By Nacha Cattan / Bloomberg
Before Veracruz Gov. Javier Duarte went on the lam, there was Eugenio Hernandez, and Tomas Yarrington, and Jorge Torres Lopez, and Mario Villanueva, and, until last week, Guillermo Padres. (There are still others.) All governors at one time, all who took it on the run, trailing corruption charges like clanging cans that fell on deaf ears.
Crooked governors have evaded the law for decades in Mexico, either through agreements struck with presidential administrations or an inability of law enforcement to seize them or their assets, says Mike Vigil, the former head of international operations for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
“Many governors in Mexico are corrupt,” said Vigil, whose territory included Mexico until his retirement in 2004. ”It’s rare that we can get to these governors because many times they’re protected” by the administration in power. Marko Cortes, lower-house leader of the opposition National Action Party, or PAN, concurred, saying Duarte’s escape “appears as if it was something agreed upon.”
It was supposed to be different this time. Enrique Pena Nieto returned the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, to the presidency in 2012 partly on an anti-corruption platform, yet the scandals continue (including his own).