As the border state of Tamaulipas gears up for their upcoming gubernatorial election, many are wondering if there will be in fact a true election. The election will play a big role in future Texas-Mexico relations. But, voters are concerned the cards have already been stacked against them in order to keep certain groups in power.
An undercover video by a concerned citizen in Ciudad Mante, revealed that politically connected individuals held meetings where they are paying those in attendance telling them it was a “caress” from the candidates. The money given to the individual who recorded the event was $300 pesos or roughly $17 in U.S. dollars.
The concerned citizen later identified as Jesus Antonio Ramos Guzman filed a complaint with a special wing of Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office (PGR) known as FEPADE.
In the complaint, Ramos Guzman explains the events that transpired in the video. He described how one of the organizers told him that the money was a “caress” from Tamaulipas gubernatorial candidate Baltazar Hinojosa from the Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI); Rigoberto Rodriguez Rangel ,who is running for mayor; and Rosalba De La Cruz, who is running for congress.
In his complaint, which has since been posted on social media pages along with the video, Ramos Guzman said he found it offensive that politically connected individuals were buying votes.
Border security will be one of the key issues that will be reflected in the years following the election. The state government of Tamaulipas has not been able to effectively address this critical issue. Despite the many claims made by the Mexican government, Tamaulipas continues to be one of the most dangerous places worldwide. Gun battles, gory executions, kidnappings and other violent crimes are daily occurrences in the region. Those crimes have a direct effect in Texas and the rest of the U.S. because drug cartels are able to operate with almost complete impunity.
The out of control violence that has been escalating for more than six years appears to be a major factor in voters turning their back on the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Voters are considering other options such as independent candidates, or the PRI’s long time rival, the National Action Party or PAN.
In Tamaulipas, the PRI has been in power for more than 80 years. During this period, the party has been plagued by accusations of working hand in hand with drug cartels and other acts of corruption. The most dramatic examples deal with former Tamaulipas governors Tomas Yarrington, Eugenio Hernandez and former Matamoros mayor Erik Silva Santos, who are all fugitives of the U.S. Department of Justice on money laundering charges. Yarrington is also sought on drug trafficking conspiracy charges for his alleged role in helping the Gulf Cartel, Los Zetas and the Beltran Leyva cartel have access to some of Mexico’s main shipping ports.
As the election day nears, more and more state employees in cities like Ciudad Victoria, Matamoros and Reynosa have begun to speak out about being coerced by the various unions they belong to go to political events hosted by the PRI.
In one case that has been shared on social media, a notice on a wall shows that the employees of what appears to be some kind of government office are told that unless they are working, they must attend the event or face being marked absent and face the disciplinary consequences noted in some obscure handbook.
A photograph that is currently being shared on social media shows a what appears to be a message encouraging voters to use their phones to photograph their ballots with their party marked and then take the photo to their local party office where they would received $500 pesos or roughly $30 in U.S. dollars.
In other cases, teachers and students of state funded schools have posted their experiences on social media of being ferried to or being told to attend certain campaign events, or else.
Other social media posts have shown what appears to be photographs of bags with food, political propaganda, and a $500 pesos bill or roughly $30 that are handed out at events in order to promote their candidate and get them to vote for him. Some of the photos have been turned into memes.