The National Action Party (PAN) is rallying behind a senator and its candidate for governor of Tamaulipas after the newspaper El Norte published that Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca had received US $500,000 from the Gulf Cartel for support in a previous election campaign.
El Norte said an informant to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration gave evidence that he was the go-between for Héctor Sauceda Gamboa, a senior member of the cartel, and Cabeza de Vaca’s campaign for mayor of Reynosa in 2004.
Antonio Peña Argüelles, who is being held in a Texas jail, is a witness in the case in the United States against former Tamaulipas governor Tomás Yarrington. According to the testimony, Yarrington, a member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PR), had had a falling out with the PRI’s mayoralty candidate in Reynosa and told Peña he wanted to see Cabeza de Vaca win.
So Peña arranged for the Gulf Cartel to help finance Cabeza de Vaca’s campaign, and was present at a meeting between the candidate and cartel members.
The 48-year-old Cabeza de Vaca denied the allegations yesterday and said he had never had any relationship with criminal groups. “I have confronted them and will continue facing them now and forever.”
PAN officials said the report was an attempt to damage the image of the party, legislators and candidates, noting that allegations had been made against other party candidates in jurisdictions where it was leading in the polls.
They cited a “crude attack” on their candidate for governor of Colima and said it had happened in Veracruz and Tlaxcala.