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August 30, 2001

Ramírez Names Names of

Spies Against Narco News

Narco News 2001


Hernández's Fears

Dirty Work by PGR Commanders: "They

Physically Followed the Journalists"

By Carlos Ramírez

Indicador Político

From the daily El Financiero of Mexico City

and 24 other Mexican dailies

Translated by The Narco News Bulletin

Although he made the biggest deal in the world by selling Banamex to Citibank for $12.5 billion dollars, the banker Roberto Hernández Ramírez has a huge worry that doesn't allow him to enjoy life: Because of reports that signal that drugs are trafficked on his properties drugs, the all-powerful banker is afraid every time he has to go to the United States for business obligations. And he travels to the U.S. as little as possible.

This negative factor on his daily life has driven him to by-pass the legal limits. Data obtained by Indicador Político states that at least two commanders of the Federal Judicial Police, in the Attorney General's office, do espionage work for Banamex and the banker Hernandez against some journalists who have criticized the Banamex-Citibank deal, and that they have participated in the lawsuit by Hernández against the internet site for having insisted on repeating the revelations of the Yucatán daily Por Esto! about the drug shipments on the banker's properties. The work done by the commanders implies that they physically followed the journalists.

According to the report, commanders with the last names of Espinosa de Benito and Cárdenas, trusted aides of Genaro García Luna, director of the Federal Judicial Police, spied on the journalists. The relationship was established through Frederico Ponce Rojas, assistant attorney general of the Republic with Attorney General Ignacio Morales Lechuga during the presidential term of Carlos Salinas. Today, Ponce is the legal director of Banamex and a trusted aide of the banker Hernández for police matters. During his time in the Attorney General's office, Ponce developed relations with the Federal Judicial Police.

The banker Hernández wanted to cleanse his worries with the lawsuit against the journalists, but the lawsuit has failed in every way. He is losing the lawsuit against Narco News. He has brought the daily Por Esto! into court twice, and both times judges ruled in favor of that media.

The conflict was based on the revelation in Por Esto! of photographs of drugs that were found on the beaches of Punta Pájaros, property of the banker Hernández. The matter has caused unofficial investigations and disturbing conclusions. On July 26th of this year, the columnist Javier Ibarrola, with sources among the high ranks of the Army, and a specialist in National Security, revealed in his column, titled "Armed Forces," that the Defense Department was irritated by accusations against military officials for narco-trafficking. And he wrote a paragraph that shook the central offices of Banamex:

"Why do they only think in terms of military officials and not subpoena the powerful businessmen and bankers upon whose properties in Quintana Roo, according to military sources, grand shipments of cocaine have been found, as was the case with Punta Pájaros, property of Roberto Hernández, the powerful owner of Banamex?"

This information revealed that in there are investigation files in military archives that prove that the properties of Hernández were used for narco-trafficking.

In this sense, the banker Hernández is reluctant to travel to the United States, even though he has contracted a powerful North American law firm to bring the lawsuit. The lawsuit by Banamex against Narco News began with affirmations made in a U.S. university by Al Giordano, an influential journalist who covers Latin American affairs, and Mario Menéndez Rodríguez, editor of Por Esto!, about Hernández's narco-file. Days before the July hearing in New York court, the site had to stop publishing. After the banker's bad luck at the hearing, this Internet page reopened and continues to cover the issue of Mexican narco-finances.

The matter has also involved the large North American media, who have been criticized for hiding information from their readers. Last December, the prestigious columnist Cynthia Cotts published in her "Press Clips" column in the Village Voice, one of the most progressive newspapers in New York, the fact that Sam Dillon, New York Times correspondent in Mexico, had written about President Clinton's stay in Mérida, on the properties of Hernández, but had hidden - in spite of having had the facts in his possession - the accusations of Hernández's narco-trafficking. Dillon won the Pulitzer Prize for his texts about the narco in Mexico, but with many deficiencies and withholdings.

The statements by Cotts, whose column submits the mass media to critical observation, were severe regarding Dillon and the Times. She wrote in her column: "In Mexico, untouchables are people who are protected by the power they wield. Two of these individuals are Sam Dillon and Roberto Hernández." According to Por Esto!, Dillon spoke with the sister of the banker Hernández, "but did not have the time to speak with the fishermen" that knew about the drug shipments. "It's the silliest thing I've ever heard," said Dillon about the accusations against the Banamex owner, but already the Army's own investigations had detected "large shipments of cocaine" on the beaches of Hernández.

The revelations about the Hernández case have not ended. One of the motives that President Zedillo had to persecute the Quintana Roo Governor Mario Villanueva, currently prisoner in the La Palma de Almoloya penitentiary, was the governor's fight with Hernández. Zedillo protected Hernández against Villanueva - he brought Clinton to one of the banker's restored haciendas - and he was rewarded: Zedillo's house in the Pedregal neighborhood of Mexico City is titled in the name of Banamex. And there are indications that some of the revelations by Villanueva could damage Hernández even more.

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Authentic Journalism that Has All Kinds of "Followers"