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The Narco News Bulletin

"The Name of Our Country is América"

-- Simón Bolívar

Today's Press Briefing

October 16, 2000


International Press Coverage of Events in Latin America Can't Get Anything Right

False Reports of the Demise of "Plan Colombia" are Planted by Gore Campaign: LA Times, NY Times as Rumor Mongers

Bolivia Crisis Has Only a Temporary Fix; Will Re-explode by Years End

PRI "Wins" in Tabasco, Mexico, by One Percent? (Fox and US Collaborate in Covering Up Election Fraud)

Meet Vicente Fox's "Corruption Czar" -- He's an Expert on Soliciting Narco-Bribes, reports El Paso Times

Cynicism and simulation continue to be the watchwords for US press coverage of events in Our América.

A nationwide revolt in Bolivia that paralyzed the country for 30 days is declared "over" by the international news media. In fact, the negotiated "solution" brings new problems and all the social movements who signed the pact say openly that they don't expect the Bolivian government to comply. The next wave of protests and blockades could begin as early as November; the deadline set by the US Embassy for "zero coca" plants in the country.

Where are these rumors coming from? The LA Times and then the NY Times obediently printed this weekend that "Plan Colombia" may be cancelled after the November US elections. But US officials have already signed contracts with the Colombian government committing the $1.3 billion military invasion package through next year: thus freezing the US Congress from stopping the plan.

Mexican national TV networks declared the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) as the winner of yesterday's state elections in Tabasco as soon as the polls closed. By nine a.m. this morning, the actual vote tally showed 44.13 percent for the PRI and 43.13 percent for the left-wing PRD (Democratic Revolution Party). Widespread acts of election fraud, ballot stuffing and the discovery of a clandestine election computer lab in Tabasco are just a few of the factors that make clear: The PRD won the popular vote, but like in Guerrero 1999, election fraud is still tolerated in Mexico when waged against the Left. President-elect Vicente Fox, of the PAN (National Action Party), threw his muscle behind the PRI. The US Embassy smiled: To them, the Mexican Left must be stopped at all costs, including through the robbing of elections, democracy be damned.

Meanwhile, the El Paso Times broke courageously from the imposed party-line of US press coverage of Vicente Fox. It reported on Sunday that Fox's "anti-corruption czar", former Chihuahua governor Francisco Barrios, has been on the narco payroll for years.

Here are the details of these stories, that Narco News will continue to track as they develop.

Requiem for "Plan Colombia"?

The recent report by the US General Accounting Office on the many failures of Plan Colombia whizzed by the Clinton-Gore administration like a surface to air missile buzzing the tail of a Black Hawk helicopter.

The GAO report shook the administration because it told the truth: the Plan has become a United States colonial project, rejected even by the European Union, as Narco News explained on multiple times last July, August and September.

The GAO report is available on the Internet, but many of its findings, in fact, have been available here for months on Narco News.

Portugal was the first nation to put the US in check when, last July, all the left wing and green parties united to decriminalize drugs in that nation. We pointed out that this was the first European response to "Plan Colombia" and struck at the heart of US policy because it called into question the root cause of the bloodshed in Colombia: drug prohibition.

In August, Narco News published a translation of a story in the influential French daily Le Monde that revealed -- at a time when US and Colombian officials still insisted that Europe would be part of Plan Colombia -- that European nations were backing away and, indeed, opposing the military plan.

By September, when, as reported here, European opposition to Plan Colombia had even peeled Argentina's government of Fernando De la Rua off of its commitments to US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, thus opening the way for the Brasilia Summit of South American Presidents to oppose the military intervention portion (80%) of Plan Colombia.

When, in September, even Great Britain, traditionally slavish to US policy, backed away and opposed Plan Colombia, the writing was on the wall.

And as exiled Colombian journalist Alfredo Molano told Narco News last July, in Barcelona, European opposition is very important "because it isolates the United States."

When The Narco News Bulletin reported each of these facts, many chose to ignore them. This is situation normal for us. But we kept plowing forward with our commitment to get the true facts to the public. Then, last week, the US General Accounting Office -- the independent investigative agency of Congress -- issued a report that confirmed everything our readers have known for months.

This created a serious crisis for both the Clinton-Gore administration and the press corps that has consistently offered false and misleading information about Plan Colombia to US readers. It also vindicated the news source that will continue to push the official media into better coverage simply by telling the truth: The Narco News Bulletin.

And so, suddenly, the LA Times reported last Friday that Plan Colombia could be cancelled after the US elections in November. The NY Times followed suit the next day, publishing the same story. They both mentioned the GAO report and cited longtime Plan Colombia architects like Michael Shifter of the Council of Foreign Relations and its Inter-American Dialogue subsidiary organization, allowing these hypocritical and complicit interest groups to spread the rumor that the Plan is in trouble.

Yes, the Plan is in trouble, but not in Washington nor on Wall Street, where it remains a vital strategy to intervene in Latin America. Heinz Dieterich Steffan, in his recent essay translated and published on Narco News, pointed out that "Plan Colombia" has alterior motives that have nothing to do with fighting drugs: first and foremost, putting the breaks on Bolívar's dream of a united América against colonial aggression. A dream that today is more possible than ever: "The Name of Our Country is América!"

Plan Colombia, however, is not going away. They may change its name or boost some social funding aspects, but its bottom line -- stopping the social movements of Latin América -- will continue to be fought at the barrel of a gun. And Washington is now moving to give more money, more arms, more control over drug trafficking, to the violent paramilitary death squads of top narco Carlos Castaño to do Plan Colombia's dirty work.

So revealing of the dark agendas of Washington and Wall Street, is this truth that many who chose not to believe our earlier stories will prefer not to believe what we say here: the rumors of Plan Colombia's demise are no more than an election strategy by the White House, the campaign of Vice President Al Gore (D-Occidental Petroleum) and their stable of reliable "journalistic" mouthpieces.

Why does the Gore campaign wish to spread this rumor today? Narco News has learned the answer to that question: Gore's strategists have picked up in their private polling data that opposition to Plan Colombia and the US drug war in Latin America are driving many "Gore voters" to the independent campaigns of Ralph Nader and Libertarian candidate Harry Browne, or simply motivating them to stay home and not vote at all. And in key electoral college states, the Nader vote in particular threatens to derail a Gore victory.

They want everyone to calm down, to stop worrying about "the Next Vietnam" or "the New El Salvador" underway in the Amazon jungle. They want to imply that a Democratic administration would somehow be less hawkish, less militarizing in América, than the Republicans might be. They implied the same with Iraq in 1992; but every time Clinton's personal escapades caused him a dip in the polls, the bombs fell on the Middle East again and again and again. In the next four years, the bombs will start falling in América. But it's all public relations: a cynical act of simulation not backed by policy nor their real intentions.

Don't believe the hype. Keep the pressure on. The prohibitionist empire is on the defensive over its disaster in Colombia and all América, stumbling, off balance, but not yet defeated.

Today's reports in Narco News will be greeted in some quarters as cynically as our previous reports -- cited above -- were greeted at the times we published them. And yet each one of those stories has now been confirmed by the US General Accounting Office and grudgingly reported by the LA Times and the NY Times, among others.

Our better track record on reporting the facts of the drug war in Latin America is based on one factor only: our commitment to report and analyze the truth. It's no formula nor secret recipe, but rather an old-fashioned commitment to Authentic Journalism in an age of cynicism and simulation by what passes as "the press" today.

The same forces of simulation will choose to ignore our reports today: that the Bolivia crisis is not over and will deepen within months; that Mexico's president-elect Vicente Fox is a party to yesterday's electoral fraud in Tabasco; that his new "anti-corruption czar" is a master at corruption and yet endorsed by the US Embassy, which likes its Mexican law enforcement officials to be corrupt enough to be blackmailed.

The root problem of all of these scandals does not lie with officials in Mexico, Bolivia, Colombia or elsewhere. The fuel on all these fires is the US-imposed prohibition on drugs.

We will keep the pressure on, with the weight of the facts on our side, until the hypocritical drug war is defeated in Our América.

From somewhere in a country called América,

Al Giordano


The Narco News Bulletin

Press Briefing on Bolivia

October 16, 2000

Bulletin From the Andean Information Network:

Coca Producers and Bolivian Government Sign Agreement

The Military Retreats and the Blockades are Lifted

At Midnight October 14th, the government and the coca growers signed an agreement to lift the blockades and pull the military forces out of Chapare. The 18 points in the agreement provided an exit for the crisis that has lasted a month in Bolivia and more time in Chapare.

There is still uncertainty among the people of the Tropic, who don't know if the 18 points of the agreement will be complied with by the government. It's that in the conflicts between the coca growers and government in recent years, the agreements were almost never kept....

It's important that we ask the international community to monitor that these agreements are kept and that human rights are respected...

Kathryn Ledebur
Raul Olivera P.

Red Andina de Información

For more information:

From the daily Los Tiempos, Cochabamba, Bolivia

Monday, October 16, 2000:

Evo Doubts Compliance with Goal of "Zero Coca" by November

La Paz / Los Tiempos.- Now resting in his house in the city of Cochabamba, after traveling by the unblockaded highway, the leader of Chapare, Evo Morales, placed the government plan of "zero coca" by November in doubt and says he doesn't take seriously the government warning to imrpison peasants who replant their crops.

Just as he said before signing the agreements, Morales still campaigns for permission to plant a cato of coca per family, predicting that the Tropic of Cochabamba will live below permanent violence and that the United States is pulling the political and strategic strings to take definitive military posession of the region.

From Interview with Evo Morales:

Los Tiempos (LT): The government announced that the peasants who plant new coca, protected by Law 1008, will be put on trial and eventually in prison.

Evo Morales (EM): The government officials should be the ones in prison for not obeying Law 1008. According to the law, the coca should have been eliminated by 1996, but the government has not paid the required compensation to individuals for not growing it.

The law not only speaks of just compensation and insurance -- which the government has never complied with -- but it is applied by forced eradication without paying the damages required by the law.

The government is the first to not comply with the law and yet it threatens to place the peasants in jail...

LT: In a press statement, you said that the United States want to put itself in charge of Chapare. What is the basis for that statement?

EM: The US manages Chapare politically, militarily and through the police. On the theme of coca, a congressman, a minister, a governor who were consulted agreed to allow one cato of coca per family, but the United States said no.

The policies of alternative development are managed by USAID and the governor and other authorities in Bolivia are not in charge.

To fly in this region, helicopters need to seek permission from the US. In the airport of Chimoré during the blockade, civil airplanes were not allowed to enter. Before they were not permitted without the permission of the US and everything passes for the US Embassy.

But behind all these things is, for example, that the multinational oil companies of the US seek military domination of the Chapare region and the three military bases that they were going to put there to convert into a US military base.

According to its geopolitical strategies, after the US withdrew from the Panamá Canal, they had three regions targetted for military bases: Manta, Ecuador; Guabayaré, Colombia and Chapare, Bolivia....

El Mallku Proposes an Alliance between Coca Growers and other Peasant Farmers

La Paz / ANF.- The executive secretary of peasant farmers of Bolivia, Felipe Quispe, proposed a united front between the organization of farm workers (CSUTBC) and the six federations of coca producers in Cochabamba to strengthen a movement whose final objective will be the defense of coca leaf in this country...

"All this is simply for a cato of coca," affirmed Quispe, saying that the theme of coca eradication in Chapare can be "fought on future ocassions because if we unite we can win."

"At this moment, Evo Morales has to do what we did last April, when we took a step back. In October, we will advance," said El Mallku.

Today's Briefing on Mexico

October 16, 2000

Election Stolen in Narco-State of Tabasco

Vicente Fox, US Embassy, Accomplices

Left Wing PRD Won Sunday's Vote: Official Tally Says it Lost to PRI "by One Percent"

Mexico's president-elect Vicente Fox, who takes office on December 1st, and widely hailed in the US media as an "opposition leader" to the 71-year rule of the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party), showed his true colors this week; the green, white and colorado of the PRI.

First, Fox's PAN (National Action Party) broke its agreement to unify the opposition in Tabasco's October 15 gubernatorial election if it had lagged in the polls, in order to defeat the PRI regime of governor Roberto Madrazo. In fact, by last week it was clear that Fox's PAN did not have a chance, and was far behind the PRI and the left wing PRD (Democratic Revolution Party) in all polls, with the PRD surging. The PAN reneged on its publicly stated agreement because Fox had made a deal with Madrazo to deny victory to the Mexican Left, which, despite constant NY Times references to its electoral death, won the popular vote in Tabasco yesterday.

Official results as of 9 a.m. this morning had the PRI with 44.13% and the PRD with 43.13% -- a difference of exactly one percent. Fox's PAN trailed far behind with less than 10 percent and other small parties with even less.

What happened in Tabasco was a textbook case of election fraud -- the kind that the US media has repeatedly claimed no longer exists in Mexico: ballot stuffing, stealing and purchasing of voter credentials, vote buying, disappearance of known opposition voters from the voting lists, and this time with no serious international observer effort by the US Embassy or international non governmental organizations as was at least simulated in the July 2nd national elections won by Fox.

A PRI "victory" in Tabasco does two things for Fox: It guarantees that outgoing Tabasco governor Roberto Madrazo will now take the helm of the national PRI organization. Madrazo is part of the faction of ex-president Carlos Salinas de Gortari and Fox signaled that he wants Madrazo in the opposition seat because he can be negotiated with easily. Indeed, the Tabasco results were negotiated between Fox and Madrazo before a single vote was cast in Sunday's election.

To offer a quick and clear evidence of why the "one percent" victory of the PRI in Tabasco yesterday is as hollow and fraudulent as the "one percent" victory of the PRI in the state of Guerrero in 1999, Narco News publishes a translated excerpt of the story by Jaime Avilés in Sunday's La Jornada. It is the eyewitness account of Saturday's discovery of a clandestine computer operations center by the PRI, its vote-tampering technology, and the presence of thousands of blank ballots for stuffing the ballot boxes.

From the daily La Jornada, Mexico City

Sunday, October 15, 2000:

PRD Leaders Shot At In Headquarters of Cyber-Voterobbers

By Jaime Avilés

"Imbecile, you want to make me deaf?" shouted Carlos Imaz when the pistol shot five centimeters from his ear.

"If you are going to shoot, shoot at my body you animal," Armando Quintero then shouted, while a third bullet whizzed by his feet. With a 9 mm pistol in his right hand, Manuel Zendejas Carmona, computer systems advisor for the state of Tabasco, stopped shooting, surprised by the bold response of those in group of Congressmen, national and state PRD leaders who tried to enter the headquarters of the cibernetic vote-stealers of Roberto Madrazo.

In other words, today at 11 a.m., the major leagues of the PRD and dozens of reporters from all media outlets arrived at the offices of the company in Villahermosa, Tabasco, where they found a parabolic antenna, a complex computer system, boxes full of indelible ink (exclusive property of the government, used on the thumbs of voters to assure they don't vote twice), a complete copy of the voters list of the entire state, mountains of official election documents, ballot boxes, ballots and other materials used in the electoral process, a Powermate ProGem 2000 electric generator, two closed-circuit cameras, and two autos of the treasurer of the state of Tabasco, apparently stolen, because their license plates did not match the numbers on the windshield.

But we return to the beginning: When the "racoon hunters" (a popular term anti-fraud activists) broke into the first floor of the building at 136 Carmen Buendía Street in Villahermosa, the PRI official Zendejas -- a tall and big man with white hair and starched shirt -- exited to confront the visitors and tried to push them back, while he shouted to the high heavens: "Close Everything! Close Everything!"...

He soon asked for a pistol from a security guard. The guard entered and gave him the weapon. Zendejas loaded the cartridges and aimed the gun at federal Senator Jesús Ortega....

...And that's when two news photographers entered. had been used as a "mirror site" for the computers of the state election institute... and although Zendejas shot a weapon that legally may only be used by the Armed Forces, and that he attacked a group of federal legislators, the state prosecutor did not arrest him nor conduct a Harrison Test of whether he fired the gun, nor seal the building to conduct the proper negotiations. Nothing, they simply left it alone because in Tabasco there is no law nor anyone to enforce it... This is Tabasco 2000, only a few hours before the election.

Fox's "Anti-Corruption Czar"

From the daily El Paso Times, El Paso, Texas

Sunday, October 15, 2000


By Diana Washington Valdez

A professional jeweler who later was killed alleged that ex-
Chihuahua Gov. Francisco Barrio Terrazas of the National Action
Party received payoffs from the former leader of the Juarez drug
cartel, according to a Mexican arrest warrant.

Luis Reza, a member of Barrio's staff in Mexico City, said Barrio
was unavailable for comment.

Barrio, who still maintains a house in Juarez, was governor from
1993 to 1998.

Mexican President-elect Vicente Fox is considering him for a
possible Cabinet-level post that will crack down on corruption.

Barrio was the first Panista to be elected Chihuahua governor.

In the arrest warrant, Tomas Colsa McGregor told Mexican
attorney general officials in a sworn statement on March 25, 1997,
that "besides being told by people in the center of drug-trafficking,
Amado Carrillo Fuentes, who has relations with and who is given
protection by the governors of Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Campeche,
Sonora and Chihuahua. ...

"Amado told him (Colsa) that this last Panista governor of the last
name of Barrios (sic), had abused by asking Amado Carrillo for
large quantities of money, which had (Carrillo) bothered because
(Chihuahua's governor) was always asking him for money."

In a prepared statement, Fox's press secretary, Martha Sahagun,
said, "Mr. Barrio is a person of untouchable honorability." She said
that Barrio's career path is well known and that he and all of Fox's
top advisers were honorable people. Sahagun did not comment on
the specific allegations.

The arrest warrant did not contain further details about the
allegations against Barrio.

The warrant is related to Mexican drug cartels and is known as the
maxi proceso because it is more than 2,000 pages and involves
many suspects. It was sent by the Mexican government to the U.S.
district court of El Paso for an extradition proceeding.

Ricardo Gonzalez Baños, assistant to Jose Larrieta, who's in
charge of the Mexican attorney general's drug investigations, said
Larrieta could not comment on the allegations against Barrio.

Carlos Becerril, spokesman for the Mexican attorney general's
office in Mexico City, said that except for Quintana Roo's ex-
governor, none of the other former governors mentioned in the
arrest warrant, including Barrio, face federal charges.

Mexican authorities said the arrest warrant represents an open
investigation, and that is why the allegations against Barrio remain
in the document.

Barrio is now on a national panel that advises Fox on anti-
corruption policies. Another panel member is Federico Reyes-
Heroles, brother of Mexico's ambassador to the United States,
Jesus Reyes-Heroles.

Nongovernmental organizations criticized Barrio's administration,
which they said failed to curb unprecedented violence in Juarez,
including hundreds of "narco executions," more than 200
disappearances and the deaths of nearly 200 women.

Barrio also was elected Juarez mayor in 1983, some believe on the
strength of his reputation for honesty. Before he was elected
mayor, he fought against electoral fraud.

In 1998, he was presented the keys to the city of El Paso and the
Paso Del Norte Award.

Cartel Insiders Slain

Colsa's statement is part of a 2,433-page Mexican indictment dated
Feb. 19, 1999, issued by the criminal district judge of the federal
district in Mexico City. It cites as its basis a preliminary investigation
by the federal attorney general (PGR/UEDO No. 157/98), which
includes Colsa's statement.

Authorities said Colsa, a fine-jewelry expert with a Ph.D., was
kidnapped, tortured and killed July 5, 1997, in Mexico City. His death
came the day after Amado Carrillo died following plastic surgery,
also in Mexico City.

Irma Lizzette Ibarra, a former Miss Jalisco and the cartel's "public
relations" manager, is also mentioned in the arrest warrant as a
suspected cartel member. She was murdered in 1997.

Jose A. Andrade Bojorges, Amado Carrillo's lawyer, included an
excerpt of the arrest warrant with the allegations about Barrio and
others in his 1999 book, "The Secret History of Drug Trafficking."

Andrade was reported missing in May 1999, said Socorro
Martinez, a spokeswoman for publisher Oceano. She said
Andrade's family feared he was kidnapped and killed.

Corruption Allegations

The arrest warrant links Mexican Gen. Jesus Gutierrez Rebollo to
Carrillo. Gutierrez, Mexico's ex-drug czar, was convicted in 1997
of helping the Juarez drug cartel.

The arrest warrant alleges that Carrillo provided Gutierrez money,
vehicles, a cell phone, and an apartment for the general's alleged

Other witnesses besides Colsa told authorities that the cartel gave
money and other goods to Mexican federal police, Mexican federal
highway police and other Mexican army soldiers to protect drug

The arrest warrant alleged that Carrillo's people gave officials with
the federal attorney generals' office throughout Mexico up to
$50,000 each as protection money. Payoffs to certain people were
$500,000 or more.

According to the arrest warrant, the cartel arranged to have
sympathetic police commanders appointed in key cities like Juarez.
The Juarez commander Carrillo had in mind was not identified in the

Becerril said that Attorney General Jorge Madrazo is aware of
corruption allegations against Mexican federal security forces and
that his staff has worked hard to address the problem.

Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, Amado's brother and alleged new leader
of the Juarez drug cartel, and Eduardo Gonzalez Quirarte,
Amado's alleged right-hand man, are mentioned in the arrest

Two years ago, U.S. federal officials seized Gonzalez's house and
truck center in East El Paso and houses belonging to him in Clint
and San Elizario. Gonzalez is wanted by U.S. and Mexican
authorities on charges of drug smuggling.

Last month, U.S. officials indicted Vicente Carrillo on charges that
he allegedly ordered the murders of 10 people in Juarez, including
four El Pasoans.

Voluminous Document

Although many people know of the arrest warrant through news
media accounts, few outside law enforcement and defense
lawyers have seen it.

The document was entered into evidence during Lucio Cano's
extradition hearing Sept. 21 in El Paso's federal court.

Mexican authorities accused Cano, a Juarez lawyer who lives in El
Paso, of drug-trafficking and money laundering. He denied the

Although Cano is mentioned in the arrest warrant, no one accused
him of specific wrongdoing. U.S. District Judge Richard Mesa ruled
there was no proof to substantiate extradition and ordered Cano

The Mexican attorney general's office sent the maxi proceso and
other documents to El Paso federal prosecutors first through the
U.S. Embassy in Mexico City and then through the State
Department in Washington, D.C.

Cano's Mexican lawyer, Patricio O'Farrill, said "there are several
versions of the maxi proceso."

The 28-pound bundle required special handling. It was strapped
together with a red ribbon that was not to be untied and had an
official seal that was not to be broken.

The El Paso federal courthouse staff was instructed to return it to
the State Department after Cano's release.

Other allegations in the arrest warrant were that Amado Carrillo
had a crush on Mexican pop star Gloria Trevi, a Chihuahua native
accused of corrupting minors. Trevi, who has denied the
allegations, is in a Brazilian jail awaiting extradition to Mexico.

The document also said that Carrillo brought his terminally ill father
to El Paso for treatment, and that his father died in El Paso.

It said that the drug lord had ties to a Juarez hospital, and that he
was a neighbor of other drug kingpins in Juarez, who also died in
the power struggle to control the cartel.

It also said the cartel kept several accounts in El Paso banks.

More Reports As They Come In

Recent Press Briefings

Blow-by-Blow Coverage of Bolivia Revolt (October 5-11 Briefings)

Generals Don't Want to Fight Bolivian People (Tuesday-Wednesday Briefings)

Zero Hour in Bolivia (Sunday-Monday Briefings)

Bolivia, US, "Narco-tize" the Conflict (Friday-Saturday Briefings)

Thursday's Bolivia Press Briefing (Important Background Info)

September 22-27 Press Briefing: Perú Analysis

September 21 Press Briefing on the Closing of the Geopolitical Drug Observatory

Archive of Plan Colombia Press Briefings September 19-20

Archive of Plan Colombia Press Briefings September 8-18

Archive of Plan Colombia Press Briefings September 1-7

Archive of Press Briefings on Clinton in Colombia from August 24-30

This is your war. This is your war on drugs. Any questions?

More Plan Colombia News Beginning on our Front Page

Fighting the Battle Against Simulation and Media Cynicism