In a revelation that has sent ripples through the political landscape of Mexico, investigations by journalists Anabel Hernández and Tim Golden, featured in DW and ProPublica, have brought to light allegations that the Sinaloa Cartel financially backed the 2006 presidential campaign of Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
These allegations emerged less than a day before the President addressed them, dismissing the claims as baseless.
During a press briefing at the National Palace, López Obrador vehemently denied any connections to the cartel, stating, “It is completely false, it is a slander, they are of course very upset and unfortunately the press, as we have seen not only in Mexico, is very subordinated to power.”
He further criticized the timing of these allegations, suggesting they were politically motivated to coincide with election seasons in both Mexico and the United States. “Where is the evidence?” he demanded, challenging the foundation of the accusations.
The accusations deepen as López Obrador calls on the U.S. government, specifically the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the State Department, to clarify their stance on these allegations. “I denounce the US government for allowing these immoral and unethical political practices,” he declared, urging for transparency and the revelation of any concrete evidence that might exist.
The investigation by Hernández and Golden alleges that between 2010 and 2011, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the DEA uncovered evidence linking López Obrador’s associates to the Sinaloa Cartel.
Despite these claims, details of the investigation remained confidential until now.
Central to these allegations is the involvement of Arturo Beltrán Leyva, known as ‘El Barbas’, a key figure in the Sinaloa Cartel. Reports suggest that Beltrán Leyva facilitated millions of dollars to López Obrador’s campaign, seeking protection and influence over appointments, including the Attorney General of the Republic, should López Obrador have secured the presidency.
Participants in the Alleged Negotiations
The narrative unfolds further with reports of Edgar Valdez Villareal, ‘La Barbie’, acting as the cartel’s representative in dealings with López Obrador’s team. Additional figures alleged to have been involved include Roberto Acosta Islas, ‘El R’; Roberto López Nájera, an operator for Beltrán Leyva; and several others closely tied to López Obrador, spanning drivers to business associates.
Hernández’s report, supported by testimonies from individuals purportedly present at negotiation meetings, implicates a broad network of López Obrador’s associates in the scandal.
However, without direct names and further evidence, these allegations have stirred controversy and debate within the political and public spheres.
As Mexico grapples with these serious accusations, the call for clear evidence and transparency from all involved parties echoes loudly. The intersection of politics and cartel influence remains a sensitive and complex issue, with these recent allegations bringing it once again to the forefront of national discourse.