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Mexico Warns Former NY Mayor of Possible Kidnap Plot - 2002-12-18


A visit to Mexico by former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani has been thrown into doubt following warnings that Colombian rebels may be planning to kidnap the former mayor.

The security commission president of the Mexican Employers Confederation (Coparmex), Jose Antonio Ortega, says that he believes the safety of former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, can not be guaranteed by Mexican police.

The alleged kidnap plot was revealed by former New York Police Sergeant Kevin Hayes, following a trip to Mexico City for the Giuliani Group, a consulting firm that is to examine ways to improve security.

A comprehensive investigation by the FBI and the New York Police Department, is already well underway. But there is little visible activity in Mexico, and Jose Antonio Ortega says that so called security structures south of the border can best be described as fragile and flimsy.

Mr. Ortega says that is mainly due to the culture of impunity that allows many crimes to go unpunished in Mexico.

"There are much more risks in Mexico City than in New York, because in Mexico City there is more impunity than in New York," he said. "The second one is the links between Mexico and Colombia about kidnapping, and about drug dealers. And the third is that the Mexican police are penetrated by crime, and there are some police protecting drug dealers and kidnapping power."

Mr. Giuliani and his group, who are specialists in law and order, are being hired to help Mexico City's police force to tackle a surge in crime, especially linked to violence. The fee of $4.3 million, is reported to have been guaranteed by a private consortium of business people.

Mr. Ortega says he has yet to see what Mexico City police are actually doing to investigate the kidnap plot and given the Colombian rebel's record of murder, mayhem and abductions, they should be taking the matter a lot more seriously.

"The Mexican authorities need to take seriously the information and investigate, to prevent acts, to prevent terrorism, to prevent acts against Giuliani and acts against Mexicans," he said.

Mexico City Police Chief Marcelo Ebrard has declined to be interviewed on this issue. But a spokesman described possible planned abduction of Mr. Giuliani are rumors.