On Feb. 5, the eve of Guerrero gubernatorial elections, suspected guerillas of the Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR) attacked police posts in Acapulco, leaving four dead, including a 15-year-old boy who was making a call at a payphone. (AP, Feb. 5) In the election, former Acapulco Mayor Zeferino Torreblanca of the center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) was elected governor, ending the long-entrenched rule of the corrupt Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in Guerrero. (AP, Feb. 8)
Meanwhile, a member of President Vicente Fox’s office was arrested on charges of passing information about the president’s official travel schedule to a top drug trafficker. "We have to redouble vigilance because this conflict we have with organized crime has made them a challeneg to the Mexican state," Fox told Mexican radio. (BBC, Feb. 8)
Authorities did not say who the trafficker was, but federal police over the weekend raided several houses said to be linked to Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, a Sinaloa kingpin who bribed his way out of a high-security prison in 2001 and is said to be behind a bloody turf war with the rival Gulf and Tijuana cartels. (NYT, Reuters, Feb. 7)
Fox, of the center-right National Action Party (PAN) has made much of his supposed break with the corruption of the PRI era, and the incident may hurt his party’s chances in the 2006 presidential race. The PRD is popular in strongholds like Guerrero and Michoacan, but is thought unlikely to take the presidential race. So the PRI seems poised to regain power.
So the EPR’s re-emergence just as the PRD was about to win in Guerrero recalls speculation that the organization is a creation of (or manipulated by) PRI-linked narco bosses as a provocation…
…the EPR wasn’t really behind these attacks at all. They still haven’t claimed responsibility for it, and the Feb. 8 report on the attacks in the NY Times (unlike earlier AP accounts) doesn’t even mention them. Writes the Times: "The PRI blamed the PRD for the violence, saying it was trying to intimidate voters. The PRD blamed the PRI. Not a single elected official, old or new, stood with Manuel’s family at his funeral." Manuel Morales Borja was the 15-year-old boy killed in the crossfire.