Thursday, February 01, 2007

Oaxaca, Mexico: OK, back to the Oaxaca sleaze

Taking a look at the print editions of two local dailies -- Tiempo and Noticias - the Oaxaca sleaze continues unabated.

Tehuantepec: Mayor José Enrique Ojendis Garfias of Tehuantepec was arrested last night by ministerial police but not without some problems. Mayor Ojendis Garfias is charged with "diversion of public funds" to the tune, so far, of 109 million pesos, about 10 million dollars. The arrest comes in response to days of civil unrest in the city, up to and including a blockade of the entrances to the city.

The mayor was accompanied by his lawyer, driver and a bodyguard. The driver and bodyguard put up some resistance which resulted in a few gunshots fired in the air. The mayor's lawyer, Wilfredo Cruz Valente, said he had an "amparo" (the magic Mexican bullet that, in this case, acted as both a temporary restraining order prohibiting his arrest as well as a writ of habeus corpus). The ministeriales ignored it.

The police, according to his lawyer, refused to present an arrest warrant. They bundled Mayor Ojendis Garfias into a police car, drove him to Salina Cruz and from there flew him here to Oaxaca.

So what we had and have here is the following:
1. A mayor who cannot account for or refuses to account for 109 million missing pesos.
2. An order prohibiting his arrest issued by a friendly federal judge.
3. State police officers who ignored that federal order.
4. Stare police officers who failed or refused to present the arrest warrant.

So, what's worse? Pick 'em.

Huajuapan: Sección 22, the striking teachers union section that started all this crap last May, will receive the first installment of 1 billion (that's billion with a "B") pesos towards their salary demands. This installment is part of the 42 billion (that's billion with a "B") pesos to bring their salaries up to the same level as teachers in the rest of the country -- called "rezonificación". This money is in addition to their already negotiated salary increase.

And the reaction of Sección 22? Huzzahs? Hoorahs? A smattering of applause, maybe? Nah. They voted to hold another "mega-march" this Saturday and to again take over government buildings by force until the governor, who signs the checks, resigns.

I think that Governor Ulises Ruiz Ortiz should, in fact, resign immediately. His farewell speech should be short and to-the-point. "Adiós, bye-bye, see-ya. Oh, and by the way . . . I didn't sign the check."

Oaxaca de Juarez: Ex-collaborators of taxi union leader (CROC) David Aguilar Robles say he has ripped off some 26 million pesos paid by 1340 taxi owners for their annual permits. Guadalupe Juárez Hernández and Gilberto Luís Martínez, recently tossed out of the union, say that Aguilar Robles demands a 20,000 peso "anticipo" (down payment) from the taxi owners. Of this money, only 1000 pesos is paid to the state as a licensing fee. 8000 pesos more is used to pay bribes to bureaucrats in the office of the State Secretary of Transit (COTRAN) which leaves David Robles Aguilar with 11,000 pesos, or 14 million, give or take, for his own pocket.

And, speaking of the State Secretary of Transit, one Gonzalo Ruíz Galón, he is being accused of demanding 10,000 pesos each from another 180 taxi owners represented by a different union. These taxi owners say that when Galón took over the position last year from the previous secretary, Aurora López Acevedo, he declared their permits to all be "clones" or falsified. He further told them that their applications and other records were "not in the system".

The taxi union officials say that's impossible. "If the permits are clones or falsified, the state did it and it's the state's problem to rectify," said Donato Vargas Jiménez, president of Alianza Estatal de Transportistas Estatales de Oaxaca. He says that if the permits are, indeed, falsified, then López Acevedo did it.

Union officials say that Galón's brother who owns a taxi company on the coast, presumably in Huatulco, had no trouble getting his permits. Vargas Jiménez said that two taxi owners were convinced by COTRAN bureaucrats to approach Gonzalo Ruíz Galón himself personally to request that their permits be issued. He reportedly told them, "10,000 pesos each, muchachos."

Near as I can figure it, after the ripoffs by corrupt taxi union officials, corrupt bureaucrats and corrupt politicians, an annual taxi permit in Oaxaca costs about, uh, 50,000 dollars. That doesn't leave much for maintenance.

Please visit the Pale Horse Galleries online store
for art, gifts and collectibles -- all hand made
by Mexican indigenous artists.

TAGS: , , , ,

No comments: