MEXICO & THE AMERICAS

Mexican mayor who said he stole 'a little' answers critics again

Mexican mayor raises skirt of dance partner at big bash and lands in hot water

From the you-can’t-make-this-up department:

Hilario Ramirez Villanueva came to many people's attention last June, when the then-retired mayor said, sure, he had stolen from the government treasury while in office, but only “poquito” -- a little bit.

A month later, he was elected again to the same post: mayor of the city of San Blas, a Pacific coastal town in the state of Nayarit.

Already, he is back in hot water. At a lavish birthday party he threw for himself in late February, Ramirez entertained thousands of guests with a famous band, 50,000 cases of beer and the barbecued meat of 50 head of cattle.

Then, while dancing with a young, dark-haired woman, the flamboyant mayor repeatedly lifted up her pink-printed dress to expose her (thankfully) undergarmented butt for full view of the crowd -- and video cameras.

Outrage was two-pronged: for the estimated $1 million spent on the party (where did the money come from?) and the affront to Ramirez’s female guests.

Colleagues demanded he resign. The National Women’s Institute expressed “profound indignation” and said that just because he is an elected official does not mean Ramirez can act “with clear expression of direct violence against women.” The National Commission for Human Rights also weighed in, “deploring” his behavior.

Ramirez was chagrined. He knew he had done something wrong. But he also knew exactly what to do about it.

He went on Milenio TV to explain and apologize. The money to pay for the party came mostly from friends and private donors; no government funds were used, he said.

“Layin has a lot of friends and receives many gifts,” Ramirez said, speaking of himself in the third person and using a local nickname, Layin.

The man who famously showed up at his first mayoral inauguration on a quarter-million-dollar black stallion said, also, that he was very sorry “as a man, as a person” for any disrespect he showed to the woman he manhandled at the birthday party and any other women.

For his appearance on Milenio, he wore a big white cowboy hat and a checked shirt unbuttoned to his sternum.

Step Two of his apology: He decided to throw another party for International Women’s Day this month, inviting hundreds of local women. What better way to express contrition? He spoke of the virtues of women and asked to be forgiven for any insensitivity he might have displayed in the past.

And just to show he meant it, he had a gift for all the women there: clothes irons.

For more news out of Mexico, Latin America, follow @TracyKWilkinson

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