President Enrique Peña Nieto has canceled a trip to Tamaulipas but his office is not saying why, raising speculation that gun battles in downtown Reynosa triggered the move.
Nine people were killed in confrontations involving criminal gangs and security forces between Monday night and Wednesday, with some of the action happening in the city center.
Narco-blockades, burned vehicles and gunfire put the city on red alert.
But the president’s office said a Tuesday visit to Reynosa had never been confirmed, so it was not actually canceling it.
State officials said otherwise. The president, they said, was scheduled to open a new highway project and his security people had already been in contact with the state’s Public Security Secretariat to coordinate.
Meanwhile, a report by the newspaper El País suggested another factor. The National Action Party (PAN)-led state government is at odds with federal justice authorities over the case of an ex-governor of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) who is wanted in the United States.
Current Governor Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca issued a criticism this week of the federal Attorney General’s office for neglecting to provide investigative files in the Hernández case.
He said the documents have been requested more than six times since last October, but federal officials have not replied. “They appear to be hidden and have been for many years.”
Last week, a federal judge suggested to the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs that it was not obligated to extradite Eugenio Javier Hernández Flores, who governed Tamaulipas from 2005 until 2010.
Arrested on embezzlement charges in October, Hernández is wanted in the U.S. for money laundering. A final decision on his extradition lies in the hands of Foreign Affairs.
Another PAN-governed state has also been critical of federal authorities over another case involving an allegedly corrupt ex-governor. Chihuahua Governor Javier Corral has accused them of protecting former PRI governor César Duarte.