Sunday, December 22, 2019

OP ED: The Reasons Why Garcia Luna's Arrest is More Important than "El Chapo's"

Yaqui for Borderland Beat from: Buenrostro
OP Ed by: Javier Buenrostro

With the apprehension of García Luna, the history of contemporary Mexico will be rewritten, especially that of the governments of the PAN right, and in particular the Calderón administration, who should end up in an International Court for crimes against humanity.

The morning of  Tuesday, December 10, the news began to run like gunpowder in newsrooms, social networks and government offices. In Texas Genaro García Luna, secretary of Public Security in the government of Felipe Calderón (2006-2012), had been arrested and was going to be transferred to New York (to the same Federal Court that prosecuted Chapo) for traffic conspiracy crimes of cocaine, false statements and receiving bribes from drug trafficking.

The first important accusations against García Luna date back to the distant 2001, when in the government of Vicente Fox (2000-2006) he was the head of the Federal Research Agency (AFI). His relationship with the Sinaloa Cartel was a constant theme in the notes of reporters specializing in drug trafficking.
Despite this background, Felipe Calderón decided to appoint him Secretary of Public Security, which ultimately turned out to be the most relevant position in his cabinet, making García Luna the most powerful man of his sexennium behind him . A kind of vice president.

It is in this sense that the arrest of García Luna is more relevant than that of the 'Chapo' Guzmán, because the first represents organized crime and the second only to drug trafficking. What I mean by this? In Mexico (and in other parts of the world, such as Colombia) a "drug trafficker mythology" has been built, as the sociologist Luis Astorga has pointed out. Official narratives have created the image of an evil entity (the drug trafficker) that attacks with all its means the purity of the State , corrupting some rotten apple, some authority that, despite its kind nature, falls into the sin of the Greed and accept the money.

Javier Buenrostro, historian from the National Autonomous University of Mexico and McGill University.

This narrative makes it appear that the world of the drug trafficker is one, while the world of politics and the economy are others, that they have nothing to do or that they only come into contact abnormally. The lie of this narrative, repeated a thousand times by the media, falls to the most basic evidence. Mexico has long been a drug producer (marijuana, opium) and, in that sense, there has been a long-standing relationship between local authorities at first, and then federal and drug traffickers. 

But perhaps the first great relationship does not come from drugs, but from alcohol, when it was illegal in the United States and there was a lot of traffic from Mexico, which together with the horse races made the Agua Caliente casino (1928), in Tijuana, a meeting place for movie stars, entrepreneurs, American gangsters and politicians. The main shareholder was the governor of Baja California and who would become president of Mexico, Abelardo Rodríguez.

In the name of Rodriguez, other top-level politicians such as Maximino Ávila Camacho, brother of President Manuel Ávila Camacho (1940-1946) can be added. But where there was always more cloth to cut, it was in the police offices, mainly in the Federal Security Directorate (DFS), founded by Miguel Aleman in 1946. This is where people who not only dedicated themselves to political and group repression guerrillas, but were linked to drug trafficking such as Fernando Gutiérrez Barrios (Governor of Veracruz and Secretary of the Interior) or Mario Acosta Chaparro and Fernando Quirós Hermosillo, who in addition to participating in the Dirty War of the 1970s, were linked to the Cartel de Juarez Miguel Nazar Haro, another member of the DFS and founder of the White Brigade,He was accused of protecting the Guadalajara Cartel , in addition to dealing with stolen cars.

Also director of the DFS was Javier García Paniagua, son of Marcelino García Barragán, in charge of the Secretary of National Defense during the 1968 massacre and governor of Jalisco. It is Guadalajara (Jalisco) a historical bastion of the right and the panism, where the narcos settled in the early 80's and became entrepreneurs to be able to launder their money. Guadalajara has been designated as the cradle of the 'Impunity Pact', as the US Department of the Treasury. He has sanctioned a large number of companies and commercial establishments for money laundering.

None of the characters mentioned above were convicted of any crime . That is why the arrest of García Luna is so important and because organized crime is much larger than drug trafficking. As we can see, security and justice management positions are key. It includes money laundering. Drugs are not the only field of action: there are car theft, arms trafficking, extortion and kidnapping, sale of other prohibited products such as alcohol or species of flora and fauna in extinction. 

Calderón's six-year term, which is García Luna's, emanated from electoral fraud and imposed a militarization under the pretext of combating drug trafficking, but which involves regions that have important natural resources that long for transnationals such as water, gas, oil and of course several mining products. This is one of Oswaldo Zavala's main arguments in his book ''Cartels do not Exist''. Without going any further, by chance or causation, the killing of the LeBarón family took place in a border area with important lithium deposits.

Any business consists of different branches or chains. Production, logistics, sales, marketing, accounting, finance, legal, new products, etc. In the case of organized crime and drug trafficking is the same. From the marijuana and opium of the 40s to the cocaine of the 70s and 80s to the production of designer drugs today there is a chasm of difference. They are not the same business to put it in some way. No one doubts the relevance of ephedrine or fentanyl in the current drug market, which involves the pharmaceutical industry because of its volume. As was the case with Zhenli Ye Gon, a Chinese pharmaceutical entrepreneur nationalized by the Vicente Fox government and apprehended in 2007. 

Most of the journalists on foot or who reported to local newspapers reported on the links and complicity of the governments of the right with "El Chapo'' Guzmán and the Sinaloa Cartel. While, at the national level, the mainstream media danced to the music of García Luna and pleased him in everything . For example, the journalist Carlos Loret de Mola, who was in charge of the most watched morning newscast, lent himself to disseminating a montage that simulated that kidnap victims were released by AFI elements. Others wrote in newspapers about the achievements in security of García Luna, who from the Ministry of Public Security (SSP) allocated significant amounts of money in advertising contracts.

Likewise, it is logical to think that the intelligence services of the United States make profiles of important officials, especially those related to security and drug trafficking issues, which are the issues that Americans most care about in their relationship with Mexico. So, if his bond with the Sinaloa Cartel was an open secret, why didn't he act against him? Since 2012 when  the Calderón government ended, García Luna decided to reside in luxury in Miami, where he acquired several properties of millionaire value and where he established a public safety and risk management consultancy. To do all this he had the temporary permission of the United States government, which granted him permanent residence and it seems that he ignored the origin of the resources with which he settled in Miami and where he had no intention of going unnoticed.

García Luna is the first character in a long police line to be brought to American justice. He was also the second most important man in the Calderón administration and the architect of his main government actions. He is not a man who received a bribe, he was a core part of Mexico's public policies and the relationship with the United States . He is a man who was applauded by popular journalists and by civil associations that "fight" against violence. It's not like "El Chapo", an outsider.

He is a main figure of the system whose links are woven in all its extension: with the presidents Fox and Calderón, with other members of the PAN, with the main media, with businessmen, with people of the justice system such as Eduardo Medina Moraor today's prisoner prisoner Javier Collado. And even with US authorities and agencies such as the DEA, who ignored all the information they had for years.

They say that the big fish eats the boy, but this time it is turning out that a small fish delivers an increasingly larger one. First they apprehended the brother and son of ''Mayo'' Zambada, then on to Chapo Guzmán. These operations and the derived information led them to García Luna. "What will this do to reduce your sentence? Will you deliver to your superiors? To his cabinet mates? To entrepreneurs and media informants? To the judges and police who helped him? To corrupt civil associations that supported him? To authorities in the United States who are also involved? A few of all?"

With the apprehension of García Luna, the history of contemporary Mexico will be rewritten, especially that of the governments of the PAN right, and in particular the Calderón administration, who should end up in an International Court for crimes against humanity.