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The property where public funds were spent on infrastructure. The property where public funds were allegedly spent on infrastructure.

Oaxaca mayor accused of spending public funds on residential project

Mayor's family selling lots in Juchitán development

The mayor of Juchitán, Oaxaca, spent millions of pesos to complete urban infrastructure work in a residential project in which she has a personal financial interest, a local official has denounced.

Municipal trustee María Cruz Vásquez said that Mayor Gloria Sánchez López allocated more than 6.4 million pesos (US $341,000) to pave streets in the as yet unoccupied neighborhood of Guiexhuba.

The money was taken from a 2017 federal government allocation of 31.7 million pesos (US $1.7 million) earmarked exclusively for road surfacing projects, Cruz added.

The trustee said the mayor’s family sold the lots in the planned residential estate, suggesting that Sánchez acted in her own self-interest by allocating funds to Guiexhuba while other parts of Juchitán were neglected.

In addition, the newspaper El Universal reported that there are two large signs in Guiexhuba, featuring the municipal government insignia, that claim that more than 1.5 million pesos (US $79,000) were spent on water supply and drainage projects completed in July and August that supposedly benefit 375 people.

However, there is currently nothing more than scrubland and a single half-finished home in the area, El Universal said.

Cruz Vásquez, who has carried out her own investigation into the use of public money and infrastructure projects in Juchitán, accuses Sánchez of acting with a lack of transparency.

“In May 2017, I started investigating this project and how it was going to be carried out. I found several irregularities and I documented them and I’ve presented them to the relevant authorities,” she said.

Cruz added that more than 59.3 million pesos (US $3.1 million) earmarked for various infrastructure projects in Juchitán in 2017 were largely allocated to neighborhoods controlled by Sánchez and her political allies.

The mayor will leave her post later this year to take up a new role as a deputy in the Oaxaca Congress.

Juchitán, the commercial hub of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region, suffered widespread damage in the first of the devastating September 2017 earthquakes.

In the aftermath of the quake, Sánchez was accused of handing out provisions directly to local residents in defiance of state and federal government directives that all aid be distributed via the military.

Source: El Universal (sp) 

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