Public services strike in Veracruz as manhunt for former gov. continues

World Today

Veracruz’s Health professionals and other personnel on the state’s payroll are on strike, blocking highways and marching in protest over not recieving their salaries since May.

As authorities continue their search for the disgraced former governor of Veracruz, health professionals and other personnel on the state’s payroll are blocking highways and marching in protest over not receiving their salaries since May.

On Friday, the federal government delivered $25 million to the local government to cover the state’s payroll. Even though the protesters stopped the blockade at the federal highway that connects the port of the Gulf coast state of Veracruz with the capital city, Xalapa, they are still waiting for the state government to pay the money from their salary their are owed.

The strikes come over a month after former Veracruz governor, Javier Duarte, turned himself in to the authorities for corruption charges, stepped down as governor, then disappeared. Duarte is accused of money laundering, ties to organized crime and multiple acts of fraud.

Authorities charge Duarte set up shell companies to move public funds for his own use. Bloomberg News reports that he fled the country in a state-owned helicopter after being shuttled to the airport in the trunk of a car.

A manhunt is currently underway, and a reward of 15 million pesos ($730,000 USD) has been offered for his capture.

Javier Duarte

Former Veracruz Gov. Javier Duarte arrives to the Attorney General’s headquarters in Mexico City. A senior Mexican official says prosecutors are trying to detain the former governor on suspicion of corruption. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte, File)

Mexico Daily reported on Friday that authorities are now focusing on Chiapas in their search for Duarte. This comes following the arrest in Tapachula of a Mario Medina Garzón, 37, carrying false passports bearing the photographs of Duarte and his wife. Garzón told the authorities the passports were to be delivered to Duarte so he could escape the country for Guatemala.

Falsified Duarte passport

A scan of a falsified passport bearing Duarte’s photo, which was seized by authorities Friday.

In addition to the falsified passports, authorities also seized $7,000 in cash from Garzón.

Patience among public workers in Veracruz have been pushed to the limit in recent weeks as media accounts have pointed to numerous properties linked to Duarte – including those in Veracruz, Mexico City, and in the United States.

PHOTOS: Public service strike in Veracruz