Anaya & Meade Under the Gun for Corruption While AMLO Proposes “Moral Constitution”
The headlines have not been good over the last few days for candidates Ricardo Anaya, of the PAN-PRD coalition, and José Antonio Meade, for the PRI-PVEM.
Having previously been the subject of exposés by the Universal newspaper for alleged enriquecimiento ilícito (or inexplicable enrichment), and by the Proceso magazine for using a foundation to construct a building on expropriated land that was then flipped for a substantial profit, Anaya is under the gun again for another real-estate transaction, this one for the simulated sale of an industrial unit for some $54 million pesos ($3 million US) with the money being funneled through a series of fake businesses. Anaya contends the charges are a plot by the PRI to derail his candidacy, and even went so far as to sue the Universal last year. In another attempted show of swagger, he is now challenging the Federal Attorney General’s office to haul him in.
As for Meade, the Federal Audit Office detected the diversion of some $1.3 billion pesos ($72 million US) at the Social Development Secretariat, SEDESOL (and another agency, the SEDATU). Although the diversions allegedly took place with Rosario Robles at the helm, Meade took over from her as Social Development Secretary in August 2015 and at no time raised the alert about the diverted funds. As a former finance secretary under Felipe Calderón, it is hard to believe that Meade didn’t have the expertise to figure out what was going on under his nose. When, a year later in September 2016, Meade became finance secretary again, he still failed to discover what was occurring at his former agency. And this is not the only case where Meade turned a blind eye: during his time as finance secretary, governors from his party such as César Duarte of Chihuahua and Javier Duarte of Veracruz diverted billions of pesos of their own. Javier Duarte is currently in prison in Mexico; César is on the run in the United States. In this context, Meade’s promise to be “implacable” against corruption if elected president rings more than hollow.
The candidate who stands to benefit from all of these lurid headlines is MORENA’s Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has made fighting corruption the centerpiece of his campaign. But – not for the first time – AMLO seems determined to fritter away the gifts he’s been handed with ocurrencias (translated, with a healthy dose of sarcasm, as “bright ideas”). This week, before a crowd of the religious-right Partido de Encuentro Social, who MORENA has incongruously gone into coalition with, AMLO floated the idea of drafting a “moral constitution” to accompany the nation’s political one. Such a (non-binding) constitution, to be drafted with the help of ecumenical and other leaders, would lay out the moral precepts for the renewal of the nation. While appealing to a moral discourse in a country ravaged by corruption and violence is hardly out of place, AMLO’s way of doing it, and the audience he chose to do it before, raises old suspicions of his having a messianic streak. This is an especially sensitive area in a country where religious interference in political matters has been commonplace, and a civil war was fought in the nineteenth century to achieve the separation of church and state.Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Pinterest