Electoral mischief is not confined to the states choosing governors next month. In Mexico City voters will be choosing the members of the new state’s constitutional assembly, and political parties are on the look-out for ways to garner the support of voters.
The newspaper Reforma reported today that Coyoacán borough chief Valentín Maldonado, a member of the ruling Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), has been providing residents with tinacos, domestic water storage tanks, in exchange for their support for his party’s candidates.
Each family was promised a tinaco in return for the photocopies of five electors’ identification cards, and the promise to vote for PRD assembly candidates on June 5.
On Thursday night and early Friday morning, Reforma witnessed the delivery of 30 2,500-liter tinacos to inhabitants of the Ajusco neighborhood in Coyoacán by the leaders of neighborhood associations.
According to residents interviewed by the newspaper, the same thing was happening in other neighborhoods — Santo Domingo, Pedregal, Santa Úrsula, among others — throughout the borough.
“I have relatives in the Santo Domingo neighborhood and they will also receive their tinaco,” said Rufino Mendoza of Ajusco, adding that “we don’t really need them, the cash would have been more help, but that’s what they gave us.”
Another Ajusco resident, Rosa Angélica Avelar, witnessed other neighbors handing over the requested photocopies to the association representatives.
“I turned in the copies because I needed the tinaco . . . they were copies of my parents’ and children’s IDs,” Avelar said. “I was told that they had to vote for PRD in the next elections . . . I still don’t know who we’re supposed to vote for but I don’t care, because the candidate who gives away more always wins.”
Another neighbor said that once the election is over “they will throw a party for us.” This was echoed by a second neighbor, who declared that they didn’t have any other choice but to accept the water tanks. “Tinacos are expensive and voting doesn’t cost us anything, plus we’re also getting a party out of it.”
In total, Coyoacán authorities were expected to deliver 1,666 tinacos as part of a social program, investing 5 million pesos (US $272,000) in their purchase. According to Reforma, the borough spent 3,000 pesos per tank, more than the commercially listed price.
The Citizens’ Watchdog of Coyoacán, a civil organization created last year by members of the borough’s intellectual, artistic, academic and professional community, has filed a legal complaint against the borough chief for electoral and administrative crimes.