Threats to Candidates
A week from now, as July 4 gets closer to election day, violence in Hidalgo increases. The presence of "Los Zetas" in the state of Hidalgo is a fact that politicians acknowldge in silence. The electoral process has developed between shootings and threats against supporters of the coalition Hidalgo United, which is headed by Xochitl Galvez.
In several communities of Hidalgo clashes have been reported between supporters of Xochitl Galvez, candidate of the coalition of Hidalgo United (consisting of the PAN, PRD and PT) and the PRI's Francisco Olvera, candidate of the coalition United With Us (formed by the PRI, Green Party and New Alliance).
Interviewed during her campaign in La Huasteca of Hidalgo, Gálvez considers a real possibility that the election will take on a climate of violence because she suspects that members of PRI will attempt to win at any cost.
"The PRI in Hidalgo is extremely repressive. There have been many constant threats" especially against the more than 3000 promoters she said. They have been reported mainly in Tula, Tulancingo, Pachuca and the Mezquital Valley.
One of her supporters in the campaign, Juan Reyes, was abducted in Pachuca. He escaped, but afterwards did not want anything to do with the campaign anymore or make a report with the authorities.
- Do you think the culprits are the PRI? -Galvez was asked.
- I think so.
- Have you personally been threatened?
- Yes, I have.
That is why, she says, in every speech she requests of her supporters to watch over the vote and to convince the undecided, which she believes lie mostly in Pachuca.
"Here, the vote of the citizens will decide the outcome of the election," she says.
- And do you think there will be violence?
- They have attempted. The other day I was in the town Nopala Villagrán and received a message that there would be bad consequences. Four drunken men arrived to taunt and yell profanity at me. They (the PRI) will try (to attack) in that manner.
Zambrano says that for certain "Hidalgo is not a safe place." And he provides examples: the kidnappings and the robberies have increased, they have found dead people, and they have identified safe houses. In addition, in an operation they recently arrested about 15 judicial police. He mentioned that on June 24 a march was held by the families of 150 police officers that had been apprehended on June 24, 2009 for alleged links to drug traffickers. And on June 21 there was a shootout between police and suspected Zetas in the community of El Palmar, in Pachuca.
"Hopefully this will not lead to direct attacks or acts of violence against campaign leaders, candidates or against our very own candidate. Hopefully it will not escalate to higher levels; that is to attack the very own candidate or worst her family. I leave it there," he warns.
For the PAN state chairman, Gonzalo Amador Trejo, the disputed election will be tough because his coalition has to face the PRI "that operate politically like organized crime," said during an interview.
At present, the PRI has absolute control of agencies like the State Electoral Institute, the Human Rights Commission of the state, Citizens Advisory Councils and the local legislature.
Also, along with controlling state government, the PRI also controls the media, like El Sol de Hidalgo. In that media, maintains Trejo, there has not been a single note published on the campaign of Gálvez, but only on Olvera. "Around here the sun does not come up for all," he jokes in irony.
The political PAN party argues that they have joined forces with the left to win over the PRI that has inherited the power in the state for 80 years with marginal results - says the Galvez team - pointing to the state ranking as fifth in poorest of all states, according to data by Inegi, and with a high consumption of marijuana and cocaine.
The Former Secretary of Government of Hidalgo Francisco Olvera has the support from the governor, Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong - family member of former governor Javier Rojo Gomez and former president of the state and current senator and secretary general of the PRI, Jesús Murillo Karam, as well as the president mexiquense Enrique Peña Nieto, and that of his party's national leader, Beatriz Paredes. All the political apparatus, electoral and government has turned in favor of Olvera, who is allegedly suspected of having ties with Los Zetas. "
Recently it was learned of the details of a complaint filed against Olvera made by a group called Citizens of Hidalgo Against Olvera. The complaint also includes the Governor Osorio Chong and other state officials. This group accuses them of "favoring the narco-trafficking interests in the state" in return for funding political campaigns (Proceso 1745), but Olvera maintains that this is totally false. According to such information, "Los Zetas" came to Hidalgo in 2001, during the first months of administration of Manuel Angel Nunez Soto, and now even have cells in 84 municipalities, they wove a ring of spies called "Los Halcones" and began the expansion of La Compañía.
The presence of "Los Zetas" is so obvious that they recognizes the family of Lazcano, a group said to belong to the leader Heriberto Lazcano, who is financing the construction of a church in the community of Tezontle next to the military zone.
A protest of about 16 people against Xochitl Gálvez who were asked by her why they were unhappy, and most had no answers, giving to suspicion that they may had been paid to be there. Some were indigenous ladies with children.