Tuesday, March 9

Salgado Macedonio receives the support of López Obrador despite accusations of rape

Félix Salgado Macedonio has someone to defend him. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been questioned again this Wednesday morning about the candidacy of Salgado Macedonio, candidate of the Morena party to the Government of Guerrero. Three complaints of rape and allegations of abuse and sexual harassment weigh on the former senator. These accusations have been assessed this week by the Council of Honor and Justice of the president’s party, a kind of partisan internal affairs area. The most important defense of the controversial politician has come from the National Palace. The president has framed these accusations as part of the electoral campaign that the country is experiencing, which on June 6 will hold the elections to renew Congress. “I already said that these are election times and there are accusations of all kinds,” López Obrador said this Wednesday at the morning press conference.

A journalist has cross-examined the president on an issue that has caused controversy within the party: “Although there are complaints filed, is the victim and many in Morena are against the candidacy?” The president has responded in an elusive way that the candidacy of Salgado Macedonio will remain, since he is the candidate with the most internal support after the data that showed a series of surveys among local militants in Guerrero. “If surveys are conducted and people say I agree with this comrade, it must be respected because politics is everyone’s business, not the elites,” López Obrador insisted. The appointment has drawn harsh criticism from more than a hundred female activists of his formation, including several senators and federal deputies. The investigation by the Honesty and Justice Commission should reach a conclusion in the coming days.

It is not the first time that the president has spoken out on this issue, a month ago he pointed out that it was a “partisan issue” typical of the electoral period. The support for Salgado Macedonio from the National Palace raises doubts among deputies of Morena and defenders of women’s rights about the internal investigation of the commission. This Monday, Basilia Castañeda, one of the women who claims to have been raped by the politician in 1998, when she was a minor, appeared before the body. “I know that if he wins, I have to leave the country. To leave my life, my family and what I have built with so much effort, ”said the woman. At the end of the hearing, Castañeda, founder of Morena in her town in 2014 and a faithful follower of López Obrador’s project, asked the president not to “defend a rapist.”

López Obrador has assured that it is necessary for the alleged victims to go to “legal instances” to report a crime. Castañeda, like another woman who accused Salgado of rape in 2017, have already appeared before the authorities to file a formal complaint. They took the step that other women have not dared. One did so before the Attorney General’s Office and another before the Guerrero State Attorney’s Office.

In Mexico, only one in 10 women who are violated denounces. The impunity rate in cases of sexist violence is higher than 99%. The research portfolio that was opened in 2017 remains open with no progress. According to statements by the former Guerrero prosecutor, Xavier Olea, the case never came before the judge because the current governor, Héctor Astudillo – of the PRI – asked him in 2018 not to request an arrest warrant against Salgado Macedonio. In electoral time or pandemic, violence against women does not stop. Only last year there were more than 16,000 complaints of violence against women, according to official figures.

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