Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Flap Over the Video of Ex-Attorney General Patricia Gonzalez's Kidnapped Brother

Background: Patricia Gonzalez, Attorney General of the State of Chihuahua under the administration of ex-governor Jose Reyes Baeza was more or less universally despised in Cd. Juarez, at least in part because of her arrogant disregard to the feeling of Juarenses asking for more help from the attorney general's office during the upward spike in violence over the past three years. She also seemed frustratingly unable to prosecute cases brought to her by law enforcement agents. La Polaka called her "Paty Gaga," for her non-conservative wardrobe style. She left the office in early October when Governor Duarte took the reins of state government. Her brother was kidnapped last Thursday, October 21.

On Sunday a video appeared on You Tube of Mario Ángel González Rodríguez, her brother, in a scene very much like the one reported here last week of a woman being interrogated before her assassination. Like that video, You Tube pulled this one, but it continues to be seen throughout Mexico. If you want to see it, click here. In it, Mr. González confesses, at gunpoint, to being a bag man for his sister, collecting payoff money the La Linea cartel from different sectors of the state, including $200,000 per month from Juarez, $100,000 from Chihuahua, $50,000 from Parral, and $50,000 from Cuauhtemoc. He also states his sister ordered the assassination of two reporters, including the slaying of Armando Rodriguez, of Diario, in 2008, and Enrique Perea in 2006, and that General Espitia (head of Joint Operation Chihuahua) was paid off $100,000 per month. He readily names names, far more than I have summarized here.

For several months there appears to have been something of a clandestine public relations campaign between the two rival gangs in Juarez, the Sinaloa Cartel and the Juarez Cartel, also known as La Linea. Paintings on walls and banners have been left, accusing President Calderon of protecting the Sinaloa Cartel, and others accusing state and local authorities of protecting La Linea. This video fits into this narrative, widely accepted as truth in Cd. Juarez.

Patricia Gonzalez herself appeared yesterday in public for the first time, asserting that the cubicle from which her brother was filmed in this video is located in the office of the attorney general in Chihuahua, constructed under her orders when she was attorney general. She has asked for a federal government investigation into the kidnapping, welcomed an investigation into her activities as attorney general, and denied all allegations. Among other things she said she wanted those responsible to return her brother "dead or alive," a choice of words reminiscent of her somewhat insensitive language when she was attorney general.

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