"MX" for Borderland Beat
|Human rights activist Claudia Uruchurtu Cruz, 48, was last seen on 26 March 2021 in Oaxaca.|
The mayor of Asuncion Nochixtlan, Oaxaca, Lizbeth Victoria Huerta, was arrested for the disappearance of Claudia Uruchurtu Cruz, a human rights activist of British-Mexican nationality that went missing on 26 March 2021.
The Oaxaca Attorney General's Office confirmed that she was arrested along with the municipality's security chief and two more coworkers.
Cruz was reportedly kidnapped and forced into a red truck following an anti-corruption protest in Oaxaca against Huerta. Mexican authorities were slow to probe until the United Nations (UN) and the British government opened an investigation.
Cruz's sisters, who live in Sheffield in the UK, wrote letters to the British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab asking him to work directly with the Mexican government to find her. Several politicians from Sheffield also wrote to Rabb on behalf of the family to raise awareness on the case.
Family members confirmed to investigators that Cruz actively denounced corruption in Huerta's administration and had received threats for her work. They said that the kidnappers have not called the family for a ransom, which suggests the kidnapping was a forced disappearance. The family argues that the disappearance order was state-sanctioned.
Huerta, from the National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party, wants to be re-elected as mayor in the June elections. In addition to the kidnapping probe, she is currently under investigation by the Attorney General's Office (FGR) for the alleged misappropriation of public funds and electoral violations.
Sources consulted by Borderland Beat show that Huerta used public funds to finance her campaign. In addition, she is implicated in a money laundering case involving several "ghost" or shell companies that billed invoices to the municipality.
The companies under investigation are: Comercial Operadora del Gran Mundo S.A. de C.V.; MOCE Publicidad S.A. DE C.V.; Mayoristas Torrens S.A de C.V.; Productos de Limpieza “Chuy” S.A. DE C.V.; Materiales de Limpieza “Santa Clara S.A. DE C.V.; and CRICSA Combustibles S.A DE C.V.
|Asunción Nochixtlán mayor Lizbeth Victoria Huerta was arrested today after Oaxaca authorities issued an arrest warrant for her capture.|