Crisis in Veracruz: Federal intervention urged as governor resigns amid corruption scandal
Veracruz’s governor-elect on Thursday Oct. 13 said the Mexican federal government must urgently intervene in that Gulf coast state, saying it is in financial collapse and facing a public safety crisis.
“It’s important that (the federal government) urgently intervene in Veracruz. I’ve made a public request, in letters addressed to (President Enrique Peña Nieto),” Miguel Angel Yunes told leading Mexican broadcaster Televisa.
Meanwhile, in the face of myriad accusations of stealing funds from the state treasury, Veracruz Gov. Javier Duarte has stepped down just 48 days before his term was due to expire.
“The circumstances created by false accusations . . . force me to dedicate myself full-time to clear my name and that of my family,” he said Thursday in a message broadcast on radio and television.
There are now 53 criminal accusations against the former governor, who has even been spurned by his own Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which has withdrawn his membership rights.
Some of his former associates even wonder if he will flee.
PRI Senator Emilio Gamboa publicly urged Duarte to face the accusations against him, but “above all, don’t leave the country to avoid justice.”
Duarte has said he will not do so, and intends to fight the accusations.
“Veracruz needs a full-time governor . . . and I need time to respond to these accusations,” he declared, observing that “the only one to denounce” him has been governor-elect Miguel Ángel Yunes. “He’s the only one accusing me,” Duarte said during a television interview.
The accusations filed before the Attorney General’s office (PGR) and the federal taxation administration (SAT) for misappropriation of resources “are but a political campaign against me . . . a series of unsubstantiated slanderous remarks,” he said.
“I am very calm, my conscience is completely at ease because I’ve nothing to hide, all my assets are public.”
“If any government official of my administration committed any irregularity in paying contractors who never fulfilled their services, they must pay the legal consequences . . . I won’t sweat fevers that aren’t mine.”
Duarte asserted that he isn’t afraid of going to jail. “Clean hands, pure heart,” he said.
Duarte has never acknowledged the findings of an investigation by news website Animal Político, which revealed a network of phantom companies whose purpose was purchasing products for social programs that never reached their beneficiaries.
The state congress appointed former Government Secretary Flavino Ríos as interim governor to finish Duarte’s term.