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A Mexican 9-11?

13 July 2007

“As the classic says, ‘war is politics by other means.'”

(ERP 2nd Communique)


As we’ve seen in the U.S. with the “war on terror” and the “war on immigrants”, for a shaky electorial minority presidency there’s nothing like a crisis to rally the people. Laura Carlsen’s “

Militarizing Mexico: The New War on Drugs (Foreign Policy in Focus, 12 July 2007) was written before the explosions.


Calderon seeks to expand the powers of a weak presidency and consolidate an image of a strong leader in the context of a deeply polarized society. In March, he presented a list of constitutional reforms that would eliminate the need for a court order for phone taps, detentions, and searches in the case of organized crime. Barbara Zamora, a prominent lawyer and human rights defender, stated that the proposed constitutional reforms “would create a Patriot Law ala mexicana, where constitutional rights and civil liberties are annulled.”

Other measures that form part of the Mexican offensive include military operations that have resulted in daily deaths both from confrontations between the army and the drug traffickers, and battles between drug cartels seeking to re-establish control over territory and leadership. Mandatory drug testing is now taking place in the schools. Scores of drug traffickers have been extradited to the United States. In May, Calderon announced the formation of the Special Corps of Federal Support Forces of the Mexican Army and Air Force, under the direct command of the presidency.


But with the “drug war” going so badly, there is a need to use those “special forces” for something.


Hector Tobar mentions (in passing) in an article for the LA Times (13 July 2006) about the business impact of the temporary gas shortage:


MEXICO CITY — Mexican President Felipe Calderon has dispatched a new 5,000-strong elite military unit to guard strategic sites, including oil refineries and hydroelectric dams, in the wake of guerrilla attacks on pipelines operated by the national oil and gas company, Pemex, according to news reports Thursday.

The attacks shook a government already facing challenges on several fronts: drug traffickers who outgun the police in several areas, a stalled immigration reform bill in the United States, and declining output from Pemex, the country’s main source of foreign exchange.

“All we Mexican men and women of good will categorically reject violence because we wish to live in liberty and peace,” Calderon said Wednesday in his only reference to the attacks this week.

He is dispatching the Corps of Federal Support Forces, an elite army unit created in May for the government’s war against drug trafficking, the newspaper El Universal reported Thursday. Mexican officials confirmed the presence of troops at the oil facilities but did not say which units were sent.


While intelligent people disagree about who (if anyone) was behind the gas line explosions, all agree the “War on Drugs” has been a spectacular failure. Carlos Montemayor, who has written extensively on guerrilla movements in Mexico, believes ERP was capable of pulling off an attack, and did so. AMLO, who everyone thought was nuts for claiming attacks on him were a government plot – and then turned out to be correct – thinks the explosions were an inside job (Cronica de hoy, 13 July 2007)

AMLO (and others) believe the “guerrilla attacks” were staged to divert attention from the rather messy fallout to the spectacular cash seizure earlier this year from Zhenli Ye Gon’s meth operation. Ye Gon’s charges that the cash was illegal campaign funds for PAN seemed crazy, but there’s meat to his story. ( ) If nothing else is suspicious, Ye Gon is walking around perfectly free in New York, and he had a PRI Senate floor pass on him which has never been explained (Mexican drug dealers aren’t simple banditos, but modern business executives. Maybe they have their own lobbyists).


If you’ve read the ERP communiques, they mention that military abuses – recent ones by soldiers fighting the drug war – was one of the rationales for their sabotage. If ERP was indeed involved, their reaction may be misguided, but their unease at the military presence is not radical. Among foreigners, it’s not just us crazy lefties with our human rights concerns who worry either. The Council on Hemispheric Affairs and military analysts have also been concerned about the effect on the military itself.


While the claims that the “9-11” attacks in New York and Washington were an “inside job” are considered the property of a lunatic fringe, there is no denying the events were a godsend to the Bush administration, which was still considered illegitimate by at least a quarter of the people. In Mexico, more than a quarter consider the Calderón administration illegitimate, and there’s every indication that the gas duct explosions are going to be used to attempt to rally the people. However, as with the “war on the cartels” they may fail. Thankfully, so far as I know, there is no Mexican version of Dick Cheney.




2 Comments leave one →
  1. 14 July 2007 8:02 pm

    Hi there-
    Could it be that Juanito Mouriño is the Mexican version of Dick Cheney? We may be in trouble, especially if he plans on going for the 2012 presidency.

  2. 18 July 2007 3:20 pm

    9/11/2001, Pentagon. Where is the Boeing 757-sized hole? In fact, where is the Boeing 757? –

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