Albanian President Sali Berisha may have been IMF darling of Europe, but he couldn’t hold a candle to Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari.
Elected in 1988 as candidate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI)- which until the election of National Action Party (PAN) President Fox in 2000 held a four decade monopoly over the Mexican Presidency- Salinas lasted only one term. But in those six years he overturned decades of safeguards which Mexico had enacted to protect its national sovereignty from multinational prospectors. And the people of Mexico were poorer for it.
Salinas came to power promising to raise the standard of living in Mexico and modernize the country. But he was a tramp for international capital. His name became synonymous with corruption in the collective mind of Mexico. Salinas was implicated in the biggest drug trafficking scandal in Mexican history. He was kicked out of Mexico and fled to the US, where he found a sympathetic crowd and a job as a member of the board of Dow Jones & Company, which publishes the Wall Street Journal and Barron’s.
Salinas wasn’t the first Mexican narco-dictator. President Miguel Aleman allowed JFK’s Permindex assassins to be trained in Mexico. Today he owns a big chunk of Acapulco, where the Canadian Pacific coca-express manages his hotel interests. Aleman made a living trafficking in drugs through his TAMSA Group, Mexico’s fifth largest conglomerate. The director of TAMSA is Bruno Pagliai, cousin of Princess Beatrice of the Italian House of Savoy. Aleman’s personal banker was Max Schein of Banco Mercantil de Mexico, whose correspondent bank is Israel’s Bank Leumi- subsidiary of Silver Triangle power broker Barclays and financier of the Asquelon diamond trade. Schein also chairs Sociedad Technion de Mexico, a branch of the Israel Technician Society (ITS), which serves as Mossad’s overseas scientific espionage arm. British MI6 operative and Kennedy assassin Colonel Louis Mortimer Bloomfield is an ITS board member. 
Aleman aide Gonzalo Santos was a business partner of Alberto Sicilia Falcon, a Bay of Pigs and CIA Operation 40 veteran who was trained at Fort Jackson. Falcon worked with Ted Shackley’s Trak II program in Chile, then moved to Mexico where he created an overnight empire moving Sinoalese heroin. Business partners included Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana. “Big Sam” fled to Mexico when the heat came down in the US, but Mexico agreed to extradite him to France. Giancana was nabbed during a Houston stopover and murdered. The Mexican Interior Ministry says the CIA killed him. 
The DEA sent agent Enrique Camarena and an elite special narcotics force to Mexico to help the government try to apprehend Sicilia Falcon. Camarena was tortured and killed by Enterprise contra arms supplier/CIA Laos veteran Raphael Quintero when he got too close to Falcon. When Falcon was arrested in 1975 he said he was working for the CIA and that part of his drug proceeds went to fund Latin American counter-revolutionary groups. FBI documents revealed that the CIA had been trying to destabilize the government of Mexican President Luis Echevarria due to his nationalistic stance towards an IMF plan to privatize PEMEX on behalf of Big Oil. 
Salinas moved to dismember PEMEX, a symbol of Mexican pride since President Lazaro Cardenas, heeding the battle cry of Zapata, expropriated the assets of the Four Horsemen in 1938.  The Gulf Coast city where PEMEX has its largest operations is named Lazaro Cardenas.
In 1992 Jose Manzo, chief of the Department of Liquid Gas & Polymers for the PEMEX international branch PMI, charged company officials with doing “damage to the natural resources” after PMI entered into shady contracts with Lyondell Petroleum, an ARCO subsidiary which is now part of BP Amoco.  Salinas ignored Manzo, instead ordering the arrest of numerous leaders of the Oil & Petrochemical Workers Union (OPWU), who also saw a Four Horsemen takeover of PEMEX looming. In 1989 OPWU leaders, including union head Joaquin Hernandez, were arrested at the Salina Cruz PEMEX refinery when they protested its privatization.
The Salinas family secrets began to see daylight following the March 23, 1994 assassination of PRI front-runner Luis Colosio at a PRI political rally in Tijuana. Colosio had made overtures to the Zapatistas and railed against the privatization of Mexico’s economy over which Salinas presided. He bucked the PRI old guard to emerge as front-runner through sheer charisma, but his increasingly populist rhetoric made the PRI dinosaurs nervous.
Baja State’s PRI Governor Xicotencatl Leyva was forced from office after it was found that he had opened up a Tijuana corridor for the Sinaloa-based Arrellano Felix drug cartel, which had taken over the Sicilia Falcon network. Leyva’s expulsion was ordered by the Colosio reformist faction of PRI, which promised to clamp down on drug cartels. On the day of his Tijuana rally Colosio was surrounded by elite PRI bodyguard squadrons TUCAN and Grupo Omego. La Culebra played on the sound system, its lyrics ringing out, “the snake is going to get you, better move your feet”. A shot rang out. Colosio was dead. Vicente Mayoral, a member of TUCAN standing near Colosio, grabbed a 23-year-old mechanic named Mario Aburto and pronounced him the killer. Aburto began screaming that he saw Mayoral pull the trigger. Many in the crowd later corroborated his story.
Stories were planted in the Mexican media that Aburto had connections with the Zapatistas. Salinas used the rumors to order a massive military deployment into Chiapas. President Clinton extended a $6.5 billion credit line to Salinas within 24 hours of the assassination. Tijuana Police Chief Federico Benitez took charge of the investigation. Within days he was gunned down at Tijuana’s Airport, less than five minutes from where Colosio had been shot.
Years later Special Prosecutor Miguel Montes revealed the final results of his investigation. He found that four members of TUCAN, including Vicente Mayoral, were involved in the Colosio assassination. TUCAN boss and PRI Security Chief Rodolfo Rivapalacios was implicated- described by the report as a, “well-known torturer”. He had received a check from deposed PRI Baja Governor Leyva on the morning of the assassination. Montes’ report stated that CISEN, a top-secret Mexican Interior Department police unit with CIA ties, may have been involved. Rivapalacios, the only official to get jail time, was released from prison after serving only one month. 
Ernesto Zedillo- another in a line of IMF subordinates- became the new PRI front-runner. Zedillo faced a serious challenge from Cuahtemec Cardenas of the leftist Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), which had the support of the oil unions and has long been the party of Mexican workers and peasants. The 1994 Presidential vote was close, but from their windowless Barranca del Muerto (Ravine of Death) vote-counting dungeon in Mexico City, the PRI made sure Zedillo emerged victorious. According to the Mexican business newspaper El Financiero, the PRI complex has two separate vote-count systems on its Unisys mainframe computer. One system reflects the actual vote count. The other is automatically stacked in favor of the PRI candidate. In both 1988 and 1994 electoral fraud was rampant.
The PRI launched campaigns of intimidation during both elections. Cardenas had run against Carlos Salinas in 1988. During both campaigns his chief aides were gunned down just prior to the elections. In 1994 an election monitoring group called the Civil Alliance had its members terrorized. Member Amando Avendano was invited to a PRI function in Tuxla Gutierez. En route with three other members, his car was run off the road by a 75-ton Kenworth truck. His three passengers died. Avendano was in a coma for six months. The driver of the truck left the scene and was never found. Mexican police declared the ordeal an accident. PRD President Munoz Ledos’ son was kidnapped prior to the 1994 election and a student leader whose group supported Cardenas was kidnapped and tortured.  PRI candidate Zedillo narrowly won the 1994 election.
In December 1994 the Mexican stock market crashed, precipitating the Mexican debt crisis. In 1995, just as NAFTA kicked in, the Mexican peso was severely devalued making maquiladora labor even cheaper for multinational corporations. Mexico’s banking system was privatized. State-run industries were given away to US multinationals in return for debt relief from international bankers through a flurry of crooked debt-equity swaps.
President Jose Lopez Portillo had nationalized Mexico’s banking system in 1982, citing the international bankers’ betrayal of Mexico through encouragement of flight capital from the Mexican elite. Lopez Portillo stated that the IMF remedy was to “deprive the patient of food”.
The international bankers received a $50 million front-end fee just for sitting down to negotiate with debt-ridden Mexico. JP Morgan Chase and Citibank handled the debt negotiations, led by Citibank insider William Rhodes. The US Treasury kicked in $50 billion to get the bankers off the hook, allowing them to pass their Mexican losses on to US taxpayers, while taking ownership of Mexican companies. One part of the secret deal ensured the Four Horsemen a 15% discount on all future Mexican crude oil purchases. 
PEMEX was looted and the money stashed away in those same US banks. One debt-equity swap saw the Rockefeller-controlled ASARCO, one of the biggest mining companies in the world and long-time Chase client, awarded the Mexican National Cement Company and other state mineral assets in exchange for a debt write-off from Chase.
ASARCO has a lead mining subsidiary in Peru known as Southern Peru Copper. During the 1980’s there were allegations in the Montana press that Southern Peru was shuttling more than just lead to ASARCO’s East Helena, MT lead smelter. Lead ore is a favorite of drug smugglers due to its opaque nature. Workers at ASARCO’s Hayden and Globe, Arizona smelters claim to have witnessed cocaine being processed there. Both smelters and two more at Morenci, AZ and Silver City, NM sit on the 33rd parallel.
The Mexican people, who wanted to believe Salinas’ promises of better days, were now more disillusioned than ever. The now-bankrupt middle class joined the protests of the poor, creating the radical 1 million strong Barzonistas. JP Morgan and World Bank President Lewis Preston may not have known he was echoing the comments of Mexican nationalist Jose Lopez-Portillo when he said of the 1990’s Mexican debt negotiations, “Deprivation of the population they were prepared to do.”
The Mexican people’s bout with disillusionment had only just begun. The economy headed further south in 1999 with the US stock market crash. And Colosio’s assassination was just the tip of the iceberg in exposing PRI ties to the drug trade. In the mid 1980s forty-five Mexican police officers were given lie detector tests on the question, “Did you ever take money from narco-traffickers”. Not one passed. In 1991 Mexican soldiers in the oil city of Veracruz gunned down local police who were trying to stop a plane from refueling. Its cargo was Columbian cocaine. Mexico’s police and military were infamous for their corruption, but when the PRI’s #2 official Jose Ruiz Massieu was gunned down in 1995 the white powder trail led all the way to the door of the President.
Dean Henderson is the author of five books: Big Oil & Their Bankers in the Persian Gulf: Four Horsemen, Eight Families & Their Global Intelligence, Narcotics & Terror Network, The Grateful Unrich: Revolution in 50 Countries, Das Kartell der Federal Reserve, Stickin’ it to the Matrix & The Federal Reserve Cartel. You can subscribe free to his weekly Left Hook column @www.hendersonlefthook.wordpress.com