The President and Garcia Luna

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been talking about Genaro García Luna for almost a month with a particular emphasis, and has repeatedly asked in the morning: how is the case going? The process against the former Secretary of Public Safety is taking place in the Southern District Court in Brooklyn, and the trial is scheduled to begin in October. López Obrador fears, as he repeated yesterday, that “they want to give him a long time” without knowing precisely what the motivation would be. The need for the President to begin the trial is understood, in order to use it as a battle horse against former President Felipe Calderón, even if it is with falsehoods.

López Obrador has not been well informed about the case for a long time, and the consulate in New York does not have access to the proceedings because García Luna never asked for his legal advice. I mean, they’re in the dark. However, if you were given quality information, some even public, you would know that:

1) The delays are due to Justice Department prosecutors repeatedly requesting that discovery hearings be postponed, because they have failed to build a strong case, and continue to seek evidence.

2) President Donald Trump’s attorney, William Barr, had requested information from the Mexican government to support the accusations in the United States. What they were given were newspaper clippings and books, but nothing that could be prosecuted.

The President has not always been so poorly informed about this case, and the one who told him that it was very weak was Julio Scherer, the former legal adviser, who the last time he told him about it was more than a year and a half ago. The President, however, did nothing to rush the results of the attorney general, Alejandro Gertz Manero, and the then head of the Financial Intelligence Unit, Santiago Nieto, to provide evidence to Barr. Worse still, they contradicted themselves.

Gertz Manero said in 2019 that he was investigating him for the alleged crimes of conspiracy to traffic cocaine, false statements to federal judicial authorities, bribery, crimes against health and organized crime. Nieto denounced him last year in Miami for “stealing 250 million dollars” during the government of Enrique Peña Nieto and laundering money. In other words, one is investigating him for crimes related to drug trafficking, and the other for white-collar crimes. Why didn’t the President put them in agreement?

Who knows who is whispering things in his ear about the case, but he should stop listening to him. Yesterday he said that “lately testimonies of witnesses who have testified against and involve Calderón have been coming out.” What there is are not testimonies, but statements that the prosecutors presented, to obtain their last extension, about a recording that is not understood, from more than two years ago, where the interpretation of the accusers is that García Luna told an informant in his cell, that the Russian mafia would help him liquidate witnesses. That runs counter to common sense.

Phones at the New York Metropolitan Correctional Center? Excuse me, but they are not the Mexican prisons. Put in a clandestine phone to look for evidence? The authorization of a judge would be required. But most importantly, would a person who dedicated more than 40 years of his life to intelligence commit such a stupid thing? It looks very difficult. There is another statement from a Mexican journalist who assures that García Luna threatened her with death, through third parties -in the United States they call him hersay-, and wanted to buy her so as not to publish investigations against her. As far as is known, there is nothing that has not been investigated or invented against García Luna, that has not been published. The journalist, according to what has transpired, wants to be an anonymous witness in the trial against the former official, which would be interesting when she is cross-examined by the defense.

López Obrador also assured that these “witness testimonies” have involved Calderón, and that part of the money that García Luna received, “went to Los Pinos.” Hopefully the President will provide more details about this accusation, because there is really no known statement to that effect. Prosecutors in New York accuse García Luna of having received almost eight million pesos from Jesús The king Zambada, for protection. When Zambada was arrested in 2008, the address of the house where the Mexico City police caught him was provided by the García Luna Federal Police, who followed up on information from the DEA. Zambada had never talked about it until Joaquín’s trial El Chapo Guzman in 2018 and 2019.

López Obrador, by his statements, is uncomfortable that García Luna has support from the intelligence community in the United States. And what he says is true. One of those supports is José Rodríguez, who was the CIA Station Chief in Mexico, from where he was returned to Washington when the Twin Towers were attacked to take charge of the Counter-Terrorist Unit, and whose team was finally the one that located to Osama bin Laden in Pakistan.

But in his long morning speech yesterday, the President was zigzagging. As he spoke of support, then he suspiciously suggested that there was a rift in the intelligence community. There is no break, so far, in the intelligence community, as López Obrador said. Nobody even pointed out that when García Luna was arrested in Dallas in 2019, the Department of Justice did not use the DEA, nor the FBI, as it would have done, but the marshalls, the sheriffs – with whom the former secretary never had a good relationship – because they feared the arrest warrant would leak.

Yesterday there was a coming and going of the President on García Luna, which is unusual. The slowness of the process has made him nervous. One could speculate on the reasons for this, but it makes no sense. The truth is that the process gets more and more interesting.

rrivapalacio@ejecentral.com.mx

twitter: @rivapa

Follow us at @EjeOpinion

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