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Smuggling donations in Morelos

Civilians demand the intervention of civil associations to ensure donations are reaching earthquake victims
Distribution of donations – Photo: Luis Cortés/EL UNIVERSAL
24/09/2017
15:00
Justino Miranda / Corresponsal
Cuernavaca
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Since last Thursday, when the president of the Comprehensive Family Development Institute (DIF) in Morelos, Elena Cepeda – wife of the current governor of the state, Graco Ramírez – ordered the Morelos Police to seize donation trucks and reroute them to the collection centers of the institution under her charge, humanitarian aid has been smuggled into the state and directly given to the victims in the towns and communities affected by last Tuesday's earthquake. 

“This was a wrong call. There were business entrepreneurs who were threatened to be surrendered to the authorities, with a truck full of donations. This is inhuman,” said Federal deputy, Javier Bolaños.

“Graco Ramirez has monopolized humanitarian aid for the victims and has discouraged citizen donations – this has caused wariness and resentment,” he added.

Civil society has gone overboard with donations and humanitarian aid for the earthquake victims, and aid will surely keep coming, yet several people are demanding the intervention of civil associations to ensure donations are reaching their destination.

“We propose to form groups of citizens to supervise the arrival and departure of donations, which should arrive at the locations exactly as they were sent. Authorities need to understand everything was given by citizens of other states of the Republic, and that Government vehicles were used only for transportation. We don't trust state authorities, that's the truth,” said Víctor Torres, a citizen who has transported shoes and clothes to the communities of Jojutla and Tlaltizapan, in southern Morelos.

After a citizen's group took control of the warehouse of the Institute on Thursday night, Elena Cepeda replied that the 500 people collaborating with the DIF – whom she claimed have no political affiliations – could be witnesses of the transactions.

Since then, those people – mostly young people – took control of the distribution, and so far 90 tonnes of food supplies and other donations have failed to reach their destination.

Graco Ramírez has appeared since then four times through Facebook live to try and refute the claims against the DIF's president, but above all, to avoid losing the trust of the donors.

During a press conference, the commissioner of Public Security stated rthe Executive Branch of the State is acting with full transparency on the delivery of supplies, and added that the claims are part of a misinformation campaign.

When Carlos Benítez – one of the citizens who defended the warehouse takeover – questioned the chief of police about the “kidnapping” of the donation trucks, the chief replied that in times of crisis, the standard protocol establishes that “the government must take control of the situation.”

When asked by other citizens why the DIF was trying to take credit for the donations, he replied: “there is no evidence of this and we're responsible for the distribution.”

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