Foreign Policy Blogs

Top Mexican Cabinet Member Dies in Helicopter Crash

For the second time in President Calderon’s administration, a secretary of interior (Secretario de Gobernación) has died in what government officials have prematurely dubbed as an aerial accident. Francisco Blake Mora, the de-facto second in command in Mexico’s executive branch, was en route to a conference in the central state of Morelos when his helicopter crashed into a wooded hillside bordering Mexico City.

Seven others passed away in the crash, including Mexico’s undersecretary for legal affairs and human rights, Felipe Zamora. A visibly shaken Calderon confirmed Blake Mora’s death today in remarks to media outlets, and spoke of the Secretary’s commitment to public service and his professional trajectory. The President pointed to the heavy mountain mist as a likely contributing factor to the helicopter’s crash, while also promising to conduct a complete investigation and consider “all likely hypotheses”. The death of Blake Mora comes nearly three years to day after that of Juan Camilo Mouriño, who held the same post as Blake Mora and passed away in an airplane crash less than a kilometer away from the Presidential residence of Los Pinos. Mouriño’s death has been deemed to be the result of human error.

Blake Mora was the face of President Calderon’s war on organized crime and the recipient of much criticism in the government’s handling of its military operations. The passing of Blake Mora has raised suspicion among an already tense Mexican public, with many believing his death to have been premeditated.

President Calderon has cancelled his trip to the APEC summit in Hawaii and called for an emergency meeting with cabinet members. Juan Marcos Gutiérrez González has been named as interim secretary of the interior.