By RICARDO CASTILLO
In the world of Mexican politics, women can be dangerous. If you don’t believe me, just ask Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s about what is now being called his poisonous dart, specifically, his current Secretary of Agriculture Affairs (Sedatu) Rosario Robles.
Rosario – please don’t be confused by the “o” at the end of her name (which in Spanish usually implies someone or something masculine) because she is indeed a woman, one I once described as “for all seasons – is today at the center of one more of the Mexican president’s ever-increasing political nightmares. And she may just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back in the candidacy of Peña Nieto’s darling, José Antonio Meade. Rosario’s problem is that she’s caught right in the middle of the current Peña Nieto corruption scam.
But before I go on about that, please allow me to tell you more about Rosario Robles. Back in early 2000, she was appointed Mexico City mayor, the first female to hold that post. At that time, she was the leader of the leftwing Democratic Revolution Party (PRD).
During her term, she got tangled up in a love affair with Argentine pimp Carlos Ahumada. She even wrote a book in which she confessed her love affair with the worst macho man of fashions, saying it was based on pure animal attraction.
I mean, if the woman had fallen in love, it would have been fine with most Mexican voters. We men know what it’s like to be in lust with a woman.
In any case, this column is about politics, not sex. I’m just offering this anecdote about Rosario’s past because she dropped dead on sight when she met Carlos Ahumada. She was, indeed, as The Godfather novel puts it, “hit by the love thunderbolt.”
Well, after that, Rosario Roble’s position as leader of the Democratic Revolution Party was swept away like a tumbleweed in a political desert.
Current presidential candidate Andres Manuel López Obrador, who back then was a member of the PRD. ousted her from power. In fact, he got elected as Mexico City Mayor in the year 2000, and for a decade after that, Rosario Robles’s name was mud in Mexican politics.
Cast into political disgrace and claiming publicly that she was living in dire poverty, making just 3,600 pesos a month – an outright lie – she published a book called “With All my Heart from the Left” in which she narrated her political demise because of love. By the way, her pimp, Carlos Ahumada, ended up in jail and got deported back to Argentina. He now lives happily ever after in Buenos Aires, enjoying the monies he extracted from all the construction contracts Rosario Robles awarded him with while she was the mayor of Mexico City Mayor.
You’d think that would be the end of the story of a corrupt politician in Mexico. But, you’d be dead wrong because corrupt politicians in Mexico live forever. And that’s just exactly what has happened in the case of Rosario Robles.
To no one’s surprise here, back on Dec. 1, 2012, the Mexico City-born economist Rosario Robles was appointed by Peña Nieto as head of the Secretariat of Social Development (Sedesol).
It didn’t take too long to see Rosario Robles’s corrupt hand at work once again. On April 7, 2013, then-National Action Party (PAN) president Gustavo Madero presented irrefutable evidence that the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), personally led by Peña Nieto, had plotted to use massive government funds to influence elections all the way into 2018. Needless to say, Rosario Robles was the main conspirator.
In the end, according to the Federal Audit Office, Rosario Robles’s Sedesol diverted around 3.5 billion pesos. When all this became public, Peña Nieto just shifted Ms. Robles to the Agriculture Secretariat (Sedatu), where she now rules.
Back to the president’s candidate, the question swirling around him has to do with his predecessor, Rosario Robles. If candidate José Antonio Meade Kuribreña is a public accountant (which he is), how come he did not notice the fund diversion carried out by Rosario Robles? Mind you, this is not speculation.
But that seems not to matter to President Peña Nieto, whose chips are down to stay with the Meade candidacy, which everyone sees as a sure loser.
Unless the Mexican president has a secret ace up his he sleeve, the biggest question at hand is whether Peña Nieto is using Rosario Robles’ electoral financial expertise to back up Meade’s candidacy.
I have no doubt that this is the case. And the way things are moving in the Mexican presidential elections, prove me wrong.