Former Mexican Governor Admits Past Presidents Controlled Drug Trade


Photo: CelsoFlores via Flickr

The Mexican political world was sent reeling this weekend after a former PRI politician admitted his party had exercised strong control over Mexico’s drug trafficking routes.During a recent university conference, former Nuevo Leon governor Socrates Rizzo said that previous PRI presidents had formalized agreements with drug cartel leaders to coordinate and protect Mexico’s lucrative drug trade, Milenio reports. Rizzo argued that presidential control over smuggling prevented the widespread violence that has been commonplace since the 2000 election of PAN president Vicente Fox, which ended more than 70 years of PRI control.

To add insult to injury, in a Wikileaks cable released Saturday Rizzo says he fears national elections would further enmesh organised crime in Mexico’s political system.

“While the two principal parties – PRI and PAN – had both taken steps to guard against the infiltration of narco-money in the campaigns, in practice it would be practically impossible to prevent organised crime from bankrolling candidates. One way the cartels could impact the race would be to just bribe television anchorpersons and the commentators, thereby ensuring that their particular candidate received favourable coverage. Alternatively, he said, organised crime could provide a candidate’s staff with walking around money to distribute to voters.”

Although Rizzo Garcia’s admission merely confirms an open secret in Mexican society, his comments have shaken Mexican politics as the country’s major political parties gear up for the 2012 presidential election. Borderland Beat has an excellent analysis of the fallout here.

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