Once again, popular wisdom prevails: The sky is darkest, as the saying goes, just before the dawn. And indeed, until a few days ago, when we felt the most overwhelmed by the senseless horror of Felipe Calderón's war against our people under the pretext of drug trafficking, and by the praise from the United States government for his courage in confronting the cartels, the revelations of WikiLeaks painted — like Alejo Carpentier wrote in one of his novels — the first light of dawn in the crystals.
We are beginning to experience the dawn of transparency. Now, thanks to Julian Assange and his group of online journalists, we know what Washington really thinks of the little man who lives in Los Pinos: He does not coordinate the operations of the navy, army and federal police; each acts alone. These institutions do not exchange information with each other, because they suspect each other. The troops, without training for police investigation, are risk-averse, and the man most trusted by Calderón, Genaro García Luna, is viewed with great suspicion by the Pentagon.
The heroes of WikiLeaks have uncovered the most destructive empire of all time, and by doing so, have found rats’ nests everywhere. We are confronted by a historically unprecedented fact that will have repercussions in every country. In our country, other disclosures are already available for all of us; they are just waiting for you to become aware and begin communicating them by word of mouth.
Some of the disclosures are found in the 588 pages of the new book by Anabel Hernández, “The Drug Lords” (Grijalbo, 2010). In this brave and rigorous work, the author contends that, at least from the presidency of Díaz Ordaz to the present, all Mexican leaders have maintained close relations with groups that import, export and sell illicit drugs.
Based on declassified papers from the DEA, the CIA and other agencies of the U.S., on academic research at the University of California, on court records and testimonials from well-known individuals, and also on informants protected by the mask of anonymity, the reporter shows, without saying so, that for neoliberalism, the drug industry in Mexico does not represent a public health problem, much less a problem of social insecurity, like we are experiencing.
During the presidency of Luis Echeverría, according to a richly documented account, marijuana and opium poppies were planted under official supervision in the states of Guerrero, Michoacán, Sinaloa, Durango, Chihuahua, Veracruz and Oaxaca, and all harvested crops were sent intact to the U.S. under an agreement between both governments. These were the years of the war in Vietnam, and the Pentagon needed to supply stimulants to its soldiers on the battlefront. But in Mexico, drug dealers obeyed the order that not even one kilo of goods could remain in the country; if anyone attempted to defy the order, they would be jailed.
Cooperation continued after the U.S. defeat in Vietnam, expanding after the triumph of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua. Constrained by the U.S. Congress, which denied funds to destabilize the new regime in Managua, the government of Ronald Reagan mounted the Iran-Contra operation. In this operation, the CIA helped the Colombian cartels of Pablo Escobar Gaviria and the Rodriguez Orejuela brothers carry large shipments of cocaine to the huge, imperial market, with the participation of the Mexican cartels and, of course, with the consent of Miguel de la Madrid.
The aircraft that left Cali and Medellín, loaded with cocaine, stopped in Mexico to stock up on fuel, continued toward their destination beyond the Rio Grande. With the profits earned in the negotiation, they returned full of weapons for mercenaries stationed in Honduras, where during the decade of the ‘80s, a persistent, low-intensity war developed.
When the “Contra” met his goal, and the Sandinistas agreed to participate in elections — which they lost in 1990 — the CIA pulled out and let them burn. He invaded Panama, arrested Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega, and launched himself against major Colombian drug lords — jailing some, killing others, including the notorious Pablo Escobar Gaviria, who denied any kind of merit to one of the reporters of Anabel Hernandez. He said he was the best drug smuggler of all time, but the truth is he that moved thousands of tons of cocaine with the help of the U.S. What a joke.
Know before You Destroy
The piece deserves to be read quietly, wearing a hat, because it will frequently make your hair stand on end, "The Drug Lords" suggests, after the first 200 pages, an initial lesson: Before neoliberalism, when the country had an annual growth rate of 8 percent, exchange stability, strong unions, farm subsidies, price supports, etc., the drug industry was marginal, and it exclusively targeted export to meet U.S. interests and, of course, to enrich the politicians, military and police who protected it.
Everything began to change during the presidency of De la Madrid, with the country's submission to the IMF; the privatization of public enterprises; the concentration of wealth in few hands; and economic dispossession, to which the vast majority were condemned, turning drug trafficking into the lifeline for thousands and thousands of the poor.
The trend was exacerbated, of course, during the illegitimate government of Salinas de Gortari, resulting from the fraud of 1988, and was further complicated when Colombian cocaine entered the domestic market. And the breakdown continued to spiral during the administrations of Ernesto Zedillo and Vicente Fox, following certain rules that Calderon destroyed with one swat, breaking the game board and plunging the country into chaos. Can we get out of there … or rather, out of here … from the deepest of pits into which we have been thrown?
No, said the Brazilian boss, Mark Camacho, also known as “Marcola,” in an interview with O Globo, quoted in last week’s Desfiladero. There is no solution except to catch drug lords.There are congressmen, senators, businessmen, and even former presidents in the cocaine business.
Well, the research of Anabel Hernández provides the names and business ventures of a good number of people at the pinnacles of power, who currently maintain links with the drug industry in Mexico. And — in contrast to the Marcola opinion — a few days ago, during a conversation with Ruben Luengas of American television, she said, “As a mother, as a daughter, as a woman, and as a journalist, I am convinced that things can be solved [... ] but we have to know our reality. We cannot destroy what we do not know.”