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|Former Mexican President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa|
Former Mexican President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa assured in his book Decisiones difíciles (English: Difficult Decisions) that Osiel Cárdenas Guillén, the former leader of the Gulf Cartel and founder of the Los Zetas paramilitary group, planned to assassinate him in 2006.
The President narrated that Daniel Cabeza de Vaca, the former Attorney General, told him at the beginning of his term: “Felipe, we have information from the Army, which comes from American sources with informants in the cartel that Osiel Cárdenas is not happy with the result of the election and has the plan to assassinate you.”
Cárdenas Guillén earned his alias “El Mata Amigos” (English: The Friend Killer) after assassinating his friend Salvador Gómez Herrera, alias “El Chava”, in 1998. El Chava was one of the figureheads of the Gulf Cartel after the arrest of Juan Garcia Abrego in 1996. Cárdenas Guillén’s reign in the Gulf Cartel was unprecedented since he formed Los Zetas, which were known for their brutal tactics and became one of the leading criminal groups in Mexico.
Los Zetas started out as the paramilitary group of the Gulf Cartel. Some of its original members were part of the Mexican Army’s Grupo Aeromóvil de Fuerzas Especiales (English: Special-Forces Airmobile Group, GAFE) and were adept in combat.
In 2010, a Texas judge handed down a 25-year prison sentence against Cárdenas Guillén. Neither the U.S. government nor the federal court where he faced trial released any details of the case against him. His sentence was handed down behind closed doors and the case was sealed in perpetuity.
Some versions indicate that Cárdenas Guillén struck a deal with U.S. authorities to not receive life imprisonment in exchange for pleading guilty to five federal charges against him and providing valuable information about the Mexican criminal underworld.
On May 18, President Calderón presented his second book in which he reflects on the task of governing and details how he lived his presidential term.
He specifically covers the fundamentals of what is means to govern a country and his decision-making process throughout his administration. He argues that many decisions political leaders make are done without knowing with absolute certainty every outcome or consequence that may arise. Calderón argues that decisions should be made after considering all the available information and often means weighing the “lesser evil” and how it can benefit “greater good”.
In addition, Calderón covers topics like the worldwide financial crisis of 2007–08 during his administration, how he dealt with political gridlock, the 2009 swine flu pandemic, his public security policy, among others. There is an hour and a half long interview on YouTube where he discusses his book and answers questions from three journalists in Spanish.
People on social media did not wait and launched criticism, saying his book was similar to the one written by former Democratic candidate for the Presidency of the United States, Hillary Clinton. The new book by former President Calderón is called “Difficult Decisions”, Hillary Clinton’s book was called “Hard Choices” and was translated into Spanish with the same title as his.
Recent political scandals
It is worth mentioning that Calderón’s former associates have been involved in a series of political scandals. Genaro García Luna, the Former Secretary of Public Security under him, is facing trial in the U.S. for money laundering and drug trafficking.
He is accused of laundering millions of dollars for Mexican drug cartels through 11 different tax havens worldwide: the U.S, Barbados, Hong Kong, Israel, Latvia, Panama, the U.K., Cyprus and Curaçao.
According to reports, the money came from “bribes delivered by organized crime groups” when García Luna served as Mexico’s Secretary of Public Security from 2006 to 2012.
In December 2019, U.S. authorities arrested García Luna on said charges. He is believed to have favored the Sinaloa Cartel and allowed it to operate in Mexico with relative impunity.