Thursday, November 06, 2008

one step backward

While the rest of us were a bit self-absorbed by the American elections, Mexico suffered a major tragedy.

Juan Camilo Mouriño, the Interior Secretary, and José Luis Santiago Vasconcelos, a former deputy attorney general and key adviser to President Calderón on the drug war, were on board a small jet that crashed in the very posh area of Polanco in Mexico City. There were also numerous deaths on the ground because the plane crashed amongst rush hour traffic.

Of course, the rumors began immediately -- the most obvious that the drug cartels had taken revenge on leaders in the war on drugs. Other speculation is even more alarming in its possibilities.

Early reports, though, indicate that the crash was an accident -- even though all possibilities will be left open for investigation.

No one can really count on the full truth being discovered -- or, of it is, that it will ever be publicly disclosed.

But there can be no doubt that the Calderón administration will be severely damaged by the loss of these two men. Secretary Mouriño had been touted as President Calderón's successor.

If this was the work of the cartels, Mexico is running the risk of slipping closer to becoming the next Colombia. We can hope that is not the case.

My prayers are with the Mexican people. Americans are celebrating the possibility of hope. I hope our Mexican neighbors will not have it ripped out of their hands.

Gary Dennes of
Mexile and Jennifer Rose of Staring at Strangers have added their voices to this discussion.

Note: It appears that the jet crashed in Lomas de Chapultepec, rather than Polanco.


Michael Dickson said...

Everything I´ve read says the Learjet crashed in Lomas de Chapultepec, not Polanco. They are side by side, so who knows? We´re off to Mexico City today, so I´ll go stick my nose in it.

Steve Cotton said...

Thanks, Michael. My source could be imprecise.

Gary Denness said...

Seeing as I've written that it was in Polanco, I'm guessing I might well be your imprecise source!

But anyways, even if it is declared to be an accident, will anyone believe them? Every Mexican I've spoken to so far seems to have come to a narco based conclusion already.

Steve Cotton said...

Gary -- I actually got Polanco for another source, but you were my verification source. Neighborhood lines can be imprecise. I agree that the popular reaction will not be remedied by an investigation. After all, the Warren Report did not stop speculation of countless conspiracy theories.

Larry Prater said...

Mauriño was born in Spain, so many strings would have to have been pulled to allow him to be President. He was also accused of stealing a lot of money from the people of Mexico to give to his own family. Larry Prater

jennifer rose said...

I'm placing my money on the accident theory. That's why we got the US government and the British investigators to come in right away to declare it was an accident.

Anonymous said...

Well, F told me about it on the phone on Tuesday, moments after it happened, and he said it was in Lomas de Chapultepec, near the Fuente de Petroleos. My immediate reaction too was that it was awfully suspicious. In any case, it is a loss for Mexico, and comes on the heels of the discovery that senior Mexican officials have been bribed by the narco cartels, which of course adds to the suspicion.

Given all that's gone on (and still going on), Mexicans have a very reasonable basis to be suspicious. I'm not sure that British and American investigations which declare it's a normal accident will be believed either.

In any case, it's a tragedy for a country that doesn't need any more. My heart goes out to Mexico and its people.

Kim G
Boston, MA

Michael Dickson said...

I drove by the crash site yesterday. It´s Lomas de Chapultepec, not Polanco, not that it makes much difference to the people involved.

Steve Cotton said...

Thanks, Michael. You are correct. The neighborhood does not matter as much as the lives that were lost -- all of them.

Kim -- Like you, I doubt the suspicions will be quelled by an investigation report.

Jennifer -- As always, you are the voice of reason. Sometimes an accident is just an accident.

Larry -- As you know, the unfortunate fact in Mexico is that power is too often equated with corruption -- for a good reason. I must admit, though, that I was very impressed with him.