Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Felipe Calderon, Intact After Genaro Garcia Luna's Trial

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

Without physical evidence and practically ignored by the witnesses who testified against his Secretary of Public Security, the trial against Genaro García Luna is unlikely to have repercussions against Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, unlike what AMLO predicted and intended.

The chances of a trial against former President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, either in Mexico or in the United States, for crimes related to criminal groups, vanished after the trial of Genaro García Luna, his security secretary, in a New York court.

After a pause in which the jurors asked for transcripts of the testimonies, today, Tuesday, they will resume their deliberations to issue a verdict on one of the protagonists of the so-called "war on drugs".

During the legal proceedings in the Brooklyn courtroom, the former president's name was mentioned only once in the parade of 26 key witnesses.

Edgar Veytia, former prosecutor of Nayarit, was the one who dropped an alleged bombshell before Judge Brian Cogan when he said that there was an instruction from the presidency to protect Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.

Days later, Genaro García Luna announced that he would not testify orally in his defense. "Yes, sir. It is my decision," he said. Thus, the hearings concluded.

Drawing by Eastern District Court of Brooklyn artist Jane Rosenberg of one of the moments on Friday, February 17 at the trial of Genaro García Luna, Felipe Calderon's accomplice. There we are with notebook in hand.

Not a scratch

The public persona of the man who governed Mexico from 2006 to 2012 remains virtually intact.

Carlos Matienzo, a specialist in International Security at Columbia University, considers that the hardest part for the former president is over.

"In general terms, the worst is over for Calderón Hinojosa. This was the best scenario of this delicate moment and it has already happened".

In the judicial sphere, Matienzo rules out a turn of the screw in the trial of García Luna that would lead to an investigation in the United States against the former president.

The trial of García Luna entered its deliberation stage. The 12 jurors, six men and six women, whose identities are being withheld, received instructions from Judge Brian Cogan on how they are to analyze the evidence and decide on the...

"If so, an important relationship built during Felipe Calderón's term would be put at risk. Let us not forget his state visits. Let's not forget that country's support and investment in Mexico in terms of security during his six-year term.

"It would be a very risky move on the part of the United States. Furthermore, we cannot forget that the National Action Party (PAN), to which he once belonged, may return to power. Initiating a process against him would damage the relationship from now on".

Turning the page

Felipe Calderón Hinojosa seems to want to turn the page. Last Sunday, he published an article in national media in which he calls to build a new opposition party to achieve "a resurrection of the political opposition" on the road to the Presidency of the Republic in the 2024 elections.

From Spain, where he went last November with a residence and work permit as a "highly qualified" professional, the former president stated that the opposition in Mexico must avoid "a corrupt, incompetent and authoritarian populist dictatorship of the 21st century".

Unscathed by García Luna's trial, Calderón Hinojosa proposes a "complex" political path, according to Gustavo López Montiel, political scientist at the Tecnológico de Monterrey.

"Calderonism is disjointed. Its best moment was when Margarita Zavala sought to be PAN's candidate for the Presidency of the Republic. There she showed a certain political capacity. At this moment it can make alliances, but without the same support as before", says the specialist.

Confirms legitimacy

When he completed six months as President of Mexico, Felipe Calderón Hinojosa made a decision: to use the public budget to order a series of surveys.

"Who is the legitimate president of Mexico?" he asked in the first of the demoscopic exercises. The results whispered: "Calderón with 93.1 percent and Andrés Manuel López Obrador with 4.8 percent".

That question, now stored in the historical archives of the National Transparency Platform, reflects the concern the former president had for his legitimacy at that precise moment.

At the age of 43 and as PAN candidate, he had won the Presidency of the Republic with an advantage of 0.58 percent over his main opponent, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (today President of Mexico), who ran for the Democratic Revolution Party.

From that moment on, the now federal chief executive called him "spurious" and organized a sit-in against him on Reforma Avenue in Mexico City that lasted several months.

For Enrique Toussaint Orendain, political scientist at the University of Guadalajara, the search for legitimacy was the main motivation for Felipe Calderón Hinojosa to launch an offensive against criminal groups on December 12, 2006.

"That same policy trapped him. He could never stop. The more approval he sought, the more his government focused on national security, while violence rates soared," said the analyst of those years.

The momentum of war

Seventeen years have passed since his decisions and violence continues on an upward curve that gives no respite.

Thousands of people dead, disappeared and displaced in an accounting that federal administrations have not been able to pinpoint is the inertia of the security policy determined by the government of Felipe Calderón Hinojosa.

A decade after handing over the presidential sash, the former president faces the result of another survey.

The newspaper El País asked the Enkoll agency to ask Mexican citizens if he should be tried for "drug trafficking crimes" as Genaro García Luna is. 84 percent answered in the affirmative. Eighty-four percent answered in the affirmative.

All the witnesses in Genaro García Luna's trial told how Felipe Calderon's government protected the Sinaloa cartel in exchange for hefty bribes. All the actors agree on the same story. It's the same thing millions of Mexicans saw.

That desire is looking increasingly unlikely. Genaro García Luna is about to face his fate due to his participation in that security policy, while Felipe Calderón Hinojosa appears to have different plans in New York.

The Mexico Platform

Since Genaro García Luna was arrested in Dallas, Texas on December 10, 2019, former President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa has been distancing himself.

That same day, through Twitter, he released a statement in which he assured that he was "completely unaware" of the facts imputed to his former "super cop", an epithet he earned during his six-year term.

In that letter, the former president said that the security policy of his administration was not, "not even remotely, the product of the decisions of a single official. Many public servants -civilian and military- collaborated in it and, of course, there was also close cooperation with the U.S. government and its security and justice agencies.

With his words, he buried in the past the project that, together with Genaro García Luna, he built on a property on Avenida Constituyentes in what is today the Álvaro Obregón district of Mexico City.

They called it Plataforma Mexico and their plan indicated that it would be a sophisticated online intelligence system that would integrate information from the criminal, state and municipal police, as well as from the Armed Forces.

At the heart of his security strategy, Plataforma México was the project that symbolized the coincidence between former President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa and his former Secretary of Security, Genaro García Luna. 

According to the money trail in the government of Felipe Calderón Hinojosa in Compranet, this project symbolized the coincidence of the former president and the former Secretary of Security regarding the way in which organized crime should be fought.

García Luna was authorized to spend whatever was necessary on this cyber giant in order to develop his espionage plan.

"Wars are won with technology, information and intelligence", said the former president when he inaugurated it in 2009.

By then, a stream of contracts worth hundreds of millions of pesos had been awarded without any bidding process. In the end, the expenditure was three thousand 365 million 45 thousand 486 pesos (more than five billion pesos now), according to a contract tracking.

Today, the Mexico Platform is dismantled and in ruins. So is the relationship between the former "super cop" and the former president who one day declared that together they would defeat organized crime in the country.

Two decades of anxiety

In December of this year it will be 17 years since the Executive Branch began the fight against organized crime groups, a strategy that has yielded few results but has left countless wounds.

Throughout the last two decades, reproaches have accumulated, but very few times, there has been accountability on why the policy of fighting crime has led to an increase in violence in the national territory.

Genaro García Luna is the only former high-level official who has faced a judicial process for his actions in this government policy.

The rates of insecurity in Mexico remain at serious levels: in the first two weeks of January 2023, more than one thousand intentional homicides were registered, with an average of 77.15 cases per day, according to information from the Secretariat of Security and Citizen Protection.

While awaiting the verdict for Genaro García Luna, Mexico faces the scourge of violence unleashed since 2006. 

In addition, the government officially recognizes that the incidence of crime continues to rise in Guanajuato, the State of Mexico, Chihuahua, Michoacán, Baja California and Jalisco.

If this trend continues, the current administration could end with the highest number of homicides in the last three administrations.

Yesterday, Monday, in his morning conference, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador stated that Felipe Calderón Hinojosa owes the country an explanation for "the mistakes made" during his administration that caused death and violence.

"He appoints as Secretary of Security a person who makes agreements with a group to persecute others and from being a minor official becomes his right arm, and Calderón is not capable of giving an explanation."

The president criticized the fact that the former president has dissociated himself from Genaro García Luna, and recommended him to include in his next article his reasons for "declaring war on drugs by giving a dumb blow to the hornet's nest".

For Carlos Matienzo, specialist in International Security at Columbia University, the historical judgment will go beyond politics. His warning is blunt: "these years will be seen as the same bloody period".

Drawing by Eastern District Court of Brooklyn artist Jane Rosenberg of one of the moments on Friday, February 17 at the trial of Genaro García Luna, Felipe Calderon's accomplice. There we are with notebook in hand. 

Reporte Indigo


  1. The laws in the US are a joke .Anyone with money can beat the judicial system . How someone with a couple ounces can get almost life in jail , and the person who trafficked tons gets 10 years and time served is absolutely crazy . That speaks volumes on how interested the US is in stopping the drugs coming in . Mexicos the same a little worse . Except in the US the criminal are dressed in suits for the most part .

    1. You mean to say the Mexican Court judicial system is a joke. Curupt judges working under cartel payroll allowing, the criminals to get out soon.

    2. 7:32 they both are a joke, a king pin should get a death sentence not 10 yrs

  2. Looks like GGL could get off on acquittal

  3. Calderon has been really quiet. I would love to watch an interview of him regarding all of this... I think he was a guest professor at some Ivy league university, I wonder if the school administrators are going to reach out to the students and be like, "ok, disregard any of the bullshit this guy said regarding national security and the mexican war on drugs!"

    1. Quiet?, shes crying like a brat on twitter.... of course, out of Mexico and US.... hes now living in Spain to avoid any prosecution.


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