profesora” Elba Esther, founder of PANAL, became “a traitor.”
As for Juan Díaz, he was part of the complot to remove Mónica Arriola from the PANAL leadership but furthermore, he was “the inheritor” of Elba Esther’s awesome political power as SNTE leader — but who would not move a finger to defend her when President Enrique Peña Nieto threw all the law books against her.
In fact, nobody from the federal government even showed up at the funeral, but at the Senate Mónica Arriola Gordillo was remembered as a very active senator who introduced, in the past three and a half years, 70 bills. “Monica, we will miss you,” read a banner.
After the funeral, “la profesora” Elba Esther was returned to the hospital where she is a patient under police surveillance as a convicted prisoner.
The political event could have been private, had it not been because former senator and once presidential candidate Diego Fernández de Cevallos cannot do without the limelight.
At the birthday party he threw himself, many of his buddies attended, which included members of the three leading political parties; Supreme Court judges; priests and reverends; plus two former presidents, Carlos Salinas and Felipe Calderón; and as the cherry on Fernández 75th birthday cake was Mexico’s wealthiest man, Carlos Slim.
Fernandez’s humble hut is at the Miguel Hidalgo borough in Mexico City, where the new fashion of spying through “periscope” is being implemented by the current borough mayor Xochitl Gálvez. After “periscoping” (the new verb in fashion is “periscopear”) the party, she made it public on the web and it was an immediate gossip success, to the point that several attendees complained bitterly, not because they were there, but because they could be the immediate target of their sworn political enemies.
Former National Action Party (PAN) senator Javier Lozano was worried that the gathering was food for attacks for former presidential candidate and frontrunner for the 2018 presidential elections Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
Lozano was quoted as saying, “What is López Obrador going to say? Deny it, there you have them all together, PRI, PAN, PRD and the factional men in power, the mobsters in power.”
Fernández de Cevallos labeled the gathering as “a plurality reunion, what Mexico needs, unity and not complicity and murkiness.”
Yet, there is no question as to the fact that birds of a feather flock together. Any good deals?
In any case, they were “periscopeados.”
Thus ends the tale of two private events.