News Around the Republic of Mexico | August 2005
|Jailed Mexican Businessman Sews Lips Shut Over Case|
Mexico City - A jailed businessman who is accused of bribing some of Mexico City’s most powerful politicians sewed his lips shut on Monday to protest the criminal charges against him.
Carlos Ahumada, an Argentine nationalized in Mexico, was arrested in Cuba and has been jailed since last year when a local television station broadcast video of him giving bundles of cash to Mexico City politicians. He allegedly was trying to win lucrative government contracts.
The scandal ended the political career of a leading left-wing politician who was his lover at the time. It also hurt the left-wing Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, whose politicians were shown taking money from Ahumada.
The scandal could prove damaging to Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who was the popular Mexico City mayor at the time of the payoffs and a leader of the PRD.
Ahumada, who is also on a hunger strike, had pledged to sew his lips shut if his case was not resolved before Lopez Obrador, Mexico’s most popular politician, stepped down to seek the presidency.
Lopez Obrador left office on Friday and is the current favorite in next year’s race to replace conservative President Vicente Fox, who is barred by the constitution from seeking reelection at the end of his six-year term.
Last month a judge threw out money laundering charges against one of the officials shown on tape taking money from Ahumada. Leftist Mexico City lawmaker Rene Bejarano has said he took the cash for a political campaign and never pocketed any of it. The judge ordered Bejarano released, though he faces lesser charges.