August 15, 2001
Narco News 2001
para Narco News...
End of an Era
By José Martínez
politician who becomes rich is a poor human being"
Martínez M., a nationally syndicated columnist in Mexico,
is author of
The Professor's Teachings: Investigation of Carlos Hank González
(1999, Oceano Books), and a regular contributor to The Narco
was born in the summer of 1927 and
he died in the summer of 2001. His sign was Virgo. His name:
Carlos Hank González, better known as "the Professor."
For more than a half-century he embodied
the emblematic figure of the cacique, or political boss. He dreamed
of being president, but that was not an obsession for him. Incomparably
rich and powerful, Hank was a polemic celebrity, born in poverty
and risen to the heights of power. He was a centaur of the PRI-system:
half-politician, half-businessman. He was known for his celebrated
phrase: "A politician who is poor is a poor politician."
He died a victim of cancer. In recent
years his life was under specialized treatment by doctors in
the United States.
No longer will there be any more fiestas
to celebrate the Professor's birthday. Every August 28th his
ranch named "Don Catarino," in Santiago Tianguistenco
became a pilgrimage. A thousand, two thousand, three thousand
guests attended in a throng to experience what Hank González
offered to his friends.
Until before his death, he was considered a risk to national
security by intelligence agencies in the United States. The analysts
of the Geopolitical Drug Observatory - its seat in Paris - defined
him as il capo di tutti capi. To the Costa Ricans, Hank was the
godfather of narco-politics who had the luxury of sponsoring
the campaign of the current president Miguel Angel Rodríguez.
Partially retired from politics since
the end of 1994 when he ended his term as Agriculture Secretary
in the government of Carlos Salinas de Gortari, Hank received
the historic defeat of the PRI as a strike at his own heart.
On the night of July 2, 2001, he was on the verge of punching
the defeated candidate, Francisco Labastida Ochoa, who he insulted
in front of a handful of collaborators.
Boss of the mythical Atlacomulco Group,
Carlos Hank González will go down in history as part of
the black legend of an authoritarian regime that remained in
power for more than seven decades.
The word "Hank" as associated
with power and money. The history of the Professor is one of
a man with a potent magnetism that came from nothing and reached
undeniable heights. He was the archetype of the Mexican politician
who made a legend of his life. His greatest weapon: loyalty,
in politics, friendship and religion. At work, efficiency was
his dogma. In business, he was astute from start to finish. As
an official, his appearance was suave, but the norm was an iron
Creator of an empire that put governments
in check with his fortune and political networks, Hank accumulated
awards and distinctions, above all an immeasurable power that
made him untouchable.
Hank was the grand symbol of the PRI who
survived, for more than five decades, the intrigues, attacks
and aggressions that characterized the concentric groups of the
so-called PRI nomenclature.
Since his retirement in the twilight of
his life, the Professor tried to play his last card in the dispute
for the presidency in 2000 with Roberto Madrazo Pintado, a politician
who emerged from the cellars of power under the protection of
his godfather Carlos Hank González.
We now present, in an exclusive for Narco
News, part of an investigation about the Professor's clan, signaled
on multiple occasions by United States intelligence agencies
of having connections with narco-trafficking.
In recent years, Carlos Hank González
was the subject of fierce debates in the national and foreign
press. He was at the center of narco-political scandal since
1993. The Mexican government, through the Secretary of Foreign
Relations, demanded of the U.S. State Department proof of the
accusations that shook political and diplomatic circles. But
through his death, the government of Washington still has not
denied nor confirmed that an official investigation exists.
In the spring of 1999, El Financiero and The Washington Post
released a report of the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC)
that provoked a scandal between the Mexican and U.S. governments,
after it revealed that the family of Carlos Hank "is so
involved that it represents a significant criminal threat"
for United States society.
Notwithstanding the reluctance of Washington
to report about the intelligence operations that involved the
Professor, the U.S. Customs Service, part of the Treasury Department,
conducted an exhaustive undercover investigation named "Operation
White Tiger." It recounted in detail the intelligence work
on the connections of Hank with drug trafficking. We reproduce
excerpts of it here in Spanish and will, in the coming weeks,
make the original government documents, in English, available
on The Narco News Bulletin.
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