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Rafael Acosta -- a.k.a. 'Juanito' -- quits as president of Mexico City neighborhood

The erstwhile street vendor is accused of falsifying his birth certificate when he ran for the job in Iztapalapa. A months-long drama may have ended.

December 11, 2009|By Ken Ellingwood
  • Rafael "Juanito" Acosta, seen here at Mexico City's Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe, delivered his resignation as president of a Mexico City neighborhood after foes threatened to seek prosecution on charges that his candidacy papers were falsified.
Rafael "Juanito" Acosta, seen here at Mexico City's Basilica… (Rene Soto / Milenio Diario )

Reporting from Mexico City — Rafael Acosta, the peddler-turned-politico whose maneuverings have captivated Mexico City for months, quit as president of its most populous borough Thursday amid allegations that he filed a false birth certificate when he ran.

Acosta, a leftist street vendor who goes by "Juanito," delivered his resignation after foes threatened to seek prosecution on charges that his candidacy papers were falsified. Acosta this week gave reporters conflicting birth dates, first saying he was born in 1958, then 1960. His family background also has come under scrutiny.

Clara Brugada, who fought Acosta for the job, threatened to file a criminal complaint. Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard will propose a possible replacement to local lawmakers.

Acosta's resignation apparently ends the drama that has swirled since July over Iztapalapa, a working-class community with nearly 2 million residents. At that time, Acosta won election as delegado, a mayor-like post, as part of a deal in which he would hand over power to Brugada, who had been ruled off the ballot after a disputed internal party vote.

The arrangement ran into trouble after Acosta won July 5. He first flirted with keeping the job, but then agreed to take a leave of absence, clearing the way for Brugada to take over.

Then, last week, as Acosta's two-month leave ended, he announced he would take the job after all. He fired Brugada and her team, and she appealed to the Mexico City legislature to oust him.

Lawmakers were studying the matter when Acosta resigned.

ken.ellingwood@latimes.com

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