¡Qué Madrazo!

By Lola

The man has an unfortunate name: Roberto Madrazo, politician, has a last name that’s slang for “hit”, “punch” or otherwise beat on someone. However, in the big scheme of things, it seems to be quite appropriate, as the erstwhile presidential candidate has not only received a “madrazo” (a humiliating defeat in last year’s elections) but has also dispensed them on the Mexican population, namely during his winning bid for governorship of Tabasco in 1994 (basically he cheated to the nth degree). As a member of the infamous PRI political party, he’s both lived up to his name and to the party’s reputation as a Fraud with a capital “F”. And he’s doing it all over again, this time in Berlin.

According to our friends at AP in Mexico City: “After a humiliating defeat in Mexico’s presidential election last year, Roberto Madrazo appeared to be back on top: He’d won the men’s age-55 category in the September 30 Berlin marathon with a surprising time of 2:41:12.

Ex-Mexican presidential candidate Roberto Madrazo, voting here in 2006, has a reputation for shady dealings.

But Madrazo couldn’t leave his reputation for shady dealings in the dust. Race officials said Monday they disqualified him for apparently taking a short cut — an electronic tracking chip indicates he skipped two checkpoints in the race and would have needed superhuman speed to achieve his win.

According to the chip, Madrazo took 21 minutes to cover nine miles — faster than any human can run. “Not even the world record holder can go that fast,” race director Mark Milde said.

In a photo taken as he crossed the finish line, Madrazo wears an ear-to-ear grin and pumps his arms in the air. But he also wore a Windbreaker, hat and long, skintight running pants — too much clothing, some said, for a person who had just run 26.2 miles in 60-degree weather.

Madrazo’s outfit caught the attention of the New York-based marathon photographer Victor Sailer, who alerted race organizers that they might have a cheater on their hands.

“It was so obvious to me, if you look at everyone else that’s in the picture, everyone’s wearing T-shirts and shorts, and the guy’s got a jacket on and a hat or whatever,” Sailer said. “I looked at it and was like, wait a second.”

The world record for 15 kilometers — the distance Madrazo covered in 21 minutes — is 41 minutes, 29 seconds, by Felix Limo of Kenya.

At a Mexico City taxi stand Monday, drivers Octavio Elizalde Cerrillo and Roberto Valle Rivera poked fun at Madrazo’s troubles. They, like other Mexicans their age, lived under decades of uninterrupted rule by Madrazo’s Institutional Revolutionary Party, which often resorted to fraud to win elections, leaving many deeply distrustful of politicians.

“If he’s a cheat at one thing, he’ll cheat at anything,” said Valle Rivera, 44.

“If you’re going to steal, you’ll steal here, in the United States, in Europe, everywhere in the world,” Elizalde Cerrillo, 41, added with a smile.

Madrazo’s reputation at home was already tarnished. In 1996, Mexico’s attorney general confirmed reports that he had spent tens of millions of dollars more than the legal campaign spending limit in his winning 1994 bid for the Tabasco state governorship.

While under investigation on those charges, Madrazo told police he was kidnapped for seven hours, beaten and threatened with death by unidentified assailants. Police couldn’t find evidence of any such abduction, and many saw it as a sympathy ploy.

During the 2006 presidential campaign, opponents plastered walls with posters reading, “Do you believe Madrazo? I don’t either!”

In June, Madrazo completed the San Diego marathon with a time of 3:44:06 — more than an hour slower than his time in Berlin, Mexican newspaper Reforma reported. Madrazo’s office did not return phone calls from The Associated Press.

Race director Milde noted that Madrazo may have intended to drop out and taken a shortcut to reach the start-finish area.

“I don’t know if it was his intention or accidental: I try to believe in the good of people,” Milde said. But the fact that Madrazo appears to be celebrating in the photograph could go against this theory, he added.

Some 32,500 people finished the race, and about 40 are disqualified every year, Milde said.”

I’m sorry, but I’m LMAO. What an ass.