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on the border line between the US and Mexico

Friday, April 21, 2017

Corruption at a Level of Audacity ‘Never Seen in Mexico’

Posted by DD Republished from New York Times

By Elisabeth Malkin
Javier Duarte, the former governor of the Mexican state of Veracruz, was escorted by the police after his arrest in Guatemala over the weekend. He disappeared in October, a week before a judge issued an arrest warrant on charges of organized crime and embezzlement. Credit Danilo Ramirez/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
 MEXICO CITY — When the authorities caught up with him at a lakeside hotel in Guatemala this past weekend, Javier Duarte, a fugitive former Mexican governor, went quietly.

Less than a week earlier, the Italian police had surrounded another former Mexican state governor, Tomás Yárrington, as he finished dinner at a restaurant on a Florentine piazza, ending his five years on the run.

At least three other former Mexican state governors are missing, and more than a half-dozen are under investigation or fighting prosecution on corruption charges. Whatever the accusations, the governors in this rogues gallery share at least one trait: All behaved as if they were untouchable.

“The decades of impunity have generated a level of audacity and absurdity that we have never seen in Mexico,” said Max Kaiser, an anticorruption expert at the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness, a research organization.

This excess is more public than ever, pushing Mexicans to a boiling point.

Empowered citizens, transparency laws and a freer media are now exposing the schemes that governors have used to siphon public funds for their private use. But though the scrutiny has produced mounting evidence of misdeeds, the governors have rarely faced justice.

Governors, who like presidents serve one six-year term, control state legislatures, state auditors and state prosecutors — a dominance that gives them the power of a modern potentate.

That leaves it to federal prosecutors to pursue wrongdoing, but the response has been tepid.

“In the majority of cases, it reaches no further than a complaint or an arrest warrant,” said María Amparo Casar, the executive president of Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity, an activist group.

The governors “know how high the level of impunity is,” said Ms. Casar, whose research has found that of 42 governors suspected of corruption since 2000, only 17 were investigated. Before the most recent arrests, only three were in jail.

“They know that it will be the people below” who take the fall, she said. “Or that the prosecutor can’t put together a good case, or that the judge can be bribed.”

Of all the governors, Mr. Duarte of the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz has become the emblem of the country’s corrupt state leaders, particularly those from President Enrique Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party, known as the PRI.

During the more than 70 years that the party governed Mexico without interruption, it became synonymous with corruption. The cases crisscross the map.

Mr. Yárrington, the former governor arrested in Italy, is wanted by both Mexico and the United States on charges that he took bribes from drug cartels to allow them free rein in his state, Tamaulipas, which borders Texas on the Gulf Coast.

His successor, Eugenio Hernández, who was also a PRI member, faces United States money-laundering charges. He has not been seen in public since last June.

The new opposition government that took over in Tamaulipas last October found that the outgoing PRI governor had assigned eight state police officers to protect Mr. Yárrington and four more to Mr. Hernández.

Irving Barrios, the incoming attorney general, told Mexican television last November that he reassigned the officers and reported the protection to the federal attorney general’s office. It was not clear whether the police officers were accompanying the fugitive former governors by that time.

In Nuevo León, Mexico’s northern manufacturing hub, the former governor Rodrigo Medina is a free man while a court reviews embezzlement and other charges against him.

No political party is immune, though.

Guillermo Padrés, who governed the northwestern border state of Sonora for the opposition National Action Party, is in jail as he defends himself against charges that he diverted public funds to family businesses.

Even before the corruption charges emerged last year, though, the residents of Mr. Padrés’s desert state were shocked to learn that he had built an illegal dam on his ranch to irrigate his commercial walnut orchard.

Outrage over corruption finally pushed Congress last year to agree to a package of new anticorruption laws. A citizens’ commission, which was sworn in this month, will oversee how well those laws are enforced.

Guillermo Padrés, right, who governed the northwestern border state of Sonora, with President Felipe Calderón, center, and José Guadalupe Osuna, in 2010. Mr. Padrés is in jail as he defends himself against charges that he diverted public funds to family businesses. Credit Luis Acosta/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
But it will take time for them to take effect. In the meantime, some in the political establishment have found at least one way to sabotage the laws: Congress has delayed naming an anticorruption prosecutor.

And activists who pushed for the changes say they have become targets. They have received threats by text. And newspaper columns have questioned their motives. Computers were stolen this month from the headquarters of one anticorruption group, Causa en Común. Tax auditors have appeared at several organizations.

For now, the arrests of Mr. Duarte and Mr. Yárrington give Mr. Peña Nieto’s government an opportunity to claim two decisive blows against corruption — even though both men were arrested abroad. The timing is fortunate, coming at the start of an election season in which clean government is a major demand of voters.

In June, Mr. Peña Nieto’s home state, the State of Mexico, will choose a new governor in a race that is widely seen as a bellwether ahead of next year’s general election. The state is a PRI bastion.

Despite an early career among some of the PRI’s most corrupt figures, Mr. Peña Nieto won the presidency in 2012 promising to lead a new generation of his party. Among the governors he praised as a fellow reformist was Mr. Duarte.

But it did not take long to see that Mr. Duarte presided over a government that operated with unusual avarice.

As the state’s debt doubled, the federal auditor said last year that he had asked the governor’s team to explain some $2 billion in budget discrepancies over four years. Retirees marched to protest the looting of the pension fund, and academics complained that the budget of the state’s flagship university was stripped.

An investigation by the online publication Animal Politico found that $35 million destined for social programs was paid instead to phantom companies.

The corruption even extended to the health system. The federal health ministry said in February that it had found doses labeled as the cancer drug Avastin, which on testing, proved to be fake. The ministry also found 23 metric tons of expired medicine in the state’s warehouses.

At the same time, a surge in horrific violence, including the killing of 17 journalists, was accompanied by the disappearance of thousands of people and the discovery of mass graves. Through it all, Mr. Duarte brushed off the violence and swore that he was innocent of stealing any money. An election changed his luck. Last June, the PRI lost governorships in six states, including Veracruz, to the opposition.

César Duarte, former governor of Chihuahua, in 2012. He slipped across the border to El Paso to evade a state investigation into the embezzlement of public funds. Credit Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters
Mr. Duarte was suddenly a pariah in his party, clearing the way for the federal government to investigate. Realizing that his time was up, Mr. Duarte disappeared in October, a week before a judge issued an arrest warrant on charges of organized crime and embezzlement.

Since then, two other former PRI governors who lost their states to the opposition have followed his example.

Last month, the new governor of Chihuahua announced that his predecessor, César Duarte, had slipped across the border to El Paso to evade a state investigation into the embezzlement of public funds. César Duarte, who is not related to the former Veracruz governor, has said that he is innocent.

In Quintana Roo, which is home to the resort of Cancún, the former governor, Roberto Borge, is nowhere to be found.

In his case, the warning first came from citizens’ groups whose investigations discovered elaborate schemes that enriched Mr. Borge’s family and friends. In one ruse, the state’s labor relations board assessed enormous penalties on wage claims brought by phantom employees. To pay the debts, the board seized properties and sold them, according to a report by the business magazine Expansión and Ms. Casar’s group, Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity.

Mr. Borge also sold plots of public land to his mother, his lawyer and his friends for a fraction of their value. Although the federal attorney general’s office has seized 25 such properties, no arrest warrant has been issued for Mr. Borge, who is thought to be in the United States.

The local activist group that spent years digging for evidence of the land sales feared that Mr. Borge would never be held to account.

“They never expected that they would lose and that’s why they were so brazen,” said Fabiola Cortés, the director of the group, We Are Your Eyes. “They were sure that there would be continuity. They had control of the press and they bought the votes.”

Ms. Cortés, who has sought federal government protection from a program to protect journalists after she received threats, said the attorney general was moving slowly.

“They can’t just stand there with their arms crossed,” she said. “But it would be suicide for them to say that all PRI governors are corrupt.”

Instead, she said, “They are taking small steps ahead of the elections.”


  1. Nice work New York Times... that is how you report

    1. I agree 100%

    2. Rodrigo Medina y sus compas andan sacando gente de sus terrenos en Los Ramones New Lion. Los vatos tuvieron las agallas de cercar mas de 6000 hectarias de propiedades privadas y con gente viviendo adentro. Segun van hacer una piedrera para abasteser a Monterrey y otras cuidades. Tienen amenasados a mucha gente que viven en esos rumbos y la cente y fuerza civil vigilan las entradas. Si no me creen pasense por la carretera Miguel aleman , monterrey y a mano derecha antes de la venadera veran la cerca que hicieron los ojetes.

      No ay mafia mas grande en Nuevo Leon que la de natividad y Rodri Medina. El bronco ni papas hiso no apoya a la gente a de estat coliuido.

      -Kim junk un

    3. Carlos Slim Helu has a big ownership stake in the NYT!
      This story is all Smoke and Mirrors!
      The big thieves will keep on draining Mexico of its wealth!

    4. @4:48AM How does Carlos Slim's ownership of stock in NYT make this story all "Smoke and Mirrors".

    5. Movimiento Ciudadano has put fool proof proof of the rodrigo medina corruption case in the hands of the nuevo leon governor Jaime Heliodoro "el inodoro" Rodriguez, "el bronco" que resultó ser "un pinchi pony". And nothing was done, it is not in the courts, while the case prescribes and runs out of gas in the desk of "el inodoro".
      MC said they were suing in court to make sure, but nothing has come out of it, state congressman Samuel Garcia and ing. Gilberto Lozano keep trying.

  2. Glad to see structures being put in place for corruption practices from government. Moreover the necessity for such to protect its citizens from such illegal activities.
    Could this be the beginning of change for a better Mexico? Hopefully so.
    In the end it's been long overdue of injustices which government has always resorted to.
    Love to visit my country and its heritage as many do.
    Furthermore where peace and order and good governance is applied.
    Great article BB

    1. 8:07 this is the beginning of nothing, just another masquerade to make some believe el pinchi PRI "is fighting corruption" because elections are coming, and AMLO and MORENA are looking very strong on local and states elections, and epn's silla presidencial won't be "his" after 2018, but epn is the most corrupt, he and his cabinet, senators and congressmen and his beloved governors.

  3. They'll (Yarrington +Duiartes) be paraded before the election and afterwards let go. Crime pays if its done at the top! ... not only in Mex

  4. Dont be fooled by these douche bags on here who think they're superior to corrido listening muthafuckas. These politicians want to be narcos too or they wouldn't be collaborating with cartels and getting caught up with stashes of money, gold plated diamond encrusted weapons. If corridos are so lame why do so many attractive and unattractive females for that matter listen to them and like dudes that live the lifestyle. Just my clap back to all the douchers on here commenting how righteous their lame ass lives are.

    1. The only thing lame on here is your comment. LOL...THINK about it db. Why would a politician want to be a narco? That is all risk and no reward...and...ya'll might just catch a bullet or a chainsaw in the process. As for the females...they are just young and stupid and want to have fun. After that, they go for the guys who have some respect and can be a good daddy to their babies. One day you will understand.

  5. Corruption at a Level of Audacity ‘Never Seen in Mexico’

    Yeah right. Apparently this people don't know or don't remember Raul Salinas de Gortari or El Negro Durazo.

    1. Agree!
      How a portion of such retirees walk away without an inquiry of their activities.
      That's actually what many Mexican people state the most when conversations arise.

  6. And none of them past or prior talk or mention any other official's or presidents, why??

  7. Follow the money. Straight to the top. Does US have legal right to govern foreign countries presidents If their dirty money doesn't touch us soil? T.Montana (Governors and/or Narcos yes when they invest in the US or sell drugs but can we police a foreign countries internal corruption? Why not if it contributes to illegal drugs/money being brought to USA. No Meridia $$$$. Case close)!

  8. Guillermo Padrés is a partner of the trumps, his son fronts the "business opportunity".

    1. 2:08 Guillermo is in jail in Mexico. What is your source that he is partner of Trump and his son is a front man for him? If you have no evidence of what you claim in your comments, don't post fake news.

    2. 5:13 google, and Google Images:
      Negoció Hijo de Trump (donald jr) con el Sonorense (Guillermo Padrés)
      --El Universal,mexico
      --El Silo de Torreon
      --Mundo Hispanico
      m.excelsior,com/Acusan que Padrés y su Esposa Sabian del Tráfico de Bebés. (su esposa como primera dama estaba de jefe del DIF, mas de 300 niños)/daniel sanchez dorame
      Eric Trump y trump tower en Punta del este, involves argentina ministro de hacienda Nicolás Dujovne, his family's "design studio", his wife Carolina, her bother Felipe Yariyura, his partner Moises Yellati, and their YY Development, which may not be criminal but the developments usually use the franchise's name and the buildING partners steal the money from the public coffers, or they use it to launder millions and millions of dollars, which of course is not a crime until discovered, the partnerships also remain offshored and secret, who needs to declare earnings and pay "taxes"?

    3. @7:19AM Thanks for posting your "sources" for your claim that Guillermo Padres and Trump are partners. I tried to find links to the sources that would back up your claim. The closest I found was the first you listed which I assume was your best shot at proving your claim. That story was about Donald Trump Jr., head of international operations for the Trump Org. meetings with Padres in 2012 when Padres was Governor. The story related that they met to discuss roads and tourism in the Governor's state in tourist areas where Trump Org. was considering making investments. Seems to me to be a prudent thing to do if you were head of international operations for a large development company, but certainly doesn't make them partners as you allege.

      The source about trafficking babies had nothing to do with Trump. The only connection in the story to Trump would be the Gov. and his wife adopted a son named Erik and Trump has a son named Erik.

      You are right that Argentina Monister of Hacienda and his family attending a press conference in Trump Tower about the Trump Org. opening sales in Punta Este in Uruguay was not a crime and does not make Trump a partner with Padres.

      You might consider writing for Brietbart because you seem to have a knack for taking a fact or facts and twisting them into a story that fits your agenda.

  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. @2:13 You try to twist your slanderous comments about Carlos Slim into into completely unrelated stories nearly everyday. If you want to see any of those comments published come up with some credible proof of what you are accusing him of.

  10. What happened to the scumbag they arrested in spain last year who was in bed with the zetas?

    1. @7:17 Humberto Moreira is seeking the nomination to become a delegate for the Coahuila State Congress from a new political party, the Youth Party (PI)(maybe they are too young to remember him)

      In 2015 his brother Ruben,the current governor ordered an investigation into all the allegations made against his brother. It took the Coahuila Attorney General 2 weeks to conduct the investigation and shortly thereafter issued a report completely exonerated Humberto of all accusations that had been made against him.

      Bet you didn't know justice worked that fast in Mexico.

    2. His innocent son was killed. He must not have invested/hid any $ in the USA that we know about. Maybe if we can find some investments in the usa then he will be on his way here and Really have something to cry about. Lets see. Patience. T.M.

  11. Its always been very very corrupt only difference is now the internet and social media is shinning the bright light on these fukkking ratas

  12. NYT is a Fake news organization. Where were the exposes when these thieves were in power! Where are the exposes on big thieves now in power in Mexico?

    1. @4:54AM You don't consider this story a expose' on "these thieves".

  13. @4:54 I happen to agree, but in the sense that for some absolutely mystifying reason the MSM in the states hide their heads in the sand regarding the slow motion tragedy that is Mexico today. One is forced to conclude that the Big Shots in the US have some interest in feigning ignorance. Also connected maybe is the fact of the enormous influence the cartels have by virtue of the money they pour into banks, etc. Somethin ain't right.

    1. Reynosa is, like, on fire, and nobody here gives a shit, hijole. Right across from big bad Murica


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