Five days before the official start of the election campaign in the state of Coahuila, two prominent ex-politicians have taken over the limelight, one of them a former president.
Humberto Moreira Valdés, a former state governor and former national leader of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), has been widely condemned for embezzling billions of pesos, but never charged.
When it was made public late last year that he was pursuing a Deputy’s seat in the state Congress, politicians and other public figures expressed disbelief and outrage, with some remarking on the accusations of ties to the Zetas cartel.
It was also asserted at the time that behind Moreira’s revived political aspirations lay the pursuit of a fuero, a constitutional privilege that grants immunity against prosecution to government officials.
Earlier this week, Moreira — considered one of the 10 most corrupt Mexicans by Forbes magazine in 2013 — confirmed his intention to obtain a candidacy from the local Young Party, or Partido Joven.
He stated it was not a whim, having attempted on four occasions to run for different offices after his term as governor ended in 2011. But the PRI denied all of them, even when he was “ahead in the polls.”
In this context, ex-president Felipe Calderón Hinojosa accused Moreira of not only being close to Los Zetas, but of allowing the criminal gang to live “comfortably in the state” during his stint as governor.
“I’m certain because I know that maybe the most dangerous and cruel gang to ravage Coahuila and Mexico is Los Zetas, and when Humberto Moreira was governor . . . its leadership lived there in comfort,” said Calderón.
“When I sent in the Navy to defend the families of Coahuila, to protect them from insecurity, kidnappings, extortion and abuse . . . governor Humberto Moreira called me, incensed, asking me to withdraw [the armed forces] from Coahuila, as they had nothing to do there because there was nothing wrong with Coahuila,” said the former president.
Calderón also rejected the notion that his administration had exonerated Moreira for the debt he incurred in during his six-year term.
“Of course not, I wish that debt was personal, but you and your children and grandchildren will have to pay it,” Calderón told a reporter, adding that “Coahuila doesn’t deserve that . . . a debt acquired by the governor of Coahuila, with great responsibility on his part, I reckon.”
The state had a debt of about 200 million pesos when Moreira took office. By the time he left it had soared to nearly 35 billion.
In response, Moreira accused Calderón of being a usurper and stealing the presidency in 2006 from Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
“If he dared to steal the presidency . . . he can dare to any atrocity,” the said.
As to the accusations that he rejected the presence of the Navy, Moreira said that perhaps Calderón’s “vice” had made him forget what really happened.
“That’s what happens when you drink, you forget what happened . . . he forgets that we offered the Amistad Reservoir [Presa de la Amistad, in Spanish] to the Navy . . . Is he well? Has his vice damaged him so? What can you believe from this man?” he asked reporters.
Moreira abstained from addressing the accusations of his ties to Los Zetas.