Fugitive Mexican politician wanted on organised crime charges held in Guatemala

Bruno Cirelli
Aprile 19, 2017

Former Mexican governor Javier Duarte arrested in Guatemala: After more than six months of eluding authorities, Ex-Governor of Veracuz, Mexico Javier Duarte was arrested this weekend in Panajachel, Guatemala.

How quickly Duarte faces charges in Mexico would depend on whether he chooses to fight extradition from Guatemala, said Alberto Elias Beltran, a deputy attorney general responsible for worldwide affairs at the Mexican Attorney General's Office.

A photo released by Guatemalan police showed a bespectacled Duarte, clad in a grey shirt and black jacket-vest, being escorted by Interpol agents.

He had been governor of Veracruz for six years from 2010 to his resignation in October 2016.

"I don't have foreign accounts", he said past year.

Duarte stood down past year in order to face the allegations against him, he said, after it was claimed that the Mexican government had found millions of dollars linked to him. In June, the opposition National Action Party won a hotly contested race to succeed Duarte in a contest widely seen as a repudiation of rampant corruption and a stinging defeat for the PRI.

Since his arrest in Guatemala Saturday, a video clip from 2012 has been circulating in which then-presidential candidate and now President Enrique Pena Nieto names Duarte as part of a new generation of politicians from the Institutional Revolutionary Party that will be its future. "I don't have properties anywhere". Interpol joined the search and the Mexican government offered a reward of about $811,000 for his capture.

Another former governor, César Duarte of Chihuahua state, no relation to Javier Duarte, remains at large.

Duarte became a powerful symbol of alleged corruption during mid-term elections past year in which the PRI lost several governorships, including Veracruz, that it had held uninterrupted since its founding in 1929.

Authorities were tipped off to the presence of ex-Veracruz state Gov. Javier Duarte in Guatemala by the November 10, 2016 detention of a person carrying two passports with photographs of Duarte and his wife — but with different names — at the airport in the Mexican border city of Tapachula. The two accomplices have already been identified by Mexican authorities thanks to their tracking of information exchanged with Duarte.

And former PRI Gov. Tomas Yarrington of Tamaulipas state was arrested in Italy on April 9. And at least 16 journalists were killed during Duarte's term alone, Olvera said.

The party, which expelled Javier Duarte on October 25, 2016, applauded his arrest.

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