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11/11/11 helicopter crash
November 11, 2011 1:12 PM   Subscribe

A helicopter crashed this morning near Mexico City, killing all eight aboard, including Mexican Secretary of the Interior, Francisco Blake Mora. This has happened almost exactly three years to the day a plane crashed in Mexico City, killing a previous mexican Secretary of the Interior, Juan Camilo Mouriño (Blake Mora even tweeted about remembering Mouriño last week, in his last tweet [link in Spanish]).

Is it just a sad coincidence, or is something else going on?
Blake, as well as Mouriño had been involved in capturing drug lords [link in Spanish] and combating the rise of violence throughout the country, so this crash, as well as the last one was, is being examined carefully [link in Spanish] to rule out sabotage.
posted by omegar (23 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Amazing the mechanical failures that can be caused by Peruvian marching powder.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:19 PM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by shakespeherian at 1:28 PM on November 11, 2011


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posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:44 PM on November 11, 2011


Is it just a sad coincidence, or is something else going on?

"Blake, a lawyer who was formerly government secretary in the state of Baja California, had frequently served as spokesman for the government’s 5-year-old crackdown on drug gangs."

Sad coincidence.
posted by three blind mice at 1:57 PM on November 11, 2011


On reddit/r/mexico I saw a link to this tweet from yesterday: https://twitter.com/#!/Morf0/status/134843741541367808

(El texto: "Mañana a las 11/11 les caerá un secretario del cielo... evite reforma.")

translation: Tomorrow 11/11 a secretary will fall from the sky... avoid reform*

*I don't know if that is avoid reform in a political sense or Paseo de Reforma, a major street in the DF.

It could be this guy knew that something was going to happen. It could have been an assassination. Or it could just be a coincidental mechanical problem on an old helicopter.
posted by birdherder at 1:58 PM on November 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


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This is awful. Blake Mora did seem to be committed to doing his job right.

This is also a terrible blow to President Calderon, as this Secretary was one of his very close collaborators, and is the second one he's had to "bury" during his time as President, and for the same tragic reason.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 2:05 PM on November 11, 2011


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posted by drezdn at 2:09 PM on November 11, 2011


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posted by Iridic at 2:13 PM on November 11, 2011


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posted by finite at 2:15 PM on November 11, 2011


Hmmmm. My brother is a helicopter maintenance tech. In twenty years, they'd had not one single accident until a year or two ago, when a chopper crashed during a training flight. Never heard whether it was pilot error or mechanical.

Chopper maintenance is seriously impressive. My brother's airport overhauls choppers once a year, and that's essentially the equivalent of disassembling and then rebuilding the chopper from scratch. Every single bit and piece is examined. I asked him why it's like this, and he replied that it's just how helicopters are – fascinating pieces of engineering that require incredible attention to detail to keep running smoothly. (Which is why flying in one is so danged expensive.) Maintenance standards are pretty much the same around the world, otherwise, well, you're dead.

So, as far as I can see two things are possible: first, a presidential helicopter, used by some of the most important people in a country's government, was not maintained properly. Second, someone figured a chopper would be the easiest thing to tinker with to deadly results while maintaining the plausible deniability of a maintenance issue. Especially on an "old" one. (I use scare quotes because, as mentioned, since they're rebuilt once a year, with parts replaced as needed, they're not actually "old" until deemed so and scrapped.)
posted by fraula at 2:25 PM on November 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


Helicopters are pretty dangerous, but then so are the Mexican cartels. No idea how likely it is that the chopper had been sabotaged, or it could have been shot down.
posted by delmoi at 2:34 PM on November 11, 2011


Cloudy conditions suggest accident: Calderon
posted by telstar at 2:39 PM on November 11, 2011


"Mañana a las 11/11 les caerá un secretario del cielo... evite reforma."

That's got to be a coincidence. If you read the guy's other tweets, he rants about politics a lot, but he also complains about stuff like Microsoft's .NET platform and Adobe stopping development of Flash for mobile. He doesn't seem like the narcotraficante type at all. But he is enjoying all the attention he's getting from this.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:50 PM on November 11, 2011


I'll take this opportunity to say that the War on Drugs is a colossal waste of resources, but since we've got to deal with it for the foreseeable future, if you're doing illegal drugs that come from Mexico, stories like this ought to make you think.
posted by resurrexit at 2:59 PM on November 11, 2011


About what? Besides, how does one know drugs from Mexico from any other kind?
posted by telstar at 3:02 PM on November 11, 2011


About what?

About the possibility of drug cartels being involved in deaths like this, is what I think resurrexit meant. And the contribution of American dollars that narcos get from US drug sales.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 3:10 PM on November 11, 2011


And the contribution of American dollars that narcos get from US drug sales.

Not to mention the contribution of American guns that narcos get from the US government.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:20 PM on November 11, 2011


Especially on an "old" one. (I use scare quotes because, as mentioned, since they're rebuilt once a year, with parts replaced as needed, they're not actually "old" until deemed so and scrapped.)

According to the article on the helicopter I linked to, that helicopter was scheduled to be decommissioned due to its age. Mexico ordered a bunch of new helicopters to replace the old ones in their fleet for serve the federal government.

I'm not saying that this was a mechanical failure. Perfectly maintained helicopters piloted by professionals crash almost every day somewhere on the planet. But I'm also not jumping to conclusions that it was a cartel assassination. Until there's evidence otherwise, I'm chalking this up to a terrible accident.

That's got to be a coincidence. If you read the guy's other tweets, he rants about politics a lot, but he also complains about stuff like Microsoft's .NET platform and Adobe stopping development of Flash for mobile. He doesn't seem like the narcotraficante type at all. But he is enjoying all the attention he's getting from this.

Clearly. Remember that Calderon has more enemies in his country than just the narcotraficantes. The blog the dude posts on doesn't seem to be a Calderon fan site member. I'm not saying he's a anything more than some opinionated pendejo who may or may not tweeted something he heard or whatever. But it is important to realize that just as the US has more than "al Qaeda types" to worry about, Mexico has more than the cartels. However, like I said I think this appears to be a terrible accident.
posted by birdherder at 3:21 PM on November 11, 2011


If only there was some way of stopping the flow of money to bootleggers drug lords.
posted by benzenedream at 3:23 PM on November 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm not saying that this was a mechanical failure. Perfectly maintained helicopters piloted by professionals crash almost every day somewhere on the planet. But I'm also not jumping to conclusions that it was a cartel assassination. Until there's evidence otherwise, I'm chalking this up to a terrible accident.


I'll second this. It's tragic, but still less terrible than the alternative of an intentionally caused crash.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 3:26 PM on November 11, 2011


I'm not saying he's a anything more than some opinionated pendejo who may or may not tweeted something he heard or whatever.

He also tweeted this yesterday: Científicos recomiendan a mujeres embarazadas no salir mañana que es 11/11/11 pues el niño puede salir más pendejo... It's just goofy shit. I think he just got lucky when a metaphor he was making happened to strike a chord.

But it is a good point that political assassination has historically been fairly common in Mexico; more common than most Americans might realize. When presidential candidate Luis Colosio was gunned down in 1994 almost nobody in Mexico could believe that it was the work of a lone gunman. Wikipedia has a helpful list of people assassinated in Mexico, but that list doesn't include deaths from "an accident", which indeed is a known and preferred way to kill your political rivals.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:45 PM on November 11, 2011


re: "Mañana a las 11/11 les caerá un secretario del cielo... evite reforma."

Güey that tweeted this yesterday was on CNN Mexico earlier and said it was a terrible coincidence (español). His tuit last night was a dark joke about the 2008 crash.
posted by birdherder at 3:50 PM on November 11, 2011


how does one know drugs from Mexico from any other kind?

Depends on where you are and what you've got, but if you're buying cocaine or heroin the answer is "this might as well be from Mexico." If you're using hard drugs casually enough to stop buying them like you'd stop buying shoes made in sweatshops (how many people do that, though?), you should assume that any such purchase made in the U.S., unless you're getting meth directly from the manufacturer, is propping up a violent mafia of some kind, whether it's the American gang that distributes it or the foreign cartel that managed to get it into the country in the first place. Buying Colombian drugs is pretty immoral too. Whether it's less bad than buying products made by 12-year-old slaves is kind of a head-scratcher, to me. After all, if the government would just acknowledge the implacability of the demand the way they did for alcohol and regulate the stuff, there's no reason the drug market has to be any more violent than the market for bananas or whatever. Ideally it would even be less violent. Can't say the price vs. wage problem is so easily solved.

Weed can be homegrown. Other psychedelics are likely produced here too, with a decent chance of minimal violence in the supply chain. It's hard to be a conscious drug consumer, though. Beggars and choosers and all.
posted by Adventurer at 7:14 PM on November 11, 2011


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