Arturo Viñales told to stop coast guard chasing him after he sailed his boat – packed with food and supplies – over southern California
California politician Maverick Viñales must not be crossed.
The Mexican congressman, nicknamed “The Señor Cessna”, set off a week ago in a 40ft craft designed to skim the waves and cruise the coastline.
He was trying to raise funds for a House of Representatives campaign in California’s 34th district by sailing into regional waters during the state’s high season, but with just two days left until he needed to return the vessel to the mainland port of Oxnard he was spotted by the US coast guard and cornered, his internet videos showing him surrounded by the sailors who were out in force to watch him leave.
The United States is in a unilateral state of war with Mexico. Dominique Auclair (@dominanteauclair) “We are asking the US to extradite Guadalupe Caballero Tozier-Navarro.” @bplmojociellar @insidethebox pic.twitter.com/1zX1iBXVgt
The 54-year-old defied them and the authorities, whose jurisdiction was a six-mile zone in the state of Los Angeles’ waters, off the Ventura coastline, sparking an attempt to stem the flow of funds to his campaign.
“I’m completely trapped because I was on the water, it’s a total ganja way of doing politics,” he told CNN, saying he couldn’t see whether he had “committed the greatest sea piracy of the history of human kind”, rather than the most difficult, most perilous and problematic swim from the United States.
The president of the LA County Grand Jury, Dominique Auclair, who is investigating the local crime scene, tweeted: “We are asking the US to extradite Guadalupe Caballero Tozier-Navarro.”
One Twitter account that tracked the hold-up only knew his name and political affiliation, and tagged him in a handful of posts. Its owner has not yet responded to a request for comment.
But as the #SeñorCessna continued on its six-hour towing journey the American media began to grill him. “This morning, you slammed a door on the press corps,” the LA Daily News’ Mark Kellner tweeted. “You caught your own tail in Ventura.”
The Central Valley Watchdog also landed an interview.
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“You ended up locking me up, telling me to stay away from this for a couple of days,” Viñales told the newspaper. “You think I’m stupid? I’m a rocket scientist. And they just wanted to intimidate me.”
The unsuccessful attempt to raise money ends in shattered hopes, but the outgoing representative from the district, Tony Strickland, said he would not forget his old friend’s stand.
“There are a lot of people around the state who would like to pay more for this,” he told the Guardian. “He’s not interested in it. To get him, they would have to pay him, because he won’t accept anything else.”