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Wrong guys in Morelia… time to look for the “right” suspects

19 September 2008

For a short time I had a cushy job holding “conversation business English” classes with two fraud investigators for American Express — both former agents for the PGR.  They were nice enough guys, though their talk about torture and the need for it was kind of creepy.  They told the joke about the circus magician who reaches into his hat to discover…. the rabbit ran off with the payroll.  The FBI, Scotland Yard and the Mexican police are called in to investigate.  The FBI takes DNA swabs from everyone and runs forensic tests, Scotland Yard calls everyone into the big top and suggests they all “assist with the inquiries” and… both come up empty.  The Mexican police walk back into a tent where horrible slams and blood-curdling screams are soon heard.  Out pops a suspect to confess… the elephant!  (The moral of the story… Mexican police arrest the biggest and easiest to find suspect they can, guilt or innocence being secondary to a confession).

I think about that every time I hear of a particularly newsworthy crime in Mexico being solved almost immediately.  Especially a complex and politically sensitive one like the grenade attack at the Morelia grito.  U.S. — and some Mexican — sources are reporting that suspects are in custody… arrested in Zacatecas and “appeared to bear injuries similar to shrapnel wounds suffered by victims of the grenade attack.”  Or, perhaps the auto accident they were being treated for at the time of their arrest.

The PRG (Federal Prosecutor’s Office, which is also the investigative agency in federal crimes) might be getting better.  They have already said these aren’t the guys.  La Voz de Michoacan reports the prosecutors still have yet to determine a motive, let alone identified suspects…. who, they are sure… are not these guys.

Everyone is quick to assume this is an off-shoot of the Zetas, and suddenly up pops a story on how there is a Michoacan crime syndicate (la Familia) allied with the Zetas (who normally operate elsewhere).  All a little too convenient.  Nezua suspect the CiA… which is not off the wall at all.

One reason I’ve been posting so much about Bolivia is that it is an obvious example of U.S. attempts to support rightist groups in Latin America, or to provoke rightist reaction in leftist controlled states.  Michoacan is a left-wing holdout against the pro-U.S. Calderon administration (Governor Godoy is a plausible PRD candidate for President in 2012, and a leading figure in the opposition).

If this was political, I think the right is the most likely suspect, though not necessarily working for the CIA.  Gangsters up to now haven’t had a motive for indiscriminate violence against civilians, and certainly not in urban areas.  There’s no upside for them, and the gangsters are not stupid.   On the other hand, rightists have provoked violence (some thought last spring’s anti-emo attacks were basically a warm up for rightist violence — then blamed on the punks, who are anarchists and leftists) and, it’s just more logical to expect the right to provoke police crackdowns than for the left to do so… especially in a leftist state like Michoacan.

Secondly, if this is an indication that Mexico is following the Colombian scenario where gangsters turned to indiscriminate urban violence, you’ll recall it was right-wingers who used the gangsters for this purpose or that the gangsters allied themselves with the extreme right in the urban areas (FARC is rural).  After all, if gangsters have infiltrated the halls of power, the last thing they want is a change in management.  And, in Colombia, the rightist government did quell urban violence… by legitimizing the gangsters connected to the right, and putting one of their own (ALvaro Uribe) in the Presidency.

Maybe the PRG needs to bust some heads… but they need to make sure they’re after rabbits and not elephants.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 19 September 2008 8:21 pm

    Interesting point of view. I totally agree, there are very few scenarios to connect gangster or insurgency groups with this attack in Morelia. It may sound complotist, but looks like a process of legitimation of police. Or may be, there is a mad killer on Morelia streets. I don’t know what’s worse!!!!

    By the way, congratulations for you work on The_Mex_Files.

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