By RICARDO CASTILLO
Throughout most last week, the barrage by Mexican journalists of versions of what happened on Thursday, Oct. 17, in the western city of Culiacán, Sinaloa, has been overwhelming. So much so that, finally, on Friday, Oct. 25, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) promised he would make a “minute-by-minute” account of what really happened.
The question is: Will he tell the whole truth?
Among the versions published so far, there is one that claims that current Sinaloa Drug Cartel armed forces commander Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada was notified at the very moment that Ovidio Guzmán López was being arrested. (See my article “The Abortion of an Arrest,” which ran in Pulse News Mexico that same day). Immediately, “El Mayo” Zambada ordered his henchmen to take over the Culiacán streets and wreak havoc, hijacking trucks and cars and setting them ablaze, outnumbering and outgunning the Mexican security forces present in the city. The “tip” allegedly came from within the top echelon of Mexican officials carrying out the later.aborted arrest.
What is clear from the events is that the moment “El Mayo” heard of the arrest. around 2 p.m. that day, he ordered the cartel’s army onto the streets. The rest is history, but the question remains: Who was the whistleblower inside the Army and the Security Secretariat?
Presidents Donald Trump and AMLO made personal contact by phone on Saturday, Oct. 19, to talk about the aborted arrest. There’s been nothing thus far on what specifically was said, but it will be interesting to hear if AMLO touches on the issue. Thus far, only U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Christopher Landau has mentioned U.S. support for Mexico, claiming “together, we can” in his Spanish Twitter account.
Together we can? Another issue AMLO will have to clear up for the Mexican people is the deep involvement of the U.S. Embassy in the failed arrest. Mexican Security Secretary Alfonso Durazo Montaño,, who was informed of the whole mess up from the start but now publicly claims the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was not involved when it is clear in the eyes of experts it was DEA agents who supplied the whereabouts of Ovidio “The Mouse” Guzmán and apparently also of his brother Iván.
The Sinaloa Drug Cartel is considered U.S. anti-drug authorities by far the largest exporter of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine from Latin America, but these drugs are not nearly as dangerous as fentanyl, with which the Sinaloa Drug Cartel is now flooding the United States and which accounts, according to FDA reports, for an average of 78 deaths per day, Fentanyl is seen as 20 times stronger than regular heroin and an overdose by users comes easy.
The arrest was fully carried out by the Mexican Army’s Luis Cresencio Sandoval González, but many journalists claim now that Durazo wanted to take credit for the arrest but has since backed down. Hearsay has it that there is a rift going on among the Army and Navy secretaries, as well as between the National Guard commander and Durazo. This may be just an opinion of several observers who saw them in the Senate last week, but the fact is that, while at the Senate, the military did not even say hello to Durazo.
There are a lot more questions about the matter, but if were I AMLO – which I am not – I’d follow the footsteps of Trump in his current impeachment ordeal in trying to find out who was the whistle blower? Indeed, there are people cranking the drug cartel’s payola, particularly in the Mexican Army, which AMLO once attacked and now adores.
This “minute-by-minute” presentation in one of the president’s upcoming daily morning press conferences will definitely not be an easy one.
The Mexican public is waiting for it!