Friday 8 November 2013

Did the Venezuelan government murder seven innocent Mexicans?

The crew and passengers killed in the Mexican-registered Hawker jet shot down by the Venezuelan military this week have now been identified. And, given that there were five passengers and two pilots, it calls into question whether this really was a drug-smuggling plane, as Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro has suggested.

Jorge López Portillo, the Secretary General for the state of Querétaro, which is situated just north of Mexico City, has confirmed that the passengers consisted of three men and two women flying under false identities. There supposed names were: Isaac Pérez Dubond, Susana Bernal Rivas, Adriana Gesabel Cruz Méndez, Sergio David Franco Moga and Manuel Eduardo Rodríguez Benítez.

The pilot was identified as Carlos Alfredo Chávez Padilla, while the co-pilot was identified as Mauricio Pérez Rodríguez.

The crew was based in Toluca, west of Mexico City. However, it had recently spent three days in a hanger  at Querétaro International Airport after having flown in last Friday from Monterrey, Nuevo León.

The aircraft, with Mexican registration XB MGM, was a twin engine passenger jet. Built in 1968, the plane could seat ten. The owner, registered as being from Monterrey, is unknown.

The Venezuelans have presented no evidence that there were any drugs on the aircraft, which was shot down after it entered Venezuelan airspace. As well, the response on the part of the Mexican government can best be described as timid.
\(TE Wilson is the author of Mezcalero, a Detective Sánchez novel.)

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