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Feds Send 20 Election Investigators to Guerrero

By: David Real | Real Acapulco News - 18 January, 2011

(Mexico City, NA 18 January) Faced with explicit threats of vote suppression and other election crimes in the gubernatorial elections, the Special Prosecutor for Electoral Crime has sent 20 investigators and prosecutors to Guerrero. The agency is known as FEPADE, and is chartered to enforce the election laws, specifically to guarantee clean elections in which every citizen may exercise the right to vote freely.

The agents will be active through Election Day and will work together with the Federal Investigations Agency (AFI), the equivalent of the FBI in the US. The director of the agency, José Luis Vargas Valdez, said that the role of the federal authorities is to “guarantee calm and confidence on Election Day, so that all citizens can go to the polls and place their ballots.” He assured the public that FEPADE is aware of what is going on in Guerrero.

With respect to the agreement signed last Saturday among police forces to prevent violence on January 30, Vargas Valdez said that FEPADE is just an additional element in the battle against insecurity, and does not have a direct role in preventive police enforcement. “We stand ready to help whenever the respective local authorities ask for our assistance,” he said.

The Guerrero state equivalent of FEPADE, Luis Alberto Montes Salmerón, revealed to the press that he has received 57 complaints against public employees at all three levels of government for violations of the election laws, mainly campaigning for specific candidates while on duty or using public resources in an election. Another infraction is pressuring subordinates to support or work for a specific candidate. Some public officials, especially in areas where the level of education is low, gather all the electoral credentials of their employees and vote them as a batch for a favored candidate. Political parties often pay handsome commissions to officials who “bring in the vote” in such ways.