He hasn’t even taken office yet, but Mexico’s new President Enrique Peña Nieto has already got some ‘splainin’ to do.
Mexico City newspapers today reported the discovery of pictures of the not-yet-inaugarated new President in which he appears chummy with a man arrested yesterday in Madrid and charged with importing 337 kilos of cocaine into Spain from South America.
The pictures, on the Facebook page of the arrested man, Celaya Rafael Humberto Valenzuela,came to light after the Interior Ministry in Spain held a press conference detailing his arrest in Spain in the company of a cousin of Sinaloa cartel honcho Chapo Guzman.
Spanish police, working with the FBI, say the men were conspiring to establish a beachhead for El Chapo in Spain. Spain's national police, in a joint investigation with the FBI's Boston Division, "aborted an attempt by El Chapo Guzman to settle in Europe."
“Rafa” Celaya, as he is known to his friends in the PRI, is shown in photos with future Mexican President Pena Nieto at campaign events in Mexico City and Sonora.
By themselves the pictures prove little.But the context in which they appear is extraordinarily revealing, and speaks volumes about the active participation of elements of the Mexican elite in drug trafficking.
“Rafa" Celaya, the new Mexican President’s friend, wasn’t living rough in the mountains of Sinaloa.
A South of the Border "Elite Deviant"
Instead, he is a long-time functionary in Mexico’s ruling PRI party who has worked in mid-level positions in state and municipal government in Hermosillo, including a half-dozen years in Sonora State’s Ministry of Finance.
The arrested man is the nephew of Victor Hugo Celaya Celaya, an influential politico in Sonora, according to Mexico City newspaper Proceso.
In addition to pictures with the president, Rafa is shown in photos with Emilio Gamboa, the newly elected leader of the PRI in the Senate, and influential Mexican Senator Manlio Fabio Beltrones.
So far, PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) leaders have made no official statement.
(Besides, what's there to say?)