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The ransom of el Jefe

27 July 2010

As I predicted, Jefe Diego has resurfaced as soon as the elections were out of the way.  David Agren has a well-balanced report on the release of a photo and letter, supposedly from the “kidnapped” Jefe (and I only write kidnapped in quotes, because we’re talking about a guy just devious enough to arrange his disappearance himself, if only to avoid tax liabilities) and a photo, showing him with a recent issue of what David calls “muckraking news weekly, Proceso“.

I find it ironic that “The letter – which lacks any sort of polish or the prose for which Fernández de Cevallos, a gifted orator, is known – begins with an admonishment to quit penny pinching and to pay any ransom as quickly as possible.”

Diego Fernández de Cevallos didn’t get filthy rich by being a pushover in negotiations, and now he appears to be complaining that his son is trying to low-ball the ransom.  Considering that the muck raked up by Proceso included an incomplete list of Jefe Diego’s ill-got gains, it’s not like whoever is holding him isn’t able to come up with a reasonable ransom demand.  One thing Diego (if Diego is the author) says is:

“… They tell me that they made you a concrete proposal and that you haven’t answered them with a reasonable counter offer. You have to do it now, immediately.

” … Any advice that that you’re poor is absurd and will be fatal.”

(Agren’s translation).

Maybe Diego Jr, who was the presumed recipient of the missive, is a chip off the old block, and just following in the footsteps of dear old dad.

I admit, I kinda appreciated having Jefe Diego around, thinking of him as a Mexican version of Bob Dole, and finding something endearing about cantankerous curmudgeons with a wicked sense of humor.  But, then, Jefe Diego isn’t just a conservative political figure, but the  embodiment of everything wrong with Mexican political elites.  There are plenty of Mexicans who would be perfectly happy to NOT have him around, even for entertainment value.  When Jefe Diego writes, “I can’t describe the hell that your father is living,” a goodly portion of Mexicans figure his getting in practice for his eternal reward is a good thing. And, should something happen, even with a hefty ransom, there’s still plenty of loot to keep the heirs in the style to which they’ve become all too accustomed.

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