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Hugo Chavez, drugs and Mexico's elections

By Raul Tortolero

Los Angeles, CA, USA. 17 April 2006 | What kind of propaganda does Comandante Hugo Chávez believe he is going to generate for his Bolivarian revolution by allowing huge shipments of drugs, on numerous occasions, to come out of Venezuela and enter Mexico as if nothing were happening? Furthermore, much as he would like to, he is not going to be of much help to Andrés Manuel López Obrador in his quest for the Mexican presidency.

Additional Information: The best that drug abuse treatment programs can do is continue treating drug addicts regardless of how the War on Drugs turns out.

What with Chávez displaying his ever-blooming zeal to become at all costs the undisputable leader of all Latin American leftist movements, I cannot understand how he intends to help the PRD candidate (López Obrador) by allowing obviously recognizable loads of cocaine, heroine —and arms— to be shipped to Mexico out of his realm, supposedly Bolivarian —but pragmatic and of little ethics— whether in presumed association with FARC or on his own.

It has not been only once, but many times, that drug shipments originating in Venezuela have been detected in our country. Some instances showed up in the press, others did not. The most recent incident took place last Tuesday, April 11th, when, at the Ciudad del Carmen airport, the Army seized 5.5 tons of cocaine from a DC-9 passenger aircraft coming in from Caracas. A very special passenger plane, as if to show its Bolivarian flair: it had no passengers. Only suitcases. However these were all quite full. How strange. A revolution which is as diligent as it is Chavista, and so punctilious, overlooking such serious events. A revolution, so philanthropic and so kind, that it helps elderly Mexicans with their eye problems, allows the entry of so much poison, so arrogantly, and precisely during a most delicate electoral moment in Mexico and when both governments are having so many problems.

The Secretariat of National Defense (SEDENA) officially reported that it involved the most noteworthy air shipment in recent years. The plane was trying to get to Toluca, a city near the Mexican capital. The drugs —valued at more than US$ 100 million— had been hidden in 128 suitcases, specified the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic.

Later news releases reported that the Deputy Prosecutor José Luis Santiago Vasconcelos had indicated that the other plane, a Falcon, displaying the Mexican flag (registration XB-IYK), was involved in the case. It supposedly left the Toluca international airport and was piloted by Fernando Poot Pérez, who arrived at the Campeche airport and assumed payment of the clearances necessary “for rendering emergency services for a DC-9 aircraft that was to arrive on Monday.” That landing pertained to the aircraft that had left Venezuela.

Another drug incident occurred the same day. The Federal Investigation Agency (AFI), at the Mexico City airport, apprehended Moisés Martín Castillo, an administrative employee of the Government of the Federal District, who arrived from Caracas with 3.9 kilos of heroine adhered to his body. INTERPOL reportedly had already advised Mexico of this, after having captured his brother Samuel Castillo, who was also carrying drugs.

For the national leader of the PAN party (of the right), Manuel Espino, these drug-connected incidents related to Venezuela and people belonging to the state's administration over which López Obrador presided until a few months ago, are, he said, a very clear sign that very serious things are happening. “Halfway through the campaign these incidents occur and they justify our asking the authorities to investigate, because it is very strange for a government official from the nation’s capital to now appear involved in accepting delivery of such a heavy load of cocaine originating from Venezuela’s Maiquetía airport and it seems very strange to us that an airplane loaded with those suitcases full of cocaine should leave from an airport so closely guarded by the Venezuelan government. He furthermore added, “I believe there is reason to justify continued concern for the link that may exist between the Venezuelan government and Andrés Manuel’s campaign and the financing of the PRD party’s candidate.”

When his own party’s press corps ask what is the matter with Mexican security, the blue-and-white protagonist [alluding to Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, presidential candidate of Vicente Fox’s party, the PAN,] responds, “the good news is we spotted the plane, it has been found, what is of concern is the reason why it was allowed to depart from the airport of origin.”

But this is not all. Last November 15, 2005, the main anti-drug prosecutor, as he would be known abroad, Noé Ramírez Mandujano, head of the Specialized Unit for the Investigation of Crimes against Health, assured everyone that almost all shipments intercepted at Mexican airports originated in Caracas. At the time Ramírez said that perhaps that was due to corrupt Venezuelan personnel at the airports, that could be the culprit. He put it in these terms: “There may in fact be disloyal employees, as can happen anywhere, who allow bags to go through without being inspected.”

The follow up to the arrival of the 5.5 tons of cocaine has, during the last few days, included investigations as to whether the Colombian FARC is involved in its shipment. “We are examining this and other investigative leads,” said, on his part, an official of the Mexican office of the deputy anti-narcotraffic prosecutor to the EFE press agency. The source, who requested anonymity, added that they are also investigating whether the Mexican pilots, Fernando Poot Pérez and Marco Antonio Pérez, arrested Monday during the same anti-drug operation, are employees of the National Water Commission of Mexico.

During the raid at Ciudad del Carmen, an arrest was made of Miguel Vázquez Guerra, a Venezuelan, identified by Mexican prosecutors as the copilot of the DC-9. The pilot, whose nationality was not specified, fled the Ciudad del Carmen airport.

In answer to this state of affairs, the only thing that the chargé d’affaires at the Embassy of Venezuela in Mexico, Néstor González Pacheco, has managed to say is that the Venezuelan government has no relations with Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s electoral campaign. He is not involved, or so he says, but as always, he finds it necessary to meddle where he does not belong, and he again interferes with the Mexican process by declaring with full impunity that Felipe Calderón, the candidate of the PAN [Vicente Fox’s party], is telling “desperate lies.”

Néstor González Pacheco’s words are the updated version of the small war being waged between the government of Mexico and that of Chávez. “There are no words that allow us to say that we have any ties to candidate López Obrador,” he said to the Mexican press. “There is no recording, photograph or conversation that would go in that direction,” affirmed González, top diplomatic representative from Caracas in Mexico after the recall of the ambassadors.

Recording, photograph or conversation? Of course that all that exists. And more. His words are sufficient proof of meddling, and they have been recorded. No one knows what business it is of a chargé d’affaires to be accusing a candidate of being a liar. I propose that Néstor González Pacheco be expelled from the country as well. Because what he does is a matter of abuse. He has no right to be making statements of a political nature here. Our government should not allow it in any way. While it may be normal for Chávez to interfere in other countries, it is not acceptable in Mexico. If Ollanta Humala [in Peru] accepts grants, let that be. But we are not the same. We are in no need of Chavista-Bolivarian aid, or of false revolutions that turn their leaders into millionaires at the expense of the exploitation of disenfranchised people without any resources, who in turn place their trust in these ambitious redeemers who use ideologies as opium.

Néstor González should leave the country. He is not supposed to be here doing what he is doing. As always, he wants to place himself in the eye of the Mexican electoral hurricane. And to this one has to add the Chavista insistence on wanting to perform eye surgery on 90 Mayan Indians, by taking them to Venezuela, all expenses paid. Well, the response of the Mexican government has been to operate on 21 of them thus far. Because all of them were scheduled to travel at the beginning of April, but the Chavista Bolivarian bureaucracy was unable to resolve the necessary red tape and the humanitarian aid, so disinterested, so devoid of propaganda, so clean and pure, did not come to fruition, as is the case with everything that Chávez promises.

Néstor González should leave. He has held the position left vacant by the hyperactive Chavista Vladimir Villegas, the former Venezuelan ambassador here. But at this rate, he has surpassed him with so many operations, so many problems. And I wish to say one thing, in farewell, to the chargé d’affaires: I do not know what affairs of state he should be minding, but from what we can see his main affair is adding noise to the Mexican elections and supporting Bolivarian groups, that, according to what he says, do not exist. Well, they do exist and furthermore, now, much in the style of López Obrador, they claim to be victims of a plot. Here is some evidence (summarized) found on a website. It is signed March 13, 2006 by the “Bolivarian Continental Coordinator, Mexico Chapter,” in a pronouncement that accuses several journalists, myself included among them, of having orchestrated an operation against them, starting last Tuesday, March 7 of the present year. Section two confirms it thusly:

“This campaign appears as a matter of record in various published articles a few months ago in newspapers and magazines of national circulation, signed by Raúl Tortolero, Raymundo Riva Palacio and Carlos Ramírez, persons known in México for lacking the most basic of journalistic ethics and for their ties to the most reactionary and mafioso-like sectors of society.”

If the Venezuelan embassy has nothing to do with this, I swear that it would be a miracle, but I am not so naïve. There also appear the signatures of the following Bolivarian agents: The “Libertador Simón Bolívar” Center for Documentation and Distribution, the “Libertador Simón Bolívar” Endowed Professorship of the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and links to other websites for the following organizations, from which can be inferred the obvious support, solidarity or friendship between these and the Continental Bolivarian Coordinating Office, Mexico Chapter: FARC-EP from Colombia, MRTA from Peru, and the Argentine Communist Party, among others. For all these reasons, Néstor González ought to leave. And the sooner, the better.

Translation by W.K.

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