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Opposition hopes crash?

25 December 2018

Puebla Governor Martha Erika Alonso and her husband, and immediate predecessor in that office, Rafael Moreno Valle were killed Monday afternoon about 4 PM in a helicopter crash in Huetjotzingo.  Within hours, conspiracy theories have started circulating, and President Andres Manuel López Obrador was announcing that there would be a full federal investigation of the incident.

It’s much to early to speculate on what the death of two important politicians will mean, though perhaps it might be useful to think of them as the BIll and Hillary of PAN… not the presidential Clintons, but the Clintons of Arkansas:  young leaders on their way up, with influence beyond their state party, whose excesses and foibles were already raising questions within their party and elsewhere.

Alonso, 45, had a degree in Graphic Design from the Universidad Iberoamericana and a master’s degree in Public Communication from the University of the Americas in Puebla (UDLAP). Her political career began in 2009 as an active member of the National Action Party, five years after marrying Moreno Valle. As “first lady” she had been honorary president of the state’s DIF (Family Services) and state party secretary.

In January of this year Alonso was designated as a candidate for the governorship of Puebla by PAN and after an election in which she was accused of exceeding spending limits, as well as outright fraud, and fomenting general violence in the state, her narrow victory was challenged by MORENA candidate Miguel Barbosa, who requested that the Federal Electoral Tribunal (TEPJF, for its initials in Spanish) annul the election.

Barbosa along with several other opponents to Alonso charged that 80% of polling sites were compromised and 70 electoral packet were stolen on election day.

On December 8 of this year, the TEPJF ratified Alonso’s victory by a four to three vote.  She was sworn into office December 14.

Her husband, Rafael Moreno Valle, during his tenure as governor was plagued by controversies including hiding the state’s 24,655 million peso debt, three times what was reported by the Superior Audit of the Federation, and by his introduction of a controversial “Ley de Bala” (Law of the bullet) that would have legalized the police use of lethal weapons against public demonstrations.

With the end of his gubernatorial tenure coming up, he campaigned ceaselessly to be PAN’s  presidential candidate in the 2018 election, but was passed over in favor of Ricardo Anaya. As a consolation prize, he was given an proportional seat in the senate for his party, and served as PAN’s senate leader.  With the three formerly major parties in disarray (even combined, they are a minority) and all of them split over how to position themselves to regain legitimacy with the voters (or at least come up with a coherent opposition platform) the loss of two up and coming (and possibly presidential candidate material) leaders is going to complicate any opposition plans… or, on the other hand, removing rivals within PAN for other ambitious politicians. One of the more surprising conspiracy theories is that ex-President Felipe Calderón ordered a “hit” on the pair, to clear the way for his wife, Margarita Zavala, to return to the party and for his faction to take control.  Others naturally blame AMLO (usually those who blame AMLO for everything), or narcotics dealers.  Me… I think helicopters are inherently unsafe.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. norm permalink
    25 December 2018 6:16 am

    ” I think helicopters are inherently unsafe.” True…

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