A former governor of Tabasco who was absolved of corruption charges last month was given a rock star welcome to his home state on Friday.
Andrés Granier Melo, governor of the Gulf coast state between 2007 and 2012, was swamped by well-wishers during his first public appearance in Tabasco since spending more than five years in the medical wing of a Mexico City prison.
The ex-governor was arrested in 2013 and sentenced to almost 11 years in prison in March 2018 for embezzling 196 million pesos (US $10 million at today’s exchange rate) from the public health sector in 2010.
Granier was exonerated by a state court on May 8.
The former Institutional Revolutionary Party governor arrived in Tabasco on Wednesday but wasn’t seen until yesterday morning when he entered a radio station in the state capital, Villahermosa.
Before Granier arrived, around 200 people – mostly women – were already in place to welcome and show support for their beloved erstwhile governor.
Holding balloons and sporting gushing placards, the ex-governor’s supporters gathered around Granier when he appeared and chanted slogans including “the people are with you” and “we love you.”
Among the messages on placards held up by women were: “The best memory of my childhood is called Andrés Granier” and “No one is a prophet in their own land but Andrés Granier is the blessed king.”
Among the former governor’s actions in office that endeared him to some sectors of the Tabasco population was the delivery of aid to the state’s poor and his reportedly heartfelt and hands-on response to a massive flood in 2007.
With regard to his now-overturned corruption conviction, Granier said in an interview that former president Enrique Peña Nieto and his successor as state governor, Arturo Núñez Jiménez, conspired to fabricate all the crimes he was said to have committed, which included money laundering, embezzlement and illicit enrichment.
The ex-governor rejected Núñez’s claim that he left Tabasco in a financial crisis.
The 71-year-old said he has no plans to get involved in politics again, explaining that his priority is to readapt to normal life.
“I’m happy to get to know my grandchildren. I’m happy to sleep in my own home, I’m happy that someone is waiting for me at home.”
Source: El Universal (sp)