Buenos Aires, Argentina (Nov. 21, 2012) Ayda Levy, penned the highly anticipated book, El Rey de la Cocaína, (The King of Cocaine: My Life with Roberto Suárez Gómez and the Birth of the Narco state," released Tuesday in Buenas Aires. The book chronicles the adventures of Roberto Suárez Gómez, known back in the eighties as "The King of Cocaine," and regarded by many as the one primarily responsible for the expansion of cocaine trafficking in Bolivia in the seventies and eighties.
At 76, Levy decided to break her long silence and tell their story because she was "tired of hearing and reading a thousand and one lies about the life of Roberto Suarez," she declared at the launch of her book in Buenos Aires.
Ayda married Roberto Suarez in 1958, then a successful cattleman. No one could have predicted that 20 years later her husband would be one of the major drug traffickers in South America, and closely associated with Pablo Escobar. Suarez would lead what became known as "the Corporation" helping lay the foundation of a "narco-state." "Roberto was a true idealist. He blindly believed in social justice, and the eradication of poverty. I loved him, respected him, but when I discovered his involvement in drug trafficking activities, I left," Levy added.
Despite the separation, the couple kept in close contact. Ayda recorded every account of her husband, dates, names and documents, "She wrote down everything and also has a prodigious memory." She managed all the family's legal business, as well as all the farm business." remarked their son Gary.
An interview with Gary Suárez Gómez is included in his mother's book, El Rey de la Cocaína, Mi vida con Roberto Suárez Gómez y el Nacimiento del Primer Narcoestado. "Today Bolivia is full of Mexican narcos." With these words, Gary Suárez Gómez, also son of Roberto Suarez offers a portrayal of the exponential growth of Mexican cartels in Latin America.
"In the eighties there were drugs in Mexico, but it was more drugs being transported through Mexico rather than staying in the country."
"It was the Colombian cartels who were the ones using these corridors. That was up until the Mexicans realized that they were the big neighbors of the United States and took control. Today Bolivia is inundated with Mexicans "working" in the country," Gary Suárez Gómez told Reforma.
Roberto Suárez's relationship with Mexican politicians as well as the incipient local cartels is detailed in Levy's book through the mythical leader of the Medellín Cártel, Pablo Escobar Gaviria.
According to the narration, in May 1981, Gonzalo Rodríguez Gacha, Escobar's right hand man, got a permit from Quintana Roo state authorities to allow their traffickers leaving from the port of Barranquilla to land and refuel their planes and boats on the island of Cozumel.
The month before, on April 5th, 1981 Pedro Joaquin Coldwell, became Governor of the state of Quintana Roo, presently, Pedro Joaquin Coldwell is the national leader of PRI.
|Pedro Joaquin Caldwell. President of PRI|
"From the Maya Riviera , they would cross the Gulf of Mexico to the Florida keys where they would transition the merchandise, said Levy in her book that was released worldwide for sale yesterday.In this way, the drugs produced in Bolivia by Suárez Gómez assured their arrival into the United States, "Without depending on the mood of the Bahamian authorities or the confiscation by the Cuban Navy."
"The relationship with Mexico was only with the Colombian cartels," explained Gary Suárez Gómez, "Mexico was just one of the routes that they used. Going by way of Mexican land, air or water, whatever the mode of transportation, it was organized by the Colombians. That was not my father's task."
"My father was a man of principles who helped his community," he stated. Both the ex-wife and his son highlighted the big donations to education that "El Rey de la Cocaina" made to the poor in eastern Bolivia.
"All the town would take care of him and hide him," he told the media, when he was reminded of an anecdote about how "the Robin Hood of Bolivia," as the drug dealer who died of a heart attack in 2000, was also known, who once was hidden from the police by employees of a hospital so he could undergo an appendectomy.
"There is a big difference," he said when he was asked for a comparison between local traffickers and his father, who was an industrial farmer and a rich land baron before he entered world of drug trafficking.
"The big narcos of the past had invested in their communities but set goals. Pablo Escobar wanted to get involved in politics. My father was never a candidate for anything," Gary Suárez Gómez said. While discussing his father's "philanthropy," he denied the popular myth that Suárez Gómez offered to pay Bolivia's external debt.
"Neither has he been linked to any violent acts," though Suárez Gómez 's oldest son and Gary's brother was assassinated in a confrontation with police and remains unsolved
"At the time, he had bodyguards who protected him but they were not sicarios or murderers. He has had relationships with armed gunmen, but never in his life were there accusations of killing or murder attempts as happen in Mexico." he said.
Ayda Levy spilled secrets in El Rey de la Cocaína, sorting the numerous multi-faceted relationships between her ex-husband and, influential politicians and even Vatican bankers. Among many others relationships examined are Klaus Barbie "the butcher of Lyon," the ex-Gestapo exiled in Bolivia mentioned as linked to the Bolivian dictatorship who Suárez Gómez is known to have helped finance, as well as the Cuban regime, the Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, who belonged to the National Security Council of the United States.