Published in The Huffington Post on 11/11/2011
Was it an accident or an assassination? Mere coincidence or a conspiracy?
From the very moment that Mexican media announced that an helicopter carrying Mexico’s interior secretary — the #2 government official after President Felipe Calderon — had crashed, and especially after a spokeswoman for Los Pinos – the equivalent to our White House – confirmed that Jose Francisco Blake Mora and seven others died, these questions were repeated over and over.
Journalists, politicians, diplomats and hundreds of thousands of citizens expressing their views in social media magnified the debate.
Historic fortuity added to speculation: an eerily similar calamity happened three years and seven days after a very similar accident which cost the life of Juan Camilo Mouriño, a predecessor of Blake Mora’s and a protege of President Calderon.
Without much information available — even the weather service stated it was prohibited by executive order from describing the weather at the crash site — speculation abounded:
“This is the work of the narcos.”
“This is a clear message to Calderon and the United States.”
“This is a warning, not to Calderon, but for the next president.” (Mexican presidential elections will take place next July.)
“Every time something like this happens the PRI is closer to returning to power.” (The PRI — the Institutional Revolutionary Party — is trying to regain the presidency after losing in 2000 to the PAN — the National Action Party — after 70 years in power.)
“They are telling the president, we can kill you whenever we want. You are ‘not untouchable.’
But it was by Internet, and specifically Twitter, where we read the most direct comments and gather additional information. Of course, most is speculation, unverified and unofficial data, tweets that represent a state of mind more than actual reality. That is, unless they come from reliable sources.
But even mainstream media outlets selected information that touches on, and seems to strengthen conspiracy theories.
For example, the magazine Milenio tweeted: “The helicopter Blake Mora traveled in was the oldest, bought during the government of Miguel De la Madrid,” referring to Mexico’s president between 1982 – 1988. Many Mexicans would question why Blake Mora received the “oldest” helicopter, unless there was a sinister purpose for this…
Another, CNN, called it, “the helicopter where Blake Mora was about to transport President Felipe Calderon later.” Again, another shaded reference to a conspiracy. The meta-language behind this tweet: A mistake was made; the plan must have been to kill Calderon later and not Blake Mora.
Next came the news update, including an announcement of Blake Mora’s replacement: Juan Marcos Gutierrez, who was previously Mexico’s Consul General in Los Angeles.
Finally, thousands of Internet surfers, each contributing to the debate, including: “If Calderon’s administration is unable to protect its own people, what can we, the common citizens, expect?” Or those who quote or comment on Calderon’s speech after the announcement: “I hope that wherever he is now he’ll have the just reward that righteous people like him deserve.”
But none of them reverberated as much as the tweet by “Morf0”: “Tomorrow on 11/11/11, you’ll have a Secretary falling from the sky… avoid reform.”
The word reform here could mean actual political reform, or simply the local publication “Reforma,” or a main thoroughfare in Mexico City by the same name.
What makes this message extraordinary is that is was tweeted 12 hours before the disaster occurred.
Morf0’s account takes us to his website, which lacks additional clues, but provides leftist political commentary.
Who is this Morf0? Where is he coming from? What are his sources? Did he know the accident was going to happen, thus confirming a conspiracy theory? Is he one of the conspirators?
Nonsense, he claims. This is a “terrible coincidence,” related to the fact that three years ago, a Learjet 45 aircraft carrying then-Secretary of the Interior, Juan Camilo Mouriño also crashed, on an avenue called Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City.
A new tweet published at approximately 12:30 pm by PST — a Spanish-language news network — points as explanation to a short piece by Federico Arreola for the newsite SDPnoticias, whose author claims to know Morf0 and who insists this was a joke. Then, after 3:00 pm PST interviewed Morf0 — called there “Morfo” — by telephone. The man repeatedly claimed this was all a complete coincidence.
Others on Twitter insisted on the theory that a crime definitely took place. One examined the esoteric, searching for occult-related content on from the Gregorian calendar related to 11/11/11, as well as various aspects of numerology. The sea of rumors keeps growing, and the only thing all agree on is that with Blake Mora’s death, Mexico is one step closer to the abyss.