By KELIN DILLON
After controversy arose surrounding Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party’s (PRI) candidate for governor of Nuevo León, Adrián de la Garza, allegedly offering cash cards to women in an attempt to buy their votes in the country’s upcoming June elections, reports have revealed that most, if not all, of Mexico’s political parties commonly engage in this practice.
The use of cash cards is already contentious based on the government’s seemingly wishy-washy take on the matter, with the Electoral Tribunal of the Federal Judicial Power (TEPJF) determining in 2017 that the distribution of these cards is legal as long as they provide benefits to citizens, while the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has said the use of prepaid cards is considered a vulnerable matter of electoral interference.
Now, the Office of the Attorney General (FGR) has determined, alongside its investigation into De la Garza, that using cash cards to “buy votes” is a serious crime of electoral interference that could merit imprisonment.
Still, the PRI-opposing leftist party National Regeneration Movement’s (Morena) candidate in the same region of Nuevo León, Clara Luz Flores, has reportedly been promoting her campaign with a similar card marketed toward women called the Nuevo León Card.
Morena candidates in the state of Jalisco, Carlos Lomelí of Guadalajara and Luis Michel of Puerto Vallarta, have likewise requested approval from the National Electoral Institute (INE) to offer voters in the area a “Card of Excellence” that would deposit 4,000 pesos every other month for families.
In Mexico City, Morena’s Víctor Hugo Romo, up from reelection as mayor of the wealthy Miguel Hidalgo municipality, has promised voters a “Violeta Card” during his campaign.
On the opposite side of the aisle, conservative National Action Party (PAN) candidate Fernando Larrazábal offered 1,500 pesos a month for vulnerable women with his “Mujer Vale Más” card, dependent on his win in June.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) “denounced” De La Garza’s use of these money cards in his campaign as “an electoral crime,” though has yet to comment on the alleged use of them by his own Morena party’s candidates.
In his daily press conference on Wednesday, May 12, AMLO denied ever having used these types of cards himself, and said that their use should be considered an act of corruption.