Among the dozens of politicians who have jumped from one party to another in Mexico these days, there is one who is followed by “thousands.” In 2011, Eruviel Ávila (Ecatepec, 54 years old) became the elected governor of the State of Mexico—the most populated entity—that received the most votes in history. The former PRI member decided last year to leave the historic tricolor party after being part of its ranks for about three decades. He did it together with other important PRI leaders who have dispersed today into different political formations. Ávila opted for the Green Party, where he says he feels comfortable, having been a candidate for that party in previous alliances. With a convincing smile and a neat presence, he receives EL PAÍS in the Senate, to discuss the criticism he made of the presidential candidate Claudia Sheinbaum, the accusations of corruption and the crisis that led the tricolor party to suffer a huge rout months into the process. electoral.
Ask. Why did you leave the PRI?
Answer. What has generated the closure of the national leadership is not only my departure, but the departure of many PRI members. The PRI that I knew 34 years ago was inclusive, a PRI that added, that integrated, that put aside personal issues to privilege unity. It is the complete opposite of the PRI of these years. And of course Green is a good option. Of the five elections that I have won, in four I have been a candidate for the Green [en alianza con el PRI]. So there is already an identification, a previous experience of governing with its postulates and its principles.
Q. When did the crisis with Alejandro begin? Alito Moreno and what untied her?
R. That disrespectful way of removing Senator Osorio [Chong] of the coordination [del Senado] It was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Starting with monopolizing the decisions, appoint the National Political Council in a manner. When there is that political closure, then one says ‘let’s look for where to continue doing politics and adding other cadres’. The PRI emerges from the local, from the regions of the country in unity, and now everything is centralized.
Q. Why did you choose the Let’s Keep Making History alliance?
R. I chose Green, then Green decides to join this alliance.
Q. Well, the Green thing was prior to his decision…
R. Exact. And I am convinced that the doctor [Claudia] Sheinbaum is the best profile to govern Mexico. The fact that she is a scientist, a woman who has trained at UNAM, winner along with Dr. Mario Molina and other researchers of the Nobel Prize, tells us about her discipline, her seriousness, her capacity. And I believe that science applied to politics does work. I believe in her. I don’t have the pleasure of being friends with her. I have met her a few times and I am convinced that she will be a great president.
Q. You said a couple of years ago that Sheinbaum was not qualified to govern the city and now you support her. What made you change your mind?
R. Six years ago, I was president of the PRI in Mexico City, I was a member of the PRI. And, in fact, today I clarify it: as we say in Mexico, I stayed six because I was wrong, I was wrong. These six years were enough for me to be able to say that I was wrong in what I had stated on that occasion. Today I affirm and confirm that she will be, with the support of all Mexicans, a great president of Mexico.
Q. He didn’t tell me what made him change his mind.
R. Your work, your results. A transportation system, in Mexico City, one of the best. There may be criticism of the Metro and more, but there is urban transportation. There is order. See the restaurants, the public places, the people consuming, that is, it is a living, growing capital. The doctor has left important work here. Her academic training, her preparation, the burning her eyelashes studying, that counts and counts a lot.
Q. Both President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Claudia Sheinbaum strongly criticized “the bad tricks of the PRI,” mainly corruption. They were right?
R. In every game there is everything. Parties are not bad, sometimes those who are part of or active in a party are bad. If there were PRI members responsible for any irregularity, let them pay. In fact, several from all parties are still being prosecuted.
Q. Did you leave your accounts clear in the State of Mexico?
R. Yes. Clear accounts, long friendships.
Q. And the accusations against you for diverting public funds for campaigns? Or works that were not built but whose budget was executed?
R. There is no observation to your server, no accusation. I respect those who have written it, but I do not share it. We delivered the healthy accounts and what was necessary to clarify by a secretary or an undersecretary, was clarified after these years, so I am very calm. We comply with the transparency law, so I do not share that statement.
Q. And the works? Like the General Hospital of Zona Oriente Tlalnepantla…
R. The great works are or have been transexennial. There were works that I had to inaugurate from when Peña Nieto was governor, I continued them and finished them. I respect the previous Administration, whether or not it continued with the works that I started at the time. His public policy now depends on each governor.
Q. Talk about the previous Administration… What happened to the Atlacomulco Group?
R. First, it is a myth.
Q. Is the Atlacomulco Group a myth?
A. Yes. I didn’t know him. What must be recognized is that the majority of the rulers of the State of Mexico have always been from the Toluca Valley, several of them indeed from Atlacomulco. It was customary to go see the Lord of the Garden. There is a tradition that all those who were candidates had to go see the Lord of the Garden in Atlacomulco, it is a parish, to ask him to help us become governors. I did it too, because I am a believer, but that does not mean that there is an Atlacomulco Group. I would confess it to everything in the past, but no. The truth is that I never met him.
Q. It was clear who was part of that group, call it Atlacomulco or whatever you want. What happened to that group? At what point did they lose power within the PRI?
R. They are cycles, there are stages. When I was a candidate first, and then governor, I had the support of those who were rulers of the Toluca Valley, even those who were from Atlacomulco. I have nothing but gratitude and recognition to them. The people made a decision a few months ago, they decided that the PRI should no longer govern the State, they gave Morena the opportunity and the vote must be respected. Governor Delfina Gómez must be given the opportunity now.
Q. How do you get along with Delfina Gómez?
R. She was my fellow senator. She was municipal president of Texcoco when I was governor, there were three very well evaluated mayors of the 125 [de todo el Estado], one of these mayors was her. They are people close to the town. We work in an institutional way. I don’t have the honor of having a close friendship with her, but I respect her.
Q. At that time that he mentions, she accused him of breaking the law by ordering the state oversight body to hand over Texcoco’s public account to the PRI to harm her in the campaign. Is that left behind too?
R. She is the governor, today I am a senator for the State and there is a relationship of respect. Sometimes in the heat of political campaigns there are accusations and accusations, whether supported or not, and I saw it as a campaign issue at that time.
Q. When Gómez won the election last year, many targeted Alfredo del Mazo. They said that Morena would not have won without the governor’s omission. They accused him of having handed over the State. Do you think it was like that?
R. Six years ago, the PRI with its allies, the Green, New Alliance, the PES, barely won by 2.7 points. Since then, Morena was already in second strength. It’s not that we have swept 2017 and after 6 years it is lost. No, there was a trend. It must be recognized that the Morena brand has positioned itself for social programs, for the president’s work, and that is why they won last year. The Del Mazo Government did its job, it dedicated itself to governing and the parties to competing. He acted as he should have acted, within the framework of the law.
Q. Would you be surprised if they gave you an Embassy in the future?
R. I don’t know if he’s interested.
Q. But would you be surprised if they give it to you? Because it was a phenomenon of PRI governors, accused of handing over their State, who then took some diplomatic position.
R. We cannot generalize. Some may have been interested in the topic of Foreign Service. Excellent. I wish former governor Del Mazo everything well, he is a prepared man. There, or wherever.
Q. Did you negotiate something to enter the Green?
R. No. Yes, there are ex-priist colleagues who have aspirations. The Green is an option to promote different cadres that in the PRI did not have the opportunity. Now a window opens to be able to serve, to support our people. Yes, I am interested in seeing things go well for my people in the State of Mexico.
Q. And you?
R. Today I am a soldier of the Green and wherever they tell me, I will be there.
Q. Would you like to be a candidate for deputy?
R. I am eligible, I do not rule it out. Although it is not my priority. More than work, there comes a time when one pursues projects and today I am in this project that is Dr. Sheinbaum. That is my goal, to win and to win well.
Q. His entry into the alliance with Morena generated blisters among the party’s base. What would he say to them?
R. That we do not come to take away anything that belongs to them. We do not seek any position in Morena or through Morena. We are joined by Dr. Sheinbaum.
Q. He speaks in plural, how many people follow him?
R. I’m talking about thousands, thousands. I wouldn’t want to do happy math and remember the times of the PRI when they talked about millions. There are thousands here.
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