Friday, July 20, 2012

PAN, PRD Join Forces Against Peña Nieto

As mentioned in yesterday’s Post, Mexico’s Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Wednesday claimed to have direct evidence that the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) used laundered money to finance the campaign of President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto.

This is just the latest in a series of accusations that Lopez Obrador and his Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) have leveled against the PRI in recent days, having previously accused the former ruling party of widespread vote buying and exceeding limits on campaign spending.  So far Peña Nieto and his party have been able to downplay Lopez Obrador’s accusations, dismissing them as the product of populist rabble-rousing.

Now, however, the PRI team will likely have to rethink this tactic. As El Proceso reports, yesterday Gustavo Madero, leader of the right-wing National Action Party (PAN), held a press conference with Jesus Zambrano, his PRD counterpart, in which they called on the Attorney General’s Office to investigate the money laundering charges. Madero also gave his party’s support for a request made by Lopez Obrador to electoral officials to complete a review of the PRI’s finances before August 31, the deadline for the country’s electoral court to certify the results of the July 1 election.

The decision to back criminal charges marks an important shift for the PAN, which had previously steered clear of the PRD’s legal case against the PRI. With both of his main rival parties presenting a united front against him, it will be far more difficult for Peña Nieto to emerge from this scandal unscathed. Even if he and his party are cleared of wrongdoing, the investigation will likely cast permanent doubts on the legitimacy of his presidency.

News Briefs

  • Brazil’s National Petroleum Agency found that an offshore oil spill by Chevron last year was larger than previously thought, and was caused mainly by the company’s failure to follow standard procedure.
  • EFE reports that the warden of a Guatemalan maximum security prison known as “El Infiernito” was killed by unidentified gunmen in Guatemala City on Wednesday night.
  • In the Washington Times, former USAID official under the Bush administration Jose Cardenas criticizes President Obama’s recent remark on Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, making a puzzling attempt to link the Chavez administration in Venezuela with the “War on Terror.” Cardenas writes: “Anyone who has actually bothered to listen to Mr. Chavez would know he is a devotee of asymmetric warfare as practiced by radical Islam, a doctrine which holds that in the face of overwhelmingly unfavorable military capabilities, one is compelled to employ all manner of irregular methods (i.e., terrorism, guerrilla warfare and insurgency) to balance the odds.”
  • The Americas Quarterly blog highlights a new report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) which found that Latin America and the Caribbean have the greatest access to antiretroviral therapy.