Humberto Moreira, former governor of the northern Mexican State of Coahuila, ended his six year term in 2011 and was almost immediately appointed president of the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party). Soon he was accused by other parties, PAN (right wing) and PRD (left wing) of embezzlement of several hundred million pesos.
Accusations and proof of this alleged crime were minimized by PRI, but Moreira resigned from the party’s presidency anyway, saying he was innocent but didn’t want to harm his party in the 2012 presidential election. Then he packed up and flew to Barcelona, Spain, supposedly to get an Education PhD, but the man was really running away from Mexico until “things cool off” a little bit, and maybe in a couple of years he could just return, keeping a low profile, and nobody would remember him…
In fact, Moreira was really a political outcast; he became a liability for PRI, and he had been living in Spain since 2012. Moreira was unpunished, enjoying the typical impunity Mexican politicians always have, but Friday January 15th, the fomer governor “ran out of luck” when he was arrested in Barajas Airport in Madrid, coming back from his Christmas vacation.
Spanish authorities accused him of money laundering, fraud, receiving bribes, and criminal association during his period as Governor of Coahuila. The Spanish law enforcement system has done what Mexico’s justice system was not able (or was not willing) to do.
The PRI issued a press release stating that “their organization cannot be held accountable for the wrongdoings of its members,” claiming they didn’t know anything about Moreira’s crimes… a typical reaction of Mexican politicians, pleading innocence despite the facts that show that much of that money might have been used to fund President Peña Nieto’s 2012 campaign.
The arrest in Spain of Humberto Moreira is a calamity for the PRI and obviously for Peña Nieto. At a time when the president appeared strengthened by the recapture of “El Chapo” Guzman, this news reminds us of the worst historical features of the “old PRI” — the corruption — and how the PRI, far from changing to a true democratic political party, goes back to this terrible habit that angers the people of Mexico, and makes us feel powerless against an oppressive government.
Throughout the years, Mexican authorities have proved to be incompetent, incapable (or just unwilling) of bringing corrupt politicians to justice, and most Mexicans consider it is a shame that Spanish authorities had to do the job that Mexican justice could not do, which only highlights one thing, that the Mexican political system is still rotten to the bone.
by Alejandro Azcárate for The Yucatan Times
The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent those of The Yucatan Times.
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