Wednesday, November 05, 2008

In Other News

In case you were wondering how the election is playing down south, the answer, as you can see, "way down at the bottom of page one." That's because last night, just as the first returns were coming in, Mexico's Government Secretary (a vastly important official, with no real parallel in our executive branch) was killed in a horrific plane crash in the middle of Mexico City.

The government Learjet 45 plowed into rush-hour traffic in a wealthy neighborhood of Mexico City late Tuesday, killing Interior Secretary Juan Camilo Mourino, former anti-drug prosecutor Jose Luis Santiago Vasconcelos and at least 11 others, including four people on the ground, Mexico City prosecutor Miguel Angel Mancera told the Televisa network. He said officials were searching for more possible remains.

The deaths are a major blow to President Felipe Calderon's already embattled government and its fight against drug trafficking.

Mourino, 37, was Calderon's top Cabinet minister, in charge of domestic politics and security. Vasconcelos was previously in charge of prosecuting and extraditing drug traffickers and had been the target of at least one planned assassination attempt in the past.

...The business jet was approaching the Mexico City airport when it suddenly slammed into the posh Lomas de Chapultepec neighborhood as people were heading home from work.

Witnesses said they heard the drone of a plane's motor and then felt a powerful explosion that rocked the area of tall buildings and unleashed a fireball on Mexico City's main Reforma Avenue.

Dozens of cars caught fire and at least 40 people were injured, while officials evacuated about 1,200 people from area offices.

Hundreds of police, firefighters and soldiers swarmed the scene, which was littered with the charred hulks of vehicles and the remains of bodies, many burned beyond recognition.

This is an imperfect analogy but it's sort of like the vice-president's plane crashing into Fifth Avenue on the Upper East Side. That's the kind of thing that pushes a foreign election to the inside pages. (Also, Mexico had its first black president 180 years ago so, like, get over yourselves.)


Anonymous said...

That's terrible. Do they think the plane was sabotaged?


Burro Hall said...

They're investigating - but so far, no.

Anonymous said...

And if so, who will say the truth? Do you think they will say that drug cartell "X" took the plane from government with anti drug prosecuter and interior secretary down and got it crashed 100m away from the presidential palast?
I guess not

Burro Hall said...

Good point. I mean, just to take one example - if a rogue Middle Eastern nation had developed weapons of mass destruction and had something to do with crashing a plane into a building near the White House, I'm sure the US government would go out of its way to make sure the people never knew about it.

Julie said...

Yup, I'm officially never flying again. Ever.

MexFiles said...

Anything is possible, but this is not the first small plane to crash at that particular location. There's weird updrafts in through that corridor on the approach path to the secondary airport where Gov. planes usually land.

OTOH, remember that a Sec. of Public Security was killed in another plane crash back in the Fox Administration. Hmmmmmmm....

If you're in charge of anti-narcotics policing in Mexico, or a rock-n-roller it's best to stay out of small aircraft.

Burro Hall said...

Not least of all because Learjets are now partially assembled in Queretaro...