Viral Video Shows ‘Filth’ of Corrupt Politics, Says Mexican President

Published: 20 August 2020

Press have identified the officials in the video as Rafael Caraveo Opengo and Guillermo Gutiérrez Badillo.Press have identified the officials in the video as Rafael Caraveo Opengo and Guillermo Gutiérrez Badillo.

By Will Neal

Mexico’s president has said that a recent online video, which allegedly shows public officials sifting through large piles of cash, exposes the “filth of the regime of corruption” under previous administrations.

Though the origin of the footage is unclear, the video, which went viral on Monday, appears to show Senate staffers taking receipt of plastic bags brimming with cash before transferring the money to large wheeled suitcases.

Press outlet Grupo Reforma has since identified the officials as Rafael Caraveo Opengo, former technical secretary of the Senate Administration Committee, and Guillermo Gutiérrez Badillo, private secretary to the governor of Queretaro.

President Andrés Manuel-Lopéz Obrador, after playing the video in full at a press conference on Tuesday, speculated that the money represents just one instalment of bribery payments that former director of state oil company Pemex, Emilio Lozoya, claims to have made to members of the country’s parliament.

“This video that has come to light demonstrates, in very strong terms, the filth of the regime of corruption in Mexico,” the president said.

The video surfaced shortly after Reuters reported that the government has dismissed more than 1,000 immigration officials over allegations of graft.

These included reports of routine extortion of the many tens of thousands of migrants from Central America that cross through Mexico each year on their way to the United States.

Lozoya was himself recently extradited from Spain to face charges for his alleged role in a massive kickback scheme orchestrated between officials at Pemex and their counterparts at Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.

The former director has since submitted a formal complaint accusing a raft of other public officials - including former president Enrique Peña Nieto - of complicity in the scandal.

Lozoya’s allegations come after Nieto was accused by a witness at the U.S. trial of Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ (‘Shorty’) Guzmán of accepting bribes from the drug kingpin’s organisation, the notorious Sinaloa cartel.

Lopéz Obrador has responded to the mounting evidence of corruption among former administrations - in particular that of his immediate predecessor, Felipe Calderón - by conceding that this has allowed the country to become a ‘narco-state’, a term he had previously rejected.

Indeed, public reckoning with the scale of corruption in Mexico comes against the backdrop of escalating violence between the country’s notorious drug-trafficking organisations.

On Friday, the Associated Press reported that assassins had gunned down the son of infamous drug lord Amado Carrillo Fuentes in Sinaloa.

Meanwhile, a violent blood feud has erupted between the Sinaloa syndicate and the nascent Caborca cartel, under the leadership of veteran drug trafficker Rafael Caro Quintero, while the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion is currently locked in a bitter turf-war with what remains of the Santa Rosa de Lima group after its leader El Marro was arrested two weeks ago.