146World Net Daily on Fox, Hernandez, Bush, Akin Gump...
- Feb 15, 2001From World Net Daily
February 15, 2001
President Fox guarding narco-hen house?
By Tom Flocco
� 2001 WorldNetDaily.com
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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."
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
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
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?
Tom Flocco is a freelance writer who lives in Pennsylvania.
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