<i>"The Name of Our Country is América" - Simon Bolivar</i> The Narco News Bulletin<br><small>Reporting on the War on Drugs and Democracy from Latin America
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IMAGE: S.S. Santrina

How Authentic Journalists Caught an International Terrorist in Mexico

The Daily Por Esto! Found Posada Carriles on Isla Mujeres but George W. Bush Is Trying to Set Him Free in Miami


By Al Giordano
Special to The Narco News Bulletin

June 21, 2005

“He who protects a terrorist is a terrorist”

-George W. Bush

Mérida, Yucatán, June 2005: On Mexico’s Caribbean island of Isla Mujeres, on March 14, Authentic Journalist Yolanda Gutiérrez Sagrero and photojournalist Mario Alonzo pulled the first threads on a curtain that now disintegrates in tatters. Sunlight now shines upon the darkest recesses and hypocrisies of George W. Bush’s so-called “War on Terrorism,” and thus, Bush’s terror war is in doubt as never before.

Gutiérrez, Alonzo, and their colleagues at Mexico’s daily Por Esto! tugged on the threads and found América’s most-wanted fugitive behind that curtain: Luis Posada Carriles, the Cuban-born, Miami-fed, CIA-paid, confessed architect of the 1976 terrorist passenger jet bombing that killed 73 civilians, including the teenage members of Cuba’s Olympic fencing team.

Known as “the Latin American Osama bin Laden,” Posada Carriles, 77, has publicly confessed, as well, to bombings of civilian targets in tourist hotels, and additional terrorist acts. His trail of violence under a cloak of official protection goes back decades. A recent book even places him at Dealey Plaza, in Dallas, in 1963, at the hour when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated there. Whether or not he also helped kill JFK, Posada Carriles, with 40 years of collaboration with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), is not somebody that the U.S. government wants talking too much, or too honestly, or too loudly about what he’s seen and done, and with whom, and on whose authority (dad’s, Mr. President?) to the press. Read it and weep, citizens of the United States: A terrorist named Luis Posada Carriles is blackmailing your president, George W. Bush, today in order to win “political asylum.” And, so far, the cowardly Bush doesn’t have the courage to stop him.

Ever since his pardon and release from Panamanian prison in the final hours of the presidency of Mireya Moscoso in August of last year, this terrorist successfully eluded an international manhunt. He is wanted by the government of Venezuela (the country where he is a naturalized Cuban-born citizen) to face trial for the 1976 passenger jet bombing. He was free as an ocean pirate until the boat that took him to the United States washed up against the sandbars of Isla Mujeres, which, unfortunately for Posada Carriles (but fortunately for everyone else) is an isle where the flag of the Authentic Journalism renaissance waves higher than his own Jolly Roger.

The latest chapter in this saga of an international terrorist and those who protect him began with the March 14th report of what seemed to be a routine story about a shrimp boat adrift off of Isla Mujeres – poetically, it is also the island campus of the first Narco News School of Authentic Journalism – by Isla bureau chief Yolanda Gutiérrez…

A Terrorist Trawler Adrift

Another day on the job, another seemingly routine story to be reported: Early on the morning of March 14, journalist Yolanda Gutiérrez learned that a 90-foot shrimp boat was stranded near a sand bar off the shores of the island. She leaped into action. After all, the journalist Gutiérrez has steadfastly defended the nearby endangered coral reefs from environmental destruction, and the locals were worried that this boat adrift might do them more harm.


Isla Mujeres fishermen save the S.S. Santrina run ashore on a sandbar on March 14, 2005
Photo: D.R. 2005 Mario Alonzo, Por Esto!
Her report, a local news story that would soon blow into an international scandal, in the March 15th issue of Por Esto!, began:

“ISLA MUJERES, March 14: A shrimp boat from the United States with five crew members aboard was stranded for various hours while it attempted to enter the navigation canal and drifted to close to shore, although sources of the Port Captain’s office said that it did not affect any coral reef zones.

“The boat named ‘Santrina,’ approximately 90 feet long and five or six meters wide, with license number 604553 went adrift at about 7:45 a.m. when it attempted to arrive in the Isla Mujeres port from the North.

“The crew and its captain, José Pujol, had left from the Bahamas and came to the island to stock up on food, water and fuel, in order to continue its route, which is unknown because the captain refused to speak with reporters…”


Cuban-American crew members of the S.S. Santrina, United States license #604553, and sporting the American flag, try to pull their boat to safety.
Photo: D.R. 2005 Mario Alonzo, Por Esto!
According to the report, the S.S. Santrina had “tried to make a shortcut around the buoys” that set the path that most boaters obey when navigating shallow ports. This kind of running of red lights of the sea is particularly bad form if, say, you are harboring a fugitive, or, worse, a wanted international terrorist: the crew’s own sloppiness (“to live outside the law you must be honest,” chicos!) and disregard for the maritime traffic signs has now led to an intercontinental uproar that strikes at the cornerstone of Washington’s fake war on terrorism.

There’s more to Yolanda’s report:

“Personnel from the Port Captain’s office coordinated the rescue efforts with the help of the S.S. 3 de Diciembre, a boat belonging to Javier Ayala Rejon, and two speedboats belonging to the tourist boat co-op of Isla Mujeres…

“The S.S. Santrina finally escaped from the sand bank at 12:30 p.m., near the concrete docks, where the crew immediately presented itself to the Mexican Marines who conducted a routine inspection with drug-sniffing canines…

“…the officials of the National Marine Park conducted an inspection of the area where the boat had been adrift to confirm that there had been no damage to the marine ecosystem… International Sanitary inspectors, immigration, and customs agents also inspected the boat…”

And there it stood: solid daily journalism on what seemed to be a small story but one important to the island’s residents who care deeply about the preservation of the local coral reefs.


Five Men Arrived, and Six Launched Out: According to local fishermen and witnesses, the S.S. Santrina left for Miami with an extra passenger on board.
Photo: D.R. 2005 Mario Alonzo, Por Esto!
In the following day’s newspaper, March 16, Gutiérrez filed a follow-up story: “The S.S. Santrina Continues Its Voyage Toward Miami.”

Authentic Photojournalist Mario Alonzo snapped pictures of the skipper and crew, and his latest models were none too happy about it, refusing to talk to the press.

Little did anybody know – until those photos received scrutiny across the Caribbean – that the remodeled shrimp boat was carrying a monster onto U.S. shores.

Two Weeks Later, a Terrorist Appears in Miami

On March 29, Channel 41 TV of Miami (a controversial Spanish-language station that, in 2004, conducted interviews with armed paramilitaries who said they were plotting violent overthrows of the Cuban and Venezuelan governments), a broadcaster that counts with the nephew of former Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista as one of its program hosts, announced that Posada Carriles was in South Florida and would seek political asylum in the United States.


Luis Posada Carriles
Photo: D.R. 2005 Por Esto!
Oligarch’s Daily, er, the Miami Herald reported the basics of Luis Posada Carriles’ criminal record (see Luis Gómez’s more detailed chronology, “The Bloody Face of Bambi,” at this link):

“If Posada is indeed in Miami, his visit mirrors his shadowy career as a CIA-trained spy, an explosives expert, escape artist, security advisor to presidents across the Caribbean and—some say—terrorist…

Born in 1928 in the south-central port of Cienfuegos, Posada quickly soured on Castro’s revolution and joined Brigade 2506 before its disastrous landing at the Bay of Pigs.

“His ship never hit shore, and he went on to be a CIA operative in Miami, specially trained in the science of explosives.

“But by 1967 he was working with the Venezuelan police, tracking down pro-Castro guerrillas. And until 1976, when he and Miami pediatrician Orlando Bosch were arrested in Caracas for the midair bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed 73 people, he had been just another anti-Castro militant.

“Venezuela’s cumbersome legal system never convicted either man for the airplane bombing. Bosch eventually won his freedom, but Posada escaped from prison, while awaiting a prosecutor’s appeal, in August 1985.

“One year later he turned up in El Salvador, secretly working for U.S. National Security Council member Lt. Col. Oliver North and managing part of the supply operations for contra guerrillas fighting the Marxist-led Sandinista government in Nicaragua….

“In 1997, a dozen or so bombs went off in tourist spots around Havana for the first time in decades, killing one tourist and wounding half a dozen others. A young Salvadoran, Raul Ernesto Cruz Leon, was arrested in Havana.

“Herald reports linked Posada to the bombings and said Cuban exiles in South Florida had provided $15,000 in funding. The next year, the New York Times quoted Posada as saying he was responsible for the bombings and that leaders of the Cuban American National Foundation had ‘’supported’’ his efforts to topple Castro. Posada later said he lied to the newspaper, and denied a role in the bombings.

“Posada then melted back into shadows until November 2000, when he and Miami exiles Pedro Remón, Gaspar Jiménez and Guillermo Novo were arrested in Panama for allegedly plotting to assassinate Castro during a summit there.

“They were convicted only on charges of endangering public safety and sentenced to up to eight years, but Panamanian President Mireya Moscoso pardoned them in late 2004. The three Miami men came home, but Posada went into hiding…”

Soon after the report that the terrorist had come ashore in Florida, Miami attorney Eduardo Soto, representing Posada Carriles, announced that his client was “asking for political asylum” in the United States. He claimed, curiously, that Posada Carriles had entered the U.S. over land from Mexico to Texas, “like thousands of people do each day.”


S.S. Santrina captain José Hilario Pujol with the boat’s reputed owner, Santiago Álvarez, being questioned in the office of the Port Captain of Isla Mujeres.
Photo: D.R. 2005 Mario Alonzo, Por Esto!
Meanwhile, across the Caribbean, between Miami and Isla Mujeres, on the Island of Cuba, somebody was reading – and looking at the photographs that accompanied – Por Esto!’s March 15 and 16 reports about the shrimp boat that went adrift and then headed for Miami.

There, in the photos, on the S.S. Santrina, were Santiago Álvarez Fernández-Magriña, owner of the S.S. Santrina, and ship captain José Pujol, a.k.a. ‘Pepín’… considered to be terrorist accomplices of Posada Carriles by Cuban Intelligence.

Por Esto! in Hand, Fidel Takes to the Airwaves

“What is the United States doing giving asylum to someone who exploded a civilian airliner?” boomed Comandante Fidel Castro, waving a copy of the March 16 issue of Por Esto! in the air.

“Look!” he lectured the international journalists present: “Look at what a newspaper can do! This is Authentic Journalism!”


“This is Authentic Journalism!” On April 15, Fidel Castro informs the international press that photographs and reports in the Mexican daily Por Esto! reveal the maritime path of terrorist Luis Posada Carriles toward the United States.
Photo: D.R. 2005 Por Esto!
Por Esto! correspondent Jorge Gómez Barato, in Havana, watched, listened, and took notes, as Castro’s press conference was aired on live television. Castro congratulated the Yucatán daily “for service to humanity through the reporting of useful information in the war against terrorism.” Citing the “exhaustive and valuable work” of the newspaper, Fidel turned his attention to the “suspicious crew” found in the photos of the S.S. Santrina and lashed out at the Mexican government for having “protected international terrorists.”

The Associated Press later quoted Mexican immigration officials, who were among the authorities that revised the papers of the crew of the S.S. Santrina back on March 14, as claiming that “all of them were U.S. citizens” and that “the five crew members identified themselves as employees of the Caribbean Dive and Research Foundation, an organization dedicated to oceanic investigation with its headquarters in Miami. The boat was also reported as property of this company.” Mexican immigration confirmed that the boat, when it left Isla Mujeres, did indeed head toward Miami.

By April 18, the daily Por Esto! had learned more details:


  • Captain Jose Hilario Pujol’s United States Passport #301981339 lists his date and place of birth as October 21, 1929 in Cuba: Smuggling an illegal alien such as Posada Carriles into the U.S. could result in revocation of his citizenship.
    Photo: D.R. 2005 Por Esto!
    That the S.S. Santrina, en route from the Bahamas to Miami, had to veer off course in order to go to Isla Mujeres: an island that would not normally be along that route;

  • That the boat’s owner, Santiago Alvarez Fernández Magriña was the same person who, last August 26, sent two executive airplanes to the Panama City airport to retrieve Posada Carriles and his accomplices after their pardon for an assassination attempt during the 2000 presidential summit in that country;

  • That, last August, the U.S. citizens in that assassination plot were brought in one plane to Florida, while the other plane brought Posada Carriles to the San Pedro Sula Airport in Honduras, where he was received by alleged anti-Cuban terrorist Rafael Hernández Nodarse;

  • That, to enter Honduras, Posadas Carriles used a United States passport with the name of Melvin C. Thompson;

  • That Posada Carriles remained various months in Honduras, also traveling in El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Belize, from where he entered Mexico through the border city of Chetumal, south of Cancún;

  • That the identity of another “crew member” that Por Esto! had photographed on the S.S. Santrina was that of Miguel Alvarez, another accused terrorist sought by the Cuban government.

At his next press conference, Cuban leader Fidel Castro noted, again, the work of Por Esto!, “a newspaper that has shined a lot of light, has continued investigating, and has revealed very interesting details.”

By the morning of April 20, at his six a.m. press conference, Castro began reading the Por Esto! reports aloud on national television. Complaining about “the total silence” by the governments of Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala regarding Posada Carriles’ stays in those countries, Castro said: “What we do have are new reports about what happened in Isla Mujeres. Por Esto! has kept on investigating and reports new facts….”

Fidel Goes to J-School


Por Esto! publisher Mario Menéndez (standing in the center) converses with students and professors of the Narco News School of Authentic Journalism, Mérida, Yucatán, 2003. Standing with him are his wife, Por Esto!’s director of international relations Alicia Figueroa, and Al Giordano. Seated left to right: Andrea Daugirdas Hawes, Ugo Vallauri and Sunny Angulo.
Photo: D.R. 2003 Jeremy Bigwood
Meanwhile, the rabidly anti-Castro TV station in Miami, Channel 41, called Por Esto! publisher Mario Menéndez Rodríguez and interviewed him. The telephone interview was broadcast live. The interviewers were uninterested in the facts of the Posada Carriles case. All they wanted to know from don Mario was: “Is it true that you are a friend of Fidel Castro’s?” Menéndez explained that, in 1963, he had published the first interview by a foreign reporter with Cuba’s president after the revolution of December 31, 1958, and that Cuba had given him exile for eight years (after the Mexican government blew up his newspaper offices with a bomb, took away his passport, and expelled him from his own country). For the gusanos of Miami, the facts about an international terrorist, or the innocents he had murdered, held no import. All they wanted to know was whether don Mario was a friend of Fidel’s. Menéndez, after almost an hour on the air, told them they were supporting a terrorist, betraying their own people, that they should be ashamed of themselves, and hung up abruptly.

Watching that televised phone interview, in Havana, was Fidel Castro, who the next morning again convened the press. He said:

“The fact that the editor of Por Esto! has lived here (in Cuba) is not a problem, because nobody can say that (the Posada Carriles news story) is an invention of Castro or anyone else. The monster, Posada Carriles, is there, among them. He is one of them. He was brought from Isla Mujeres to Miami and this has become a nightmare for Washington. The whole world knows that the man is there! They don’t know what to do with him, but they have the monster with them. Meanwhile, Por Esto! continues doing its own thing: It continues investigating.”


Photo: D.R. 2003 Jeremy Bigwood
Speaking about the journalist Menéndez’s long trajectory (known to Narco News readers as this newspaper’s victorious co-defendant in the landmark Internet press freedom case in the New York Supreme Court in 2001), Fidel joked: “(Menéndez) was very radical in his youth. I had to moderate him. But he has behaved since then.”

In a reference to Menéndez’s role as a professor of the Narco News School of Authentic Journalism, Castro added: “Now he even teaches Authentic Journalism to North American journalists!”

Terrorist Spottings: Civil Society Steps Forward

Meanwhile, fishermen and citizens of Isla Mujeres (where Por Esto! is the dominant daily newspaper) began to step forward as to what they had witnessed: “Five Men Arrived and Six Launched Out” was the headline in the newspaper’s April 24 edition. “Six persons could be seen on the boat” as the S.S. Santrina left Isla Mujeres on March 15, reported Yolanda Gutiérrez, based on interviews with eyewitnesses “who for obvious reasons asked not to be named.”

“One of the crew members noticed that (the people on) a small boat that was entering the Macax lagoon were observing them and, immediately, one of the people who could be seen on the S.S. Santrina ran to take cover inside the boat, although at the moment nobody suspected what was really happening,” reported Gutiérrez. (True to the week’s script, Fidel Castro read her article on national TV the next morning.)

In a May 17 “exclusive interview” with the Miami Herald, Posada Carriles repeated his attorney’s claim that he had entered the United States, over land, from Mexico to Texas, and spun an elaborate account of his supposed Greyhound bus trip to Florida from there.

And yet, contradicting the veracity of his own claims, Posada also told the Herald:

“Posada said that sometime earlier this year, a friend drove him across the border into Belize and then into the Cancún area of Mexico.

“That was around the same time that the Santrina was docked at Isla Mujeres. Posada declined to say whether he met Alvarez there.”


“Posada declined to say whether he met Alvarez there,” according to the Miami Herald: Crew members of the S.S. Santrina, reportedly owned by Santiago Alvarez of Miami, in Isla Mujeres while terrorist Luis Posada Carriles admits to being nearby.
Photo: D.R. 2005 Mario Alonzo, Por Esto!
After all, a lot is at stake for Santiago Alvarez if authorities conclude that he and the other crew members were found to have smuggled an illegal alien into the United States. Their own legal presence on U.S. soil, as Cuban-born naturalized American citizens, could become jeopardized, not to mention additional burdens under law for immigrant smugglers. Cuba’s Vice President Ricardo Alarcon seems particularly focused on Alvarez’s well-financed activities. The debate over how Posada entered the United States, thus, falls heaviest on Alvarez’s future.

That might explain the bizarre story offered by Posada Carriles and his attorneys that he somehow entered the U.S. through Texas and not via the easier route from Yucatán to Florida. Yet, it simply does not make sense that someone with Posada Carriles’ economic means and with generous support from the wealthy Miami ex-Cuban mafia would enter Mexico from Belize and travel, at age 77, the arduous 90-hour exodus via land from Cancún to Miami, at the precise moment when his buddies were docked in nearby Isla Mujeres.

Meanwhile, other citizens came forward – in Chetumal, in Cancun and in Isla Mujeres – to bear witness to the presence of the international terrorist Posada Carriles in their locales.

“I saw Luis Posada Carriles,” the former mayor of Isla Mujeres Fidel Villanueva told Por Esto! on May 19. “We all saw him. In reality, don Luis was there. I tied my boat at the Isla Mujeres port and he was there. On a Saturday, we saw him there, watching the boats, but we didn’t know who he was.”


School of Authentic Journalism Class of 2003 on Narco News’ Isla Mujeres Campus.
Photo: D.R. 2003 Jeremy Bigwood
As the 50 students and professors of the Narco News School of Authentic Journalism who spent a week on Isla Mujeres in 2003 know, the island is a very small town: 500 yards at its widest, and just two roads across the three-mile-long isle, that’s all. Once a tourist or outsider is there for more than a day, people take note of the newcomer. And if the visitor has a disfigured face (from a bullet wound) and dresses dapperly enough in white linen to have earned the nickname “Bambi,” like Posadas, well, before too long a big white guy like him, with a sharp Cuban accent, attracts attention in a sleepy Mayan fishing village.

“I saw him just as many people in the Isla Mujeres port saw him,” continued former Mayor Villanueva.

On May 26, the daily El Sol of Zacatecas, Mexico, published an interview with the Secretary of the Navy in Mexico, Marco Antonio Peyrot, who confirmed that Posada Carriles entered the United States on the remodeled shrimp boat, the S.S. Santrina, that launched from Isla Mujeres. “This is the Mexican Navy!” proclaimed Fidel Castro, in Havana, at his May 27 press conference. “The Secretary of the Navy in Mexico!”

By protecting his smugglers with an incredible tale that he entered the U.S. through Texas, Posada Carriles’ claim has led to his own immigration hearings being held in El Paso. But, lo’ and behold, his attorneys have filed for a change of venue to Miami, where a federal judiciary, historically supportive of the ex-Cuban “exile community” in South Florida, would be more likely to protect him. (There’s an analysis of the legal questions surrounding Posada’s plea for asylum by Arthur Shaw, published at Vheadline.) And… this just in! A judge has ruled that Posada Carriles will have to press his case not on the home court of Miami, but in Texas.

Meanwhile, along Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, and up and down this hemisphere, an Authentic Journalism “swarm” of the type that just eleven days ago shook Bolivia, is digging deeper into the facts…

The Scent of the Narco


D.R. 2005 Nuez
The coastline of Mexico’s state of Quintana Roo, from Chetumal to Cancún, as this newspaper has widely reported for five years, is a major thoroughfare for cocaine smuggling from Colombia to the United States. These are the facts that, after all, were reviewed and vindicated by the Drug War on Trial case in the New York Supreme Court, where Narco News, Por Esto! publisher Mario Menéndez, your correspondent, and the facts we reported withstood the heaviest scrutiny placed on any drug trafficking story in the early years of this young century.

As Por Esto! and its journalists dug deeper into the path of terrorist Luis Posada Carriles along that same coastline into the United States – the same path as the cocaine, after all – the newspaper began to find an ugly confluence between the maritime smuggling of illegal immigrants from Cuba into Mexico (with the protection of the U.S. and Mexican governments) and the historic maritime smuggling of the drug cocaine (with the protection of the U.S. and Mexican governments) in the same waters.


Renan Castro explains the routes of narco-trafficking in the Caribbean to students and professors of the 2003 Narco News School of Authentic Journalism, at the daily Por Esto! offices in Cancun. Visible left to right: Charlie Hardy, Alex Contreras, Zabeth Flores, Andrea Arenas, Ava Salazar, and Ashley Kennedy.
Photo: D.R. 2003 Jeremy Bigwood
The little thread about a shrimp boat adrift offshore of a tiny island, first pulled by journalist Yolanda Gutiérrez, now pulls at the part of the curtain where the Miami mafia and narco-trafficking meet. After all, as Luis Gómez documents in today’s Narco News, Posada Carriles “worked to procure weapons… on the orders of the mind behind it all: Oliver North” in the 1980s. That was when the US government trafficked in cocaine to fund arms for anti-communist paramilitaries in Nicaragua. Could it be that Posada and company are up to their old tricks again?

Invited to give a presentation at the World Summit Against Terrorism and for Truth and Justice in Havana, Cuba, early this month, Por Esto!’s Quintana Roo editor (and professor of the School of Authentic Journalism) Renán Castro explained that the Posada Carriles story is “the tip of the iceberg of a dangerous operation for all the nations in the region, and specifically for the Republic of Cuba and for my country, Mexico.”


Authentic Journalist Renán Castro addresses the World Summit Against Terrorism and for Justice and Truth in Havana, Cuba, June 2005.
Photo: D.R. 2005 Por Esto!
The Mexican Authentic Journalist Renán Castro continued:

“The dangerous international terrorist Luis Posada Carriles was protected in Guatemala, Belize and Mexico by narco-traffickers that belong to the Central American cartel headed by capo Otto Herrera García, who is associated with Mexican criminal organizations led by Ismael Zambada (a.k.a. El Mayo) and Joaquin “Chapo” Guzmán, all of them associated with the Cuban-American mafia located in Cancún. They directed all the logistics so that (Posada Carriles) could remain for more than a week inside Mexican territory without being detected officially by Mexican authorities.

“In Cancún, in the state of Quintana Roo, Posada Carriles was supported by a known trafficker of illegal Cuban immigrants named Juan Carlos Riberol (a.k.a. El Profe), who for more than seven years has led a powerful criminal network linked to a group of Cuban-American drug traffickers known as Los Marielitos, who maintain a close relationship with the Cuban-American Foundation with its headquarters in Miami…

“We believe the reports of the courageous Colombian journalist Hernando Calvo Ospina who in his presentation here mentioned that the Cuban-American Foundation has, since the 1980s, maintained connections with Colombian narco-traffickers to finance subversive acts against the revolutionary government of Cuba…

“The most serious element in all of this is the participation of the Cuban-American Foundation in all these operations that are being constructed to allow for 55 to 100 illegal Cuban immigrants to arrive in Quintana Roo each week, who are then taken to the United States and, when they don’t have family members in Miami, Florida, who can pay the costs of their transport, they are used to smuggle drugs onto U.S. territory.”


“There are things that nobody dares say, and what you have just said here are the words of the valiant,” responds Fidel Castro, to Renan Castro’s presentation about the links between drug trafficking and Posada Carriles’ voyage to the United States.
Photo: D.R. 2005 Por Esto!
Fidel Castro, at the same conference, rose after Renán’s presentation, looked straight at the Mexican Authentic Journalist, and said:

“There are things that nobody dares say, and what you have just said here are the words of the valiant. They use those boats for drugs. You have denounced something that has not been mentioned until now, that the boat is also dedicated to drug trafficking. That’s serious. But the most serious thing is what they did in violation of United States laws, smuggling terrorists, something that is severely punished in the United States…”

Authentic Journalists: Pull This Thread

Writing from Florida in this month’s Clamor magazine, Narco News School of Authentic Journalism professor Andrew Stelzer writes about his fulltime job as a radio reporter:

“It’s a grind, and often I feel as if I’m not doing what I should be — going deeper into stories, uncovering hidden secrets buried inside the machinery of government and corporations, and holding the powerful accountable for wrongs against society.”

Stelzer speaks of the difficulty for journalists like his colleague and ours, the late Gary Webb, who dug so deeply into the cocaine-trafficking scandals in which Posada Carriles was involved in the 1980s that his newspaper editor, Jerry Ceppos, betrayed the search for the truth and cast Gary out as an industry pariah.


Andrew Stelzer, at the 2004 session of the Narco News School of Authentic Journalism in Cochabamba, Bolivia.
Photo: D.R. 2004 Jeremy Bigwood
And yet this story about a news story that explodes wider and with greater force each day – on the trail of an international terrorist and those who, in Bushspeak, “protect terrorists” – began precisely with the kind of “grind” work that journalist Stelzer finds, at times, frustrating (and don’t we all).

But, as in the case of Authentic Journalist Yolanda Gutiérrez rising early on the morning of March 14 on Isla Mujeres to report one of those seemingly routine stories, only to end up tugging on a thread that now unravels the gigantic, previously impenetrable, falsehood of Washington’s “wars” against terrorism and drugs, this kind of daily journalism work can be, and is, immensely important.

What Gutiérrez, and photojournalist Mario Alonzo, and Renán Castro, and the rest of the Por Esto! team have that Gary Webb did not have at the San Jose Mercury News in the 1990s is the knowledge and faith that they count with a publisher that will back them to the ultimate consequences as long as they report the truth, and, now, an international network of Authentic Journalists to spread the story far and wide across borders and languages.


Gary Webb – Presente
Photo: D.R. 2003 Jeremy Bigwood
Authentic Journalism has become the people’s Intelligence Agency. Horizontal in form, without interests or lies to protect, this international network is now faster, and more accurate, than the spook agencies of any government on earth. Instead of hoarding information to manipulate it, the Authentic Journalists of this hemisphere and the world conduct our work in the sunlight of a better-informed public. Heads of State are coming to count on the information speeding across these screens as more accurate sources of authentic intelligence than official sources.

And so it is no longer a surprise when someone like Hugo Chávez reads Narco News aloud on his national radio show, or when Fidel Castro reads aloud from Por Esto! on national television. Nor is it any surprise when these developments get translated and exported across the globe, basking the isolated journalists in the sunlight of public protection.

Authentic Journalists of the world: Yolanda Gutiérrez pulled a thread three months ago. She and her Por Esto! colleagues were and are backed by everyone at her newspaper and in our Authentic Journalism renaissance. The informational curtain that had kept the truth about a state-sponsored international terrorist from public view is shredded and coming apart wider each day. There are a thousand frays already. Grab one of those strings, right now, and start pulling. The Posada Carriles case can topple an Empire that is no more formidable than a shrimp boat adrift in a sea of terrorism and narco-trafficking. Pull this string. Yank hard, and do it for justice. Avenge the lies. Do it for Gary Webb.

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