Thursday, July 7, 2011

Gordillo scandal, part two: "I'll do if you do it"

What a week. There are many who consider Elba Esther Gordillo's stronghold on Mexico's public education sector as highly detrimental to the country's future. I wholeheartedly agree, but also want to point add that similarly, her personal party Nueva Alianza or (PANAL), is equally detrimental to Mexican democracy: It is a purely personalistic and opportunistic party that Gordillo sells -literally - to the highest bidder. It is staffed with "teachers" who receive a public salary on the tax payers' expense, yet who dedicate themselves to party work on PANAL's behalf. It is truly a perverse operation.

These past days have provided a wealth, a trove, of information on the inner dealings of PANAL and Gordillo. To recall: A couple of days ago, Miguel Ángel Yunes Linares, former director of the ISSSTE social security institute for state workers, and one of the people Gordillo was allowed to appoint as a pay-off for her support of the PAN in 2006, dropped an apparent bombshell when he claimed that Gordillo demanded 20 million pesos per month from him for PANAL, arguing that "ISSSTE is mine!" (more details here).

Gordillo responded that the accusations are "frivolous and slanderous."

These accusations should be investigated by the PGR attorney general's office, as several federal deputies have demanded. It should come as absolutely no surprise if they are true.

Yet quite a few factors do not exactly count in Yunes' - a failed candidate for Veracruz governor in 2010 - favor.

First, he only dropped the news after Gordillo had hinted at "malos manejos" or mismanagement at ISSSTE last week, suggesting that 2 billion pesos had disappeared from the institute. It hardly speaks to his credit that he did not only wait for Gordillo to strike first, but also waited four years for this alleged corruption to be known.

Second, what evidence exists? As PAN Senator José González Morfín has correctly demanded: Show us what you got.

Third, Gordillo has demanded an investigation of Yunes' period at ISSSTE. What has been Yunes' response? That he'll agree to an independent audit if at the same time there will be an investigation of Gordillo, knowing full well that such an investigation will likely never take place: She is simply too powerful now, more than two decades Carlos Salinas made her new SNTE head.

I truly hope an investigation will be launched of both Gordillo and Yunes, a former príista and ultra-loyal Gordillista-turned-panista, yet I am hardly hopeful, as everyone wants her PANAL party to back them in 2012, Calderón included.

PRD demands that PANAL loses its party registry it these accusations are true. A very fair demand, and I think also Mexican democracy would be far better off without PANAL.

Much more will come out of this scandal, that's the only thing I am pretty confident about.

Finally, what does Enrique Peña Nieto think about this issue? He prefers not to enter in these "word games" he says. That is peñanieto-speak for, "wait, let me talk with my handlers first"

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