Plane crash “an accident”, says Mexico government
The Mexico Government maintains that there is no sign of foul play surrounding the plane crash on Tuesday night here in Mexico City that killed interior minister Juan Camilo MouriÃ±o, the former deputy chief Federal Prosecutor JosÃ© Luis Santiago Vasconcelos and more than 14 others. The victims were honored this morning in an official ceremony.
The Los Angeles Times reports the above, adding:
The crash…was a serious blow to President Felipe Calderon at a time when his government is locked in a violent struggle against drug traffickers and faces growing signs of economic trouble related to the global downturn.
But both gossip and common sense do raise the question of the possible involvement of Mexico’s powerful drug trafficking networks in Tuesday’s “accident”. As we saw earlier this year during Morelia’s September 15th Independence Day celebrations, certain factions of Mexico’s drug networks are willing to take out their frustrations not just on Mexico’s politicians but on the public themselves if the ensuing arrests are to be taken at face value.
[Note: The entire matter of the Morelia bombings has gone quiet since those arrests were made and those confessions from Julio CÃ©sar MondragÃ³n Morales, Juan Carlos Castro Galeana and Alfredo Rosas Elisea presented to the public. As MexicoReporter.com noted at the time, the arrests pose as many questions as they provide answers. How do three men throw two grenades? If these guys are soldiers – or the highly trained hit men that Los Zetas are rumoured to be – then why do they look like the average man off the street rather than trained killing machines? Or were they just hired by the Zetas to do their gruesome bidding? And physical bruising visible on some of the suspects suggest that confessions might have been extracted under questionable circumstances.] The Christian Science Monitor could be right in reporting this morning that the death of MouriÃ±o and JosÃ© Luis Santiago Vasconcelos is a “colossal setback” to Mexico’s battle against drug traffickers. That’s convenient both to the drug traffickers themselves, and of course elements within the Mexican government who want Calderon to look as though his plan against the drug cartels is failing.
Santiago Vasconcelos was the former deputy chief Federal Prosecutor and a leading advisor to President Felipe Calderon in the drug war. At the time of this death he had resigned after complaints about his ineffectiveness and corruption within the elite, organized crime-fighting agency that he led. During his career, he suffered a number of attempted assassinations.
“The other high-ranking official, Vasconcelos, had dedicated most of his life to fighting organized crime. He survived at least one potential assassination attempt this winter, when five hit men allegedly out to kill him were arrested. He headed the organized-crime division for the Mexican attorney general until August.
“US Ambassador Antonio Garza said the two men were models in the fight against organized crime” (Christian Science Monitor).
The Presidential office released a statement saying that the plane’s black box has been sent to the Unites States for analysis and that results can be expected within a week. The press noted the involved of both British and United States authorities in the investigation, no doubt intended to give it more credibility and transparency than an official Mexican investigation alone would carry.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post notes the loss of Miguel Monterrubio, MouriÃ±o’s press spokesman.
“Monterrubio … introduced journalists to marvels of Mexican culture, such as the Day of the Dead, a holiday that features hot chocolate, sweet buns and offerings of brandy and cigars to the departed. He also hosted tours of the Mexican Cultural Center on 16th Street to showcase murals of fabled painter Diego Rivera, husband of artist Frida Kahlo” (Washington Post).