The secretary general of the Pemex petroleum workers’ union resigned on Wednesday amid accusations of corruption.
Carlos Romero Deschamps had held the post for 26 years. His right-hand man, union official and federal Deputy Manuel Limón Hernández, is expected to succeed him.
Romero has faced many accusations of corruption over the years, but is now facing charges of money laundering and illicit enrichment.
Romero joined the union in 1969 and was named secretary general in 1993 during the administration of then-president Carlos Salinas de Gortari. He has also served in both houses of the Mexican Congress.
He has been a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) since 1961 and has coordinated political campaigns for the party in Tamaulipas.
President López Obrador commended Romero’s decision to step down during his morning conference on Thursday.
“I’m really pleased by what happened yesterday and that it happened without violence, because in other cases there is violence and now this is being achieved peacefully,” he said.
He went on to state his hopes for a future without union corruption.
“How is a labor union leader going to be a tycoon at the same time? Where does that money come from? We have to end this stage and put democracy and honesty first,” he said. “. . . We now have to respect workers so they can freely and democratically elect their leaders.”
He said he views the resignation as an opportunity to effect change in union procedures.
The union must hold an election to replace Romero’s successor, whose appointment is only temporary, the president said. “There is an opportunity to . . . do things right and legally . . . We must not fear democracy.”
Yesterday, Mexico News Daily reported that federal financial authorities had frozen bank accounts belonging to Romero and family members. The information, provided by Romero’s lawyer, was later denied by the Financial Intelligence Unit of the Secretariat of Finance.
Sources: Milenio (sp)