While enduring multiple screenings of Bernardo Ruiz’s Kingdom of Shadows, my mind began to wander. I’d seen the film a couple of times before the festival and knew well what was to come. So now, I was better able to analyze and digest the material—to reconcile what I saw with other pieces from my past—things I have heard and seen over the years related to Mexico and the dope business.
I also met Alfredo Corchado at the festival. He gave me a signed copy of Midnight in Mexico, his well-written personal odyssey describing the life of a reporter trying to get to the bottom of this mess. I’ve now read the book.
One sentence synopsis: When you do the job of reporting crime in Mexico well, you quickly become part of the story.
There are things “they” don’t want you to know.
But let’s not let the pot call the kettle black.
When describing U.S. involvement in the international dope game accurately, you may also find yourself part of the story.
I’d say, ask Gary Webb, or Michael Ruppert. But they’re both dead of self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the head.
Few dare rise to this level.
In 2010, my friend Oscar Cabello gave me the inside scoop. It went something like this:
The Sinaloa cartel cut a deal with Mexican authorities, desiring to restore some sense of order to the dope business—a return to the era when cartels acknowledged and respected territories, the dope was sold to U.S. citizens, and the money found its way back to Mexico. Politicians got paid, but the poor also benefited as the money trickled down through the economy (unlike in the US, it actually worked under the Mexican model). Mexicans, as a rule, did not consume the product.
Unlike modern manifestations like the Zetas, drug organizations of that era did not inflict cuotas on legitimate businesses, nor did they participate in smuggling aliens or prey upon those migrating to the United States. They didn’t steal money from migrants sending money home to their families either.
And they didn’t sell to the locals.
They sold dope to willing customers in the US and brought the money home.
Under the plan, elements of the Mexican government would join forces with commandos and sicarios provided by the narcos to eliminate undesirables like the Zetas.
Domestic dealers would also be targeted, in typical mano duro fashion. Selling dope in Mexico, even relatively small amounts warranted a death sentence—no arrest, trial, judge or jury; a simple execution in the streets for all to see.
Even drug rehab clinics were targeted.
The message: do drugs and die in a hail of bullets.
As if the Zetas weren’t bad enough on their own, members of this spawned-in-hell confederation staged events which were then blamed on the Zetas.
Prisoners were taken from prison cells, armed and sent out to commit mass murders, only to be back in their cells by sun-up.
Media was complicit: these acts were blamed on Zetas.
And here is where it gets nasty.
I think there were Americans in very high places, at least aware of this plan, if not actively participating in it.
Of course, from my simple station in life, I cannot prove this.
For what it’s worth, the plan failed.