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August 15, 2001

Narco News 2001

Exclusivo para Narco News...

Carlos Hank González

The End of an Era

By José Martínez M.

"A politician who becomes rich is a poor human being"

José Martínez M., a nationally syndicated columnist in Mexico, is author of The Professor's Teachings: Investigation of Carlos Hank González (1999, Oceano Books), and a regular contributor to The Narco News Bulletin.

He was born in the summer of 1927 and he died in the summer of 2001. His sign was Virgo. His name: Carlos Hank González, better known as "the Professor."

For more than a half-century he embodied the emblematic figure of the cacique, or political boss. He dreamed of being president, but that was not an obsession for him. Incomparably rich and powerful, Hank was a polemic celebrity, born in poverty and risen to the heights of power. He was a centaur of the PRI-system: half-politician, half-businessman. He was known for his celebrated phrase: "A politician who is poor is a poor politician."

He died a victim of cancer. In recent years his life was under specialized treatment by doctors in the United States.

No longer will there be any more fiestas to celebrate the Professor's birthday. Every August 28th his ranch named "Don Catarino," in Santiago Tianguistenco became a pilgrimage. A thousand, two thousand, three thousand guests attended in a throng to experience what Hank González offered to his friends.

Until before his death, he was considered a risk to national security by intelligence agencies in the United States. The analysts of the Geopolitical Drug Observatory - its seat in Paris - defined him as il capo di tutti capi. To the Costa Ricans, Hank was the godfather of narco-politics who had the luxury of sponsoring the campaign of the current president Miguel Angel Rodríguez.

Partially retired from politics since the end of 1994 when he ended his term as Agriculture Secretary in the government of Carlos Salinas de Gortari, Hank received the historic defeat of the PRI as a strike at his own heart. On the night of July 2, 2001, he was on the verge of punching the defeated candidate, Francisco Labastida Ochoa, who he insulted in front of a handful of collaborators.

Boss of the mythical Atlacomulco Group, Carlos Hank González will go down in history as part of the black legend of an authoritarian regime that remained in power for more than seven decades.

The word "Hank" as associated with power and money. The history of the Professor is one of a man with a potent magnetism that came from nothing and reached undeniable heights. He was the archetype of the Mexican politician who made a legend of his life. His greatest weapon: loyalty, in politics, friendship and religion. At work, efficiency was his dogma. In business, he was astute from start to finish. As an official, his appearance was suave, but the norm was an iron fist.

Creator of an empire that put governments in check with his fortune and political networks, Hank accumulated awards and distinctions, above all an immeasurable power that made him untouchable.

Hank was the grand symbol of the PRI who survived, for more than five decades, the intrigues, attacks and aggressions that characterized the concentric groups of the so-called PRI nomenclature.

Since his retirement in the twilight of his life, the Professor tried to play his last card in the dispute for the presidency in 2000 with Roberto Madrazo Pintado, a politician who emerged from the cellars of power under the protection of his godfather Carlos Hank González.

We now present, in an exclusive for Narco News, part of an investigation about the Professor's clan, signaled on multiple occasions by United States intelligence agencies of having connections with narco-trafficking.

In recent years, Carlos Hank González was the subject of fierce debates in the national and foreign press. He was at the center of narco-political scandal since 1993. The Mexican government, through the Secretary of Foreign Relations, demanded of the U.S. State Department proof of the accusations that shook political and diplomatic circles. But through his death, the government of Washington still has not denied nor confirmed that an official investigation exists.

In the spring of 1999, El Financiero and The Washington Post released a report of the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) that provoked a scandal between the Mexican and U.S. governments, after it revealed that the family of Carlos Hank "is so involved that it represents a significant criminal threat" for United States society.

Notwithstanding the reluctance of Washington to report about the intelligence operations that involved the Professor, the U.S. Customs Service, part of the Treasury Department, conducted an exhaustive undercover investigation named "Operation White Tiger." It recounted in detail the intelligence work on the connections of Hank with drug trafficking. We reproduce excerpts of it here in Spanish and will, in the coming weeks, make the original government documents, in English, available on The Narco News Bulletin.

Read the "Operation White Tiger" Documents in Spanish

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