Mexican governor accuses federal government of economic reprisals
January 9, 2018
On 8 January, the governor of Mexico's northern state of Chihuahua, Javier Corral, accused the federal government of punishing his administration financially for its uncompromising investigation of official corruption.
Significance: The allegations made by Corral are very serious and they will have a political and, most likely, electoral impact ahead of the presidential and fedeal congressional polls on 1 July.
Corral claimed that his administration had not received M$700m (US$36.4m) that it was due from the federal government led by President Enrique Peña Nieto in December 2017. More seriously, Corral alleged that it was being punished for having investigated a corruption network embroiling not just his predecessor César Duarte but also the federally ruling Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) and the federal finance ministry (SHCP).
Corral, a member of the right-wing Partido Acción Nacional (PAN) party, claimed that the federal finance minister, José Antonio González Anaya, had told him during a meeting on 4 January in the national palace, that the federal funds needed by the Chihuahua state government to pay salaries, Christmas bonuses, and suppliers were being withheld. Corral said that, upon seeking an explanation, he was informed by González that the corruption investigation being carried out by the Chihuahua state attorney general’s office had “cast doubt on the mechanism for transferring resources”.
Speaking at a press conference in Mexico City, Corral said that his government had uncovered a complex corruption network while investigating his PRI predecessor, Duarte. Corral claimed that, at the start of 2016, when Luis Videgaray was finance minister, M$250m (US$13m) of federal funds from the SHCP meant for the government of Chihuahua had been diverted to PRI campaigns ahead of key gubernatorial elections in July of that year.
President Peña Nieto rejected the claim that his government had denied federal funds to Chihuahua, insisting that no matter what the political affiliation of a given state government the appropriate budgetary resources would be provided. On the issue of corruption, he accused Corral of electorally motivated accusations.
Looking ahead: Corral’s incendiary comments will ignite the upcoming electoral campaign, putting corruption at the heart of the debate.
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