Dare to Legalize

The following report was published in the daily Por Esto!, the third most widely read newspaper in Mexico, on May 22, 2000, and translated to English by The Narco News Bulletin.

This report wrapped up a five part series in Por Esto! based on the presentation at Columbia University Law School in New York City last march by its editor Mario Renato Menéndez Rodríguez.

The veteran Mexican journalist was invited to New York by Columbia Law School at the suggestion of the publisher of The Narco News Bulletin, who organized a one-week whirlwind tour by Menéndez and his family in which he met hundreds of key journalists, academics, activists and important intellectuals (yes, there are still a few in the Big Apple). To read the message of thanks by Mario Menéndez, one that names those New Yorkers who left a lasting impression on the veteran journalist, and that was published in Por Esto! along with this 12-page supplement, see the May 2000 Drug War Hero of the Month award.

As a result of this visit to New York, authorities in the US and Mexico now know that any harm to Mario Menéndez for his courageous journalistic work will bring the wrath of his hundreds of new friends and allies in the United States upon them.

The publisher of The Narco News Bulletin is proud to have brought Menéndez to New York, and, as he announced in Mérida, Yucatán in Spanish before hundreds of citizens -- including the presidents of the seven regional chambers of commerce, high Catholic and Protestant clergy, Mayan indigenous elders, union leaders, journalists, and representatives of every political party in Mexico -- during the 9th anniversary breakfast of Por Esto! on March 21, 2000, and later at a massive public assembly in the Mayan indigenous region of Tekax, "We, the working people of New York City, declare Mario Renato Menéndez Rodríguez our Distinguished Son of New York, and he has earned our affection, admiration and eternal protection."

United States citizens and other residents of the "developed" world may find the following report shocking both for its content and its courageous, bold, audacious, accusations and challenges to the most powerful forces in Mexico, including its President and Attorney General. The style of Authentic Journalism of Menéndez and Por Esto!, so openly taking the side of the Working People against the ursurpers of power and democracy, is jarring in its contrast to the bland, falsely "objective" and poorly-waged reporting on Mexico by most US media outlets. But Por Esto! does not speak in a vacuum: it has, in nine years of daily publication, won the hearts and minds of a majority of Yucatán citizens, who have made it already the top regional daily -- and the third most widely read newspaper in all of Mexico.

This is the Mexican reality, as imposed by US drug policy, as described and denounced by an Authentic Journalist.

Fifth of five parts

Published in Por Esto! on May 22, 2000

NEW YORK CITY, MAY 2000: "End the hypocrisy, the simulation and the cynicism and dare to confront the reality of drug trafficking truthfully. It is necessary to decriminalize, liberate and legalize the consumption of drugs. It is time for the federal government of the United States, the land with the greatest number of drug consumers in the world, to take responsibility for the free distribution of drugs to addicts and 'casual' users, organized by health centers in every county of the United States of America. At the same time, the US federal government will have to establish rehabilitation centers with the goal of creating a permanent educational process for prevention, a process that would begin in homes and expand to day care centers, primary, middle and high schools, universities, churches, synagogues, lodges and all types of organizations at the service of the community. It will be a process of material and spiritual integration, in continuous movement, without interruption or pause, oriented toward a better age of solidarity in human relations and backed by reason and law."

This was the proposal of Por Esto! editor Mario Renato Menéndez Rodríguez at the conclusion of his presentation on "The fight against drugs" in a conference at the Columbia University Law School in New York. And it was reiterated in the prestigious radio station WBAI 99.5 FM, in his interviews with university professors, in privileged, pro-democratic, New Yorker intellectual circles and in the journalistic media of the United States, particularly in the Babel of Iron.

The Yucateco journalist said that if the government of the United States would assume its historic responsibility in this process it would substantially reduce the ground available to this business of hundreds of millions of dollars annually. It would not only put a stop to the problems caused by addicts, but also return to the Latin American farm, especially, its fundamental mission: the production of food, thus guaranteeing the independence and sovereignty of nations.

There would no longer be any excuse to send military advisors and troops to Our América. It would put a stop to destabilizing pretexts in countries like México, Colombia, Ecuador, Perú, Bolívia and Venezuela. It would lessen the irrational violence in the United States. It would detain the racist and fascist offensives, and there would no longer by any coherent legal or constitutional justification for the construction of more prisons.

The editor of Por Esto! emphasized the challenge that today means daring to fight to be authentic, to be practical and to carry a mental attitude that brings us forward not only to end the integral business end of drug trafficking - he repeated, it amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars - but also to require the establishment of a new international economic order, the reorientation of industries currently stimulated by the movement of drugs; in finance, the military, agriculture and construction.


Join the fight that in practice is a unifying work for a revolution of conscience

"This means," said Mario Renato Menéndez Rodríguez to an attentive audience at the Henry and June Warren Hall at the New York house of higher education, "that at present, the fight for the health and dignity of humanity demands of us to do unifying work, without prejudices, a work of solidarity that transforms us and reestablishes us as human beings. It is a work that moves from the impulses of creative imagination and social sensibility. It brings us immense satisfaction to participate in the Revolution of Conscience to serve each other, to feel as our own the pain of each person, to participate in avoiding problems and being able to solve them. In sum, this work translates to the fine practice of plain dignity by the human being."


Change is Defined by the Respect for the Rights of the Other

"This also means," said the editor of Por Esto!, "a radical change in political relations, a change that is defined by respect for the rights of the other. Politics is the art of making possible that each person participates in the community according to his abilities, but also receives according to his needs. Simple and complicated, easy and difficult, that is the humanizing process.


The Path of Narco-Development in Mexico: An Alliance Between the Government, Bankers, Industrialists and Drug Traffickers

Mario Renato Menéndez Rodríguez, guest of the Columbia Law School, said before professors, students, university leaders, journalists, clergy, artists and former prisoners of conscience that the charges and analysis made by Por Esto! about drug trafficking, made systematically and naming names, together with documents, testimony, hard and irrefutable evidence, was iniciated in December 1996.

These conclusions were also reached by the International Drug Observatory, based in Paris, France, in 1998, which said among other points:

"The path of 'narco-development' taken by Mexico thanks to the alliances between governments, bankers, industry and drug traffickers has had the endorsement of Washington for more than 15 years (since the administrations of Mexican presidents Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado, Carlos Salinas de Gortari and Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León) to pave the way for the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)."


Nothing Stands in the Way of the Interests of the US

"Always ready to denounce corruption and violations of human rights in other parts of the world when its interests are in play, the government of the United States prefers to minimize them, and, in the case of its southern neighbor, to oppose their stimulation. In the past, in exchange for 'A Mexico free of Communism,' Washington could fix the blame calmly upon the corruption of the previous regime; its 'rediscovery' after the election of each new Mexican president...."

"Today, by means of its financial and military support of Zedillo's government, it is in the name of the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the control that NAFTA guarantees over its access, over a determined timeline, to the fertile petroleum reserves of Mexico, and that is why the US executive branch covers up the detours and errors that NAFTA generates in Mexico."


A High Price in Violence and Blood

"For the society and federal government of the United States, the price that will have to be paid threatens to be much more than in the past.

"First, in terms of the legitimacy of the neoliberal economic model that Washington tries to impose upon the world, that provokes, in its very essence, criminal activities and grave violence.

"Next, the growing integration of economies serves to legitimize, within the United States, interests linked to drug trafficking, that under this economic model are found consolidating themselves. A great number of Mexican holdings that are currently commercial partners of US firms, in the audiovisual media, transportation or telecommunications sectors, for example, have in many cases been privatized thanks to the embezzlement of public resources, influence trafficking, and drug money laundering during the 80s and 90s.

"The millions of North Americans that each year vacation in the tourist paradises of Mexico participate unknowingly in the legitimacy of multi-millionaire investments that Mexican drug traffickers have made for more than 15 years in the tourist sector. There are also strong probabilities that the great tourist development projects of the Mexican government, particularly in the Southeast of the country, will permit the recycling of more millions of narco-dollars.


The Narco-Economy Pollutes and Protects Organized Crime

"Finally, the North American financial sector seems particularly permeable to drug money and now, in an open process of restructuring, even moreso. Through the process of mergers and acquisitions, Citicorp is at the point of becoming the major financial group of the United States and one of the most important in the world, in spite of the role that has been proven that its principal institution, Citibank, has played in money laundering scandals, among them that Citibank is implicated in the case of Raúl Salinas de Gortari."

(Citibank, announced Por Esto!'s editor, not only received from President Ernesto Zedillo's government the bank named Confia, which has more than a few of its former Mexican executives in US prisons accused of money laundering, but also was the instution that promoted the boss of the Juárez Cartel, Amado Carrillo, a.k.a. "The Lord of the Skies," to the leadership of the government of Chile. And, in spite of proven evidence, the directors of Citibank are not touched "not even with the petal of a rose." Likewise, in Mexico the Attorney General of the Republic has not even bothered to bring the Salinas-backed neo-banker Roberto Hernández Ramírez in for questioning.)


Drug Trafficking Consolidates the Neoliberal Economic Model

In Mexico, according to the Geopolitical Drug Observatory, "in spite of the seizures and arrests, at times spectacular, the bilateral structures of the anti-drug fight - supported by massive publicity in the mass media by the governments of the US and Mexico - have proven to be incapable of reducing the intensity of drug trafficking between the two countries."

"Three fundamental reasons explain this failure:

"First, for Mexico and Washington, but not always for the same motives, consolidating the Free Trade Agreement and fighting against subversive movements are higher priorities than the fight against drugs.

"The second reason is directly related to the first: the interests linked to drug trafficking acquired considerable weight in the Mexican economic and political systems since the early 1980s. Its influence over the current government and, among others, the political party in charge, the PRI, is considerable. Everything indicates that after having facilitated the entrance of Mexico into the Free Trade Agreement, drug traffickers have participated actively in its consolidation. It fits to remember that Mexico serves as a grand axis in Washington's project for the Americas in the 21st century: the creation of a free trade zone based on the NAFTA model... The Summit of the Americas that occured in April 1998, in Santiago de Chile, confirmed the central place that NAFTA occupies in the grand 'hemispheric' strategy of Washington.


An Ineffective Fight Due to its Repressive Character

"Finally, the fight against drug trafficking is globally ineffective, because its nature continues being essentially repressive, and, as such, reactive. Police and military institutions are asked to make a circle square.

"These institutions have to stand alone to remedy the multiple perverse effects (disorder, political and financial corruption, criminality, drug trafficking, clandestine immigration, and guerrillas) that generate an agreement of Free Trade between two nations who are opposite in everything: first, in their levels of development; next, their judicial and political traditions. Aggravating factors include: the immense corruption of the Mexican security apparati and that fact that, for the United States, bilateral cooperation serves mainly to promote other strategic objectives by Washington for the Americas in the 21st century, such as the integration of the Mexican armed forces under the banner of a multilateral anti-drug force under US command."


Their Vision of Mexico: On Our Knees

How does the Geopolitical Drug Observatory view Mexico?

Let's see:

"Producer, manufacturer and transporter country of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.

"First provider to the United States market and grand receiver of drug trafficking capital, Mexico continues being one of the great world centers of narco-business.

"The capital generated by drug trafficking and other activities of organized crime constitute one of the pillars of the nation's economy and have considerable influence over its political life since the 1980s.

"Nonetheless, important events affected the development of Mexican drug trafficking in 1997 and early 1998. The "dismantling" of the Juárez Cartel - its old structures of money laundering in Mexico, the United States and Latin America - leaves, at present, the path open for the cartel of Tijuana and its political and military allies in the current federal government. In the army, the purges of protectors of the Juárez cartel continue.

"The 'anti-drug' fight, selective enough, also has to do with an important national political arena, heating up toward the presidential elections of 2000. Its victims, who all belong to the PRI, who without a doubt are not inoccent, yet their primary characteristics are their opposition to the current regime and the hostility they draw from Washington.


Politics as Business

To demonstrate that the government of the United States acts and always will act on behalf of its economic interests, that its political activity is dedicated to that; to understand better its complicity with drug trafficking, journalist Mario Renato Menéndez Rodríguez reminded that beyond the criminal relationship between the internationally powerful Citibank and "the inconvenient brother" Raúl Salinas de Gortari, the following examples, that were offered to Por Esto! readers in its February 14, 1999 edition, the day that President William Clinton came to Mérida, Yucatán:

-- The connection of Colonel Oliver North with drug trafficking, behind the backs of the US Congress, to finance armed activities and terrorism by the "contra" toward the Sandinista government of Nicaragua. The North American military official admitted this publicly and 'justified' it as a necessary response to a "national security" problem. Contrary to what might be imagined, the conduct of Colonel North was awarded and characterized as "heroic."

-- General Manuel Antonio Noriega, Panama's chief of state, collaborated with the CIA and President George Bush, and rewarded for his services, aware that the Panamanian military chief maintained connections with Colombian drug traffickers, mainly with Pablo Escobar Gaviria, boss of the Medellín cartel. Noriega permitted him to construct a giant laboratory for the processing of Colombian cocaine in the inhospitable jungle of Darién province.

-- For the government of the United States it was of special interest to know and control the commercial movements of the Colombian drug barons, as well as the Colombian and Peruvian guerrilla movements, without losing sight of the conflicts between Ecuadorian and Peruvian military, also stimulated by the US, among other conflicts.

-- Once the objective was achieved, the same President Bush ordered Noriega to destroy the laboratory of Pablo Escobar Gaviria in Darién, a fact that caused an increase in the price of cocaine in the international market, and that generated a confrontation between the Panamanian chief of state and the Colombian capo, and slowed the movements of the guerrillas.

-- Later came the criminal invasion by the United States of Panama, the capture and consequent trial of Noriega, in Miami, during which the multiple game of the Panamanian chief of state was revealed.

-- The conduct of today ex-president Bush was 'justified', also, as necessary for the interests of US 'security.'

-- In the 1970s, the US government authorized the government of Turkey to plant thousands of hectares of opium, to commercialize and control the drug, in exchange for authorizing the maintenance of US military bases on Turkish soil with nuclear missiles aimed at the territory of the former Soviet Union.

-- During World War II, the US government offered absolute immunity to the bosses of the "Cosa Nostra," first among them Lucky Luciano, with the condition that the organized crime networks in Europe would serve the forces allied against the German-Italian-Japanese axis.


Protected Witnesses: Judicial Degeneration Without Limit

The editor of Por Esto! explained that one of the perverse weapons that the US government uses to excersize publicity pressure over the three Mexican branches of government is the US "Witness Protection Program," that has become a vulgar commercial practice of buying and selling of police 'personalities' at the service of organized crime, with the complicity of the Mexican president.

The Yucatán journalist mentioned the cases of Guillermo González Calderoni and Oscar López Olivares, connected with the cartels of Juárez City and the Gulf of Mexico and now with "protected" residency in Texas, the state governed precisely by the son of ex-president George Bush.

Jorge Madrazo Cuéllar, the Attorney General whose servile stance and abjection knows no limit, knows who González Calderoni is: the ex-director of Air, Land and Sea Interception of the Attorney General of the Republic, and also the ex-first commander of the Federal Judicial Police in Juárez City, Monterrey and Tuxtla Gutiérrez, where just as in San Antonio Texas, he was the district representative of the Attorney General.

Guillermo González Calderoni, 52, native of Reynosa, Tamaulipas, began as an assistant district representative for the Attorney General in Jalisco and in Quintana Roo. From Cancún, he facilitated the operations of the Gulf Cartel, presided over by Juan García Abrego, and those of the Juárez Cartel, led by Amado Carrillo, "The Lord of the Skies," and he represented the interests of the Salinas de Gortari family.

Guillermo González Calderoni, "one of the most powerful commanders of the Federal Judicial Police," amassed a fortune that, according to the same Attorney General of the Republic, surpassed $400 million dollars.

The editor of Por Esto! asked the attentive audience in the William and June Warren building of Columbia University Law School:

"What police officer in the United States can amass such a fortune legally? What president of the United States has arrived at that amount? Bush? Clinton? Who in the United States could attain a fortune of billions of dollars as rapidly as the Salinas-backed neo-banker Roberto Hernández Ramírez achieved in five years?

"No one," was the editor's response.

Guillermo González Calderoni, chief of nothing more or less than the anti-narcotics division, worked for three Attorneys General: Sergio García Ramírez, Enrique Alvarez de Castillo and Ignacio Morales Lechuga, the Yucatán journalist informed.

And Jorge Madrazo Cuéllar, the present Attorney General, knows that González Calderoni has been located in the United States since 1993, because he has access to the reports of the DEA, the FBI, the CIA, the ATF, the White House anti-drug office and the US Attorney General. The testimony of González Calderoni as 'protected witness' was given in McAllen, Texas, and, there, US federal officials learned the who, where and when of "the combat against drug trafficking."

Jorge Madrazo Cuéllar was informed by the same people - it's worth saying, his true bosses in Washington - of who is Oscar López Olivares, a.k.a. "El Profe," native of Camargo, Tamaulipas, and what he declared as a "protected witness."

The today "Attorney of the Nation," as a member of the National Commission of Human Rights, read on August 5th, 1992, in The Brownsville Herald, and on February 28, 1993, in El Norte of Monterrey, the grave accusations of "El Profe," López Olivares:

"Drug trafficking in Mexico - and this must be understood - is a matter managed completely by the federal government."

Jorge Madrazo Cuéllar knows this and much more. His mission is to continue complying with a dog's loyalty the instructions from Washington.

The complicity is already too evident, punctualized the Yucateco journalist.


Psychologically Unstable Leaders in the 'Fight Against Drugs'

The editor of Por Esto! painted a dramatic and pathetic picture that would be difficult to understand in countries where there is respect for law and excersize of democracy.

Mario Renato Menéndez Rodríguez said that the Attorney General of the Republic and the National Information Center (CISEN, Mexico's domestic spy agency), are coordinated and directed from the Mexican presidency to defend and protect the economic interests of President Ernesto Zedillo. They, and a few remaining members of the neoliberal leadership, between whom figure with manifest priority Roberto Hernández Ramírez, move on the Yucatán peninsula and walk with recognized delinquents, psychologically unstable officials, opportunists and resentful politicians incapable of seeing "beyond their own noses." These are the groups that form the "Anti-Yucatán" band, the "Anti-Quintana Roo" band and the "Anti-Campeche" band, which is the same as being "Anti-México." With them, the Attorney General and its anti-drug office (the FEADS), and the CISEN, fix and stimulate connections not only that are interrelated, but more worrisome, interdependent.

This explains why, save for some very honorable exceptions, corruption and depravity are the constant qualities of these personalities whom, in front of the media, speak of morals, ethics, law and rights. But their daily activities are marked with insolence, abuse of power and cynicism. They orchestrate truly criminal acts against economic and political adversaries of the President of the Republic. They are also serving the United States empire. Because these officials of the Attorney General-FEADS-CISEN, said the Yucatán journalist, are just as much at the service of drug trafficking and are compensated amply with millionaire sums of money.

There, we can understand, said the Por Esto! editor, the hows and whys of complicit silence, lies and slanders, disinformation and manipulation of "news;" the "leaks" that characterize the theme of the trafficking of drugs.

And he added: "This demonstrates the hows and whys of the unequaled injustices of the "anti-drug" fight, its destruction of social and individual honor, its offenses and humiliations to society and its important sectors, a society that the federal executive branch negates as it tries to limit its capacity for historic memory."

"The confluence of terror with hatred and perversity," Mario Renato Menéndez Rodríguez reiterated, "is put into practice to try and distract the attention of national and international Public Opinion from the high-class delinquents, those 'white collar' criminals, the real responsible culprits in drug trafficking who are precisely those that order and direct that operations 'against' drug trafficking - the operatives of the Attorney General and of the FEADS."

The Por Esto! editor emphasized that what happens in the Mexican Republic and in the Yucatán Peninsula, in particular, is an affront to dignity that wounds and shames México, an attack on the spirit of the great Mexican men of the reform era.

The federal executive branch lies and corrupts, slanders and degrades: it is responsible for the decomposition of México, and for the accelerating disintegration of the Mexican Republic. It is the major accomplice of drug trafficking and the Working People know it.


Lies and Complicity of the Attorney General with Drug Traffickers

The Yucateco journalist explained in New York that there is no accusation made by Por Esto! about drug trafficking on the Yucatán Peninsula that is not backed by irrefutable proofs, testimonies, documents, photos and graphic material: the same goes for the mental and emotional instability of officials like the Mexican drug czar Mario Herrán Salvatti, head of the FEADS or Mexican drug czar, and Froylán Carlos Cruz López, general director of the Federal Judicial Police assigned to the Specialized Organized Crime Unit (UEDO in its Spanish acronym).

He cited extremely grave examples:

On Monday, January 25, 1999, Por Esto! demonstrated and denounced that:

1. The air interception base of the Attorney General in Chetumal, the capital of the state of Quintana Roo, acted in complicity with international drug traffickers in the landing of more than a ton of cocaine over the Altos de Sevilla-Sinaí highway, northeast of Chetumal.

2. Mariano Herrán Salvatti (the federal drug czar) in the Attorney General's office lied while reciting the press releases related with the facts connected with the movement of these drugs, beginning at noon, on Sunday, January 24, 1999.

3. If not for the professional and responsable uncovering of this information by Por Esto! reporters Ramiro Can Chi and José Angel Muñoz González in Quintana Roo, the truth of this repugnant story would never have been known.

The objective reality:

-- On Sunday, January 24, 1999, at mid-day, the radar system of the airports in Chetumal, Cancún and Tuxtla Gutiérrez detected airplanes, coming from Colombia, with a destination in the Caribbean.

-- The radio alert was received at 12:48 p.m. at the interception base of the federal drug czar's office in Chetumal.

-- But there was no immediate response logged on the part of the officials in charge at the interception airbase.

-- Witnesses from communities to the Northeast of Chetumal informed that "after mid-day" TWO airplanes landed on the Altos-de-Sevilla-Sinaí highway.

-- At 4:30 that afternoon of Sunday, January 24, 1999, the control tower of the Chetumal airport reported to the FEADS base the irregular flight of an airplane over the shores of the Caribbean.

-- AFTER five p.m., four members of the FEADS, without making reference to any special operation, boarded in Chetumal a CESSNA airplane and returned at 6:30 p.m. "without any news."

-- Precisely at the hour that the FEADS agents realized their "inspection" flight, members of the Public Security Police of Quintana Roo, fortunately, during their regular vigilance rounds, surprised various persons who were unloading sacks of cocaine from an airplane that landed on the highway, 80 kilometers north of Chetumal.

-- Already, by then, the second airplane had disappeared after its drug cargo was collected by an "unknown" helicopter, according to witnesses who spoke to Por Esto!

-- Elements of the 24th Military Region, under the leadership of General Javier del Real Magallanes, announced the landing of the cocaine, as did the members of the State public security police, in that highway, and together, initiated the prosecution of the individuals who brought the cocaine from the plane that stayed on the highway.

-- At about 8 p.m., the Army and the Public Security Police of the state of Quintana Roo, by themselves, arrested Ofelia Fonseca Nuñez, daughter of Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo, "Don Neto," the uncle of Amado Carrillo Fuentes, "The Lord of the Skies," who had been prisoner in the maximum security facility of Alomoloya de Juárez. They also arrested her husband, Manuel Padierna Sánchez, and the Colombian pilot Alberto Londoño.

-- In addition to the airplane, they confiscated 462 kilos of cocaine, five kilos of opium gum and an AK-47 rifle.

These were the facts that Por Esto! reported to the public.


What the Attorney General and FEADS 'Reported'

On Monday, January 25, 1999, the day after the events, the Attorney General of the Republic sent out a press release filled with lies in which he dared to confirm that at mid-day on Sunday, after "the flight of ONE illicit airplane from South America was discovered... IMMEDIATELY... operations to intercept it were launched."

The institution led by Jorge Madrazo Cuéllar, so skilled at gossip, intrigue, perversity and provocation, demonstrated once more its lack of responsibility, claiming that the operation was under the charge of the Attorney General (a claim that shined precisely for the agency's complicit absence from the interception effort). The National Defense Secretary, and the State police of Quintana Roo, were excluded from the announcement, which claimed that "immediately after the detection, the airplane was intercepted by helicopters and planes" of Madrazo's PGR.

The fact that the PGR denies, deforms and manipulates the information to try and hide its complicity, said Mario Renato Menéndez Rodríguez, does NOT mean that the truth was presented in all the newspapers, TV and radio media. Not at all: Por Esto! is accustomed to the closure of the official media. And it knows how to arrive at the truth by paths less imagined by the spiritually lacking.

On the night of Monday, January 25, 1999, Mariano Herrán Salvatti, the Mexican drug czar, repeated the entire press release of infamy emitted hours earlier by the Attorney General, but added recognition of the participation by the state police.

Still, the drug czar "enriched" his statements with more lies, infamies that offended the intelligence of the citizens in general.

There, without any show of shame, Mariano Herrán Salvatti invented a video clip of air maneuvers "for the location, detection, persecution and interception of the airplane."

The psychologically unstable imagination of the drug czar projected onto the video screen showed "a coordinating command center of the air operation," that, "also alerted the various agencies that participate in the 'Sealing of the Peninsula' plan to collaborate in taking action." And this permitted the weak mind of Mariano Herrán Salvatti to involve in the action "those planes and helicopters of the Secretary of Defense and the Attorney General."


In Whose Hands Is the National Security of Mexico?

Mario Renato Menéndez Rodríguez warned that in the hands of these individuals with serious mental instability and problems there is found an attack upon the National Security of Mexico.

He added: "It was the journalism of Por Esto! and nobody else who has the job of informing the public, that exposed the facts, the lies and the complicity of the Attorney General and the FEADS."

1. There were TWO, and not one, airplanes with drugs, as was admitted by the Federal Prosecutor José Luis Mateos González during his press conference on Tuesday, January 26, 1999.

2. The interception airbase of the FEADS, in the Chetumal airport terminal, did absolutely nothing to try and stop the landing and trafficking of the cocaine, in spite of the alert messages; to the contrary, it showed its complicity with drug trafficking.

3. They did not engage in any persecution of the plane, nor air interception.

4. There was no operating conscience, nor, much less, a strategic plan.

5. After a mere "slap on the wrist", the subdirector for the Attorney General in Chetumal, Jorge García Zavala, was transfered to Puebla.

What can be hoped for, then, when the federal executive complicity in drug trafficking is more than clear?


The Cancún Case

The Yucateco journalist recognized that the hatred toward Por Esto! by the traitors of Mexico was sharpened by what is known as the "Cancún Case," due to the following facts:

-- The unmasking of the criminal activities, connected with drug trafficking, and the criminal complaint filed by Por Esto! against Roberto Hernández Ramírez, chief stockholder and CEO of BANAMEX-ACCIVAL, who enjoyes a very close relationship with President Ernesto Zedillo.

-- The political, economic and military explanation given by Por Esto! of the arrest of Division General Jesús Gutiérrez Rebollo and the denouncing of the federal government's publicity offensive against him, that began a simulated fight against drug corruption. This, to try and detour and destroy the command structures of the Army where the last bastion of Revolutionary Nationalism are found in opposition to the neoliberal economic model. (Two months after having received the highest of praise, in the most superlative terms, of Presidents Clinton and Zedillo, Generals Barry McCaffrey and Enrique Cervantes Aguirre, Attorney General Janet Reno, the chiefs of the DEA, the FBI, and ATF, the Armed Forces and police agencies of Mexico; 60 days later, Division General Jesús Gutiérrez Rebollo, commander of three military regions with 47 years of passionate service to the Armed Forces, was then labeled "a traitor to his uniform, to the Army and to Mexico" by the man who most lacks dignity, honor and patriotism: Attorney General Jorge Madrazo Cuéllar.)

-- The consequent investigative reports by Por Esto! on the systematic attacks committed by the Attorney General and the FEADS against the most basic human rights: from kidnapping to torture, to the disappearance and death of individuals who, before being executed, were tricked with promises of liberty in exchange for signing "declarations" against personalities of wide social sectors - political, business, military and journalistic - involving them with drug trafficking. In particular, these abuses were waged against those who opposed, to small or large degree, the imposition of the neoliberal economic model by Washington upon Mexico.

Por Esto!'s reporting of the facts of the objectives of the "Cancún Case", directed by the dangerous, mentally disturbed and corrupt Froylán Carlos Cruz López, director of the Federal Judicial Police assigned to the drug czar's office, not only saved lives. It accomplished something more important: It avoided the destruction of the command of the Mexican army.

Fifteen generals were at the point of being publically accused of drug trafficking and organized crime, and the same kind of charges used against Division General Jesús Gutiérrez Rebollo were being prepared against them.

Froylán Carlos Cruz López was also caught trying to induce testimony against presidential candidate Francisco Labastida Ochoa. And behind this effort were found the most conspicious members of Labastida's own campaign staff. The continued silence over this theme is deafening.


Treason Against Mexico

In New York, Mario Renato Menéndez Rodríguez denounced at the Columbia Law School, on WBAI 99.5 FM radio, in diverse interviews and in his encounters with the democratic intellectuals of New York City, and among many journalists who he met there, something much more grave than complicity with drug trafficking.

The editor of Por Esto! accused the federal executive branch of treason against the nation.

The Yucateco journalist warned of the disintegration of the Nation, beginning precisely with a simulated war against drugs, that responds exclusively to the economic interests of Washington, and at whose service are found unpatriotic leaders protected by their Mexican "citizenship," dressed up as "democrats," whose sole obsession is the imposition of the savage and brutal neoliberal economic model, that will destroy the dignity, sovereignty and identity of Mexico.

Por Esto!, Mario Renato Menéndez Rodríguez demonstrated, does not hide its revolutionary nationalism; one that is inclusive, open to all ideas and creative currents, but conscious that the trunk and roots of the nation require a Mexico that is structurally solid.

"We are proud of our journalism that reflects the objective reality and with its practiced criteria of telling the truth. And we can confirm, without the sin of exaggeration, that our reporting on the war on drugs has helped save lives and avoid major tragedies," said the Por Esto! editor.

And he concluded his presentation in New York with the warning that there can be NO true fight against drug abuse until the first step is taken: the decriminalization, liberation and organized legalization of the consumption of drugs, to be able to move forward on the paths of rehabilitation and prevention.


To read more about the veteran journalist Mario Menéndez Rodríguez, see the May 2000 Drug War Hero of the Month award by the Narco News Bulletin: click here.