A video on "Lord of the Skies"
Amado Carrillo Fuentes - the Lord of the Skies - died in 1997, before YouTube videos could actually show footage of him. However, here's an offering (in Spanish) to give you a sense of the guy's power and legend. Maybe he died in his hospital room in Mexico City after a bad reaction (really bad) to plastic surgery that lasted 14 hours. Maybe, as authorities believe, he was murdered by his bodyguards. Or, perhaps, as the myth goes, he escaped in a giant scam. The plastic surgery in a Mexico City hospital was supposed to give him a new life, and maybe it did. Wait for the movie. Tarantino?
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A big reason drug lords are so much a part of Mexican pop culture is their taste for beautiful women. The standard for escapades set by Raul Salinas, the brother of former president Carlos Salinas, still stands. He was in jail in 1995, charged with murder and various crimes related to narco-trafficking, and needed money. So his fourth wife, the beautiful Paulina Castanon de Salinas (a Catherine Deneuve lookalike) sailed forth and breezed into a Swiss bank and tried to withdraw $84 million U.S. in cash one afternoon.
She was arrested and, at the time, magazines were filled with glossy photos of Paulina in Raul's arms, Paulina posing on his yacht, etc. etc. The public ate it up, as they do photos of celebrities "linked" to the drug trade by rumour. (Salinas was convicted in 1999 of having masterminded a murder and given 50 years in prison, later reduced to a 27-year term. His sentence was overturned and he walked out of prison a free man in 2005. He still faces illegal enrichment charges related to drugs but those charges will likely evaporate with time.)
After Castanon's arrest, Salinas gave an interview insisting, rather hilariously, he was innocent.
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It's easy to find video online about narco-trafficking in Mexico, the U.S. and Canada - the focus for our recent series - as well as analysis of the fallout in society at large, whether reports in NarcoNews, human rights documents, congressional investigations and various articles. You can easily find videos on YouTube and other sites showing recent arrests.
What I'm waiting for is the definitive book on who facilitates narco-trafficking in Mexico, the U.S. and Canada, with exposes on all the politicians, business tycoons, civil servants and the layers of facilitators in law enforcement , the judiciary and other organizations. But I suppose the chances of a writer with the real goods surviving to publication is slim to none.
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With this offering, the Decoder turns again to matters other than narco-trafficking.