U.S. news outlets appear to have forgotten that the Juarez Cartel and multiple acts of corruption have been linked to the election of the current Mexican President, Enrique Peña Nieto. The Mexican president’s ties to cartels, the mysterious release from prison of major cartel figures during his presidency, and the fact that regions of Mexico are under operational control of these paramilitary transnational criminal organizations during his presidency are rarely, if ever, reported in the U.S. The outrageous number of journalists who have been murdered or who have simply disappeared in Peña Nieto’s Mexico is also rarely reported.
Last year, Breitbart Texas reported on an investigation that revealed that a series of shell companies had been used by members of the Juarez cartel to funnel funds into Peña Nieto’s 2012 election. The investigation was carried out by Mexican award winning journalist Carmen Aristegui and her team; the subsequent scandal became known as Monexgate for the cash cards that were given out during Peña Nieto’s campaign. Those journalists have been under criticism by the Mexican government after discovering the cartel finance link, as well as the fact that Peña Nieto had received properties as bribes from government contractors.
A few examples of the current Mexican president’s softness towards his nation’s drug cartels provide some insight into the realities in Mexico that are ignored by U.S. media.
Coahuila and Los Zetas
In addition to receiving funds from cartel operatives, Peña Nieto’s campaign was run by another politician who has been singled out in international court hearings as a surrogate for Los Zetas. During the 2012 campaign, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) was run by Humberto Moreira. Before running the PRI and Peña Nieto’s campaign, Moreira was the governor of the border state of Coahuila. During his time as governor, Moreira worked as a surrogate of Los Zetas by giving free reign to the criminal organization in exchange for cash bribes, as Breitbart Texas previously reported. Once in power, Los Zetas carried out a series of massacres in that state where in one case alone 300 victims, including women and children were kidnapped, murdered and incinerated in a network of ovens at government facilities. Breitbart Texas’ investigation into the massacre revealed that some of the victims were incinerated in 55-gallon drums inside the state run prison in Piedras Negras, Coahuila.
As Breitbart Texas reported, Moreira spent some time inside a Spanish prison when that government arrested him on money laundering charges. During various hearings, Spanish authorities singled out Moreira as a surrogate of Los Zetas. As Breitbart Texas reported, under Peña Nieto’s watch, Mexico’s government flexed its diplomatic muscle and used political pressure to successfully force Spain into releasing Moreira.
No Pasa Nada — “Nothing To See Here”
Under Peña Nieto, Mexican cartels only grew in power as his government appears to be unable or unwilling to stop the cartel violence. Despite constant claims by Mexican officials about improving security conditions, Mexico continues to see an ongoing escalation of violence. Breitbart Texas has reported about Mexico’s Secretary of the Interior claiming that Mexico’s security conditions were the best they had been in a decade, while rival cartel factions fought for control of lucrative drug territories. The violence has been felt primarily in Tamaulipas, Coahuila, Veracruz, Guerrero and Nuevo León where gun battles and executions have become a regular occurrence.
During Peña Nieto’s term, key cartel figures have been suspiciously released from prison while his government officials claim to be improving security conditions. In December 2014, Mexico’s court system exonerated Raul Salinas of having ransacked millions in government funds as well as making money through various corrupt means, as reported by Breitbart Texas at the time. Raul Salinas is the brother of former Mexican president Carlos Salinas de Gortari. Raul Salinas had been jailed in 1995 on the financial crimes.
In August 2013, a Mexican federal court released Rafael Caro Quintero, a drug lord who at one time was the leader of the Guadalajara cartel. Quintero’s cartel was the precursor to the now famous Sinaloa Cartel. The drug lord had been convicted of drug charges and the murder of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Enrique Camarena. For unknown reasons Mexico’s court system released Quintero before the U.S. Department of Justice could request his extradition; he remains a fugitive.
In 2014, another top cartel boss named Rogelio “El Keli or Z-2” Gonzalez Pizana was quietly released from a Mexican federal prison after being cleared of various drug trafficking and organized charges even though he had been convicted and was serving a 16-year-sentence.
Examples Could Go On and On
The examples of the Mexican president’s softness towards Mexican drug cartels could fill hundreds of pages. The point is that U.S. media continuously ignore the realities of Mexico and the voices of the many thousands who grieve for their murdered or disappeared loved ones. U.S. media avoid holding accountable the Mexican political leaders who not only turn a blind eye to the cartels, but often directly assist these criminal groups. This affects U.S. governmental policy and approaches to Mexico, largely leaving frustrated U.S. law enforcement agencies that are forced to balance their law enforcement priorities with diplomatic concerns with a partially failed narco-state. Voicing the diplomatic concerns of Mexico’s president without also reporting on cartel ties is not only a disservice to the citizens of the U.S., but it silences the voices of cartel victims and their loved ones in Mexico and adds further complications to their struggle for liberty and justice.
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and Stephen K. Bannon. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.