Jefe Diego’s revenge?
Hmmmm… remember this?
Diego Fernández de Cevallos was kidnapped back in May 2010, held fby some shadowy group calling itself Red de Transformación Global (Global Transformation Network) After the payment of a twenty million dollar ransom, Jefe Diego resurfaced, safe and sound, in late December.
There was always a few things that bothered me about the kidnapping, besides the seeming spontaneous appearance, and subsequent disappearance of the Red de Transformación Global. As I wrote after the Jefe’s re-emergence (or release):
Red de Transformación Global published a strange, very long three-part manifesto. I started to translate it, but manifestos (especially ones running fifteen pages of dense single spaced text) give me splitting headaches. If anything, it’s anti-globalist, yet begins with a quote from Berthold Brecht … and one that took me forever to find (from “Über das Töten” a fugitive essay on Bolshevism from the 1956 Mi-Ti Buch der Wendungen]. I’m not sure why a German Communist playwright would be quoted to rationalize a direct action agains the Mexican elites, especially when the manifesto’s analysis of the Mexican situation (and the justification for their action) seems to echo (with really bad writing) concerns expressed in Andres Manuel López Obrador’s speeches and books.
Besides never having been heard of before or since, “Global Transformation Network” sounds more like the name of a banking service than a kidnapping gang. Which is what I have always presumed that the “kidnapping” was… a slick way to transform 20 million dollars from Mexico to somewhere else on the globe… Zurich, the Caymans, Panama?
Fernández de Cevallos is a power, even now, in PAN, and was once the party’s Presidential Candidate (back in 1994), but he’s always been close to the Carlos Salinas de Gotari machine within PRI:
Jefe Diego, as he’s known, is not particularly well-liked even in his own party. Rather, he commanded (or commands) respect mixed with fear as as a power-broker and strategist: a sort of Mexican love child of Richard Nixon and Karl Rove. Every foreign report mentions that he was PAN’s 1994 presidential candidate and tries to re-brand him as a great democratic figure for his role in the Fox campaign’s victory over the PRI in 2000. What’s overlooked is that when there was clear evidence of an opposition victory in 1988, until a “mysterious” computer fire stopped the ballot counting, Jefe Diego was the key figure in throwing PAN support to the government, burning the ballots and giving the presidency to Carlos Salinas.
The Salinas presidency was very good to Fernández de Cevallos who — as a lawyer for the private business interests that prospered from hasty denationalization, and as the defense attorney for individuals whose egregious behavior was too much even for the Salinas administration to swallow — made himself extremely rich. As a legislator, he at least had the virtue of not being a hypocrite… openly admitting to supporting legislation in his personal interest or those of his clients. As a lawyer, his reputation as “the Devil’s Advocate” doesn’t refer to his intellectual prowess, but to his client list: the bankers who looted bailout money in the 90s, media monopolies and drug lords.
Not only did Fernandéz de Cevallos benefit from his relationship with the Salinas machine during the latter’s presidential administration, he actively took part in various Salinas operations afterwards. Jefe Diego was a go-between in setting up Carlos Ahumada’s bribery operation, meant to discredit then Mexico City’s “Jefe de Gobierno” Andres Manuel Lopez Obradór — at the time, a growing threat to the “old boy” network and the PAN/PRI (or, as it is known on the left, “PRIAN”) hold on economic and political power.
At the time of the kidnapping, it was speculated that the “plan” — if there was one — was to position Jefe Diego to run as the PAN candidate in 2012. Of course, things have changed since 2010, and after all, the old rogue is 71 years old, and a younger, more pliable, Salinas-crony was available.
Which would take a lot of money, more than can legally go into a campaign.
Like… maybe… US$20,000,000?