OUR NAFTA NEIGHBOR
(From the August 1996 Conspiracy Nation Newsletter)
"Ah. Mexico Lindo."
"It don't look so 'lindo' to me. It just looks like more Texas."
These lines are from the great western movie, The Wild Bunch.
Fleeing bank robbers William Holden, Warren Oates and others
escape the United States and seek refuge in circa 1915 Mexico.
They enter a Mexico in the middle of revolution and become caught
up in events.
The early 20th century Mexican Revolution is the stuff of legend.
It is perceived as having been a peasant uprising, but that is
misleading. There were actually two Mexican Revolutions in the
mid-to-late 1910s: one was led by an emerging middle class; the
other was a peasant revolution led by such as Emiliano Zapata and
Pancho Villa. The former sought a strong central government.
The latter wanted land rights, reform, and local government.
After years of fighting, the middle class faction won. One of
their first priorities was to crush Villa's and Zapata's peasant
Yet subsequent Mexican governments promoted an erroneous history,
purporting that Zapata and Villa had been part of the victorious
middle class faction, not that that faction had viciously
destroyed them -- so much the better to rule when all those you
rule believe they belong.
Another almost immediate effect of the revolution was that the
new Mexican government increasingly became the main source of
business for private companies. Loyal supporters of the ruling
party were rewarded with fat government contracts.
Another major upheaval came in the late 1960s. Hundreds of
thousands of Mexican students and workers began agitating against
the Mexican government. They marched, gave speeches, and
published small newspapers, demanding reform and economic
justice. Alarmed, the government at last unleashed the military;
thousands were murdered, imprisoned, and tortured in what is
known as Mexico City's Tlatelolco Square Massacre.
After the massacre, those elements of the movement not dead or in
prison were driven underground. They formed small political
"cells" and continued to nurture their 1960s rhetoric and ideals.
Out of the government repression, the National Liberation Forces
(NLF) was born. It grew and was one of several Mexican guerrilla
groups having a pro-Cuban, Marxist ideology. For funding, the
NLF began to rob banks, starting in the 1970s. It also developed
peasant support groups in Chiapas, the southernmost Mexican
By 1980, the organization of the NLF had become four-tiered: a
national directorate, a politburo, an urban front, and a rural
front; the Zapatista National Liberation Front (EZLN). The NLF
strategy had evolved by this time into a Maoist strategy of
"prolonged popular war."
In the early 1980s, several Marxist philosophy and sociology
students from Mexico City's Autonomous Metropolitan University
moved to Chiapas to help organize NLF's rural guerrilla front.
Helping them was Msgr. Samuel Ruiz, "the Red Bishop," who
organized 4,000 lay workers to preach "liberation theology" to
the Chiapas Indians. (Question: Is this why Lyndon LaRouche,
shill for the right-wing Opus Dei faction of the Catholic Church,
has so vehemently denounced the Zapatista rebellion? Remember
from the last issue, "The Smiling Pope," how leftist and rightist
factions within the Catholic Church can be quite antagonistic.)
Besides having lay workers preaching to the peasant groups, the
waters were further muddied: NLF's people begin to infiltrate
Roman Catholic peasant groups.
In 1988, Harvard trained Carlos Salinas de Gotari became
President of Mexico. During his term of office (1988-1994) the
big push for the so-called North American Free Trade Agreement
(NAFTA) gathered steam. In the United States, the Salinas
government spent $11 million per year on what is politely called
"public relations" -- propaganda -- designed to persuade
Americans that Mexico would make an excellent NAFTA partner.
But, among other things, Yale trained Billy Clinton's and Harvard
trained Carlos Salinas' NAFTA wound up sending a flood of cheap
corn and wheat into Mexico. This hurt Mexican farmers badly.
They, in turn, could no longer afford to hire the Chiapas Indians
as field hands.
Carlos Salinas was so often referred to as "the Harvard trained
Salinas" that he became nicknamed "Harvard Trained Salinas." The
Mexican state of Chiapas is so impoverished that it is nicknamed
"Mexico's basement" -- in other words it is kept hidden how
backward it is. The majority of its people are poor, Indian
peasants. The women must walk for hours every day, just so their
families can have water and firewood. Their shacks are lucky to
have a tin roof.
So what did Harvard Trained and his government do? Help them get
electricity and running water? No, Harvard Trained and upper
crust chums decided to get them 3700 basketball courts! The
Chiapas Indians, thanks to Harvard Trained, then put together
12,000 basketball teams. They still don't have shoes and their
average height is about 5 feet 3 inches tall -- but hey: at
least after a hard day of toting firewood they can relax and
shoot some hoops!
Harvard Trained also caused an $11 million, world class opera
house to be built in Chiapas. While it was being built, right
next door to it, two homeless Indian children died of exposure.
It seems the nights grow cold in Chiapas.
On February 23rd, 1993, a private dinner party was held at the
sumptuous home of former Mexican finance minister Don Antonio
Ortiz Mena. The party was attended by President Salinas and
several Mexican billionaires. The meeting was supposed to have
been top secret, but news of its having occurred leaked out.
Reportedly, each of the attendees agreed to give $25 million to
the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). The "revolutionary"
PRI is in fact what amounts to as the political party in Mexico.
It is the political party that was born out of the early 20th
century Mexican Revolution, way back in the late 1910s. PRI is
akin to the Democratic Party in Chicago in the sense that, sure
there are other political parties, but everyone knows that really
only that one party has the power.
So just why would it be that several Mexican billionaires would
secretly give $25 million apiece to the PRI? Had they suddenly
become extremely "patriotic" yet, being humble about it, did not
wish to fanfare what noble fellows they are?
On May 22nd, 1993, the Mexican army entered the now-abandoned
Zapatista camp near San Miguel, in the Mexican state of Chiapas.
It was seen that this "spontaneous," "populist," Chiapas
insurgent army is suprisingly well-funded: the Zapatista camp
was huge, and included a volleyball court; it was equipped with
electricity, televisions, and kitchens.
By 1994 it was becoming clearer that the Zapatista rebel army is
not autonomous. It is actually being run by white, middle-class
intellectuals in Mexico City. The "Sub-commander Marcos" is not
native to Chiapas; he is white-skinned, well-educated, and from
Mexico City. While this editor is not always in agreement with
Pat Robertson, one of his writings from the book, The New World
Order, comes to mind:
All the extreme political ideologies in the world --
whether they come from the extreme right or the extreme
left -- have come from the privileged classes. Those who
want to determine how the poor should live have never
endured or even seen real poverty. Socialism in Britain
was a creature of the aristocracy. Communism was the
brainchild of German-Jewish intellectuals...
In Mexico City, like a spider ruling its web, sits Commander in
Chief "German." Somehow the impoverished Indians of Chiapas are
quite well-armed, with AK-47 rifles, Uzi submachine guns, grenade
launchers, and night vision devices. Yet the world press,
suckers for a story that they can sell to a nostalgic Woodstock
generation, has promoted romantic nonsense; they have portrayed
the Chiapas rebellion as a populist uprising.
1994 saw the imminent expiration of Harvard trained Salinas' term
of office. On March 23rd, 1994, PRI's presidential candidate
Luis Donaldo Colosio was assassinated in Tijuana. The confessed
assassin of Colosio, Mario Aburto Martinez, was at first
perceived as a "lone nut." But this view quickly changed as the
government-appointed special prosecutor went on record stating
that there had been what he calls a "concerted action" (what I
would call, in other words, "a conspiracy") behind Colosio's
murder. Speculation grew that the killing had been done at the
behest of powerful persons in Mexico. The growing apprehension
threatened to crash the Mexican stock market, the Bolsa, and
precipitate flight of capital from Mexico.
Meanwhile, subsequent to the death of PRI nominee Colosio,
Ernesto Zedillo was unveiled as the Mexican Establishment's new
candidate for the post of el presidente. Government workers were
bused to PRI headquarters in downtown Mexico City to serve as
cheering background for the new candidate. On television they
could be seen -- to the naive they appeared as spontaneous,
enthusiastic supporters of Zedillo. But for these stage-managed
supporters, all that really counted was that they got to stay on
the gravy train. This situation occurs also in the United States
where a background of "enthusiastic supporters" is largely fake,
with the real enthusiasm being for fat government contracts,
high-level government jobs and potential political backing in
later campaigns. (Also in attendance as enthusiastic background
for stooge candidates are naive persons who believe in this
The new candidate, Zedillo, is said to be the puppet of PRI
hard-liners, who favor toughness, intolerance, and repression
In this time frame, Mexico's ruling class had been experiencing
increasing internal tensions -- a.k.a. a "clash of titans,"
a.k.a. faction fights. The government was undergoing a process
of what is code-named "privatization," thought by some to really
mean the selling off of publicly-owned assets to private
corporations for benefit of greedy stockholders. This
"privatization" process is resulting in a shrinking of the
government's economic pie; a sort of "downsizing" within the
Mexican government is leading to bitter infighting amongst the
By the summer of 1994, the "enthusiastic" push for candidate
Zedillo was in high gear. The PRI secretly paid millions of
dollars to Mexican newspapers in return for their publishing
campaign propaganda disguised as news. About 10 percent of these
monies went to reporters themselves, to keep them quiet about
what they knew. Televisa, the Mexican television monopoly --
really an octopus that smothers all other news -- gave the vast
majority of its air time to the Zedillo campaign. The opposition
Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) candidate, Cuauhtemoc
Cardenas, got only miniscule coverage by Televisa. To confuse
voters, the Establishment's Institutional Revolutionary Party
(PRI) even created small, fake opposition parties which were
secretly funded by PRI.
The Mexican common people struggle for whatever influence they
can wield over how their lives are being affected. The "El
Barzon" movement, one million strong, fights the banksters.
Crushed under usurious debt, they demand renegotiation of past
loans. Activist groups launch an "adopt a public official"
campaign: the "adopted" official comes under close scrutiny by
the adopter; he is put "under the microscope" and, if he is
corrupt, pressure is brought to bear.
Thanks to looming NAFTA, the Mexican-U.S. border is more wide
open than ever to "free trade." That border is becoming the
number 1 drug smuggling route for illicit narcotics. 75 percent
of cocaine entering the U.S. comes in via Mexico. Yearly profits
of about $20 billion further corrupt politics via bribery and
terror. The drug money is laundered through Mexican banks and
through investments in resorts and shopping centers. The city of
Guadalajara has become the "Wall Street" for Mexican money
laundering. Is that why Cardinal Posadas Ocampo of that city was
assassinated? Supposedly it was a case of "mistaken identity" --
but was it rather that Posadas Ocampo had become a thorn in the
side of Dope, Incorporated?
Then, on September 28th, 1994, in downtown Mexico City, Jose
Francisco "Pepe" Ruiz Massieu, PRI general secretary, was gunned
down. Could this tragedy have happened because his brother,
Mario Ruiz Massieu, was a senior government prosecutor who had
publicly sworn to defeat Mexico's massive Gulf drug cartel? To
stave off such suspicions, hours after the slaying of Jose
Francisco brother Mario was made chief investigator into the
case. Daniel Aguilar, gunman in the assassination of "Pepe" Ruiz
Massieu, had fortuitously been captured at the site of the
killing. His full confession led ultimately to PRI congressman
Manuel Munoz Rocha. But Congressman Munoz Rocha then
The initial public excitement and outrage regarding the
assassination of "Pepe" Ruiz Massieu died down with time. With
the heat off, the investigation by Mario Ruiz Massieu into his
brothers death began to bog down. On November 15, 1994, Mario
Ruiz Massieu charged that the PRI was blocking his investigation.
Later that month, he resigned as special investigator into his
brother's murder. In early December, Mario Ruiz Massieu fled
Mexico. He was arrested in Newark, New Jersey, carrying $7
million. Mexico has demanded he be extradited; they charge that
Mario had covered up involvement of Raul Salinas -- Carlos
Salinas' brother -- as mastermind behind the killing of "Pepe"
By late December of 1994, both the Colosio and Ruiz Massieu
assassinations had made foreign investors nervous; their Mexican
deposits began a stampede for the exits. A Zapatista uprising in
Chiapas lessened investor confidence still further. There was a
financial crisis. It was decided to "float" the Mexican peso --
allow the market to fix its price. In the next few months,
American investors lost more than 30 percent of their money. The
Mexican financial troubles threatened a worldwide chain reaction
that could have crashed stock markets throughout the world.
In early 1995 U.S. President Bill Clinton used his executive
powers to release $20 billion from the U.S. Treasury Exchange
Stabilization Fund -- money originally meant to stabilize the
U.S. dollar -- to help save Mexico from bankruptcy. The New York
investment bank Goldman-Sachs reportedly had huge investments
down in the land of our NAFTA neighbor. The just-appointed U.S.
Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin had until quite recently been
head of Goldman-Sachs. Hmmm.... Is there a conflict of interest
Also in early 1995 the so-called "Chase Bank memo" surfaced in
the Washington Post. This Chase Manhattan Bank memo urged the
Mexican government to get moving and crush the Zapatista
resistance. Furthermore, Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo is
aware that the Chase Bank memo represents the secret views of
In early March of 1995, Raul Salinas was arrested, charged with
being the mastermind behind the murder of "Pepe" Ruiz Massieu.
Now ex-President Carlos Salinas, saying he is convinced Raul is
innocent, began a hunger strike. But, after a day or two to
think it over, he went back to eating.
By November 24th, 1995, those with access to Associated Press
were reading about Raul Salinas being on trial for murder. The
plot thickens: the murdered "Pepe" Ruiz Massieu was Raul
Salinas' brother-in-law. Around this time also, Paulina
Castanon, sister-in-law of Harvard-trained ex-President Carlos
Salinas, got arrested; she allegedly used false documents to try
to withdraw nearly $84 million from a Swiss bank account.
(Associated Press, 11/24/95)
At about this time too, Reuters reported that Swiss authorities
had blocked several bank accounts in a probe "into a drugs and
money-laundering scheme alleged to be linked to the brother of
Mexican ex-President Carlos Salinas." But, said Carlos Salinas,
compadre of dashing Bill Clinton, U.S. President, "I know
nothing." Yet, strangely, Carlos Salinas himself next seems to
vanish! Where is Carlos Salinas? (Reuters, 11/30/95)
Carlos Salinas, circa November 30, 1995, was formally "accused of
treason and fraud in connection with the 1990 sell-off of state
phone company Telmex." (Reuters, 11/30/95) (You see, they were
privatizing the state phone company.)
But hold the phone! Reuters reported on December 1, 1995 that
another $20 million had been found stashed away for Raul Salinas,
this time in a London account. And where is Carlos Salinas, the
ex-President? He has fled Mexico and is said to be laying low in
December 2, 1995: Probes were launched by both Canada and Mexico
into possible financial wrongdoing by Carlos Salinas. And,
according to El Financiero newspaper, "Mexican police have found
some $300 million in bank accounts belonging to the
ex-president's brother in Switzerland, Germany, England,
Luxembourg, and the Cayman Islands." (See also Reuters,
Reuters ("Mexico Bails Out Top Bank In Growing Crisis," 12/15/95)
next reported "a de-facto renationalization of the bank system
that was privatized during the previous government of Carlos
Salinas." It seems that drug traffickers and others had been
buying up -- "privatizing" -- the banks, and now the Mexican
government was forced to bail out these same banks to keep them
from collapsing. And, noted New Federalist ("Four Nations
Investigating Salinas Money, Dope Ties," 12/11/95), "According to
an expose in the New York Times last July, former Bush
administration officials charged that they had been ordered by
other senior Bush officials to hush up reports of drug activity
under the Salinas team -- such as how drug-traffickers were
buying up Mexican state companies that were being privatized."
Did Raul Salinas consult with witches regarding the Colosio
slaying? Reuters ("Mexico Police Probe Witches In Colosio Case,"
12/16/95) reported that investigators had travelled to the Canary
Islands to interview two "witches" who might have information.
But why would Raul Salinas consult them on the Colosio slaying
when he is supposedly only involved in the death of "Pepe" Ruiz
Massieu? Or is there a link between the two deaths?
Meanwhile, Mario Ruiz Massieu, as of December 15, 1995, was still
fighting extradition back to Mexico. He had been held without
bail since his March 3rd arrest at Newark International Airport.
Am I wrong, or would this have made for some interesting reports
from mainstream "news" outlets? Yet this whole story has been
scarcely if at all covered here in the U.S. Thus, I have had to
"dig for buried treasure" just to get a glimpse of what has been
going on with our new NAFTA friend.
So details I have are still sketchy regarding our "top secret"
trading partner and just what is going on down there. Recently,
news surfaced regarding Citibank and Carlos Salinas being
involved in "a multimillion-dollar international
drug-money-laundering scheme." You may have seen a watered-down
version of this story recently on the CBS program "60 Minutes."
Apparently, when sister-in-law of Carlos Salinas, Paulina
Castanon, had tried withdrawing the $84 million from the Swiss
bank (see above), it opened up a real can of worms. Castanon,
wife of the imprisoned Raul Salinas, was nabbed at a high-class
bank, Pictet & Cie, in Geneva. The account at Pictet was set up
for Raul Salinas, under a phony name, by Amelia Grovas Elliot of
Citibank. She has been, since 1981, in charge of the Mexico
branch of Citibank's Private Bank, a bank within Citibank
handling an ultra-exclusive clientele. Citibank itself went
bankrupt in 1992 and was secretly placed into receivership by the
New York Federal Reserve. This means that the New York Fed has
since 1992, supposedly, been "micro-managing" any Citibank
transactions of $1 million or more. So it becomes increasingly
clear that Raul Salinas was washing a lot of money -- be it from
illicit drug dealings, bribes, or whatever -- with the help of
Citibank and under the watchful eyes of the Federal Reserve!
(See: "Fed, Citibank, Salinas In Dope-$-Laundering," New
Federalist, 06/17/96; Wall Street Journal, 06/07/96.)
Prognosis is difficult since only smatterings of information
arrive from Mexico. Recently, it has been reported by New
Federalist that a mob of starving Mexicans went so far as to
hijack a freight train loaded with grain going through their
district. I am attempting to get hold of Mexican newspapers
which may give more clues. Will our next war be with our current
NAFTA partner? Divorces can get messy. Stay tuned.
(Main source for the preceding has been *Bordering on Chaos* by
Andres Oppenheimer. Boston: Little, Brown & Company, 1996.)