Alberto Figueroa Valladares and his wife, Catalina Ríos Núñez The former mayor and The Chief.el universal

Mayors in Oaxaca, Morelos in the news

One is alleged to have ordered firing on citizens, the other for organized crime links

More mayors are in the news, one in Oaxaca where orders were given to fire on local citizens and another in Morelos, in a case that has been likened to Iguala.

Last Thursday, state investigators were looking into reports of gunfire in the municipality of San Baltazar Chichicapam, located in the Ocotlán district in the Central Valleys region of Oaxaca.

Some media outlets have reported that 17 people were injured, children among them, after Mayor Carlos Vásquez Rebollar ordered three of his cousins to open fire on citizens in the street, which they did from positions on the roof of his house.

The confrontation has been blamed on “general discontentment of the town’s residents,” who accuse the mayor of having done nothing to benefit the community since he took office. Instead, they say, he has misdirected funds to buy new cars and remodel his home.

About 20 local residents occupied the municipal offices on October 5 in protest.

The mayor has since fled town.

In Morelos, the mayor of Emiliano Zapata, Eduardo Martínez Varela, is being investigated by the federal Attorney General’s office for complicity with former mayor Alberto Figueroa Valladares and his wife, Catalina Ríos Núñez, who are under investigation for illicit gain and links to drug traffickers.

Today, a federal Congressman warned that Iguala, the Guerrero city where six people were killed and 43 students were abducted on September 26, could repeat itself in Emiliano Zapata. Luis Miguel Ramírez claimed that Figueroa and Ríos are another “imperial couple,” in reference to the term being used to describe Iguala’s former mayor and first lady, credited with responsibility for the violence in September.

The imperial couple of Emiliano Zapata, said Ramírez, retain political control and have been linked with organized crime.

The two are members of the Democratic Revolution Party, whose Cuernavaca committee has asked them to reveal details of their family assets in order to shed some light on the origins of their fortune.

The municipality is located in one of the most violent parts of the state due to territorial disputes involving six crime gangs — the Sinaloa Cartel, Familia Michoacana, Caballeros Templarios, Beltrán Leyva, Guerreros Unidos and Los Rojos.

The mayor’s wife wielded a great deal of power during Figueroa’s term from 2009 to 2012, and she became known as La Jefa, or The Chief.

The couple’s lawyer claimed that his clients are victims of anonymous accusations, made for political gain, for which there is no evidence.

Sources: Telesur (en), El Universal (sp)

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