It’s a war out there and it’s a dirty one: welcome to the 2016 election campaigns.
In four of the 11 states that will hold elections in two weeks the campaigns have dispensed with promoting platforms and proposals, opting instead for a “dirty war” of accusations, personal attacks and the disclosure of information designed to tarnish candidates’ reputations.
The Gulf states of Veracruz and Tamaulipas have been the most hostile battlegrounds so far. In both, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) has ruled for years on end, and both have suffered from the violence caused by drug trafficking and corruption.
In the race for governor of Veracruz two cousins are head-to-head contenders: Miguel Ángel Yunes represents a left-right alliance between the National Action and Democratic Revolution parties, PAN and PRD, respectively. His cousin, Héctor Yunes, is the candidate of the ruling party, PRI.
The most recent series of attacks between the two has included accusations of pedophilia against Miguel Ángel, allegedly complicit in a child pornography network. Héctor Yunes used a public event to accuse his cousin of being “a pervert” and “sexual deviant” and warned those in attendance to “keep [their] children safe.”
Questions have also been raised about Miguel Ángel’s expensive real estate holdings and he has been accused of having a fortune hidden in offshore tax havens. But he has responded by observing that if such were the case the federal and state Attorney General’s offices, which are under the control of PRI, would already have acted against him.
In the neighboring state of Tamaulipas, narco-trafficking has been the accusation of choice. The PRI candidate formally accused his PAN adversary of having close ties with organized crime groups, releasing a doctored photograph showing armed individuals in a truck bearing the logo of the PAN candidate.
PRI has asserted that drug dealers in Tamaulipas are working for the PAN candidate. “We have never before seen such open involvement of organized crime in [a political] campaign,” said a PRI representative.
Personal attacks have also characterized the electoral race in the southeastern state of Oaxaca, where someone close to the state governor has been accused of amassing a fortune of more than 7 billion pesos (almost US $400 million).
According to information disclosed by the newspaper El Financiero, Jorge Castillo’s fortune is distributed in more than 20 bank accounts that have been opened since 2010, the year Governor Gabino Cué won the election under the banner of a three-way alliance between PAN, PRD and the Citizens’ Movement.
El Financiero has also reported that the PAN-PRD alliance candidate in the current election, José Antonio Estefan, is under investigation by the U.S. Department of the Treasury for banking irregularities involving $27 million.
In Puebla, a telephone espionage center was discovered this week. Allegedly in operation since 2014, the spy center was able to tap into 271 conversations. Margarita Zavala, a 2018 presidential hopeful, member of PAN and wife of former president Felipe Calderón, was among the targeted politicians.
A report by the newspaper Reforma said a Deputy close to state Governor Rafael Moreno Valle (elected through a PAN-PRD alliance) was in charge of the espionage operation.
The elections take place June 5, allowing for two more weeks of campaign shenanigans.
Source: Vanguardia (sp)