Trading Votes For Water Tanks

The irony is, if they voted for the right guy, they would get better city services and not need the damn tank in the first place

Mexico City elections have never been known to be squeaky clean but this election just hit a new low.

 In the upcoming Mexico City election, Coyoacán borough chief Valentín Maldonado, a member of the ruling Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), has been providing residents with tinacos, domestic water storage tanks, in exchange for their support for his party’s candidates. Each family was promised a tinaco in return for the photocopies of five identification cards, and the promise to vote for PRD assembly candidates on June 5.

 30 660 gallon tanks were delivered out to voters’ houses  in two days last week by the leaders of neighborhood associations. Doesn’t anyone even get embarrassed that their neighbors now know they sold their vote? Do they just take delivery like they sell out their integrity and their country every day of the week? Just wondering.

The same thing was happening in other neighborhoods throughout the borough. “I have relatives in the Santo Domingo neighborhood and they will also receive their tinaco,” said Rufino Mendoza of Ajusco, adding that “we don’t really need them, cash would have been more helpful, but that’s what they gave us.”

 The photo copies can’t be used to vote, so the politicians are still dependent on the receivers of the water tanks’ promise to vote their way.

“I turned in the copies because I needed the tinaco.  They were copies of my parents’ and children’s IDs,” Avelar said. “I was told that they had to vote for PRD in the next elections. I still don’t know who we’re supposed to vote for but I don’t care, because the candidate who gives away more always wins.”

Another neighbor said he heard that once the election is over, “they will throw a party for us.” This was echoed by a second neighbor, who declared that they didn’t have any other choice but to accept the water tanks. “Tinacos are expensive and voting doesn’t cost us anything, plus we’re also getting a party out of it.” Yup. Obviously, clear to us, that these folks didn’t have any other choice. Sigh.

In total, Coyoacán authorities were expected to deliver 1,666 tinacos as part of a social program, investing U.S. $272,000 in their purchase. The borough spent $175 per tank, more than the commercially listed price.

The Citizens’ Watchdog of Coyoacán, a civil organization created last year by members of the borough’s intellectual, artistic, academic and professional community, has filed a legal complaint against the borough chief for electoral and administrative crimes, but if it’s done carefully, under a thin guise of giveaways, buying votes is not strictly illegal. Here in Los Cabos debit cards for Soriana grocery store are usually the gift of choice.

Now, just in case our publisher is asleep at the wheel and doesn’t see this article, I will add her favorite line here. “People generally get the government they deserve.