Jun 8, 2010

Mexico & Cuba's corruption and immigrants traffic in AZ's borders

Yesterday, the Mexican investigative magazine Proceso published an article unveiling the ties of corrupt Mexican officials and the Cuban governments - intelligence ties and Castro's relatives included - with traffic of illegal immigrants (and who knows what else) from Cuba to the United Sates.

Huge hat tip to Ernesto at Penultimos Dias, for the heads up. 

My very own, free and unedited translation, is here:

“Greg” and his wife: trafficking Cubans

By Juan Balboa and Juan Veledíaz

Greg Sánchez and his wife, Niurka Sáliva – in complicity with ex spies from Cuba and officials from the Benito Juárez municipality (where Cancún is located) – set up an organization to traffic illegal immigrants from the island to the Quintana Roo. Even though the phenomenon of the immigration from the island is not new, this time it was a huge scale operation. And to achieve their goal, Greg’s advisors created a whole series of fake companies and businesses.

Click here to read the entire article.

Cancún, QR, June 7th (Proceso) – A red to traffic with Cubans operated in this city from the power circles closer to the ex major of the Benito Juarez municipality and ex candidate to the state’s governor seat, Gregorio Sanchez Martinez, “Greg”, who spent public monies in what it was supposed to be cultural events, trainings or philanthropic activities to gather the OK from the National Migration Institute (INM) and get the Cubans to enter the Mexican territory.

Back in January 2009, arrived in Mexico the last wave of Cubans through this channel. They were, in its majority, women who came to work for the company Escenario Total, S.A de C.V, created in December 2008 and whose owner is, according to Quintana Roo property public records, Alberto Ayra Vazquez, a Cuban naturalized in Mexico that worked as “advisor to the Benito Juarez’s city government”.

The Cubans were entering with tourist visas and official authorizations to stay for 180 days. Once in Cancun, they were being hired in different “shows”. The trading company Comercializadora Riviera Maya was also involved in some of those shows. Its general manager, Francisco DiMare, submitted the applications to enter the country, in its role as “advisor to the office of the Benito Juarez’s municipal president.”

Other officials close to Greg Sanchez, such as Jorge Alberto Rodriguez Carrillo, brother of the state’s ex attorney Melchor Rodriguez Castillo, were also using these methods to get the Cubans legal entrance to the country.

While being a municipal official, Jorge Alberto submitted an application to the INM, on January 11th, 2010, to request the entrance to Mexico for Arletty Rebeca Cruz, who would be attending a “comprehensive training on the government’s accountability law”, with no remuneration, because “it was a philanthropic activity, therefore, the petitioner would be moral and economically responsible for her support”.

According to INM documents dated on January and February of this year, whose copies were obtained by Proceso, one of the last waves of Cubans that entered the country thanks to the actions of advisers and employees of the city while Greg Sanchez was the municipal president took place during the Cancun carnival.

The phenomenon that opened the doors to the massive entrance of Cubans, aided by local authorities, started on November of 2009, when the city council passed a resolution to promote the cultural cooperation between the Benito Juarez municipality and Cuba’s Ministry of Culture.

The agreement was geared, among other things, to start an exchange of “specialized bibliographic documents” and “specialized artistic and technical personnel to teach workshops, seminars and conferences about different art expressions in educational and cultural institutions.”

During the two years Sanchez Martinez was the municipal president, the number of Cubans close or inside the municipal government increased. The [Cuban] presence also grew in the entire state’s territory, but mostly in the municipalities of Benito Juarez, Isla Mujeres and Solidaridad.

In the early 2000’s, the Cuban community in Quintana Roo was almost nonexistent. Its surprising increase, according to the state’s government and the INM data, had two waves: the first one in 2005, when the illegal immigration of Cubans through Mexico exploded, and the second one, when Greg became major of Benito Juarez, in 2008.

According to the INM data, five years ago, there were 893 Cubans residing in Quintana Roo. It was the third biggest foreign community in the state, after the Americans (2,213) and the Argentinians (1,011).

Now that cluster has grown six times (there are more than 6,000 Cubans, according to the state’s government) and during the last two years, the Cuban presence in the municipal government, and areas like business, tourism and illegal ventures has become significant.

Facade businesses

It is a one-level house, painted in white. It has a sign that reads: Escenario Total, S.A. de C.V. It is located in a very centric area of Cancun, near the main bus station.

It is a modest dwelling: from the outside, you can only see two windows and a small front patio. It doesn’t seem there are employees and you don’t see the regular movement inherent to is business plan, as written in their documents, of: “build, buy, export and import all kind of audio, video, lighting and computer equipment.”

Neither you can see there anything that can be bought, sold or “operated as all kind of assets, including but not limited to machinery, equipment, accessories and /or tools.” It seems that none of the 12 objectives for which Alberto Ayra created the company one year and a half ago can be reached in this house of 60 square feet that appears as the company’s legal address.

This magazine tried to interview AyraDurango SUV, with only one plate from Florida, was parked outside. On Wednesday June 2nd, the Durango was gone and nobody answered the door.

According to immigration officials investigating the case, it could be possible the business Escenario Total was being used as a facade to operate the Cubans’ entrance to Quintana Roo. Since Greg’s arrest (he is currently being held in the Tepic prison, accused of organize crime and money laundering) the business’s public activities were suspended.

In Ayra’s case, within the circle closed to ex candidate to the state’s governor, is just another stories of those starred by other former Greg’s advisers, grated with discretionary powers, involved in dubious operations while in public office.

It is worth to remark the situation of Boris del Valle Alonso, lawyer and diplomatic born 43 years ago in Havana, whom, up to March 2009, was the “general advisor for public security, social development, urban infrastructure, real state, private business initiatives and diplomatic relations” of the former Benito Juarez’s major. [My note: Boris del Valle is related to Delia Soto del Valle, Fidel Castro's official wife].

The security and intelligence’s man of the ex candidate to governor’s of Quintana Roo was accused of participating in the murder of General Mauro Enrique Tello Quiñones, on February 3rd, 2009. Del Valle was arrested on March 6th, 2009 in the Mexico City airport, according case 242-09 to the office of the attorney general (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR), for his connections with “the criminal group” Los Zetas, to whom, presumably, he was supplying protected and privileged information.

Investigations previously started by General Tello (PGR/SIEDO/UEIDCS/052/09) tied Boris Del Valle to Los Zetas in Cancun. Boris is jailed in El Rincon Prison, in Tepic, where Greg is also being held.

While he lived in Cuba, this man of white skin, prominent nose and premature baldness, was an intelligence official for the G-2, the Cuban state espionage agency. He started to become popular in Quintana Roo when he was linked Francisco Velasco Delgado’s “El Vikingo” [The Viking] activities. Velasco Delgado was in charge of the municipal department of public security and was also involved in the execution of Tello.

Since 2004, both Greg and Boris became partners in the creation of the enterprise Xuyco, S.A. de C.V., specialized in “construction of all types of real state and other assets, from any material, and to any economic area”. According to the company’s business plan, published by the local newspaper Luces del Siglo, in March 2009, the company was created on April 30th, 2004, con a joint variable capital of 50,000 Mexican pesos, invested in 100 stocks on a 100 year term.

Furthermore, along with Greg and Boris, there was another Cuban as stockholder, Manuel Benitez Perez and a Swiss national resident in Panama named Bernard Baenier. Each one was listed as owning 25% of the company, with a capital of 12,500 Mexican pesos.

In recent revelations to national newspapers, a group of protected witnesses mentioned Greg in the traffic of Cubans, Chinese and Russians to the Yucatan peninsula. In this region, one of his most trusted men, Erik Ramirez Martinez, is suspected of having had meetings with Juan Manuel Jurado Zarzosa, alias “El Puma”, a member of Los Zetas identified as the mastermind behind the murder of Tello, with whom he had negotiated the transit of the undocumented through this region of the country.

Family Stories

The G-2’s eyes and ears always follow NiurkaSáliva Benítez, Greg’s third wife, like a shadow. In her personal security team, this woman has a discreet and nice man: Javier Alfredo Molina Benítez, one the half siblings of the failed candidate to governor of Quintana Roo.

According to government’s reports, this man was trained to shoot by Cuba’s police and studied in the state security academy, which is the place where they train their spies.

Niurka’s other half brother, Alfredo Javier Molina Benítez [sic], is an electronic engineer who married Mexican national Rosa del Rosario (daughter of businessman Guillermo del Rosario Hernandez, local ex secretary of Tourism and legal representative for the company Promociones Bahia Azul) to obtain the legal residency and later divorced her.

He was the one who faked a sickness, back in February 2005, so his half-sister, Niurka Sáliva, could apply for a “humanitarian” visa to enter Mexico. Niurka and Greg had already gotten married in Cuba, but she was not still allowed to leave the island. Once in Mexico, her husband helped her to adjust her immigration status to obtain the legal residency and, later, the naturalization.

In the fall of 2004, Niurka Sáliva Benítez, was a young woman missing one semester to graduate from medical school, with a specialization in Pediatrics. Back then she met Greg, who traveled to Havana frequently. He used to stay over at a Cuban’s couple place: Pedro and Julia. Pedro was a G-2 agent, but was separated and stigmatized from the department when it became known that he was pimping jineteras, the slang used to call the Cuban prostitutes.

Greg met Niurka when she accepted him a lift, they started a relationship and a few months later, they got married in Havana. The girl’s father, José Ángel Sáliva Pino was a guajiro [farmer, native from the countryside] who fought for the Revolution, was an officer in the Intelligence Services and reached the rank of colonel. Despite having belonged to the state’s security, during his last years serving in the Cuban army, he was just the director of the Interior Ministry Museum.

His daughter was a good student, with an almost perfect GPA. When she arrived to Mexico, her husband sent her to study public speech with an evangelical pastor from Guadalajara, according to a source close to the couple who requested anonymity.

With or without preparation, Greg’s wife has demonstrated she can handle public presentations in front of a camera and holds the profile of a committed woman. This granted her being considered as a substitute to the candidature to the state’s governor seat; but this possibility was discarded a few days ago by the PRD national headquarters. Her role now has been reduced to being her husband’s “representative” in the huge meetings organized in popular areas of Cancun, they keep a strong base of supporters.

This “strange presence” of Cubans in Cancun is now gearing towards he municipal DIF, organization led by Greg’s wife until he requested a leave to work on his race.

Some sources agree the applications for doctors and other Cuban professionals invited to participate in social initiatives organized by the group “Todos Somos Quintana Roo” [We Are All Quintana Roo] to enter Mexico were approved in that DIF.

The group “Todos Somos Quintana Roo” operates in the Northern part of the state, where all the traffic of Cubans to the United Stated is usually planned.

Cuban violence in Cancun

Quintana Roo, Chiapas, Tabasco, Veracruz and the airports in Mexico City and Cancun are the hot points of the Cuban immigration to our country, with the final goal to reach American soil, where they can request the protection of the Cuban Adjustment Act.

However, with the massive arrival of Cubans from Florida and mostly from Havana, the criminality rates have increased since 2005 in the Yucatan peninsula.

The increasing presence of groups of Cubans from Miami that are trafficking with undocumented in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Isla Mujeres and Isla Convoy – and above all, their disputes to control routes that initially belonged to narcos – since 2007 have created levels of violence never seen before in this state.

Luis Lázaro Lara Morejón, a Cuban national, was executed in July 2007, shot to death with 10 bullets in an area of the highway Cancún-Mérida. In late September, a Cuban resident in Florida, Maximiliano Reyna Molas, Richard Aguero [sic] was shot to death in the parking lot of the Coral Negro local market, in Cancun´s hotels area.

Three months later, his brother, Juan Carlos Reyna Molas was surrounded by a commando in the residential neighborhood of Santa Fe. Luis Lazaro Lara Morejon and Maximiliano and Juan Carlos Reyna Molas are three of the 30 Cubans executed in Quintana Roo in 2007. According to the PGR investigations, the victims were part of a group trafficking with citizens from the island.

The murder of Humberto Febles Santana, another Cuban, in March 2008, closed the first part of the story of the new tenants in the Cuban community in Quintana Roo. The second one started that same year, when Greg became the municipal president in Benito Juarez.

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