A leading source for news and analysis about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border.

Monday, Nov. 14, 2011

CECUT theater filled to capacity
for Blake Mora memorial

The Tijuana Cultural Center theater was filled to capacity on Sunday for the memorial service for Interior Minister Francisco Blake Mora, who died in a helicopter crash along with seven others Friday. The service also honored former Tijuana residents José Alfredo García Medina and Diana Hayton, who also died in the crash.

Among the more than 1,500 in attendance was National Action Party presidential hopeful Josefina Vázquez Mota.

CECUT theater filled to capacity with mourners (Frontera, PDF)
Vázquez Mota attends memorial service: Frontera (PDF).
El Mexicano (PDF).
A partial list of those attended Sunday's memorial service (PDF)
Another list.
Sandra Dibble's comprehensive story in San Diego Union-Tribune.

Juan Marcos Gutiérrez's personal tribute to Blake Mora and the others who died (PDF).

Investigation shows no mechanical problems
with copter that crashed

An investigation shows there no mechanical problems with the helicopter that crashed Friday, killing Interior Minister Francisco Blake Mora and seven others. The investigation also showed that the pilot did not lose control of helicopter, indicating the crash into a hill was the result of poor visibility. The pilot had altered the route because of poor weather conditions. The copter's fuel tanks did not explode, but broke apart on impact, authorities said. Story in Frontera (PDF). Jump
Sergio Sarmiento said crash appears to be an accident (PDF)

Blake Mora's legacy

When Francisco Blake Mora was named interior minister in 2010, many wondered whether he was up to the task. Many, such as columnist Eduardo Ruiz-Healy, felt he was not. Others, such as Antonio Magaña, say he grew into the job. Some observers noted that Blake Mora's appointment seemed to follow a pattern of President Calderón to appoint people he knew well rather than, perhaps, the best person for the job. Calderón got to know Blake Mora when they served together in the National Action Party delegation in Congress from 2000-2003.

Blake Mora was the campaign manager for former Tijuana Mayor José Guadalupe Osuna Millán's successful run for governor in 2007 against another former mayor, Jorge Hank Rhon. Blake Mora was a councilman during Osuna Millán's mayoral term. Some credited Blake Mora with Osuna Millán's gubernatorial victory. Blake Mora served as Gov. Osuna Millán's right-hand man until tapped by Calderón for the Interior Ministry. Columnist Antonio Magaña writes that Calderón actually wanted to appoint Blake Mora earlier, but was dissuaded by political forces. On the negative side, some saw Blake Mora's hand in this year's machinations involving weapons stockpiling and other allegations against Hank Rhon, who plans to run again for the PRI nomination for governor in 2013. All the charges against Hank were dropped. Blake Mora had been expected to run for governor in 2013.
Eduardo Ruiz-Healy says Blake Mora was not up to the task (PDF)
Antonio Magaña says Blake Mora exceeded expectations (PDF)
Antonio Medina de Anda say Blake Mora is getting more credit than he deserved (PDF)
José Aguirre Lomelí says Blake Mora grew into the job (PDF)

Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011

President Calderón's tribute to Blake Frontera, PDF.
The pilot altered his route because of bad weather (PDF).

Sen. Fernando Castro Trenti pays tribune to Blake Mora during report on his activities in Tecate. Story, El Mexicano. Jump.

Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011

Interior Minister Francisco Blake Mora
killed in helicopter crash in cloudy conditions

Death shakes up 2013 Baja California gubernatorial race;
it will also cause conspiracy theories ad infinitum;
2 other Baja Californians killed in accident

francisco blake moraFrancisco Blake Mora, the Baja California politician who became interior minister in 2010, died Friday morning along with seven others in a helicopter crash while traveling from Mexico City to Cuernavaca to inaugurate a conference on judicial reforms. President Felipe Calderón said the helicopter had been well maintained and had gone down in cloudy conditions. The Super Puma was acquired by the Mexican government in 1987.
Story, New York Times. Story, El Universal. Front page, Frontera (PDF). Story, photo, Frontera (PDF). Jump. Page 4.
Sandra Dibble's comprehensive story in San Diego Union-Tribune.

Many Mexicans suspected, without proof, that organized crime had targeted Blake Mora, just as many still suspect that Interior Minister Juan Camilo Mouriño had been targeted when his plane crashed in Mexico City in 2008. An investigation into that crash found that the pilot of his plane had been flown into the wake of a jetliner and lost control.

Blake Mora's death shakes up the National Action Party's 2013 governor's race; many had considered him to be the front-runner. Others considering running are former Tijuana Mayor Francisco Vega and Cuauhtémoc Cardona, who took over for Blake as Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán's right-hand man. Cardona has made missteps lately, such as getting himself in hot water with the military.
Columnist Cosme Collignon discussed Blake Mora and the governor's race on Nov. 5

Two other Baja Californians who worked for the Interior Ministry were killed in the crash. Both were from Tijuana and both were UABC graduates. They were communications director José Alfredo García Medina (who had previously served as communications director for former Baja California Gov. Alejandro González Alcocer) and Diana Hayton, 35. She had previously served as administrative director of the Baja California state police. Story, El Mexicano.
Story on García Medina, Nov. 12, Frontera (PDF). Story on him, Nov. 13 (PDF).
Story on his funeral Mass, Nov. 15, El Mexicano (PDF). Jump.
Story on Hayton, Nov. 12 Frontera (PDF)
Story on Hayton, Nov. 14 (Frontera, PDF).
González Alcocer discusses the deaths.

President Felipe Calderón praised Blake Mora, 45, a former Tijuana councilman, and former federal and state deputy. Calderón, who got to know Blake while serving with him in Congress, said those who knew him well called him by his last name, Blake. Calderón canceled his trip to Hawaii, where he was to meet with Asian Pacific Economic forum leaders, including President Barack Obama, who attended a basketball game on an aircraft carrier in San Diego on Friday night on his way to the 50th state.

Osuna Millán postponed his trip to Israel, where he was to look into Israel's innovative water use. Blake Mora's city council term coincided with Osuna Millán's term as mayor of Tijuana. Osuna Millán's full-page ad expressing his condolences to Blake Mora's widow, Gloria Cossio de Blake, their children Gloria Elisa Blake Cossio and José Francisco Blake Cossio, and Blake Mora's mother, Emma Mora. Frontera reported that Blake Mora joined the PAN as a result of his mother's involvement in the party. El Mexicano, however, credited Blake Mora's father (PDF).

The other five who died in Friday's crash were:
Interior Ministry judicial affairs official Felipe Zamora
Maj. René de León Sapién
Lt. Col. Felipe Bacio
Lt. Pedro Ramón Escobar
2nd Sgt. Jorge Luis Juárez

Blake was a law graduate of the Autonomous University of Baja California (UABC) and studied strategic planning and public policy at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM).

Another Baja Californian, Juan Marcos Gutiérrez, was named interim leader of the Interior Ministry. Story, Frontera (PDF).

Nov. 16: Tijuana recreational area named for Blake Mora