Mexican Politicians Swap Accusations of Zetas Funding

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Two of Mexico’s biggest political parties have been trading allegations of ties to drug cartels, hinting at the murky connections between organized crime and politics in Mexico.

In an April 24 press conference, Miguel Yunes, who unsuccessfully stood as the National Action Party (PAN)’s candidate in the 2010 Veracruz gubernatorial elections, accused current Governor Javier Duarte, and Duarte’s predecessor, Fidel Herrera, of working with a Zetas money launderer.

Yunes said that the current and previous governors, both members of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), maintained a business relationship with Francisco Colorado, who is currently on trial in the United States for allegedly laundering Zetas drug profits through a horse breeding business, reported Proceso. Yunes also accused Herrera of accepting money from Colorado, and protecting his operations while governor.

Shortly after, an anonymous email sent to journalists and political leaders appeared on a pro-government website, accusing Yunes of receiving funding from Colorado. The email included photographs of the pair together.

The week before, a Gulf Cartel accountant testified that the organization had contributed $12 million to Herrera’s 2004 campaign.

Insight Crime Analysis

During the 71 years of unbroken PRI rule, which ended in 2000, the relationship between organized crime and politics was relatively straightforward — any criminal group looking to buy political influence knew exactly who to turn to.

However, in the current era of increased political plurality, drug cartels frequently have to hedge their bets by supporting more than one side in an electoral contest in order to guarantee a sympathetic winner.

While none of the allegations against either the PAN or the PRI politicians in Veracruz have been proven, and it is difficult to separate truth from mudslinging, it is quite possible that one or both sides have been corrupted by the influence of Colorado, his associates or his rivals.

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