In the mid-1990s, the LaRouchians sought to intensify the violent strife in Mexico's southernmost state. They may have succeeded.

Nuevo Amanecer Press (1996); translated into English (2008) by C.L. Morgan

INTRODUCTION: Darrin Wood provides intriguing evidence below of how the LaRouche organization attempted to whip up rightwing hysteria and death-squad-style violence against Catholic clerics and an insurgent movement active among the indigenous Amerindians (mostly Mayan peasants) who comprise about one-third of the population in Chiapas, the nation's southernmost state bordering on Guatemala.

The background is as follows: In January 1994, an armed force calling itself the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) briefly seized control of several towns and announced that it would march on Mexico City (this without any heavy weaponry and with some of the insurgents armed only with fake wooden guns). In 12 days of fighting, the Mexican army pushed the EZLN back into the jungle but was unprepared to aggressively pursue them. President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, who was only months away from the end of his term of office, offered the rebels a cease-fire and a general dialogue.

A mediation commission was set up headed by the local Catholic bishop in Chiapas, Samuel Ruiz Garcia. The commission's work resulted in the San Andres Accords (1996) in which the government and the rebels agreed to seek changes in the Mexican constitution to provide special rights, including local autonomy, to indigenous peoples. But President Ernesto Zedillo, Salinas' successor, rejected this agreement and increased the military presence in Chiapas to about 50,000 troops (almost one-third of the army's total manpower). The EZLN remained in the jungle as an armed force, but launched no military assaults therefrom. However, over the course of Zedillo's years in office numerous acts of violence against indigeous people were committed by Chiapas paramilitaries linked to Zedillo's Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and local landowners. These acts included assassinations, rapes, land evictions, and four massacres. The worst of the massacres occurred on Dec. 22, 1997, when 45 unarmed Catholics (the majority of them women and children) attending a prayer meeting at a village chapel in Acteal were slain by men armed with rifles and machetes (click here for article from the Fresno Undercurrent published on the tenth anniversary of the Acteal killings). This event triggered a mass exodus by an estimated 10,000 indigenous people from paramilitary-dominated areas to the relative safety of refugee camps in the EZLN base areas and elsewhere.

EZLN's response was to focus on gaining the support of the media, human rights groups and the general public both within Mexico and internationally rather than launching retaliatory attacks that might provide the Mexican army with the pretext for a Guatemala-style counterinsurgency offensive. Over the years, the EZLN, which publicly advocates a kind of participatory democracy rather than a Marxist dictatorship (and indeed appears to have rejected communist ideology in large part), has expanded its program to include environmentalism as well as indigenous rights and electoral reform. It still informally controls a network of villages, called "autonomous municipalities," where it provides medical and social services but does not attempt to impose taxes. In spite of LaRouchian fulminations about narco-terrorism, no evidence exists that the EZLN--in sharp contrast to the Mexican military and the PRI--is, or ever has been, involved in drug trafficking.

Although the EZLN has won the respect of millions of Mexicans through its stance against electoral corruption and its savvy media tactics, it should not be romanticized in a knee-jerk fashion. Its secretiveness, its confusing politics, and the obvious eccentricity of its chief spokesperson, Subcommander Marcos, make it a difficult group in which to have full confidence. No one can say for sure how strong its support is within the indigenous community in Chiapas, where some Mayans have supported PRI and the paramilitary groups. According to Human Rights Watch, EZLN backers at the village level in the 1990s often engaged in tit for tat violence and land evictions targeting indigenous people who were hostile to EZLN, althought the bulk of the violence in the state was undoubtedly committed by PRI-backed groups. Finally, a significant part of the activity for which the EZLN is admired has in fact been carried out by people falsely accused (by the PRI and others) of being EZLN members; for instance, priests, nuns, and catechists who for the most part did not directly support the armed struggle in the 1990s and have focussed through their own distinct organizations on seeking social justice for the indigenous people through nonviolent means.

If the EZLN has in recent years renounced armed struggle--and has not attempted to collect compulsory taxes from residents of the autonomous municipalities--it is probably not only for idealistic motives but also because they realize that their base of support is shaky, the army outguns them, and nonviolent tactics have proven far more effective in winning support for their goals.--DK

MAY 28, 1996--Attacks by pro-government paramilitaries are increasing in the north of Chiapas. In the month of May, at least eight people lost their lives in violent acts perpetrated by groups like "Peace and Justice" and "Los Chinchulines," both organizations loyal to the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) of Ernesto Zedillo.[FN 1]

According to a recent report from the "Fray Bartolome de Las Casas" Human Rights Center and the Center for Indigenous Rights A.C. (CEDIAC), these armed groups may have a connection to the U.S. ultraright leader Lyndon LaRouche. It’s not the first time that LaRouche has operated in Mexico.

LaRouche's Partido Laborista de Mexico (Mexican Labor Party) was founded 20 years ago by Marivilia Carrasco and Cecilia Soto. Today Carrasco is the president of the Ibero-American Solidarity Movement (MSIA), one of various LaRouche fronts there, while Soto is one of the leaders of the Partido del Trabajo (Workers Party), of doubtful leftist politics.[FN 2]

The fronts of LaRouche’s organization are located in the Colonia San Rafael in Mexico City, the same address as his Labor Party while it existed. In the same building is found MSIA, the Center for Economic Investigations, and Resumen Ejecutivo--the Spanish version of LaRouche's Executive Intelligence Review, a magazine dedicated to privileged information and intelligence topics.

LaRouche never had too much success, at least in elections, with his Mexican Labor Party. Nevertheless, he won a certain respect for his political ideas and obtained a personal meeting with the then president of Mexico, José Lopez Portillo.[FN 3]

The January 1994 rebellion of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) in Chiapas, however, appears to have given more energy to LaRouche's Mexican activities. The rebellion coincided with his release from prison on January 26 of that year after serving five years of a 15-year sentence for tax fraud.

Almost immediately, his organization started a worldwide disinformation campaign on the conflict in Chiapas. Posters were published with the legend: "Wanted: Samuel Ruiz for treason," denouncing the Diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas [of which Ruiz was the bishop--DK] as one of the instigators of the armed uprising.[FN 4]

Also LaRouche's magazine Resumen Ejecutivo published a special [Jan. 1994] report entitled "'Shining Path North' Explodes in Mexico: The Zapatista Narco-Terrorists Are Part of the Plot to Annihilate the Nations of Latin America."[FN 5] A chapter entitled "The Narco-Terrorist International" begins:

On May 23, 1993, the blowing up of an arsenal in Managua, Nicaragua, not only caused the destruction of hundreds of sophisticated weapons, but also exposed the existence of an active international narcoterrorist apparatus, directed by Cuban and Sandinista intelligence, and responsible for kidnappings, extortion, traffic in arms and drugs, and terrorist operations in all of Latin America and other parts of the world. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia; the National Liberation Army and M-19, also in Colombia; the Battalion of the Americas; the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement in Peru; the Alfaro Vive, Carajo! in Ecuador; the All for the Fatherland Movement (MTP) in Argentina; and the ETA in Spain, are only a few of the groups that function as part of this large terrorist organization.[FN 6]

The LaRouchian report also fingers many other organizations and people as part of the plot. For lack of space, we cannot name them all. Nevertheless, we can say that British Intelligence, the U.S. Department of State, anthropologists from Harvard University, the Liberation Theology movement, the "narco-terrorist" Nobel Prize winner Rigoberta Menchu, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, "Lula" da Silva of the Workers Party of Brazil,[FN 7] and the Bishop of San Cristobal de Las Casas in Chiapas, Samuel Ruiz, are all included in the attempt to "overthrow western civilization" and eliminate the armed forces of Latin America.

According to LaRouche, all Mexico’s problems, from the guerrillas of Chiapas to the assassination of the PRI presidential candidate, Luis Donaldo Colosio, are the work of the British intelligence services and the other above groups in an attempt to destabilize Mexico.

All this could be discarded as mere ultraright craziness if it weren’t for the echo produced by the defamations. The whole thing has developed to a point that makes us think LaRouche has been able to infiltrate the PRI in Chiapas itself, which would be a truly dangerous event.

The report from the defenders of human rights in Chiapas points out a curious fact. The document says that last January, C. Manuel Estrada--one of the leaders of the paramilitary group "Peace and Justice"--stated that "the priests and nuns of the Parish of Salto de Agua [in the north of Chiapas] were preparing land invasions and acts of destabilization." [FN 8]

"Strangely," according to the same report, "the following February 8, federal deputies [representatives in the lower house of the Mexican Congress--DK] Ali Cancino Herrera (Third Federal District, Comitón) and Walter A. Leon Montoya (Chicomuselo, Coordinator of the Chiapas Delegation), in a letter directed to the Government Secretary in the Federal District, accused the same priests of organizing indigenous peasants to seize farmlands. The letter is based on the accusations made by C. Estrada regarding Salto de Agua.

The many biographical details regarding the clerics indicate that both the letter and the original accusations are part of the same tactic of defamation of any social and/or political movement that might try to change the unjust social order prevailing in Chiapas. In any case, the similarities between the original accusations and the letter reveal the cooperation between "Peace and Justice" and the two federal lawmakers.

The letter of Ali Cancino Herrera and Walter Leon Montoya states that:

The facts, then, have shown above that the incursion of these clerics into our state are [sic] always for harmful purposes, and they promote the most radical violence. In fact, we were victimized during a seminar in Paris, France last June by sympathizers of this Faction.

We should clarify the reference to the "seminar" in Paris. Both of the PRI lawmakers were in Europe to lecture on the Zapatista rebellion in Chiapas. Their trip was curious, to say the least.

"Definitely, Bishop Samuel Ruiz is one of the direct or indirect promoters of the guerrilla warfare. On numerous occasions the nuns have been caught transporting arms," said Cancino Herrera at the Paris meeting.

They also spoke of an international conspiracy, led by Britain, to bring down Mexico by means of the Zapatistas, and alleged that the PRD is the political arm of the EZLN[FN 9]; that Irma Serrano of the PRD is a drug trafficker; that a French nun took over the village of Las Margaritas in January 1994; and--perhaps the best of all their claims--that the actress and activist Ofelia Medina is a "British agent" because she is a member of the World Wide Fund for Nature (which made Ofelia laugh because she isn’t even a member of that environmental organization).

Such verbal outbursts are too bizarre for the dinosaurs of the PRI. Leon Montoya and Cancino Herrera were speaking a different language: the language of Lyndon LaRouche. In fact the meetings were sponsored by a LaRouche front, the Schiller Institute--which has branches in France, Germany and Mexico, among other countries.

During the Paris event, a group in solidarity with the Chiapas insurgents--their faces covered with balaclavas--interrupted by throwing firecrackers and tear gas and painting "Viva Zapata!" on the wall. The Schiller Institute accused the Parisian activists of belonging to the EZLN.

It is very possible that the PRI-LaRouchians had something to do with the expulsion of the Navarrian priest Rodolfo Izal. In 1994, Marivilia Carrasco said in an interview that Bishop Samuel Ruiz is part of an international "union" that "operates through a great number of foreign missionaries, among them many Spaniards, and there has been much talk about the presence of the ETA [the Basque insurgent group in Spain--DK] in all these Latin American networks." We should point out that, before being expelled by the Mexican government, Izal was assigned to the village of Sabanilla--in the north of Chiapas.

According to some recent newspaper reports, the priest Joel Padron--of the village of Simojovel, also in the north of Chiapas--has received death threats from militants of Partido del Trabajo, whose national leader is Cecilia Soto, co-founder of LaRouche’s operations in Mexico.[FN 10]

That LaRouche has managed to infiltrate the PRI is alarming, but not extraordinary. His Labor Parties have failed electorally throughout the world. According to him, it is better to infiltrate established parties to gain power more easily. This task began in the United States in 1980 when his followers tried to infiltrate the Democratic Party. LaRouche continued these efforts every year in Democratic primary elections. On some occasions he has had alarming success.

The U.S. Democratic Party was slow in reacting to this danger. In 1986, after LaRouche candidates won the nominations for Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of State in the state of Illinois, the other candidates were forced to campaign as independents rather than share a slate with known fascists. One Democratic senator from New York spoke of the danger of "neo-Nazis" infiltrating his party without difficulty.

Curiously, Lyndon LaRouche sued that senator for defamation for having called him a "Nazi." After the jury heard LaRouche's opinions at trial, they declared that the senator had every right to call him a "Nazi."[FN 11]

Although the PRI has enough problems just now, they nevertheless should wake up to the danger of a possible attempt by LaRouche to take advantage of the political confusion. In spite of its authoritarianism, nobody can call the governing party in Mexico "Nazi."

It was Lyndon LaRouche, not Ernesto Zedillo, who wrote a few years ago about native peoples that "We do not regard all cultures and nations as equally deserving of sovereignty or survival."[FN 12]


The LaRouchians: Fascist Cult and Intelligence Service

"The ferocity with which they pursue intelligence is almost beyond the ken of outsiders," says an ex-security staffer of Lyndon LaRouche’s cult quoted in the book Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism by the journalist Dennis King. The same ex-LaRouche staffer defines the organization as a "cult of intelligence."

He is right.

With offices in the United States, Europe and Latin America under names like "Labor Party," "New Solidarity," "Schiller Institute" and "Ibero-American Solidarity Movement," among others, LaRouche's followers are dedicated almost exclusively to trading their information--a mixture of excellent quality information and ultra-surrealistic conspiracies--with government intelligence services all over the world.

Unfortunately, many investigative journalists, although there are notable exceptions, have never taken LaRouche seriously enough (thanks to his many absurd theories) to attempt to throw light on his activities.

For example, one of his theories is that the Queen of England is the greatest drug trafficker in the world. Here we have an example of LaRouche’s constant insistence that his enemies are "British agents," as he has accused actress Ofelia Medina of being.

But what at first seems to be total craziness, is not so crazy when we remember that many ultrarightists, from Hitler and Goebbels to the Ku Klux Klan, have compared the British with the Jews. When LaRouche says "British," he means "Jew." Most people will find his constant attacks on the "British" comical, while the ultraright understands him perfectly, as Dennis King points out in his study on LaRouche. It is an example of classical anti-Semitism, although hidden for many.

The lunacies of LaRouche have served him well on more than one occasion. When the press began to investigate him seriously in the past, he would come out with something about the "British" or the colonization of Mars, or would claim that the Baader-Meinhoff gang was out to kill him. The press would chuckle, and LaRouche would continue his activities in obscurity.

This has worked for him on numerous occasions--even at moments as serious as when there came to light his plans to assassinate Jimmy Carter (for allegedly having reduced the power of the CIA) or Henry Kissinger (for being a Jew with power). Dennis King states, completely correctly, that this is intelligent fascism, not the response of your ordinary skinhead.

Although LaRouche's laughable theories have protected him from the press, the value of his information has opened doors for him to intelligence services and governments all over the world. LaRouche has had more luck with the goverments of Latin America than of other continents--even to the point that he has obtained direct meetings with the presidents of Mexico, Peru and Argentina.

But not only in the so-called "Third World" have doors been opened. LaRouche has enjoyed very important relations with the military, the police, and intelligence agencies in countries like Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

Germany continues to be one of the most important countries for his organization. In fact, his headquarters in Europe is in the city of Wiesbaden, and LaRouche and his wife Helga, who is German, have a mansion near there.

His European intelligence services were created by an ex-officer of the German navy and were directed by Anno Hellenbroich--the younger brother of Heribert Hellenbroich, a top official from 1981 to 1985 of the Federal Bureau of Constitutional Protection (BfV) in Germany. Curiously, the BfV has responsibility for watching extremist groups, but it removed LaRouche from its list when Heribert was director.

LaRouche's contacts in Germany don’t stop there. According to King's book, General Paul-Albert Scherer, ex-director of counter-intelligence in the West German armed forces, recalled in a 1987 statement how intelligence experts in the late 1970s were "amazed at [LaRouche's] connections and his access to special information on terrorism, the drug scene, the intelligence services themselves, and on the details of developments in the East bloc countries and in the Middle East." Scherer stated that when LaRouche’s people asked him to work with them, he asked "friendly intelligence circles" (apparently the CIA) if it would cause any security risk if he "took up any direct contact" with LaRouche. "The fact that I did take it up, and can speak publicly about it here, says enough, and will have to suffice," Scherer said.

The size of LaRouche's operations in Europe has always been unclear. The most sinister European events in which his people may have played a role are the assassination (1986) of Olof Palme in Sweden and the creation (1983) of Spain's Anti-terrorist Liberation Groups, or GAL--a network of death squads used by the Spanish security forces in the "dirty war" against the Basque separatist organization ETA.

Some Swedish journalists and police are convinced that the real assassin of Prime Minister Palme was Viktor Gunnarsson, an ultrarightist Swede with connections to the LaRouche organization, which had long regarded Palme as one of the greatest dangers in Europe. Probably we will never know any more about Gunnarsson in relation to the assassination of Palme. Gunnarsson was found dead with two shots in the back of his head in a town in North Carolina in the United States in 1994. The crime has still not been solved.[FN 13] I must say that LaRouche has always denied any participation in the Palme assassination. According to him, the KGB did it.

However, we know more about a mysterious LaRouche representative named Herbert Quinde, and his relation to the creation of the GAL. According to an investigation carried out by Manuel Cerdan, Antonio Rubio and the author of this article, published in August 1995 by the Madrid daily El Mundo, first LaRouche, and then Quinde, traveled to Madrid to offer their "knowledge" regarding Basque refugees who were living in France.

Quinde was in Spain several times in 1983 to participate in meetings with members of the security forces. At one of these meetings, Quinde was accompanied by a high-ranking officer of the French police. Police sources have indicated their surprise regarding the value of the information supplied by the LaRouchians. Only a few months after these contacts, the first attacks on Basque refugees in the south of France occurred.

And this brings us to the relations between LaRouche and the intelligence services of the United States. It seems that the first contacts were in the mid-1970s. LaRouche began his political career as a communist and a known member of the U.S. radical left. When his attempts to take over the leadership of the radical left failed, he moved more towards fascism, although he retained some ideas from his leftist past--indeed, his proposals for defying the World Bank and the IMF were taken up by the "narcoterrorist" Fidel Castro himself.

With his failure on the left, LaRouche wanted revenge on the enemies who had defeated him. So he began his collaboration with the CIA, the FBI, and other intelligence and security forces. It was all fairly simple. After so many years with the left, he had a lot of information on radical groups. LaRouche began to call the CIA, among others, to sell or exchange this information, and thus damage his enemies. From this, LaRouche learned something about the value of information, and from then on he didn’t stop.

His greatest era in the United States was during the 1980s with the presidency of Ronald Reagan. LaRouche or his lieutenants kept in regular contact with the CIA and the National Security Council of the Reagan cabinet--a relationship which Dr. Norman Bailey, director of international economic affairs for the NSC, explained by saying that LaRouche had "one of the best private intelligence services in the world."

Bailey was an expert on Opus Dei and had worked as an economic adviser in the Azores while the CIA was preparing for a coup d’etat in Portugal should the communists win the elections after the 1974 revolution. It is known that Bailey brought a lawsuit against LaRouche’s Labor Committees (when they were still on the left), for calling him a "fascist." He probably knows what he’s talking about regarding LaRouche’s intelligence-gathering prowess. People like Bailey and others of that period still don’t want to say too much about what LaRouche did during those years for reasons of U.S. "national security."

It may seem surprising, but LaRouche was sent to prison in the United States in 1989. It had nothing to do, however, with his dirty tricks in intelligence matters. Like the famous gangster Al Capone, who was convicted only for not paying income tax, LaRouche was convicted for tax fraud, thanks to the "creative" methods of financing he used for his activities. For an undertaking as large as his, a lot of money is needed. Thanks to credit card fraud and loans from retirees who were misled into giving all their savings to "save the United States," LaRouche was able to continue his operations.

Because of these activities, he was imprisoned. Nevertheless, LaRouche was released on parole in January 1994, and now he is campaigning for the U.S. presidency. His activities in Mexico, and other countries, are functioning better than ever. It seems that he has already stopped working as an independent party in many countries, and is trying to infiltrate established parties to gain more power.

And where is the press, with someone so dangerous? I have to quote the excellent book by Dennis King again:

[B]ehind the media's "soft" view of LaRouche there was often the rankest hypocrisy. While newspapers portrayed him as a kook they made editorial judgments based on the assumption that he was indeed potentially dangerous--so dangerous that his activities must be concealed from the public lest the truth help his movement grow....

This attitude--don’t write about an important story because we, the journalists, believe the public can’t handle it--would be regarded as downright unethical in every area of journalism except the coverage of extremists. Indeed, in other areas it would be called a cover-up.

But the press prefers to keep on laughing about LaRouche's obsession with "British agents" while ignoring the shadowy activities of this man and his cult over the years. One day this attitude may have to change.


Notes by DENNIS KING (added 2008)

[1] PRI is the centrist party that ruled Mexico for over 70 years in a kleptocratic and quasi-authoritarian manner, only losing power to Vicente Fox's right-leaning National Action Party (PAN) in the year 2000 elections. Ernesto Zedillo was the last in the unbroken line of PRI presidents, holding office from 1994-2000. Under Zedillo the Mexican military looked the other way as PRI-linked paramilitary groups rampaged through the Chiapas countryside. Ironically, it was the conservative Fox who would take a more conciliatory approach to the Zapatistas, although PRI continues to be influential in the state and the low-grade conflict has not yet ended. (For information on the most recent flare-up of paramilitary violence, click here.)

The LaRouchians enjoyed a certain relationship with the PRI from the late 1970s through the end of its rule in 2000, functioning as dirty tricksters against the party's enemies (especially by waging smear campaigns against PAN) in a manner not dissimilar to how the U.S. LaRouchians served as dirty-tricks specialists for the Republican Party during the same years. It was this longstanding relationship of PRI and the LaRouche movement--which was especially close during the presidency of Jose Lopez Portillo--that caused Darrin Wood to treat with utmost seriousness the evidence of LaRouchian influence over PRI lawmakers in Chiapas.

[2] Cecelia Soto supposedly quit LaRouche’s now-defunct Mexican Party of Labor (PLM) in 1985, and moved towards mainstream politics, but it is unclear when, if ever, she fully broke with LaRouche (in 1992, she endorsed his jailhouse run for the U.S. presidency). In 1994, she was the Presidential candidate of the Labor Party (PT), a non-LaRouchian organization linked to a cult-like Maoist group and with no discernible ties to the labor movement. Soto came in fourth in this election with slightly less than a million votes. In the conspiracy-laced world of Mexican politics, it was widely believed that the PRI had financed her campaign as a “spoiler” race to draw votes away from the main leftist party, the PRD (see FN 9 below). In 2000, incoming president Vicente Fox named her as Mexico’s ambassador to Brazil (one of the most prestigious positions in the Mexican diplomatic service), and she served in that post until 2006.

Marivilia Carrasco remained a full-time follower of LaRouche, serving as a leader of his Ibero-American Solidarity Movement (MSIA), until being forced out of his organization in 2003 as part of a general purge of Catholic members. According to an article in the Feb. 25, 2005 EIR, the alleged offenses of the purgees included sending their children to Catholic private schools. Ms. Carrasco was personally accused of (a) attending a spiritual retreat run by Franciscan nuns, (b) visiting a nature preserve in Jallisco that had previously been owned by a relative of the Rothschilds, and (c) receiving flowers on her birthday from a prominent Mexican politician (in other words, of trying to have a semblance of a normal life). The article dubbed Ms. Carrasco and her brother Lorenzo, who had left the LaRouche orbit along with her, “anti-LaRouche fascist traitors.” The MSIA, the article complained, had turned into a “pawn of the same international financier faction that put Hitler in power” (in LaRouche mythology, this means the Rothschilds and other Jewish banking families in London).

[3] This meeting, which occurred in May 1982, appears to have been something more than a courtesy visit. LaRouche's economic and political proposals had been circulating among top PRI leaders for years, and he apparently came away from the meeting with the idea that Lopez Portillo wanted him to develop a definitive plan of action. The result was Operation Juarez, a policy study which was first published on Aug. 2, 1982 and quickly circulated both to the Mexican government and to elites throughout Latin America. This document, which attracted much attention, urged the nations of the region to stand up to the IMF, nationalize their banking structures, and jointly use the threat of the "debt bomb" (the repudiation of the huge amounts they owed to First World banks) in order to negotiate a new world order.

That same month, responding to a capital-flight crisis, Lopez Portillo suspended international debt payments. And, as described by R.T. Naylor in Hot Money and the Politics of Debt (1987), he

ordered troops into the banks to prevent documents from being removed or destroyed, cut telex lines between branches, had guards posted at the homes of the top bank executives, and then made his Sept. 1 State of the Nation address in the House of Assembly, in which he imposed general exchange controls and nationalized the banking system.

In October, Lopez Portillo (having temporarily diverted the Mexican public's attention away from his regime's record of corruption) addressed the UN General Assembly in a speech that was not unreasonable in its content but bore an occasional eery resemblance--in its choice of rhetoric--to one of LaRouche's rants. For instance, the Mexican leader warned of the "beginning of a new medieval Dark Age," boasted of how Mexico had begun to "strengthen the dirigist role of the State," and concluded, "Not only is the heritage of civilization at stake, but also the very survival...of the human species." (Click here for text of speech.)

The LaRouchians would later complain that Lopez Portillo's version of Operation Juarez came a cropper because the leaders of other major nations in the region, such as Brazil and Argentina, failed to recognize the potential of such financial Bolivarism. However, there was a bit more to the story than that--Lopez Portillo, far from challenging the international banks, was actually taking steps to ensure they would get paid promptly. Naylor, an economics professor at McGill University, notes that it was clear at the time to the Wall Street Journal and others that the PRI was using the nationalization "farce" to "whip up nationalist fervor in order to get popular support prior to implementing a harsh IMF austerity package when the country was already crushed by debt and depression." And through what mechanisms would the debts to the North American banks get paid?

[W]hen Mexico imposed foreign-exchange controls, it also established priorities for the use of foreign exchange. First on the list came the servicing of public-sector debt. Once the domestic banks were nationalized, their debts to international banks also became a public-sector obligation, sharing first claims on the available supplies of foreign exchange. A spokesman for the Bank of America, the institution with the largest single "exposure," i.e., with the most to lose, in Mexico, declared, "The decision announced by President Lopez Portillo has the merit of putting the Mexican state clearly behind its banking system."

LaRouche would continue over the years to lavish praise on Lopez Portillo--who left office in late 1982 and would end up the most reviled ex-President in Mexico's history. It is possible that the NCLC leader, who is poorly informed on economics, never understood what had really happened--that his organization's proposal had been used as a cover in achieving the opposite of what he had fantasized about. (Although the policy study bears LaRouche's name, the coherent portions of it had largely been crafted by his in-house economist, who would later leave the organization and, after reestablishing a normal life, become for awhile the global head of debt research at the investment banking subsidiary of...Bank of America!

According to reports in EIR (and I have no reason to doubt the facts it presents on this point), Lopez Portillo reciprocated LaRouche's praise, especially after becoming partially paralyzed and developing other serious ailments in the 1990s. He appeared with Helga Zepp-LaRouche before the Mexican Society of Geography and Statistics in 1998, where he said it "is now necessary for the world to listen to the wise words of Lyndon LaRouche" (click here). The following year, he issued a call for U.S. citizens to give LaRouche their "timely recognition and support" in the 2000 elections (click here). In 2002, he sent a speech to be read at a conference of LaRouche's MSIA in Guadalajara (addressed also in absentia by LaRouche and Argentina's imprisoned carapintada hero Col. Seineldin), saying he was sorry that LaRouche, like himself, could not be personally present to "enlighten us with his expert teaching" (click here). When Lopez Portillo died in 2004, members of the Mexican wing of the LaRouche Youth Movement showed up at the wake to sing "Oh, Freedom," thus demonstrating, according to EIR, that "the nationalist fighting spirit of Don Jose Lopez Portillo would continue to live on in us."

[4] Samuel Ruiz was the bishop of San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, for 40 years (from 1959 to 1999). As mediator between the Mexican government and the EZLN, he played a crucial role in decreasing the level of violence and would receive the Pacem in Terris award in 1996. The LaRouchians hated him because his peacemaking undermined their fantasies of instigating a bloody counterinsurgency. They also hated him because of his strong support for Mexico's indigenous peoples, whom LaRouche regards as cultural subhumans standing in the way of economic development. Make no mistake about it: The strong language in LaRouche publications and placards attacking Bishop Ruiz was intended to motivate the paramilitaries in Chiapas to do to Ruiz what was done to Archbishop Oscar Romero in El Salvador in 1980.

[5] This accusation can be regarded as an attempt to incite violence by the paramilitaries and sabotage the cease-fire that Bishop Ruiz had negotiated, thus exacerbating the problems in Chiapas in such a manner as to encourage the Mexican armed forces to take a direct role in the nation's politics.

[6] The reference to the Ecuadorian movement Alfaro Vive, Carajo! shows how sloppy LaRouche's research can be. This guerrilla outfit was largely wiped out by Ecuadorian government forces in 1986, and its remaining members officially ended their armed struggle and became an electoral party in 1991--three years before the EIR report on the Zapatista movement was released.

As to the explosion of the arsenal in Managua, far from presaging a narco-terrorist onslaught this event actually proved a major embarrassment to the Sandinistas and cost them heavily in the next election. Apparently they had been hedging their bets, like the rightist groups which stored their arsenals in safer locations. The LaRouchian analysis seemed to dismiss the common sense notion that during a reconciliation process the important thing is not that all the guns be turned over, but that they not be used against one's opponents.

[7] Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (“Lula”) would be elected president of Brazil in 2002 and re-elected in 2006. He enjoys excellent relations with the United States, works well with the Brazilian business community and, most important, has strong support from the Brazilian people, who gave him over 60 percent of the runoff vote in both elections. He is currently attempting to carry out a $250 billion development project to upgrade Brazil's transportation and energy networks--precisely the kind of giant project that the LaRouchians claim to support. In an opinion article in Scientific American (February 2008), Lula described his government's plans for massive spending on science and technology education for the nation's children--again, something that the LaRouchians have advocated (albeit with goals radically different from those of the Brazilian government).

The attacks on Lula by LaRouche’s publications in the 1990s are good examples of how LaRouche so often makes groundless accusations--and how he is almost always wrong in his predictions. Lula was not then, and has never become, a threat to "western civilization"; Bishop Ruiz never instigated any wave of guerrilla attacks (in fact, he encouraged nonviolence); the national reconciliation process in Guatemala and Nicaragua, far from being a ruse by leftwing narco-terrorists and their alleged "British" controllers, has succeeded quite well over the years (with both of these Central American countries at peace today under civilian rule); and the Zapatistas in Chiapas never became a threat even remotely comparable to Peru's "Shining Path" movement.

[8] It was the PRI-backed paramilitaries, not the EZLN, that would drive over ten thousand indigenous people from their homes and land during the mid-1990s.

[9] The PRD (Party of the Democratic Revolution) is the most left-leaning of the three major parties in Mexico. It was launched in 1989 by dissident PRI leaders along with members of pre-existing parties representing various segments of the Mexican left. Among the founders was Cuauhtemoc Cardenas, who had won the 1988 presidential election as the candidate of a center-left coalition but had been denied victory through PRI-orchestrated electoral fraud. For the LaRouchians--smear artists against Cardenas throughout the 1988 campaign--to be spreading in the mid-1990s the lie (click here) that the PRD was the political arm of the Zapatistas, was no laughing matter. It may very well have helped to trigger violence against PRD activists in Chiapas and elsewhere.

Such violence against the party of the left was already a serious problem in Mexico even before the Zapatista uprising. In January 1994, the Mexican government's National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) published the results of an investigation of 140 human rights violations--including scores of killings--allegedly committed against PRD members during Salinas's years as President. The PRD released figures in June 1994 regarding 246 killing of its members up to that time, and claimed that arrests had been made in only one-fourth of the cases. (Click here for more details from Human Rights Watch's 1995 report on Mexico.)

Thus, when the LaRouche organization indirectly urged violence against PRD members (by equating them with the EZLN) it was doing so (a) to a nationwide PRI-affiliated and/or far-right audience which knew it could commit such acts with relatively impunity and (b) in a political climate in which such acts had become almost routine. But the danger of such propaganda was compounded many times over by the fact that it was being circulated on the ground in a violently polarized locality filled with armed factions. As the 1997 Human Rights Watch report on Mexico noted:

Violence [in 1996] tore particularly at the northern zone of Chiapas state, which lies beyond the area where Zapatistas and the Mexican army faced off beginning in January 1994. There, operating with the tacit and sometimes explicit support of the government, groups of armed civilians, linked to the ruling...PRI...violently expelled their ideological opponents from communities. Opponents of the PRI were also killed, apparently for their political beliefs. In Tila municipality, Human Rights Watch/Americas interviewed refugees from Miguel Aleman, Nuevo Limar, Susuchumil, Tzaquil, and Usipa, all of whom were expelled from their homes because of their support for the...PRD...The victims identified their assailants as members of Peace and Justice (Paz y Justicia), a group founded in 1995 by members of the PRI.

In other words, the conflict with EZLN in the southern part of the state was being used by PRI members as an excuse to settle scores with PRD members and to seize their lands in an area safely removed from any threat of serious retaliation. And the violence was being perpetrated by the very group that Chiapas human rights activists say was working with LaRouche's MSIA. This is yet another reason to regard the LaRouche organization's accusations against the PRD as a cynical attempt to incite violence against people who were hated by the LaRouchians for ideological reasons.

[10] The local PRI caciques (political bosses) definitely were not fond of Father Padron. In 1991, they tried to frame him on charges that he'd destroyed a woman's radish patch and killed her chickens. The New York Times (click here) described the unravelling of this absurd charge after evidence emerged that the complainant was involved, along with PRI officials in Simojovel, in an almost comically transparent land swindle. But in 1994, the hostility of the caciques to the liberal-minded diocese in Chiapas became much more dangerous. The attempts of the LaRouchians, other rightist groups and the PRI to whip up hatred against Bishop Ruiz and his priests, nuns and catechists was touched on in National Catholic Reporter articles that year (click here and here). Further evidence in found in EIR issues from the mid-1990s; for instance, a 1995 dossier on the EZLN (click here) which alleged that "8,000 catechists in the networks of Bishop Ruiz" were operating as "organizers and coordinators of the EZLN." (This dossier had almost certainly been presented earlier in some form or other to PRI officials and the Mexican military.)

The Mexican army had made similar expansive claims of its own the previous year, based in part on information from certain private sources. According to a highly skeptical U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency report dated Jan. 27, 1994:

We know, for example, that the [Mexican] military asked through many channels--including non-governmental sources--for contributions of names of suspected or possible members, supporters or contacts of the EZLN, and that among the lists given them was the entire list of Dominican priests in Chiapas; the names of all Mexican priests regardless of location in the country who attended the 1968 church meeting in Medellin, Colombia, which was the beginning of the Liberation Theology movement; and all of the foreign-born Catholic priests, friars, and nuns who have worked in Chiapas since the beginning of Bishop Samuel Ruiz' incumbency as Bishop of San Cristobal (he has been Bishop there for more than three decades). We have learned reliably that all of these names are now on the Mexican military's list of known EZLN members....We have been told that the military has no way of knowing whether or not most of the people on its list are, in fact, in any way involved or connected.

The Mexican military's belief in the usefulness of such a list, and the underlying attitude toward the Chiapas clergy that this belief reflected, would have consequences over the following years. In 1998, Bishop Ruiz summarized the escalating pressure on his diocese as follows:

Expulsion of seven priests under false accusations; refusal of residency to foreign pastoral workers; the imprisonment of four priests under false charges and in clear violation of their human rights; the closure of some 40 churches (some occupied by the army); arrest warrants for numerous priests, nuns and missionaries; pressure on various peasants to testify that the diocese delivers arms to the communities; directives to various communications media to distort the news; creation of a lynching climate; profanation of the holy sacrament in various churches by the security police.

[11] The incident in question did not involve the courts or any governmental agency. A private "good government" organization with no legal authority asked U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D., N.Y.) to respond during the 1982 Democratic primary contest to a complaint filed by his LaRouchian opponent, one Melvin Klenetsky. According to Klenetsky, Moynihan had engaged in unfair campaign practices when he called Klenetsky's group anti-Semitic. Senator Moynihan responded with a several-hundred-page brief on the LaRouchians prepared by his attorney, which resulted in the private election-monitoring group exonerating Moynihan. (I am not aware that Klenetsky's complaint referred to the use of the word "Nazi" although four years later, in a speech commenting on the victories of two LaRouche followers in primaries for statewide office in Illinois, Senator Moynihan did refer to them as "neo-Nazis.")

The Moynihan-Klenetsky dispute was apparently confused in the above article with a libel suit LaRouche filed in federal court in Virginia in 1984 against NBC and the Anti-Defamation League. One of LaRouche's complaints was that he had been libelled when NBC aired on its "First Camera" news program an interview with ADL fact-finding director Irwin Suall in which Suall called LaRouche a "small-time Hitler." The jurors in this case found that the disputed statements from the First Camera expose of LaRouche, including the comparison of him to Hitler, were not libelous. Expressing their disdain for LaRouche (who had testified at length on the witness stand), the jurors also voted to award NBC $3 million in damages on a counterclaim against him.

[12] This quote is from LaRouche's The Case of Walter Lippmann (1977). The page from which it is taken also includes a comment on the Mexican-American War of 1848 that is sharply at variance with LaRouche's oft-professed concern for Mexico's sovereignty. Click HERE for page image.

[13] In 1997, a former Salisbury, N.C. police officer, L.C. Underwood, was convicted of the murder of Gunnarsson and sentenced to life plus forty years. The jury believed the prosecution's claims that Underwood had killed Gunnarsson for carrying on an affair with Underwood's ex-fiance. Underwood and his supporters have a website that argues with surprising persuasiveness that the wrong person was convicted--and that the police ignored the confession of another local man with whose wife Gunnarsson was involved. Underwood argues that this other man (who disappeared from the area and was said to be living under an assumed name) is the real killer. Underwood draws no links to the Palme slaying even though his website includes statements from witnesses claiming that Gunnarsson had bragged to them about killing the Swedish prime minister. A leading Swedish journalist and expert on the Palme murder investigation, Anders Leopold, came to Underwood's defense in 2005, after studying the convicted man's case for over a year. In a public appeal to the U.S. media, Leopold focussed on the evidence presented by Underwood's supporters indicating that the other local man had committed the murder for purely personal reasons. But Leopold also stated he was "firmly convinced that the assassination of Viktor connected to the biggest crime in Swedish history" (click here).