MEXICO CITY – Leftist leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador accused Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto of being a “vulgar street gang leader” and alleged the head of state was behind a smear campaign targeting him.
“I have information that you ordered the government secretary, Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, to hand over the videos to the El Universal newspaper,” the National Regeneration Movement (Morena) leader said in an open letter to Peña Nieto.
On April 24, the Mexico City daily El Universal published images from a video showing Veracruz state legislator Eva Cadena, a Morena member, accepting a payment of 500,000 pesos ($26,500) allegedly intended for Lopez Obrador, the party’s founder and a leading contender for the presidency in 2018.
Cadena, who is running for mayor of Las Choapas, Veracruz, posted an apology on her Facebook page, acknowledging that she made a mistake and contending she was snared in a “very cowardly” scheme to smear Lopez Obrador.
The state lawmaker said the money “was a donation for the movement,” but she “decided to return” the funds after concluding that the contribution should not have been made in cash.
Lopez Obrador said in the letter that Peña Nieto was trying to harm him and accused the president of acting in a “low political and moral” manner.
The leftist leader submitted a 146-page file Saturday to Peña Nieto listing the assets of Veracruz Gov. Miguel Angel Yunes Linares, of the conservative National Action Party (PAN), and alleging it was proof of illicit enrichment on the part of the politician.
Yunes Linares and Lopez Obrador clashed after the governor accused the Morena leader of accepting cash from Javier Duarte, who served as Veracruz’s governor from 2010 to 2016.
Duarte, who faces money laundering and other charges, was arrested this month while on the run in Guatemala.
Lopez Obrador, a former Mexico City mayor and two-time presidential candidate, barely lost the 2006 presidential election to the PAN’s Felipe Calderon and blamed his second-place finish in the 2012 vote on corrupt practices by the victorious PRI.