Cuauhtémoc Mayor Cancels Conference Amid Growing Controversy
By KELIN DILLON
Following a number of high-profile controversies throughout her term as head of Mexico City’s oldest and most historic district, Cuauhtémoc Mayor Sandra Cuevas has once more invited criticism into her administration as the official burst into, then canceled, a press conference surrounding allegations that Cuevas had been throwing balloons with 500-peso bills glued to them from the balcony of her office to detract attention from a protest organized against her.
Originally a member of Mexico’s conservative National Action Party (PAN), the 35-year-old switched allegiance to the left-leaning Democratic Party of the Revolution (PRD) to act as the party’s mayoral candidate for Cuauhtémoc in 2021, though her candidacy was likewise supported by the PAN and centralist Party of Institutional Revolution (PRI) through their “Va por México” electoral alliance.
Since assuming her new position, Cuevas’ term as Cuauhtémoc mayor has been fraught with contention; Cuavas first caught flack for closing her district’s Guelatao sports complex without reasoning shortly after its reopening, then gained further negative attention when she expressed her distaste for Mexico’s poor population – 44 percent of the country’s inhabitants – saying, verbatim, “I don’t like poor people.”
Then, on Feb. 11 of this year, two police officers accused Cuevas of assaulting them and holding them against their will for more than an hour in the Cuauhtémoc mayor’s office. As a result, the Attorney General of the Republic (FGR) has opened a case against Cuevas, and will pursue charges of abuse of authority, injury and robbery in a hearing set to take place on March 14.
As protests ensued following the incident with police, Cuevas decided to stage her own tone-deaf counter-protest, culminating in the mayor dropping balloons with 500-peso bills attached to them from her office as protests continued below.
The PRD then arranged a press conference in the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday, March 1, to address Cuevas’ controversial response, though once reporters began pressing Cuevas about her actions, the situation began to escalate.
“Well, to begin with, I didn’t see any balloon, so from there we’re already on a bad foot, and no, my strategy has been to work, put in effort and being close to people in my district every day,” said Cuevas, despite videos and photographic evidence of the mayor tossing balloons proving her clear participation in and knowledge of the plan.
“Let’s not get sidetracked. We are talking, let’s see, let’s see, let’s see, no, no no, the most important issue is the persecution politics and they are not going to get me out of here,” deflected Cuevas as reporters continued to ask her about the incident, instead shifting blame onto the police officers from the Feb. 11 episode.
“I came to accuse political persecution of the case of two policemen who have come out to denounce me and accuse me of illegal deprivation of liberty, robbery and violence, and on March 14 they are going to drop their montage, because, oh, surprise, they believed that there are no videos, But, yes, there are videos and there is a whole montage,” said Cuevas in self-defense.
Cuevas then proceeded to leave the conference without answering any questions from the press, with new developments expected to be revealed on the FGR’s March 14 hearing date.