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Sept. 20, 2011

General thunders against governor's right-hand man

cuauhtemoc cardonaThe Baja California state government's secretary general, Cuauhtémoc Cardona Benavides, on Monday asked for forgiveness involving an incident with Gen. Alfonso Duarte Múgica, commander of the Second Military Region. Cardona (left) said the conflict occurred because he arrived late for a military event at which he was supposed to be on stage with other dignitaries Sept. 10 in Mexicali. He was not allowed onstage, and then did not stay for a dinner-dance afterward in the event commemorating the Niños Heroes.

A video of an encounter with the general and Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán shows Duarte Múgica pointing at Cardona and telling the governor that he does not want to see Cardona in a military installation, calling him a "rude, drunk, disrespectful and conflictive person." The encounter was transmitted on the state government TV channel in the governor's office during Mexican independence celebrations Sept. 15.

Cardona said Monday that he had not been rude, drunk or disrespectful, only one minute late because other events had intervened.
Update, Sept. 21: However, Columnist Antonio Magaña says the reception for the Sept. 10 military event began at 8 p.m. and the ceremony was to start at 8:30. Magaña says Mexicali Mayor Francisco Pérez Tejada arrived with his wife at 8:15, leaving Cardona as the only person who had not arrived who was supposed to be onstage. The ceremony finally began around 9, and when Cardona arrived moments later, he was denied access to the stage. So while Cardona could possibly say he was one minute late, it also could be said that he was half an hour late or even later.

The day after the encounter in Osuna's office, on Sept. 16, Cardona and Duarte Múgica shared the stage during an Independence Day parade.

Cardona, the No. 2 official in government, often represents the governor at events.

Front-page story, El MexicanoJump page. Headline: General Duarte thunders against Cardona.
Stories, FronteraThe video on YouTube.
Update, Sept. 21: Follow-up stories in Frontera: General defends himself, governor backs Cardona. 
Cartoon in El MexicanoA Niños Heroes celebration in Tijuana that went better than the one in Mexicali.
Duarte Múgica's speech (Word file)
Update, Sept. 23: Columnist Benedicto Ruiz weighs in on the incident. 
Update, Sept. 27: Duarte Múgica says Cardona can enter military bases

Monday's story about Baja California political machinations mentioning Cardona.

Update, July 14, 2012: Cardona resigns to run for governor.