A larger than life political figure to rival the San Blas mayor known as “Layín,” who famously said “I only stole a little bit!” is gaining notoriety in the northern state of Nuevo León.
The mayor of Ciénega de Flores, a city and municipality about 40 kilometers from Monterrey, is known to hand out cash, give away tickets to shows, raffle off houses and horses and dance with female guests at official functions.
Pedro Casas Quiñones won the election in June 2015 as a candidate for the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) but he left the party in April and now governs as an independent. He has his eyes set on reelection next year.
To celebrate his 2015 win he organized a cavalcade shortly after and then another in August that concluded at his country house with a feast and dancing to live banda music.
However, it wasn’t just food and entertainment that Casas Quiñones used to lure the partygoers.
“In addition, we’re going to have the raffle of a two-and-a-half-year-old mare among all the attendees,” he declared.
“Everybody that attends participates in the raffle for free, whether you arrive on a horse or not.”
The mayor is not shy about making his controversial tactics public, posting some of them on social media. This month a video has been circulating that shows him giving away 20-peso bills to a line of children.
Previously he posted a photograph of the mare up for grabs.
The state secretary of the PRD says that he regrets having supported Casas Quiñones to be the party’s candidate, citing the maverick mayor’s questionable conduct in raffling off five houses to celebrate events such as Mothers’ Day.
The homes are provided by local real estate developers in exchange for incentives from the municipal government, he claimed.
Eduardo Arguijo also said that the National Housing Industry Chamber (Canadevi) accused Casas of extorting its members last year by charging an unlawful 5,000-peso fee for each new dwelling built in the municipality.
The mayor has also attracted controversy by appointing a person who had not passed confidence tests to the position of Secretary of Public Security and by buying new pickup trucks for his wife, his son and himself.
Casas Quiñones was filmed in April at an allegedly illegal cock fighting ring in his municipality, where he appeared to be preparing to lay bets.
Arguijo asserted that Jaime Rodríguez — the independent state governor commonly known as “El Bronco” — has led all state mayors believe that he will help them win reelection and all of Pedro Casas’ antics are dedicated to that end.
Hilario Ramírez, or “Layín,” is a similarly colorful and controversial local politician who also left his party to govern as an independent. Apart from his infamous honesty, he is also known for lavish gifts and celebrations and enjoying the fanfare of politics.
He ran for governor of Nayarit in early June but finished a distant third.