Victims of Mexico's earthquake in Jojutla have recorded videos confirming they received emergency funds from Morena and thanking President-Elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) after electoral authorities imposed a fine for diverting party funds to people affected by the disasters.
The community of Jojutla, in the state of Morelos, was one of the most affected by last year's September 8 and 19 earthquakes. Many completely lost their homes and were then ignored by the government.
In the videos, the people thank the National Renewal Movement (Morena) and its leader, AMLO, for the US$126 (2,400 Mexican pesos) each received from the 'For The Others' trust fund.
Even though the donated sums fell far short of the amount required to rebuild their homes, for many it was the only financial help they received.
The videos were shared by the mayor of Jojutla, Juan Angel Flores Bustamante, who says they were recorded after the National Electoral Institute (INE) announced it was fining Morena US$10,335,605 (197 million Mexican pesos).
#Jojutla fue una ciudad destruida por el #Sismo19S antes del proceso electoral, cientos de vecinos recibieron el apoyo “Por los demás” quienes al ver el ataque del #INE a @lopezobrador_ grabaron videos de agradecimiento @RabinSalazar @yeidckol @tatclouthier @RicardoMonrealA pic.twitter.com/VyHNaFtUyV— Juan Angel Flores Bustamante (@juanangel_fb) 20 de julio de 2018
"My name is Georgina Sanchez. I was affected by the September 19 earthquake. I completely lost my home. I was let down because I handed my [aid] cards to an engineer that did nothing for us. This is a message to thank Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador for the support he gave us at that moment. Thanks a lot."
In one of the videos, a woman thanks Lopez Obrador and Mayor Flores Bustamante for managing the funds. Flores, a member of Morena, compiled the videos, uploaded them to social media and sent them to news outlets using the right to reply.
Quien guste venir a confirmarlo yo los llevo, podemos recorrer las colonias damnificadas, son cientos de familias beneficiadas; pero lo importante es la reconstrucción; @lopezobrador_ nos ayudará a partir del 1o de dic, #Jojutla necesita mucho apoyo. https://t.co/jRNjiZJph2— Juan Angel Flores Bustamante (@juanangel_fb) 20 de julio de 2018
"Whoever wants to come and confirm it I can take them. We can walk around the affected areas, it's hundred of benefited families, but the import thing is reconstruction. Lopez Obrador will help us starting Dec. 1. Jojutla needs a lot of support."
#Jojutla fue una ciudad destruida por el #Sismo19S antes del proceso electoral, cientos de vecinos recibieron el apoyo “Por los demás” quienes al ver el ataque del #INE a @lopezobrador_ grabaron videos de agradecimiento @RabinSalazar @yeidckol @tatclouthier @RicardoMonrealA pic.twitter.com/Iq0EIV033c— Juan Angel Flores Bustamante (@juanangel_fb) 20 de julio de 2018
"We're from the Zapata colony and we want to thank the Morena party and Andres Manuel for giving each one of us an aid of 2,400 [Mexican pesos], with which we could repair our home damaged last September 19 earthquake. Thanks a lot."
The fund was not officially linked to the party, but was promoted by its leaders and supporters. Also, the investigation showed that 80 percent of the funds ended up in the hands of its leaders.
The INE also accused Morena of failing to inform electoral authorities; failing to report incomes and expenses; ignoring the established limit of cash contributions; receiving money from illicit sources; using the trust fund as a "parallel source of financing" for the party and using it for electoral purposes.
Electoral authorities report that the trust fund received 78.8 millon pesos (US$4,136,212), of which 44.4 million pesos were cash deposits made by small groups of people at various banks.
It's still not clear how was all the money was used, but Lopez Obrador said they would appeal the decision because using party funds to help victims of a natural disaster shouldn't constitute any wrongdoing.
"The 197 million Mexican pesos fine imposed by the INE on Morena is a blatant revenge," AMLO posted on Twitter.
In response, Electoral Counselor Marco Antonio Baños said the parties should inform electoral authorities how they spend funds and such aid should have been directred to the federal Reconstruction Fund.
"The president-elect is accusing us of revenge, but what revenge? The INE counselors are not motivated by revenge. The only thing we're penalizing is a trust fund created irregularly, managed by Morena officials and whose final destination we couldn't determine," said Baños.