Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sanctuary

In the 1930s, the mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota let everybody know that wanted criminals would not be arrested in his city if they obeyed the law while in town. St. Paul became a refuge for some big name crooks for awhile. Now, a Mexican mayor seems to be making a similar offer.


Mexico candidate: Drug gangs contact all hopefuls
A ruling party mayoral candidate in Mexico's richest city told his supporters that drug traffickers have contacted all leading political contenders in the country seeking their loyalty ahead of elections next month.

Mauricio Fernandez's discussion with a group of supporters in a suburb of Monterrey [below] – a leaked recording of which was broadcast throughout Mexico... – is a remarkably frank description of how the brutal gangs try to control political leaders, which is a key concern of President Felipe Calderon in his fight against drug cartels.



The candidate also acknowledged that the Beltran Levya cartel controls drug smuggling in his city of San Pedro Garza and suggested that as mayor he would avoid confronting the gang to maintain peace, comments that undermined Calderon's drive to show that the government and his National Action Party, or PAN, are tough on organized crime.

Fernandez's campaign was thrown into turmoil by the recording, but he stood by the comments, saying he was merely telling the truth. He denied meeting with any traffickers during this campaign and said he rejected efforts by gangsters to buy his loyalty when he ran unsuccessfully for governor of Nuevo Leon state six years ago.

"I am stating the reality that my city is living," Fernandez told MVS Radio. "I don't have any reason to hide it."

PAN had no immediate comment on the recording, nor was it clear how the government would react...


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