Condolences to the Salinas family of Mexico
The tragedy comes as a hard blow - no pun intended - to Carlos, already suffering the loss of eldest brother Raul to a Mexican correctional institution for 27 and a half years on account of his masterminding assassinations of political opponents, money laundering and "inexplicable enrichment." Enrique, perhaps not coincidentally, was known to have a business relationship with Raul.
And in fact, Raul's enrichment is quite explicable. More than $100 million in Raul's Swiss accounts was found by Swiss courts to be drug cartel protection money. Of course, he didn't do it all by his lonesome. He had considerable help from the obliging "to serve you better" folks at Citibank.
Adding an entirely expected though surely unconscious comic touch, The New York Times' report of Enrique's death calls Carlos a "visionary modernizer." Of course it would. Salinas looted Mexico of its public wealth, privatizing all 252 of Mexico's state-held firms to the benefit of his family and PRI cronies. Who could be more visionary to The New York Times? Certainly not that "thug," Hugo Chavez.
Salinas, as Mexican president, privatized the banks, television stations and other industries. Meanwhile, he nationalized the narco.
During his term (1988-1994), with the support of two US administrations (Bush and Clinton), Mexican drug trafficking organizations surpassed their counterparts in Colombia in this multi-billion dollar industry.
Two weeks after Salinas left office in 1994, the peso crashed and the Mexican middle class was destroyed. For every million Mexicans whose livelihood was ruined, there is a millionaire who was enriched beyond dream. And many of them -- especially in the banking and media industries -- are white-collar narco-kingpins.
The Bush and Salinas families go back a long way together. Perhaps even longer than the Bushes and the bin Ladens. But it's not surprising, considering their shared business interests.
Michel Chossudovsky writes:
According to The Houston Chronicle and The Ledger (Lakeland, Florida), Jeb Bush (brother of George W) - before becoming Governor of the Sunshine State - was a close friend of Raul Salinas de Gortiari, and brother of former President of Mexico Carlos Salinas. Raul - who was a leading member of the Mexican Drug Cartel - is now serving a 27 year jail term for having murdered a political opponent:
"There has also been a great deal of speculation in Mexico about the exact nature of Raul Salinas' close friendship with former President George Bush's son, Jeb. It is well known here that for many years the two families spent vacations together -- the Salinases at Jeb Bush's home in Miami, the Bushes at Raul's ranch, Las Mendocinas, under the volcano in Puebla. There are many in Mexico who believe that the relationship became a back channel for delicate and crucial negotiations between the two governments, leading up to President Bush's sponsorship of NAFTA." (Houston Chronicle, 9 March 1995)
The personal relationship between the Bush and Salinas families is a matter of public record. Former President George Bush - when he worked in the oil business in Texas in the 1970s - had developed close personal ties with Carlos Salinas and his father, Raul Salinas Lozano. According to Andres Openheimer writing in the Miami Herald (February 17 1997):
"witnesses say former Mexican president Carlos Salinas de Gortiari, his imprisoned brother Raul and other members of country's ruling elite met with drug lord Juan Garcia Abrego at a Salinas family ranch; Jeb Bush admits he met with Raul Salinas several times but has never done any business with him."
According to former DEA Michael Levine, the Mexican drug Cartel was a "family affair". Both Carlos and Raul were prominent members of the Cartel. And this was known to then US Attorney General Edward Meese in 1987 one year prior to Carlos Salinas' inauguration as the country's president.
When Carlos Salinas was inaugurated as President, the entire Mexican State apparatus become criminalised with key government positions occupied by members of the Cartel. The Minister of Commerce in charge of trade negotiations leading up to the signing of NAFTA was Raul Salinas Lozano, father of Raul Junior the Drug kingpin and of Carlos the president.
And it's more than drugs that binds the Salinas and Bush boys. Consider the 1988 election of Carlos, and whether it rings a recent bell.
From Whiteout, by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St Clair:
As the first votes began to be tallied, Cardenas appeared to be winning. Then Interior Minister Manuel Bartlett Diaz ordered a suspension of the counting. Bartlett...claimed that the electoral computer system had crashed. Then days later Salinas was declared the winner with 52 percent of the vote. Over the next month, official sheets were found to have been altered by the placement of additional zeros in Salinas's PRI column. More than 20,000 ballots that favored Cardenas were found in waste dumps or floating in riverbeds. An independent analysis of the vote estimated that Cardenas had in fact won with 42 percent, against Salinas's 36 percent.
Ironically, Cockburn dismisses similar concerns regarding the legitimacy of the 2004 US election as foolish conspiracy theory. But whether or not the election was rigged likely doesn't matter a great deal to Cockburn, as he didn't see much to distinguish Bush from the DLC-approved Kerry anyway. Fair enough. But that should be beside the point of the integrity of the vote.
Perhaps someday Cockburn will revist the Salinas story, and appreciate how much today's GOP resembles yesterday's "Institutional Revolutionary Party."