The case of General Salvador Cienfuegos has once again in an uproar and divided public opinion in the country.
Since his arrest at the Los Angeles International Airport, California, on October 15, 2020, when he was returning to Mexico after spending a vacation in that city, until his exoneration by the Attorney General’s Office, last Thursday, the matter it has further polarized Mexicans.
Let us remember that the United States Department of Justice and the institutions that depend on it, such as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the federal prosecutor’s office for the Eastern District of New York, assured to have in their possession of irrefutable evidence of Cienfuegos’ guilt.
If that was the case, why did 429 days elapse between August 14, 2019, the day a grand jury in the Eastern District of New York charged him with being a drug dealer and money launderer, and his arrest?
Until now, no US authority has explained why his capture took so long or why he was not arrested before, given that after August 14, 2019, he had traveled to the United States at least once.
The US judicial authorities assured that the evidence they had against the Mexican military man was overwhelming and sufficient for a judge to sentence him to spend the rest of his days locked up in a high security prison.
Everything seemed to indicate that the former secretary had everything to lose when, surprisingly, on November 18 last the Department of Justice decided to withdraw the charges that had been filed against him “so that he can be investigated and, where appropriate, prosecuted in accordance with the Mexican laws ”. The decision was surprising, unheard of and unprecedented. Nobody in Mexico or the US believed that the general was going to be investigated and less tried in our country.
Apparently the FGR did investigate Cienfuegos and concluded that he is innocent, exonerating him last Thursday and issuing a bulletin in which by means of 11 points he demolished the alleged evidence that the DEA collected.
Last Friday, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador asked himself: “Why did they do this investigation like this without support, without evidence?” And he added: “… even though they had already been carrying out the investigation for a long time, they arrested the general before the elections and, according to the information we have, General Cienfuegos had already been to the United States, in March he had been visiting with his family”.
Three months ago, on October 18, I speculated why Trump ordered the release of General Cienfuegos:
“It is likely that Trump has decided to endorse the problem on President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (…) it is not unreasonable to suppose that Trump, already as a former president, wants to continue promoting the anti-Mexican sentiment that exists in many of his followers, accusing the government of our country of not investigating the general and Biden’s for not pressuring the FGR to do so.
“Trump will seek to be a presidential candidate in 2024 and will need new issues to talk about. The Cienfuegos case, if it is not resolved convincingly in Mexico, will give him reasons to go against his successor ”.
Facebook: Eduardo J Ruiz-Healy
Journalist and producer
Opinioner, columnist, lecturer, media trainer, 35 years of experience in the media, micro-entrepreneur.