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President Fox Guarding Narco Hen-House?
Date: Wednesday, March 30
President Fox Guarding Narco Hen-House?
Mexico press said Fox close to top drug trafficker, raising questions about curious Bush-Clinton links to Fox
[ This story was originally published at WorldNetDaily.com on February 15, 2001. Interestingly, it was re-posted without censorship but with a great deal of comment at FreeRepublic.com on July 28, 2001. President Bill Clinton had earlier met former Mexico President Ernesto Zedillo at the coastal ranch of alleged narcotics trafficker Roberto Hernandez Ramirez in 1999 for the U.S.-Mexico "anti-drug" conference, after which new President Vicente Fox vacationed with Ramirez. Curiously, reports at the same time revealed that then Texas Governor George Bush "loaned" Fox one of his top media consultants to assure his election, validating secret Bush links to the Mexico president (the consultant used fake names to hide the ties during his 40 visits with Fox), all of which is mostly unknown to the American people and the United States Congress--well, most of Congress. This, despite multiple Mexico press allegations.
To add to the outrage, Ramirez is also on the board of directors of New York CitiBank and a member of the International Advisory Committee of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of New York, after having sold his BanaMex bank to CitiGroup in 2001 for $12.5 billion.
Revealing photo and map evidence with testimonial allegations about Ramirez ran daily in Por Esto during Clinton's Cancun conference, alleging Ramirez was running a drug trafficking operation from his huge property, complete with an airport which allegedly smuggled one-third of Central America's cocaine into the U.S.A. This, according to the three largest daily newspapers in Mexico, raising questions about side agendas as President Bush himself meets with Fox on Thursday and Friday in Cancun, adjacent to the property owned by Ramirez, who the press referred to as "El Narcotrafficante." Given the evidence, questions could be raised as to whether the citizen-led "Minuteman Project" has been having too great an effect upon slowing cocaine trafficking into America. One could also question senators who say the U.S.A. does not need a helicopter-patrolled double fence along its border.
Although this controversial story was written five years ago, it is reprinted here in the hope that American citizens enraged over the Senate Judiciary Committee's approval of corporate "guest-worker" amnesty will realize that there is substantial proof and evidence that two U.S. presidents offer credibility to a Mexican President who consorts and vacations with one of the largest alleged drug traffickers in the hemisphere, according to Mexico's own newspapers--and who happens to sit on the board of America's largest bank. Note whether the corporate media picks up on these links while Bush is in Mexico this week--or whether the media continues the cover-up. Thanks to Al Giordano and NarcoNews.com. TF, March, 30th 2006 ]
By Tom Flocco
© 2001 WorldNetDaily.com
February 15, 2001
There's an intriguing story left virtually unreported by the mainstream U.S. media regarding a friendship between alleged Cancun drug-trafficker and banker Roberto Hernandez Ramirez and Mexican President Vicente Fox.
This is especially strange when you throw in President Bush's Feb. 16 meeting in Mexico with the nation's new leader.
Few people have cued into the Mexican president's connections to Bush's own Dallas TV ad consultant, Robert Allyn. Along with consulting work for Bush, according to a July 9, 2000, Dallas Morning News report, Allyn worked secretly for three years on the election campaign of Vicente Fox and would have most likely known about the alleged connection between Fox and drug runners. The allegations were made specifically by three Yucatan newspapers: Por Esto! (Dec. 16, 1996), El Universal (July 8, 2000) and La Jornada (July 9, 2000).
Forbes Magazine reported that Roberto Hernandez, who could not afford an American Express card in 1980, today earns the largest annual salary in Mexico -- reported as $29 million per year -- and is a billionaire who runs Mexico's largest bank.
Por Esto!'s evidence linking Hernandez to narcotics was so solid that a judge threw out Hernandez's libel suit against the newspaper and editor Mario Menendez because, as the Feb. 23, 2000, Village Voice reported, "all the accusations formed by [Menendez] were based on facts." Hernandez did not return the Voice's calls for comment, but Menendez added in an interview that Hernandez's "properties were found with cocaine. All of this is confirmed by the [Mexican] Air Force, thus, there is no possibility of libel."
Fox's campaign consultant, Robert Allyn, had been the creator of a series of controversial ads during the Republican primaries for Bush's Dallas billionaire friend, Sam Wyly, a heavy campaign contributor. The TV spots defended Gov. Bush's environmental policies while questioning the eco record of Arizona Sen. John McCain.
Presidential candidate Fox used the Bush-connected TV consultant -- reportedly paid no salary, only ad production costs -- over a three-year period while he used fake names to avoid the media and ruling party aides. And Allyn made some 40 trips to Mexico, quietly consulting with Fox at his Guanajuato ranch.
The Mexican president also visited Allyn whenever he was in Dallas. However, the Dallas Morning News report did not reveal who recommended Allyn to the Fox campaign, why Allyn was basically working for no compensation, or whether -- more importantly -- someone unidentified was paying him for his services to Fox.
Open borders, borderline behavior
Notwithstanding the drug issue, Fox has been controversial in the eyes of some U.S. lawmakers because of his call for an open U.S.-Mexican border, while declaring himself the leader of both Mexico's citizens and the estimated 18 million Mexicans and Mexican-Americans living in the United States. Bush himself has helped fuel this controversy. At a Feb. 7 White House press conference, Bush Press Secretary Ari Fleischer told the national media that Bush "thinks we should have fair trade with Mexico and that we should have borders that make that possible." No explanation came detailing Bush's actual border policy.
Further complicating the drug issue, just two weeks ago, as the Washington Post reported, four senators -- Chris Dodd, D-Ct., John McCain, R-Ariz., Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., and Ernest Hollings, D-S.C. -- moved to cosponsor legislation to suspend the annual process under which the United States is required to assess Mexico's performance in combating narcotics trafficking. Continued certification brings $1.4 billion in U.S. financial assistance in the drug war.
|Photos by Gonzalo Subirats of Por Esto!
1. Por Esto! Reporters inside Roberto Hernández properties in 1996, investigating what local fishermen reported as a huge cocaine trafficking operation protected by the owner. The cocaine boats entered by night into these estuaries and unloaded their illicit cargo, later to be sent North to the US in small airplanes.
2. BANAMEX president Roberto Hernández Ramírez.
3. The private airfield from which small planes fly north on Hernández properties "without any governmental oversight."
4. 200 kilos of cocaine seized on "Punta Pajaros", owned by Hernández, the exact place where Mexico's President-Elect chose to spend his vacation 120 hours after winning the July 2, 2000 elections, as guest of the banker Hernández.
However, it seems that no one has questioned this legislation, when, at the same time, the Mexican press is reporting that Fox consorts with a narco kingpin. Por Esto! refers to the controversial Roberto Hernandez Ramirez as "El Narcotraficante," while editor Mario Menendez claims that "U.S. authorities are managing the illegal drug trade in Mexico," according to a Feb. 23, 2000, report in the Village Voice.
No mention was made whether the senators discussed how their bill addresses the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's continuing concern over narcotrafficking and corruption in Mexico. Moreover, Hernandez has hired Vernon Jordan's Washington law firm, Akin-Gump, to sue Mario Menendez in New York City, to further heighten the intrigue and, in effect, put the war against drugs literally on trial.
El Narcotraficante de Cancun
The Dec. 16, 1996, charge made by Menendez and his paper -- incidentally, the country's third highest circulation newspaper -- was that Hernandez, Mexican national banker and No. 289 on the Forbes list of wealthiest men on earth, operated a key entry point for hundreds of tons of South American cocaine from his 22 miles of beachfront property south of Cancun.
Reuters News Service reported on Aug. 8, 1998, that the Mexican newspaper Reforma said "nearly a third of the illegal drugs that pass through the Caribbean from South America to the United States enter Mexico near the popular tourist resort of Cancun." Reforma added that "ships -- some with a capacity of 300 tons -- unload their cargo on high-speed boats that land in Cancun or very near the luxury resort."
Por Esto! reported stories of local fishermen describing what they called a huge cocaine trafficking operation protected by Hernandez. The fishermen also observed shark boats entering the estuaries by night and unloading cocaine which was then, the allegation goes, loaded onto small planes at the private airfield on Hernandez's beachfront ranch, before heading north toward the Texas border.
The Por Esto! story included pictures of alleged narcotrafficker Hernandez's airfield, planes, plus stacks of cocaine and assorted shoreline garbage associated with drug-trafficking, such as glue containers, cocaine packaging and other products with labels naming Columbian drug-cartel cities of Medellin, Cali and Baranquilla. These same products were also found on seized Columbian shark boats, according to the Mexican newspaper, with cocaine on board.
In 1997, the government began aggressively patrolling the waters around Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico's American tourist capital, in response to the newspaper reports. Then-President Ernesto Zedillo, however, ordered the armed forces not to enter Hernandez' beachfront estuary properties. And Zedillo was described as a frequent visitor to Hernandez's Punta Pajaros island ranch -- protected by armed guards 24 hours a day, according to El Universal.
|Photos by Gonzalo Subirats in Por Esto!
1. Por Esto! editor Renán Castro questions Hernández properties manager Bobby Seattles, who later, with Hernández, files criminal charges against Por Esto!, its publisher, editor, reporter and photographer for "criminal trespass" and "defamation." A Supreme Court Judge, in September 1999, threw out the lawsuit with a finding "All the reports in Por Esto! were based on facts."
2. One of the small aircraft that the newspaper witnessed taking off from the Hernández private airfield at "Punta Pajaros."
A Mexican Supreme Court judge threw out a 1997 suit filed by Hernandez against Por Esto!, its publisher, editor, reporter and photographer in September 1999 -- saying "the Por Esto! reports were based on facts." And drug-war authority Al Giordano reported on his NarcoNews.com website that more than 100 Yucatan Peninsula town councils, unions and church groups have passed resolutions denouncing the cocaine trafficking and the attacks on Por Esto!
The other president
But Zedillo was not the only president to visit or vacation on the property of the alleged "El Narcotraficante." President Clinton arrived in the Yucatan on Feb. 14, 1999, just two days after escaping impeachment, to hold an anti drug meeting with Hernandez's friend, President Zedillo. At the narco-summit, Mexico was certified by Clinton as a trusted drug-war ally, and U.S. financial aid was released.
U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Jeffrey Davidow, a long-time diplomat who gained valuable experience in Chile during the 1971-73 Gen. Pinochet-President Salvador Allende era, organized President Clinton's itinerary. The press corps covering the trip did not question why Davidow arranged to place Clinton in such a controversial position while all of the Yucatan was watching -- and reading the daily Por Esto! pieces.
The New York Times reported that the Clinton-Zedillo "anti-drug" meeting was held at banker Roberto Hernandez Ramirez's island ranch near Cancun, but never printed that Hernandez was the most well-known alleged drug trafficker on the Yucatan Peninsula.
To make sure the American press corps knew about Hernandez's drug ties, Por Esto! editor Menendez pulled out all the stops and ran a series of three supplement pieces -- including 350 column inches of text documented by 45 photographs and maps tracing the route of the Columbian cocaine through Hernandez's properties -- beginning on Feb. 14, 1999, to coincide with Clinton's arrival in Cancun. Former Boston Phoenix writer Al Giordano called the series a "journalistic tour de force -- the culmination of a 26-month investigation. ..."
|"The Cocaine Peninsula -- 43 kilometers of beach where tons of cocaine have been unloaded, owned by narco-banker Roberto Hernández Ramírez" SOURCE: the daily Por Esto! (Mexican Courts Ruled "All of these reports were based on the facts.")
However, American journalists never mentioned the Hernandez story or why President Clinton would agree to hold his anti-drug meeting at the ranch of a publicly accused cocaine trafficker. Giordano searched "Lexis-Nexis, the major dailies, wire services, etc;" however, he found that the Hernandez cocaine story was "neither published, promoted, criticized, nor rebutted."
Covering the drug summit for his then-employer, the Boston Phoenix, Giordano said, "The White House press corps, along for the ride, was so meticulously controlled by their handlers, kept in luxury hotel rooms and restaurants that were guarded by U.S. Secret Service agents, offered junkets to Mayan ruins and beaches in exchange for not spending their time investigating or reporting."
Giordano quoted Por Esto! as charging that "the U.S. government has wide and deep knowledge of Hernandez's drug-trafficking activities." No reporter or member of Congress, however, has questioned either former President Clinton or President George W. Bush about connections to Fox, Hernandez, Robert Allyn, or what they know about small planes flying north toward Texas and Florida from the Hernandez ranch after Columbian boats off-load their cocaine cargos.
Drug war on trial
In March 2000, Por Esto!'s Menendez was invited to present his evidence of official complicity in cocaine trafficking to the Columbia University Law School in New York City. However, Roberto Hernandez, through Banamex, has hired D.C. law giant Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer and Feld -- the 7th largest firm in the U.S. -- to file civil action for libel against both Por Esto! editor Menendez and NarcoNews.com's Al Giordano.
The legal powerhouse is "waging a battle to discredit media reports that [Banamex President], Roberto Hernandez Ramirez, is a drug trafficker whose activities are allegedly protected by powerful politicians in both Mexico and the United States," according to Metroland News Service.
Thomas McLish, a lawyer with Akin, Gump, said, "Roberto Hernandez is a man of the highest moral character," according to the Village Voice. And in November 2000, "Menendez retained Martin Garbus, the legendary First Amendment lawyer," who said, "I represent a newspaper and a journalist accused, and from what I understand, they have a good defense of the libel claim." Moreover, Village Voice reporter Cynthia Cotts says Garbus finds it "very significant" that Hernandez's libel claims were thrown out in Mexico.
But Akin, Gump may have another type of problem in attempting to convince a judge that their client Roberto Hernandez has no drug-trafficking connections. The Washington Post, in a piece dealing with drug kingpins buying congressional influence through Washington lobbyists, reported that "another major D.C. law firm, Akin, Gump, et. al., recently began lobbying on behalf of Glossco Freezone, an Aruba business controlled by the Mansur family, some of whose members have been indicted in the United States on charges of conspiracy to launder drug trafficking proceeds, congressional sources said. ... Barney J. Skladany Jr., the Akin, Gump partner representing Glossco, did not return repeated telephone calls for comment."
|Photos by Gonzalo Subirats of Por Esto!
Garbage strewn across beaches on the Cocaine Peninsula of Roberto Hernández Ramírez, almost all of it Colombian-made and associated with cocaine trafficking by narco-sailors: gas tanks thrown away after use by Colombian shark boats, baby powder used by sailors on long journeys, quick sugar food containers, glue containers for fixing plastic cocaine packaging; products made in Medellín, Cali, Baranquilla and Cartagena along Colombia's Caribbean coast. These non-biodegradable products are the same brands as those found on seized Colombian shark boats used to transport cocaine.
From Coca-Cola to coke?
On July 2, Vicente Fox won the Mexican presidential election and met with U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey Davidow in Mexico City on July 7. Giordano's Narco News Bulletin reported that "Fox then met with former U.S. Ambassador James Jones, former employee of a company backed by alleged drug trafficker Carlos Hank Gonzalez (Forbes List billionaire) and recently hired by the Washington law firm of Mannatt and Phelps, owned by the U.S. Narco Ambassador to the Dominican Republic and former U.S. Democratic Party chairman Charles Mannatt."
Mexican newspaper La Jornada reported that "President-elect Vicente Fox returned to Mexico City to restart his activities after vacationing this weekend at the residence of his friend Roberto Hernandez, president of the banking group Banamex." Narco News added that "after meeting with two U.S. operatives, Fox hops on a plane, then a helicopter, and according to Mexican paper El Universal, heads for Punta Pajaros on the Cocaine Peninsula as guest of Narco Banker Roberto Hernandez Ramirez."
Questions remain this week as to whether President Bush will support the aforementioned senators in attempting to suspend drug-war performance assessment recertification each year for Mexico, thereby freeing Vicente Fox to conduct the drug war in his own way.
And just recently, according to Metroland News Service, Mexican newspapers have reported that "Roberto Hernandez Ramirez hosted a private reception at his ranch this year that was attended by newly elected Mexican President Vicente Fox, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Jeffrey Davidow and President Clinton."
Nationally syndicated Mexican columnist Isabel Arvide said in Letras de Cambio, "Already they've rubbed it in our faces by at least saying who hosted [President Vicente] Fox at his personal island to rest up from the campaign. ... This is what millions of Mexicans voted for?" Then she added, "The vote of refusal against the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) served so that Roberto Hernandez can continue enjoying his personal island -- with or without 'snow' of all flavors and types. ... We voted in favor of the drug traffickers' choice?"
And what about political ad consultant Robert Allyn? His introduction of sage counsel into the Fox campaign, a more "visual" Mexican candidate, focus groups, satellite paging and Mexican spin-doctors -- for three years with no compensation -- all served notice that a busy Washington press corps might have reason to question the campaign aide about potential benefactors, possibly in both Mexico and the United States, who really wanted to see the ex-Coca Cola executive assume office. Or could Mr. Allyn have been working for three years out of the goodness of his heart?
|Chac Mool, ancient Mayan ceremonial center (300 a.d.) that has sustained serious damage since the narco-banker Hernández bought the property.|
UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
CITIGROUP INC (Form- DEF 14A,Recieved: 03/15/2005)
Roberto Hernández Ramirez
Position, Principal Occupation, Business Experience and Directorships