Former Governor of Veracruz remains imprisoned amidst allegations of criminal collusion

After a court ruled on Tuesday that there was not enough evidence to prove organised crime relations, the former governor of Veracruz Javier Duarte currently remains in jail awaiting the result of a number of lawsuits.

Veracruz’s current governor, Miguel Angel Yunes, has since stated that Duarte is unlikely to be released from jail at all because he still faces a number of charges for the abuse of authority, breach of legal duty and embezzlement. The charges came after two extradition orders by the Prosecutor General of Veracruz from Guatemala, where Duarte had been on the run, by the Prosecutor General of Veracruz against the former governor.

Associated with the PRI party that recently lost power in Mexico, Javier Duarte had served as the governor of Veracruz between 2010 and 2016. It was early on in his tenure, however, that controversy erupted and the governor quickly became implicated in organised crime rings. Over 17 journalists were killed in Veracruz whilst he was in power amidst a number of other heinous cases of mass discovered graves that are believed to have involved police collusion and government authorities. Earlier this year a mass grave containing 250 skulls was found in Veracruz, an act that was believed to have been carried out whilst Duarte was in power.

Alongside grizzly cases of violence, Duarte was accused of stealing almost $3 billion worth of public funds and being involved with vast money laundering of state funds. By 2016, the PRI had banned him from the party and following a warrant for his arrest he left the country. He faced his comeuppance when he was caught and arrested in Guatemala before being extradited in July 2017 back to Mexico.

Currently, under arrest in Reclusorio Norte in Mexico City, the Attorney General changed the charges that Duarte was facing earlier this week amidst claims that there was insufficient evidence. Although the charge has been changed from organised crime to criminal associations, which in fact would entitle Duarte to not remain in preliminary incarceration before his trial, AnimalPolitico has revealed that the initial hearing judge Gerardo Moreno had ruled against this liberty. According to the Mexican outlet, the judge believed that Duarte’s detention is both justified and that he also had the economic means to escape justice, much like he had attempted to earlier in Guatemala. Should he for some reason actually be released, he would face prosecutors in Veracruz either way.

The slow rate at which this is being processed by the Mexican justice system could be an attempt to make a point out of Duarte’s case, however, despite the phenomenal rate of violence in the state, actions were not acted out alone. The battle against governmental corruption is set to become a key definer of incoming AMLO’s presidency, however, at the same time the depth of Mexico’s organised crime and associated corruption is believed to be rearing at unprecedented levels. It remains to be seen whether anyone else will face the music and be brought to justice for Veracruz’s previous violence, and whether AMLO can fulfil his campaign promise.