PUEBLA, Pue. (Process).- In Zacapala, a municipality in La Mixteca, Puebla, the family and friends of the migrant leader Alfonso Zapata Huesca have taken turns as municipal president for more than four decades.
In that town of less than five thousand inhabitants – the majority have migrated to the United States in search of job opportunities – the Zapata Huesca are considered caciques and are lifelong PRI members, close to governors such as Manuel Bartlett, Melquiades Morales and Mario Marín .
The current mayor, Rosa Hernández Rebolledo, is the wife of Antonio Godofredo Huesca Zapata, who already served as municipal president, like his brothers Bernardo and Alfonso, always supported by the powerful uncle Alfonso, who received the decoration of “prodigal son of Zacapala.” , although the inhabitants accuse him of buying votes for more than a thousand pesos to make his family win elections.
In the next elections, the clan is betting on another of its members to maintain the municipal presidency: Dr. Roberta Negreros Huesca, but now the way is not the PRI, but Morena. He also promotes, via the Labor Party (PT), Teodoro Sánchez, who is the friend of Antonio Godofredo Huesca and husband of the previous municipal president, Rosalba Iselt Merino.
Like other political groups and bosses of the entity, the PT, which defines itself as left-wing, opened its doors to that family regardless of the fact that the company owned by Zapata has been sued for exploiting its own countrymen.
At the beginning of the 2000s, it was discovered that the growing fortune of the migrant leader was related to a system of subcontracting of Mixteca residents, most of them from Zacapala, who crossed the border illegally.
According to the lawsuits that were presented at the time, Zapata Huesca and his relatives financed the pollero, transportation and a temporary shelter for the migrants, while at the same time giving them work in their company Zapata Janitorial Building and General Services, which offered transportation services. “cheap” cleaning at big box stores like Walmart and Key Mart.
What it invested in this – plus interest – the company deducted from the countrymen’s salaries, but in addition it paid wages less than the minimum, made them work long hours without paying overtime, without days of rest and without any type of benefit or equipment. of security.
The testimonies of the locals report that many of the “philanthropic” contributions that Zapata Huesca made for works or festivals in Zacapala were financed with withholdings from the salaries of its workers in the United States.
Starting in 2004, the lawsuit was successful in the US courts, but in Puebla there were no repercussions. This does not seem to have relevance for Morena either.
In the Mixteca of Puebla, Valentín Meneses and Alberto Jiménez Merino, former secretaries of the Marinista administration, are located as those who operate to group these political families and caciquils around the project of Alejandro Armenta Mier, virtual candidate for governor for the guinda party .
The goal is not only to win, but to fulfill the two million votes – never before achieved in Puebla by any candidate – that the Morenoist senator has offered for the presidential cause of Claudia Sheinbaum and for the so-called Plan C, which is to obtain the majority qualified in the Congress of the Union.
“Everyone is welcome, without affiliations, without phobias,” said Armenta when asked about the possibility of PRI members such as Charbel Jorge Estefan Chidiac and José Chedraui being nominated as candidates for federal deputy and mayor of Puebla capital, respectively, by the coalition. Let’s Keep Making History (SHH).
In an open letter addressed to Sheinbaum and the Morena leadership, the Citizen Collective in Support of the 4T points out that this open door policy that Morena has maintained since 2018 to profiles of the PRI and the PAN, “without any political or social criteria ”, has translated in Puebla into governments that perpetuate poverty, inequality, political backwardness and corruption.
Among other statistics, they cite that Puebla is the fourth state with the greatest poverty in the country, the second with the greatest discrimination, it has the second highest rate of child labor, it is the fifth with the highest disappearance of women and children, human trafficking and informality. labor.
The signatories of the document, among whom are Morenistas considered “tough” or “founders”, warn that there are hundreds of candidacies throughout the entity where people who see the party and political positions “as a family business” are being accommodated. .
“If we continue down this route, perhaps the power apparatus will be gained, but at the cost of losing the political and ideological identity of the party and it will inevitably be colonized – if it is not already colonized – by the political culture of corruption, simulation and impunity,” claim the signatories, and conclude: “What we are seeing is the refoundation of the PRI in Morena and the revitalization of the old and new chiefdoms.”
Estefan Chidiac, who just this Monday announced his departure from the PRI and the faction of that party in the local Congress, still does not take for granted that he will take up the PVEM’s proposal to be a candidate for federal deputy for the SHH coalition. But he is one step away from doing it.
Armenta, state coordinator of the 4T Defense Committees, has already told him that he is “welcome”, without remembering that Estefan Chidiac was the Secretary of Finance of the PRI in 2012 and for this reason he is identified as one of the strategists of the purses Monex, which, according to the current president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, was used to buy votes in favor of Enrique Peña Nieto.
Nor is there any reference to the fact that in 1998 the Puebla legislator was part of the drafting commission to create the Savings Protection Banking Fund (Fobaproa), described by the president as “the biggest theft in the history of Mexico.”
Furthermore, in mid-2023 it was revealed that Michelle Chidiac, mother of the deputy, sold the land where the new headquarters of the local Congress is now being built to the government of Miguel Barbosa Huerta for more than 86 million pesos.
Both Chidiac and the businessman of Lebanese origin Pepe Chedraui – who was also a deputy and leader for the tricolor – are close to Governor Salomón Céspedes Peregrina.
In documents they sent to the National Executive Committee (CEN) of Morena, the aforementioned workshop members recalled that Chedraui companies were accused of evading payment of settlements to their workers. In addition, they accused the PRI of using his proximity to Marín and Rafael Moreno Valle in order to obtain benefits for his business.
Another PRI member who is also “analyzing” her incorporation into Morena is Guadalupe Vargas, daughter of the former director of the National Migration Institute and former commissioner of the Federal Police Ardelio Vargas Fosado, considered a chief of Xicotepec de Juárez.
In July 2023, Vargas had to resign from the position of Undersecretary of Political Development in the Ministry of the Interior, after President López Obrador recalled in one of his “morning sessions” the ties he had with the Secretary of Security Genaro García Luna, currently prisoner in the United States.
Ardelio Vargas’ daughter is the current PRI mayor of Xicotepec, but is now seeking to be a federal deputy candidate for Morena, although she has not ruled out staying in the coalition formed by the PRI, PAN and PRD.
Ediles and chiefs protected by Morena
The internal process of Morena and its allied parties to define candidates for the 217 municipalities and the 26 local and 16 federal districts of Puebla gave rise to dozens of former PRI members and PAN members to “jump” to the official party.
Gerardo Domínguez, former state councilor of Morena, explains that in this entity the current mayors took control of the internal process of the guinda party starting with the renewal of the State Council in 2022.
At that time, he says, Julio Huerta, cousin of the deceased Barbosa Huerta, made alliances with the municipal presidents, regardless of which party they were from, so that the then president could obtain control of Morena, but it happened that, at the same time, those councilors They were able to appoint their relatives or close friends as partisan advisors.
An example, he says, is the president of Tepanco de López, the PRI member Eusebio Martínez Benítez, who in a second term came for the New Alliance Party (Panal). In Morena’s internal process to elect the candidate for mayor of that municipality, his daughter and her collaborators are registered, while the mayor is looking for a local deputation. “In fact, what Morena is doing is washing the face of the PRI,” summarizes Domínguez.
In the Sierra Norte region, Emiliano Vázquez Bonilla, PRI municipal president of Zapotitlán de Méndez, now intends to be a Morenista candidate for federal deputy. Just a year ago, students and mothers accused this mayor of shooting at the Juan N. Méndez school when he was intoxicated.
Vázquez Bonilla countersued for alleged defamation against the children’s mothers, who delivered writings made by their children narrating the terror they experienced that day. The inhabitants affirm that the mayor is protected by the political agreements he has made to support Morena.
In Quimixtlán, in the Sierra Madre Oriental, the residents of Xacaxomulco report a similar situation. There, locals rebelled against a chief family identified as “the Bello,” who sought to impose a justice of the peace.
On July 4, members of that group shot at the population during a plebiscite and murdered Román Flores Hernández and Manuel Flores Reyes.
Led by the substitute mayor, José Martínez Pimentel, the Bellos operated for Morena, even using the water from a spring as political loot. Neighbors point out that to date the alleged murderers are seen in that region, without the authorities arresting them.
In the municipality of Piaxtla, Mayor Miguel Maceda Carrera was arrested in July 2022, accused of the murder of Ángel Tigre Aquino, who died due to a beating he received in the municipal police cells.
According to the file in this case, Maceda refused to transfer Tigre Aquino to receive medical attention and, when he did, there was no way to save him. The councilor then bribed the doctor to change the cause of death.
In May 2023, Maceda was released from prison because Ángel Tigre’s sister was irregularly deleted from the victim registry and the judge replaced the crime of intentional homicide with manslaughter.
Without being free of charges yet, as appeals presented by the victim’s family are unresolved, Maceda immediately returned to the Municipal Presidency of Piaxtla after almost a year of being in prison. He is now seeking re-election via PT for the SHH coalition, just as his sister Nelly Maceda, current federal deputy, intends to do.
In Coyomeapan, impunity
Although there are many examples of caciquil families seeking shelter from Morena in Puebla, one of the most emblematic groups is that of the Celestino Rosas.
Since the 2021 elections, the residents of the municipality of Coyomeapan have denounced corruption, abuses of power and criminal ties of the brothers Araceli and David Celestino, who have alternated the presidency of that municipality since 2011: for the PRI, for the Social Integration Pact ( PSI) and by the PT.
They have even been accused of being the intellectual authors of the ambush perpetrated by police in which three Nahua indigenous people died, one of them a minor.
Until now, the residents’ complaints remain uninvestigated, while Congress has not revoked the mandate of PT councilor Rodolfo García, Araceli’s husband, despite the fact that he has not held office because the residents deny him access to more than 40 towns of the municipality.
However, Araceli Celestino, a federal representative for PT, is now seeking to be a candidate for the SHH coalition for mayor of Tehuacán.