The Cinco de Mayo Charade

Its organizer sits in jail for raping his daughter. And the parade of his sympathizers marches on.

One young woman who works for a car service on 116th Street says that she and her family had dined with the Cáceres clan on several occasions. The daughter did not look afraid, and if she were being abused, the woman says, wouldn't she have seemed scared?

The young woman says the real proof of Cáceres's innocence is his good deeds. She cites an instance in which one of her distant relatives died, which stuck another family member with the cost of sending the body back to Mexico. Cáceres helped the relative cut through the Mexican consulate's red tape, she says, so he didn't have to pay a dime for shipping the body. "That proves he's not a bad person," she says.

Another young woman, who's employed at a pharmacy in the neighborhood, says she worked as a volunteer for Cáceres, coordinating a youth outreach program. "We spent a lot of time alone together in the basement, and he never tried to rape me," she says.

Courtesy Ismael Nunez
Cáceres and his son, Ivan, who has grown up to take over his foundation.
Cáceres and his son, Ivan, who has grown up to take over his foundation.

Despite the controversy and challenges, CECOMEX's leaders maintain that the organization is still legitimate and viable and will carry on its work.

And they insist that the Cinco de Mayo parade will go on as planned.

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