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santiago creelTuesday, Aug. 30, 2011

Could Monterrey casino attack hurt Creel's candidacy?

alonso lujambioMeanwhile, another rival for PAN presidential nomination,
Education Minister Alonso Lujambio, drops out of race

It was Santiago Creel who approved a boatload of licenses for casinos in 2005, which at the time was interpreted as a nod to Televisa as the-then interior minister was beginning his failed campaign for the National Action Party nomination for president.

Could these approvals, although later ratified by the Supreme Court, come back to haunt him again? Some say his playing footsie with Televisa, which acquired casino licenses, bit him in the PAN nomination battle he lost to Felipe Calderón. Now casinos are at the forefront again. Many warned in 2005 that they could be targets for organized crime; arguments for the casinos were to draw in tourists and keep at home the money of Mexicans who might gamble in Vegas or California or elsewhere. Cartoon of Creel with skeletons saying he promoted casinos.

Casino Enterprise Management has a good article about casinos in Mexico this month and a backlash against them. It talks about how Baja California Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán came out against the proliferation of casinos in his state this summer. The governor's statement did not get much press in Baja California, but there was a mention of it in the July 30 El Mexicano, where he said, "Not one more casino in Mexicali." There are a reported dozen casinos in vertigo cover june 2005the state capital. Osuna came out strongly against casinos on Monday, El Mexicano reported. Story. Jump page. The Casino Enterprise Management story also talks about Baja California state legislator Marco Antonio Vizcarra Calderón, who wants more clarity about what taxes and fees casinos are paying. The story does not make clear that he is a state, and not federal, legislator, however.

There are many stories online about Creel's role in approving gambling establishments in 2005, such as the following one in La Jornada. Here is Vértigo's cover from June 12, 2005 titled: "Creel with Televisa: He puts it on the line."

Creel halted his campaign for the PAN presidential nomination over the weekend as part of the three days of national mourning decreed by Calderón. At a press conference in Pachuca, Hidalgo, he said attacks such as the one on the Casino Royale put Mexico's democratic system at risk. He said that nevertheless, "We are an overwhelming majority who want a country of peace, as opposed to those who want violence." Story, Milenio.

Creel is in a tight race with PAN congressional leader Josefina Vázquez Mota. The latest Mitofsky poll puts her at 35% and Creel at 31%.

Meanwhile, Education Minister Alonso Lujambio, who could not get out of single digits in the polls, dropped out of the race for the PAN presidential nomination. Story in Frontera.

Update, Sept. 1: Frontera reports on Tijuana casinos, of which there are 15.
El Mexicano reports on casinos. Gov. Osuna speaks out against casinos again. Jump page.

Update, Sept. 3: Casino owner says the casinos' problems is that many authorities are corrupt and that regulations that casinos have to follow are not clear. Story in Frontera.

Update, November: Lujambio has kidney cancer, is hospitalized. Story, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.