Note: this is a modified version of a post originally published on Global Voices in Spanish.
Scandalous footage of Mexican politicians using government resources to rent a mansion in Puerto Vallarta and go out dancing and drinking with exotic dancers at a local nightclub has made headlines throughout Latin America. Early last week, the magazine Reporte Indigo (Indigo Report) released a video showing several members of Mexico's National Action Party (Spanish acronym “PAN”) enjoying the company of liquor, song, and many younger women:
A Peruvian newspaper speculates that the incident could end the careers of two high-ranking PAN officials, the chamber of deputies coordinator and the national president's private secretary, both of whom faced accusations last year of running a bribery network in Mexico's public works.
The Mexican blog Sopitas was flippant about the video:
En medio de copas y música de banda, podemos apreciar cómo el líder de los diputados del PAN, Luis Alberto Villarreal, abraza y baila efusivamente a una de las bailarinas que asistieron a amenizar la fiesta. Mientras tanto, el vicecoordinador, Jorge Iván Villalobos, abraza cariñosamente a otra bailarina, sentado en una terraza.
La fiesta estuvo buena, por lo que podemos ver en el video. Recordemos que las fiestas de Villarreal se ponen tan locas que sus vecinos en Polanco se quejan (Nota del autor: Polanco es una de las zonas más exclusivas para vivir en la capital mexicana).
Amongst the drinks and banda music, we can appreciate how PAN's congressional leader, Luis Alberto Villarreal, warmly hugs and dances with one of the dancers who came to liven up the party. Meanwhile, the vice coordinator, Jorge Iván Villalobos, affectionately hugs another dancer who is seated on the terrace.
From what we can see in the video, it was a good party. Let's remember that Villarreal's parties get so wild that his neighbors in Polanco complain. (Author's note: Polanco is one of the most exclusive residential areas in Mexico City.)
The video's release comes at a low point for the National Action Party. As it happens, this isn't the first time PAN members have stumbled into news headlines, after some dishonorable act. There is a PAN youth group that propagates national socialism and tweets using the ignominious hashtag #MoreNazis. (This is a play on the Spanish word “moreno,” which refers to individuals who are “darker-skinned.”) Several of the group's members, along with other individuals tied to the party, were recently arrested in Brazil for beating a local man after sexually abusing his wife.
On Twitter, Internet users have mocked the PAN politicians caught drinking and dancing last week, calling them “diputables” (a conjunction of the Spanish word diputado [congressman] and the English words “table dance”).
Twitter user Contadores de México (Accountants of Mexico) joked about the politicians’ apparent love of nightclubs, recalling that the National Action Party is built on conservative values. (One of the men in the video, for instance, has been identified as Luis Villarreal, known as “El Yunque” (The Anvil), who has ties to PAN's right wing, which strongly opposes abortion rights, same-sex marriage, adoption by gay couples, and other civil rights campaigns.)
— Contadores de México (@CPC_Sandoval) agosto 13, 2014
— Contadores de México (@CPC_Sandoval) August 13, 2014
Jaime Delgado joined in the fun online:
Vamos a promover el Día del #DipuTable para honrar el trabajo de los representantes populares y en el festejo debe haber prostitutas
— Jaime Delgado (@Jaime_Delgado) agosto 12, 2014
Let's promote Day of the #DipuTable, to honor the work of our elected representatives. And there should be prostitutes at the celebration.
The scandal has already resulted in dismissals. After the story broke, PAN's leader sacked Luis Alberto Villarreal (@VillarrealGTO), the video's star, from his post as fraction deputy leader in the Mexican House of Representatives.
The lawmakers captured on film, nevertheless, remain in the Chamber of Deputies, retaining their salaries and congressional immunity. Villarreal, for his part, maintains that his debauch didn't involve any government resources.