President Colosio (3)

16:32, April 26, 2011      

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The attempt against his life was so unexpected no American television network or newspaper was covering the visit of Mexico's leading presidential candidate just across the border. All the images and information was controlled by the Mexican government and Televisa. Mexico did not authorize live broadcast from its territory to the outside world. Only Televisa was authorized to provide images.

Which may explain Reuters' fast offer, my resume listed Televisa as an employer. At the time there were not many American journalists with that connection; I might have been the only one in Los Angeles. Mexico's government a one-party system then, like China's today, control the airwaves often to maintain and protect social stability. In America the Federal Communications Commission serves a similar role but not linked to one specific political party. My resume also listed a job as Broadcast Standards analyst at KHJ-TV in Los Angeles where I monitored live programming to assure FCC requirements were met.

"The most damming proof is photographic evidence. The photos and famous video of the killing indeed show Colosio being shot, but they do not reveal the assassin. There are reportedly over 2,500 photos of the rally, but supposedly not one offers a clear picture of the killer," wrote Anne Moore for "Los Angeles View". Because visuals were limited analysis had to be done based on knowledge of history, culture, politics, trust and instinct by an experienced hand.

Unstoppable political change coming to Mexico was only going to be delayed, not aborted, by Luis Donaldo Colosio's assassination. It would take one more PRI presidency before the first opposition party since Francisco I. Madero in 1910 ascended to power when Vicente Fox on July 2, 2000 from the Partido Accion Nacional (PAN) became president of Mexico in a historical and deeply emotional election. Six years later the PAN candidate again won Mexico's presidency, Felipe Calderon-Hinojosa, who now battles a violent drug war.

"Rumors blamed everyone: Colosio's party rivals had planned the killing, or Tijuana's notorious drug gangs did it. No one seemed to know whether there was a conspiracy or if the assassin was another of the solitary, deranged killers who disfigure history. Mexicans reacted not only with horror and outrage but also with something close to fear. No matter what the motive, the public murder of a leading politician inflicted a national trauma, a sense of disorientation that came with the recognition that things were not what they so comfortingly seemed to be," wrote Bruce W. Nelan for "Time Magazine".

"The failure to solve the killing has taken on dimension of a national tragedy that for Mexico is as complex and gut-wrenching as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy for the United States. And as confusing. The directors of the Conspiracy Museum in Dallas have added the Colosio case to their long list of suspicious murders and Oliver Stone has started collecting material in Mexico for a future project," wrote Anthony DePalma for "The New York Times".

"The unsolved assassination of Mexican presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio has become a labyrinth of intrigue and suspicion in which solid evidence remains painfully scarce," wrote Sebastian Rotella for "The Los Angeles Times" in 1995. Especially because soon thereafter key figures in the investigation started to be killed as the front page of Mexico's "Proceso Magazine" proclaimed on their May 2nd, 1994 issue - "Caso Colosio: Empiezan a Morir Los Que Saben" (Colosio Case: Those In The Know Begin to Die).

"The successive governments dealing with the case may well be caught in a trap, set by the political system," wrote Mexico's former Secretary of Foreign Affairs Jorge Castaneda in his book "The Mexican Shock". "For the system, only a 'single gunman' theory is acceptable; but public opinion will believe only a conspiracy, with plausible motivation, and in a master plan behind the assassination. There is no way out of this dilemma." A poll conducted by Mexican newspaper "Reforma" on the tenth anniversary of Colosio's assassination among 800 adults found 92% of Mexicans believe the crime was not the work of a lone gunman but a conspiracy while 84% believes impunity prevails in Mexico.

My involvement in the story changed me forever and for a time I did not know if eventually the truth would be known. But I was at peace since I felt I had done my journalistic duty with integrity. As respite I took a temporary job editing a Spanish language weekly in the San Fernando Valley, "Vecinos del Valle" owned by the "Daily News". The one year anniversary of Colosio's assassination was to find me writing about Latino celebrities and ethnic recipes.

I was looking forward to interviewing a promising young Mexican-American star - one I was enthralled with. She was promoting a TV special on a Spanish language network, her representatives set up time and date for a phone interview I would conduct from home. I was waiting for her call when the co-host called to say the star was unavailable, she would do the interview. An interview I never wrote because a few days later the promising Texan star was shot dead. Instead I wrote her obituary. Her name was Selena. The article "Selena: Reborn As Myth" sold out, with no returns a first.

That was the moment I unknowingly transitioned from writer to soldier in an undeclared war that continues to claim thousands of lives at the United States' edge. A Latino holocaust taking place south-of-the-border with close to 40,000 deaths since 2006 - 15,000 last year - financed by an insatiable drug market up North providing its funding. How many more need to die? Mexico alone cannot win the fight and the United States simply cannot afford to ignore it any longer. Especially because the South is paying in blood and lives the North's addiction. Millions of law-abiding citizens on both sides are held prisoners of drug cartels and the corrupting power of their cash.

I rebel, I protest, I reject, I resist, I accuse, I write, I resurrect the wrath of the dead with my words.

This article is a People's Daily Online exclusive.

The article represents the author's views only. It does not represent opinions of People's Daily or People's Daily Online.
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