Friday, January 12, 2007

Cancun, Mexico: Ex spy chief, now pimp chief, to Mexican authorities: "You want to close my clubs? Watch for film at 11."

UPDATED: Please scroll down.

It has now become a little more obvious how Cancun's pimp chief, the Argentine ex-spy chief Raúl Martins, manages to keep his prostitution operations alive and well. He films the movers and shakers during their visits to his clubs as they get moved and shaken.

It appears that Argentine authorities' attempts to get Martins back are not being moved by desires to bring him to justice for his activities during the Argentine military's dirty war agasinst its opposition. It seems that Martins was blackmailing those he relied upon for protection for his businesses to assure that they continued to, er, cooperate.

His protector-chief in Buenos Aires was Federal Judge Norberto Oyarbide, accused of receiving $15,000 US per month in bribes from Martins. When it looked like Judge Oyarbide was going to bail out on him, Martins released to Argentine television a video of the federal judge committing hanky panky with a young boy at one of Martins's gay clubs. Kind of a warning shot to other protectors who might also have been thinking of jumping ship.

In 2002, federal investigators got warrants to search Martins's family members' safe deposit boxes in Buenos Aires banks. There, among other things, they found a video of the head of the Buenos Aires Crime Commission, Judge Mario Filosof, playing some "games" with two young ladies in Martins's employ. Quite embarrassing. And that's what led Martins to visit Mexico on a 180 day tourist visa -- in 2002 -- and never leave.

Now the authorities in Cancun and Quintana Roo State have been forced to answer after Reforma's reports hit the wires yesterday. And the answer is more than typical of politicians and bureaucrats caught like deer in the headlights. They're pointing fingers and blaming everyone else.

The Cancun representative of the Mexican Attorney General's office, Pedro Ramírez Violante, whose name and private phone numbers appear in Martins's little black book, blamed another branch of the federal government, the Immigration Institute. He said that, for 1500 George Washingtons, INM officials grant FM3 work visas to the foreign girls being housed against their will at Martins's clubs.
"They come here on tourist visas and, taking advantage of the supposed connections between this gentleman Martins and immigration officials, they receive visas which allow them to stay and work in our country in exchange for, I believe, 1500 dollars."
One might pause here to ask why, if the PGR is well aware of this, prosecutor Pedro has not taken any action. One might.

Quintana Roo Governor Félix González Canto quickly agreed to an interview to disassociate himself and his state government from any responsibility for Martins's untouchability in Cancun and Playa del Carmen by blaming the federal courts:
"The business known as The One (the Cancun bordello) operates under the protection of federal "amparos" (restraining orders) which prohibit the city government, the authority with jurisdiction here, from closing the night club."

"In 2006, the municipal government tried three time to initiate procedures to close The One but federal amparos prohibited these actions."
The Secretary General of the Cancun city government took the state governor's lead, but added a hooter of his own. He agreed that the amparos issued by federal judges impeded any action by the Cancun government against the clubs. Besides, he added, "the neighbors don't complain."
"The One has not generated any citizen complaints, like those we received for 23 other locales (other clubs closed by the city government between 2006 and Hernan Cortez's arrival in 1519)."
Hmmm. Does that mean I could set up a suitcase nuke factory in Cancun and remain under the legal radar so long as the "the neighbors don't complain"? I certainly hope Osama doesn't hear about this.

Raúl Poveda, legal representative for the "tolerance zone" Plaza 21, who should know a little about such things, says that Martins's "health clubs", as he so discreetly called them, have not been touched in spite of the fact that the federal amparos are "clearly invalid".

I'm not too sure what the Plaza 21 "tolerance zone" is, so if any readers know, please send an Email and enlighten me.

So, city, state and federal officials are all blaming one another and everybody is blaming federal judges for issuing amparos which a not disinterested competitor calls "clearly invalid". What has everyone really shaking in their boots is the quite real possibility that their "exercises" at the "health clubs", The One in Cancun and Maxim in Playa del Carmen, have been filmed and may well hit the 11 o'clock news.

UPDATE I: A little more info on Plaza 21, the "tolerance zone" in Cancun. Apparently, the city government has been trying, albeit half-heartedly, to confine all the strip joints and table dance clubs to one zone in Cancun. Plaza 21 is supposedly set up as the area, kind of like a red light district, for such activities. The problem is that Cancun authorities just can't seem to get Raúl Martins and his Argentine lovelies to relocate there.

And there have, indeed, been actions taken against The One, his club in Cancun; just not too seriously. In 2004, the ex-spy's Cancun club, The One, was closed by city authorities 3 times, on 14 May, 15 Ooctober and 8 November. Each time, the club was able to re-open in spite of not having a valid operating license and owing back taxes on the property.

The initial operating license for The One was issued by Mayor Juan Ignacio García Zalvidea in 2002. That license was good fro one year but has never been renewed.

Ex-mayor García is a member of the PVEM, the Green Party, another of Mexico's "parties of the people". Ex-mayor Garcia was just released from jail after cooling his heels for over a year behind bars after putting up a 70 million peso bail. He is accused of all manner of economic crimes against the city. A 7 million dollar bond requiremment is high for even the USA, but is extraordinary for Mexico. Where did he come up with that kind of money?

Further light is also shed on the Cancun government's silly assertion that The One stays open because "the neighbors don't complain". In a June 6 operation against "black market" sex clubs, the city closed a number of them, but all were outside the "hotel zone" because "the citizens in the hotel zone didn't complain."

There are no citizens living in the hotel zone. It's all hotels. And, in any event, the people who stay in the hotel zone are not citizens. And what tourist is going to take time out from his very expensive Cancun vacation to spend an entire day filling out paperwork at the local prosecutor's offic lodging a complaint against a night club? Ridiculous.

The city government admits that The One operates outside of Plaza 21, the only area permitted for the strip joints and table dance clubs. But, again, the city government blames the federal amparos for tying its hands.

Raúl Poveda of Plaza 21 (again -- this guy is just asking to get shot, ain't he?) says that the federal amparos carry no weight when "hygiene" and public health are involved. He says that there are combined responsibilities for health and hygiene inspections carried out by The State Department of Hygiene, the city government and the state's Public Health Commission and federal amparos cannot stop those inspections. So, he says, in these cases Martins uses force.

This past year, a contingent of inspectors arrived at The One to conduct their health and hygiene inspections but were met outside the front door by Martins's goons and were driven away by force. The city's answer was, er, to do nothing.

And, on December 16 of last month, in Playa del Carmen, Martins's club Maxim was raided by immigration officials. Seven Argentine beauties were hauled away. However, after paying a $1400 dollar fine to the Playa del Carmen city government, Maxim reopened. All Martins had to do, beside grease some palms, was promise to confine the club's business activities to "bar and restaurant".

UPDATE II:And now the Argentine ambassador to Mexico, Jorge Raúl Yoma, weighs in, sort of, while also playing dumb. He says he has sent a note to the Mexican foreign relations secretariat offering any help to Mexican law enforcement agencies that Argentina could provide. He said, however, that any crimes related to prostitution in Mexico and visa violations must be handled by Mexican authorities.

He also said that he had sent a note to Argentina's foreign relations secretariat, informing tham that an Argentine citizen, one Raúl Martins, was causing some trouble here. He said that he had asked his government if it had any outstanding charges against Martins for the ex-spy's activities during the Argentine Military Junta's dirty war. And, if so, that Argentina would seek the extradition of Raúl Martins to face justice in that country.

Right. They are so happy to be rid of Raúl Martins that I doubt they ever want him to set foot on Argentina's soil again. Their worry is, no doubt, how many video tapes he might be carrying with him should he return.

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