11/10/20 (written by vrice) – Feminist activists mobilized on October 12th, blocking the entrance to the Mexico City headquarters of the National Regeneration Movement (Movimiento Regeneración Nacional, MORENA/Morena), the political party of current president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO). The women gathered to prevent candidate Porfirio Muñoz Ledo from declaring himself the winner of contested elections for the party presidency, due to numerous allegations of sexual assault against him.
Occupation of MORENA headquarters
On October 16, the National Electoral Institute (Instituto Nacional Electoral, INE) declared that elections for Morena’s next president had resulted in a technical tie between candidates Muñoz Ledo and Mario Delgado, requiring that a new poll be conducted. In response, Muñoz Ledo accused the INE’s Councilor President, Lorenzo Córdova, of refusing to acknowledge his victory, and demanded that Córdova rectify the decision or resign. Via virtual conference Muñoz Ledo also denounced the Electoral Tribunal (Tribunal Electoral) as corrupt, and stated that he would not accept the results of the next poll as he had already won. Two days after these accusations, Muñoz Ledo then published a tweet calling on his supporters to accompany him to the headquarters the following afternoon to forcibly assume the presidency of Morena.
Given the numerous accusations of sexual assault against Muñoz Ledo in the preceding weeks, feminist activists mobilized in response to his statements in order to, “prevent an abuser from taking over Morena” (“para impedir que un acosador se apropie del partido”). At 8:00am on October 12, feminist activists gathered outside the gate of Morena’s headquarters in the Colonia Roma district of Mexico City to pressure the party to take action against Muñoz Ledo. The protestors prevented any entry or exit by placing red tape that read “peligro” (danger) and numerous signs on the building’s entrance, with phrases like, “Aquí no entran violadores” (“rapists cannot enter here”) and “Morena será feminista” (“Morena will be feminist”). They also wrote “clausurado” (closed) with pink chalk on the sidewalk outside the gates.
A few hours after the demonstration began, primarily male Muñoz Ledo supporters gathered to challenge the feminist activists, demanding that the women file formal complaints if their accusations against Muñoz Ledo were truly legitimate. Also in attendance were federal representatives of Morena, Lorena Villavicencio and Irma Juan Carlos. Via megaphone the representatives echoed requests for the demonstrators to present formal accusations, and asked that Muñoz Ledo’s attempt to assume the presidency not be impeded. Despite the fact that shortly before 12:00pm Muñoz Ledo announced via twitter he would no longer visit the headquarters, groups of protestors remained outside the building until 1:00pm. Muñoz Ledo accused his opponent in the election, Mario Delgado, of organizing the feminist protest—which he described as a “violent assault.” Other Muñoz Ledo supporters, including Villavicencio, attributed the protest’s orchestration to Delgado.
Silence amidst assault allegations
While Muñoz Ledo has denied the numerous accusations of sexual assault that surfaced on social media in the last few weeks, Morena has yet to release a statement regarding the allegations. In a videoconference with Animal Político, Muñoz Ledo reiterated that the denunciations were “false” and questioned the credibility of his accusers, asking why many of the women who claimed to have suffered abuses years ago had still not filed formal complaints. Muñoz Ledo further defended himself, saying he was a “family man” who has always protected women, and thus the accusations were ill-founded and “stupid.” The aspiring Morena president also shared with Animal Político that individuals like Delgado are guilty of mismanaging Morena’s finances, and that he has already submitted a request to the Financial Intelligence Unit (Unidad de Inteligencia Financiera) to investigate Delgado for money laundering. Muñoz Ledo has also accused Delgado of aspiring to the Morena presidency to usurp AMLO’s power.
Morena’s interim president, Alfonso Ramírez Cuellar, took to Twitter the morning of the protest to encourage supporters and leaders to prioritize the party’s unity and institutionality above all else. In the Chamber of Deputies, female representatives affiliated with Delgado announced they would submit a formal complaint to the Comission of Honor and Justice (Comisión de Honor y Justicia) regarding the feminist occupation and allegations against Muñoz Ledo. Despite founding Morena and having used the headquarters as the home base for his 2018 presidential campaign, AMLO refused to release a statement on the demonstration or the conflict between Delgado and Muñoz Ledo. In a press conference on Monday, AMLO told the aspiring presidential candidates to come to an agreement, and justified his silence as abstention from partisan matters and due to other pressing obligations.
@PMunozLedo. “Hoy a las 12:00hrs iba a rendir protesta como presidente legítimo del partido. Sucede que fue tomada la sede del mismo en un asalto violento provocado por el candidato al que derroté. Demando el cese de hostilidades y la inversión multimillonaria en la vida del partido. (1/2).” Oct. 12, 2020, 9:13 AM CDT. Tweet.
@PMunozLedo. “Tomaré la Presidencia de Morena mañana 12 de Octubre a las 12:00hrs. Invito a la militancia a que me acompañe. Nos vemos en Chihuahua 216, Col. Roma Norte, Delegación Cuauhtémoc 06700, Ciudad de México. Confío en su solidaridad. Los espero.” Oct. 11, 2020, 1:27 pm CDT. Tweet.
@PMunozLedo. “Lorenzo Córdova, responsable de la democracia mexicana afirmó que la contienda interna está empatada por .5 décimas porcentuales, debiera saber que por un solo voto se gana. Supina ignorancia o mala fe. Se negó a reconocer mi victoria. Lo invito a que rectifique o que renuncie.” Oct. 10, 2020, 8:15 am CDT. Tweet.