Declassified documents of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have revealed that former president of Mexico, José López Portillo, who led the country during 1976-1982, was a CIA asset. The revelation comes as part of a new batch of declassified documents published by the U.S. National Archives.
The documents, most of which are related to a CIA probe into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, contains a memo from a meeting of CIA agents held on November 29, 1976. In said meeting, U.S. intelligence official Bill Sturbitts said to his colleagues that “Mexico will soon have a new president, a man who has had control of Liaison for a number of years.”
Sturbitts further commented that the new president of Mexico “can be expected not to look favorably upon publicity of that relationship,” the declassified memo revealed.
Although López Portillo was not mentioned by name in the memo, he was surely the indicated “new president,” given that the meeting took place just days before he took office.
It is interesting to note that López Portillo had run for office in 1976 as the only candidate from Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which ruled the country uninterruptedly from 1929 to 2000, and again during 2012-2018. He passed away in 2004, at the age of 83.
López Portillo was not the only former president of Mexico to have been on the payroll of the CIA. Three other presidents who preceded him, namely, Adolfo López Mateos (1958-1964), Gustavo Díaz Ordaz (1964-1970), and Luis Echeverría (1970-1976) were also revealed to be CIA assets in earlier declassification of official U.S. documents. All these former presidents committed acts of grave human rights violations and crimes against humanity against the people of their own country, but that did not stop the United States, the self-proclaimed champion of “human rights,” from cultivating close relations with them.
Cultivating national leaders was not the only interventionist act that the CIA did in Mexico. Declassified documents over the years have revealed a range of illegal activities of U.S. intelligence in Mexico, including spying on Soviet and Chinese embassies in Mexico City; financing extreme right groups; supporting and coordinating the Mexican armed forces; and infiltrating and subverting left-wing students’ organizations and social movements all over Mexico, in COINTELPRO style, often with fatal consequences for the Mexican people.
The list of Mexican presidents who were U.S. intelligence assets would certainly not end with López Portillo. Some declassification of U.S. government documents 50 years from now would reveal more names, among whom Felipe Calderón (2006-2012), who was imposed on Mexico through a stolen election, may be expected to feature prominently.
Special for Orinoco Tribune