Mexican candidate accuses rivals of wiretapping

AP News
Posted: Mar 27, 2012 6:11 PM
Mexican candidate accuses rivals of wiretapping

The campaign of conservative presidential candidate Josefina Vazquez Mota charged Tuesday that the rival Institutional Revolutionary Party makes regular use of wiretaps, like the one in which she is purportedly heard accusing Mexico's top cop of spying on her.

Vazquez Mota's campaign said in a statement that prosecutors should make a joint investigation of her case as well as of past similar wiretaps against politicians from other parties, including a dissident member of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.

The statement suggested the PRI may have been behind the wiretaps. PRI's presidential candidate, Enrique Pena Nieto, leads in polls on the July elections.

"Whose interest is it in? And who benefits from this kind of spying and leaks?" the statement said. "It is the Institutional Revolutionary Party, in the territory of their candidate Enrique Pena Nieto, that carries out this kind of practices daily."

Vazquez Mota has not confirmed the voice on a recording made public this week is hers. But an aide confirmed Monday that his voice is on it, and he filed a complaint with prosecutors seeking an investigation into what he charged was an illegal recording of the phone conversation.

In the recording posted by a Mexican political news website, a woman is discussing campaign strategy with an aide when she suddenly sends a "warm hello" to the head of Mexico's federal police "who is recording us instead of recording El Chapo."

The caller jokes that both Public Security Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna and government spokeswoman Alejandra Sota are tapping or infiltrating her calls, implying that political spying is more important to the government than catching Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, among the world's most-wanted drug lords.

Agustin Torres, a congressman who heads Vazquez Mota's social media campaign, told Radio Formula on Monday that he was the other voice on the call. But he did not confirm the contents and said the tape should be checked for editing.

"Say hello to them, Agus," the woman on the recording says. She then uses mild profanity to describe Sota, saying he "infiltrates all of our telephone calls."

"In spite of that we're going to win," the woman adds with a laugh.

Garcia Luna and Sota are top officials in the government of President Felipe Calderon, who along with Vazquez Mota belongs to the National Action Party.

The call apparently took place leading up to the party's primary in January, which Vazquez Mota won over Ernesto Cordero, a candidate reportedly favored by Calderon's team.

Vazquez Mota and Calderon are not political allies even though they're both in the same party.