One family in Chiapas has guarded a political dynasty for more than 80 years.
The Aguilar family has been in office in some form in Ixtapa, 45 kilometers east of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the state capital, since 1938.
In the June 6 elections, the family held onto the mayoral post in the municipality, and although they lost a race for federal deputy, they made further gains by winning a mayoral post in the nearby municipality of Bochil.
The story began when Ausencio G. Aguilar became mayor of Ixtapa in 1938 under the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) banner, and was elected on another three occasions. Since Ausencio Aguilar took power, seven mayors in the municipality have had the surname Aguilar over the last eight decades.
Grandson Roberto Aguilar was mayor for two terms, from 1999 to 2001 and from 2011 to 2012. That year, he handed over command to his cousin José Antonio Ochoa Aguilar, who governed from 2012 to 2015. Before he was able to announce a successor, Roberto Aguilar took power again, and then delivered his son Jordán Aguilar to office. Jordán Aguilar was reelected in 2018, allegedly through vote buying.
In 2015, the dynasty widened. Roberto Aguilar’s daughter and Ausencio Aguilar’s granddaughter, Adriana Aguilar, won a seat for the state Congress. She had worked previously in the state court.
She left her seat to run as an alternate candidate for federal deputy alongside her father but they lost. Roberto Aguilar had also been a state deputy between terms as mayor from 2003 to 2006.
In January, Adriana Aguilar declared her reverence for the democratic model. “Public offices are bestowed … they are opportunities for us to do our best,” she said.
However, many residents saw that as a mockery, the newspaper El Universal reported, citing the belief among residents that the family only does what is necessary for it to remain in power.
- CORRECTION: A previous version of this story erroneously stated the year in which Lázaro Cárdenas was first elected as Mexico’s president. He was elected in 1934.
With reports from El Universal