Tuesday, June 13, 2006

All posts were moved (11/2006) to http://mexfiles.wordpress.com

Well, well, well... can I call 'em or what?

Yesterday, I wrote
Somehow... this all relates to the OTHER leaking scandal -- Carlos Ahumada (who at the time had just added a new daily newspaper to his business empire) ended up in the slammer after it was revealed he'd taped various officials taking bribes that he'd paid them (the reason he was sent to jail, after his stay at a very nice beach house in Cuba owned by ex-president Carlos Salinas) has MORE tapes -- which the PRD wants to see, supposedly. Ahumada's wife claims she was the victim of a "drive-by shooting" (ok, so her windshield did have a bullet in it, but after the Gov. of Oxaxca botched a self-inflicted assassination attempt (hey, somebody actually shot me! SHIT!) last year, I've been sceptical of these kinds of stories.
Today's Mexico City News carries a translation of an El Universal article by Rubelio Fernández headlined Ahumada suspect in attack on truck:
Capital prosecutors say jailed businessman Carlos Ahumada likely planned the attack against his wife´s truck last week. City justice officials have obtained recordings of Ahumada´s recent phone conversations. In the tapes, which were acquired by EL UNIVERSAL, Ahumada speaks to unknown sources, saying that nothing at the scene of the crime should be altered before authorities had arrived at the scene of the crime. He does not enquire about the health of his wife or children. In another recording, he asks an unidentified man about the presidential polls. "The environment is heating up," says the unidentified voice, and Ahumada responds, "That´s right." The voice then says, "And now we mess them up bad on Tuesday, forget about it." Ahumada replies, "Oh yeah." The two also mention that Ahumada´s legal situation may improve if National Action Party candidate (PAN) Felipe Calderón were to win the presidency. FAMILY TARGETED Last Tuesday, the armored truck of Ahumada´s wife Cecilia Gurza was shot at by an unidentified assailant or assailants. Gurza was in the truck with the couple´s children and their chauffeur at the time. No one was injured. In another conversation, Ahumada is heard speaking to capital prosecutors who were inspecting the truck the day before the incident. The examination was for the truck´s involvement in a 2003 accident, unrelated to the shooting incident. In the conversation, Ahumada urges the city officials to return the truck that same day. The attack against Gurza came just hours before she was scheduled to release videos that she said would be damaging to the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) and the capital government. It also came on the same day as the presidential debates. Ahumada is accused of money laundering after his company was paid for city contracts it failed to fulfill. He appeared in numerous videos leaked to the press in 2003, in which he was seen handing out cash to PRD politicians.
In a NEW PAN scandal, blandly entitled by the News Calderón faces funding controversy it makes one almost nostalgic for the PRI -- which usually at least delivered more than half of what they promised:
For much of President Vicente Fox´s term, Arnulfo Montes Cuén was a prized ally. A spellbinding speaker in a black cowboy hat, he barnstormed rural Mexico, setting up farmers unions friendly to the ruling National Action Party (PAN) and cementing their loyalty with access to government aid programs. Then the 41-year-old organizer fell out with the party and became a whistle-blower, triggering an investigation into the biggest case of alleged illegal funding to surface in Mexico´s presidential race. As Montes tells it, Fox´s government had authorized US$5 million for him to buy building materials and distribute them to thousands of poor farmers. But there was a catch: He was to kick back half the money to the campaign of PAN presidential candidate Felipe Calderón. Montes refused and was booted from the program. He is pressing criminal charges against 12 officials of the government and the party, for allegedly replacing him with someone willing to divert the anti-poverty funds to Calderón´s war chest. ... Montes laid out his version of events in a 152-page affidavit to the special prosecutor´s office and a lengthy interview with the Times. He said the congressman running Calderón´s campaign in Colima state, Jorge Luis Preciado, summoned him to a downtown Mexico City restaurant, handed him two deposit slips and ordered him to divide the kickback between two bank accounts the congressman controlled. Preciado said he does not recall such a meeting with Montes, and the Fox administration denies placing any conditions on distributing the grant. When Montes balked at the payoff, he said, the congressman told him: "Don´t worry. Those Indian peasants will never notice." In Chapontongo, 60 miles north of Mexico City, the peasants noticed. Some families received only half the promised supplies, while others were dropped from the grant list, administered by a previously unknown civic organization linked to PAN. "They left me these 20 bags of cement and promised to deliver the rest of the materials but never came back," said a dejected Alejandra Beltrán, 47, standing on the weed-covered lot where she hopes to build a home with two bedrooms, a kitchen and a bathroom. Until then she remains in a one-room hovel a few blocks away, sharing a bed with three teenage children under a leaky roof. "We´re asking what happened to the money that was budgeted for the materials that never arrived," said Jesús Ocampo, a farmer who had helped gather applications for the grants in Chapontongo. "They say it went to Felipe Calderón´s campaign. If that´s true, then the PAN is as big a bunch of thieves as the PRI."


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