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New stage in Tamaulipas: organized crime, two governors with accusations and a conflictive succession

The new stage in Tamaulipas seems to be born old. The change of government in the northern state has become a phenomenal legal mess in the hours prior to the inauguration of the governor-elect, Americo Villarreal, scheduled for October 1. Villarreal, cornered by the accusations of his political opponents of relations with organized crime and fearful that the State Prosecutor’s Office could issue an arrest warrant against him, has tried to take refuge in the jurisdiction provided by the Senate, where he requested his reinstatement on Monday to retract on Tuesday, when he understood that if he returned as a senator, the law could close the doors for his imminent investiture as governor. Finally, this Wednesday, after an arduous legal session in the Senate, he was granted the license to continue with the inauguration. However, this legal entanglement was not the only obstacle: Villarreal had to wait until Wednesday afternoon for the Federal Electoral Tribunal to give him a free pass to be appointed governor. The PAN in Tamaulipas challenged the June 6 elections for the alleged use of public resources and the support of organized crime in the campaign and on election day. The Court finally dismissed the appeal.

There is no government in Tamaulipas that is free from the terrible shadow cast by organized crime in the state, a crucial territory for drug trafficking, next to the sea and on the border with the United States. The outgoing governor, Francisco Garcia Cabeza de Vaca, is accused by the Attorney General of the Republic of money laundering and organized crime, for which he has waged an intense battle in recent months not to lose his jurisdiction and remain naked before the courts. . Just on August 17, the Supreme Court of Justice ruled that only the Congress of Deputies of Tamaulipas could decide on his parliamentary immunity. In any case, this October 1 he loses it, because he ends his mandate. His departure and the entry of his successor could not have been more abrupt. Villarreal accused Cabeza de Vaca of orchestrating his arrest using a similar judge. Cabeza de Vaca accused Villarreal of inventing this political persecution and denied that the Tamaulipas Prosecutor’s Office plans to issue an arrest warrant against him. “It’s a smokescreen” to divert attention from the decision that the Federal Court should take on the electoral process on June 6, he has maintained these days.

Cesar Verastegui, former PAN candidate for governor while denouncing drug gang collusion in Villarreal’s victory on September 13.Daniel Augustus (Dark Room)

One of the PAN leaders, the coordinator of this party in the Senate, Julen Rementeria, insisted on Wednesday that there was no such arrest warrant. He also hopes that Cabeza de Vaca will do well once stripped of parliamentary immunity. “But hey, we already know that in this country arrest warrants are cooked at high speed.” And that goes for both Villarreal and Cabeza de Vaca. Political interference in the work of judges and prosecutors is a bargaining chip in a country where, until a few years ago, the state prosecutor was appointed by the governor on duty. By law, this is not the case now, but suspicions of flawed relations between the two powers have not disappeared. Between the Tamaulipas prosecutor, Irving Barrios, and Cabeza de Vaca, there is something more than closeness, according to some. This is supported, for example, by Santiago Nieto, who was head of the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Ministry of Finance and now adviser to the incoming governor, Americo Villarreal.

The President of the Government, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has also entered the debate these days. He has defended Villarreal and justified that he wanted to go to the Senate to protect himself from possible legal attacks. “He is a good man”, he has said, that he does not have relations with the drug trafficker, in his opinion.

Before PRI and later Moreno, Americo Villarreal won the elections on June 6, but opponents soon challenged the process for alleged use of public resources for the campaign, as well as the intervention of organized crime. They were referring to alleged relations between the then-Morenista candidate and the Reynosa businessman Sergio Carmona, now deceased, identified as the leader of a huachicolera network, that is, fuel theft, one of the ways of financing the Mexican mafias. Those who challenged the elections pointed out that detonations had been heard in some polling stations and that in others the ballot boxes were stolen, as well as the use of luxury vans in the hands of morenistas from the Carmona company.

This Monday, Villarreal announced his government cabinet and among those appointed were two politicians, the former mayor of Rio Bravo, Hector Villegas, and the one who was a candidate for the presidency of Tampico, Olga Patricia Sosa, both accused of having links with the aforementioned huachicolero . Sosa lost the elections in Tampico, but she recognized, for example, that Carmona had mediated so that the singer Julion Alvarez participated in the closing of her campaign. The shadow of drug traffickers always hovers over Tamaulipas, one of the states declared in the dark for the media, which can barely carry out its task, much less report on organized crime so many times that the fear of reporting was justified with a bloodbath. . Cabeza de Vaca, however, has bid farewell to his six-year term boasting sound finances and better security. “I neither bend nor sell myself”, he has said, but he is not going to have an easy time with the law, according to all indications.

Villarreal has accused his predecessor of having met with a judge to process eight arrest warrants against him and other elected officials, which is why he sought refuge in the protection provided by the Senate. But this move to request his re-entry and again the license to leave in a couple of days turned against him. The PAN added this unsuccessful process to the challenge already filed against the electoral process, which they consider to be contrary to the law. 120 days must be separated from their previous public positions a candidate who seeks the election to another position. Morena has defended in the Senate that this period counts from the time the previous position is left until the election takes place at the polls. The opposition defended that he is until he is appointed governor and both have used various state and federal laws, as well as the Senate regulations to strengthen their interpretations. Finally, on Wednesday afternoon, the Federal Electoral Court has not considered that what happened on June 6 or what happened in the Senate is cause to prevent Americo Villarreal from taking a protest on September 30 and being governor of one of the states. most violent and dark in Mexico.

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Source: EL PAIS



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