Mexican president-elect AMLO acccused of taking bribes at Chapo trial
The trial of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is on, and whose name do you suppose comes up, as the witnesses are brought out?
Yup, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the socialist who's poised to take Mexico's presidency in a couple weeks. He ran for presidency arguing that he wasn't corrupt, and well, now there's this.
Here's what's out now from the Los Angeles Times:
One of the most important cooperating witnesses in the prosecution of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman appeared poised to implicate Mexico’s president-elect in corruption on Tuesday while recounting payoffs to high-level politicians — until he was stopped by the judge.
Defense attorney William Purpura led former Guzman deputy Jesus “El Rey” Zambada Garcia through a tightly choreographed dance around allegations about which the court had limited testimony during a lengthy sidebar before jurors were brought in Tuesday morning.
After an extended back-and-forth about bribes that the witness said he paid Mexico’s former top cop, Genaro Garcia Luna, on behalf of his brother, Sinaloa cartel boss Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, Purpura asked about a man named Regino, whom Zambada Garcia identified as a deputy to then-Mexico City Mayor Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
“And what if any relationship did Regino have to Lopez Obrador?” Purpura asked, before Judge Brian Cogan sustained an objection from federal prosecutors, preventing him from giving an answer. Instead, the defense lawyer pressed the witness over exactly how much money Regino had received at their meeting in 2005.
“I’m not sure, but it was a few million dollars,” Zambada Garcia replied. “It was paid to him because it was said he was going to be the next secretary of security, and if so it would be for our protection.”
O.K., let's bear in mind that accused drug kingpins who use John Gotti's lawyer to lead their defense, are probably going to try anything, including having witnesses make wild claims to keep themselves out of the Supermax.
We definitely saw some wild claims from drug lords and their buddies back in Colombia when President Alvaro Uribe was at the helm, claiming he took drug lord money, which was hard to believe based on the fact that Uribe was absolute hell on drug dealers, every one of them.
So don't think it's not reasonable to be skeptical.
That said, the story is pretty specific, and it does ring of big-city politics, the kind you might actually see in some place like Mexico City. AMLO at the time was its mayor. Yet he had a pretty good reputation for clean government, and he hired Rudy Giuliani to help fix the crime situation as well. So there might be nothing to it.
In this Mexico News Daily story here, we learn that Chapo's defense has accused two other Mexican presidents, sitting centrist president Enrique Pena-Nieto, and past conservative president, Felipe Calderon of taking bribes from one kingpin to keep him out of jail while going after El Chapo, something that's obviously a ploy to say Chapo wasn't so bad, just that other guys bribed bigger and thus didn't get busted. The two leaders there are denying it.
And yeah, sure. Calderon's record in particular belies that story, given the political flak he took for confronting drug dealers. Could he have taken bribes from one in order to have ample resources to take out others. Oh, maybe. Same with Uribe - these men were fighting multiple enemies at once. But I don't think so, not considering Uribe's fierce determination and Calderon's record of confrontation.
But AMLO is a leftist, and not particularly loud or hard in his opposition to drug dealers. Knowing how leftists cheat here in the states, and how the illegal immigration racket they all defend is actually a money-maker for the cartels such as the Sinaloa Cartel which Chapo ran, one wonders if some of these charges could be true. And, if the judge ought to just let more of the facts keep rolling out.
If so, what a tough time President Trump is going to have getting a grip on the border and getting cooperation from the Mexicans. Things have started out well between Trump and AMLO but who knows what might be next.
What this U.S. trial of Chapo is showing is a microscope on Mexico. The U.S. judge is seeking to keep politics out of it, so as to get a clean conviction it seems. But the political aspect is more than a little important for the rest of us to understand what we are dealing with when the new government comes to power. Caveat emptor.