Fans of Mexico’s Cuauhtemoc Blanco probably remember him best for his skills (and tantrums) on the field. His career spanned multiple decades, including runs with Liga MX’s Club América and Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire. Shortly after hanging up his cleats, in June of 2015, Blanco joined the world of politics when he was elected mayor of Cuernavca, Morelos, Mexico. His tenure as mayor, however, has been plagued by scandals, as ESPN reported: he faced impeachment during his second year, was charged with accepting dubious donations, and was accused of being paid to run for mayor. Blanco’s troubles have only gotten worse since then.
On April 6th, during the Cuernavaca Fair, local businessman 24-year-old Juan Manuel Garcia Bejarano was gunned down in the street.
Bejarano, an organizer of the festival, gave a brief interview a few minutes before he was shot in the street. Bejarano later died at the hospital due to injuries sustained, Paste Magazine reported. Authorities quickly arrested the alleged shooter, José Fierro Escobar, who they charged with Bejarano’s murder. What looked like a clear cut case quickly became murky. Escobar said two men hired him to kill Bejarano. Escobar named one of those two men: the mayor of Cuernavaca, Cuauhtémoc Blanco.
Since being accused of the murder, Blanco has gone on defense to protect his name.
— Cuauhtémoc Blanco (@CuauhtemocBco) April 18, 2017
Blanco rejected the allegations, saying that political enemies were out to get him, saying he would not “hide or flee from anything.” And he called the accusations an attempt at defamation. In a short video released to his personal Twitter account, Blanco doubled down on his claims of innocence.
As ESPN reported, the relationship between Mayor Blanco and Morelos state Governor Graco Ramirez has been contentious for a while.
A post shared by Graco Ramírez (@gracoramirez) on
As Yahoo! Sports reports, Blanco believes he is being framed by Ramirez (on the right), and that Ramirez is likely tied to the cartels. Blanco has also let it be known that he has his political aspirations pointed directly at Ramirez’s governorship.
In the aftermath of the shooting, Blanco spent much of the last few weeks in hiding.
— Aristegui Noticias (@AristeguiOnline) April 19, 2017
For the past week, Blanco carried out only the smallest duties of his office, choosing instead to remain hidden from the public. However, earlier this week, he released a statement, ESPN reported, saying, “Yes, I am afraid, afraid for my life, for my family but I am staying here. I am staying here. If anything, this [event] gives me strength to continue to fight the injustices because this is really an aberration and a sickness. Why did they do this? You all should be asking, why did they do this?”