Raúl Salinas de Gortari

Raúl Salinas de Gortari (b. August or September, 1946) is a Mexican businessman.

Raúl Salinas is the brother of former President of Mexico Carlos Salinas. He is best known for being convicted of masterminding the killing of José Francisco Ruiz Massieu, former brother-in-law, though he was acquitted upon appeal in 2005. His alleged money laundering of millions of dollars, involvement in the drug trade, and playboy lifestyle make him one of Mexico's most villainized personalities. His legendary corruption made him influential in the shift toward democracy, as Mexicans looked for political reform that would eliminate the potential for similar abuses of power.

Early life

As a child, Raúl was close to his younger brother Carlos, and the two did much together. They shared many experiences, including the execution-style killing of a twelve-year-old household maid with a .22 caliber rifle on December 17, 1951, when they were five and three years old, respectively. The killing was ruled an accident, and no one was charged. The two continued their strong relationship as they approached college, where Raúl studied engineering. When Carlos graduated from the UNAM, he dedicated his thesis not to his parents, but to Raúl.

Ruiz Massieu case

José Francisco Ruiz Massieu was a politician of emerging importance – he served as the general secretary of the ruling party during the term of Carlos Salinas, and was scheduled to become the Congress majority leader under the new administration. Daniel Aguilar, a semi-literate farm worker, shot Ruiz Massieu at 9:35 a.m. on September 28, 1994 in the middle of Mexico City. Ruiz Massieu died in a hospital an hour later. Aguilar was quickly captured and his confession led to the capture of a number of co-conspirators. The killing sent all of Mexico into an uproar.

To lead the investigation, President Salinas immediately selected Mario Ruiz Massieu, the brother of the victim and a justice official, he was the head prosecutor in the case. His investigation uncovered a massive conspiracy, by all appearances originating from the country's ruling political party. But when a key source in the investigation mysteriously disappeared, Mario Ruiz Massieu publicly accused the PRI of blocking his investigation on November 15, 1994. Following the statement, confidence in the party and in the government as a whole plummeted, both nationally and internationally, and $1.5 billion of foreign investment left the country on the following day. Mario Ruiz Massieu resigned officially on November 23, 1994.

But soon after, Mario Ruiz Massieu fled Mexico, and U.S. authorities found that he had deposited $7 million in a Texas bank. Suspicions that he was covering up the perpetrators of his brother's death rose as case's new chief prosecutor, Pablo Chapa Bezanilla, began interviewing family members of the deceased and was led to suspect Salinas. Salinas and José Ruiz Massieu had been bitter enemies, stemming back to Ruiz Massieu's divorce of Salinas's sister Adriana in 1978. Eventually, Chapa Bezanilla discovered that all mentions of Raúl Salinas had been eliminated from the testimonies of the captured conspirators.

For president Ernesto Zedillo, this revelation was shocking, because Carlos Salinas had selected Zedillo to be his successor, and because Zedillo considered Carlos Salinas to be a mentor and friend. Facing the choice between preserving his relationship with the former president and protecting the law, Zedillo ordered the arrest of Raúl, arresting him on February 28, 1995. The move was unprecedented in the history of the PRI, in which presidents always protected their predecessors. Carlos Salinas immediately began publicly defending himself, claiming that his family was being slandered and accusing Zedillo of damaging Mexico's international image. However, the ensuing investigation continued to point to Raúl Salinas, and questions began arising about whether or not Carlos Salinas would have known about his brother's involvement.

As his case dragged on, in November, 1995, Raúl Salinas's wife, Paulina Castañon and his brother-in-law, Antonio Castañon were arrested in Geneva, Switzerland after attempting to withdraw $84 million USD from an account owned by Raúl under an alias. their capture led to the unveiling of a vast fortune spread around the world and summing to hundreds of millions of dollars, even though he never officially received an annual income of more than $190,000.

On June 14, 2005 Raúl was acquitted of the murder of Ruiz Massieu and liberated with a posted bail of almost $3 million pending accusations of corruption-related crimes.

References

Oppenheimer, Andres. Bordering on Chaos. New York: Little, Brown, 1996. ISBN 0316650951

External links

* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/197773.stm BBC news release]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4079372.stm BBC story about Salinas de Gortari's acquital]


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