Justice in Mexico

Mexican Secretary of the Interior Francisco Blake Mora and Staff Die in Helicopter Crash

Secretary of the Interior Francisco Blake Mora died Friday in a helicopter crash that killed eight. Credit: caminoaixtlan.com.mx

11/12/11–Mexican Secretary of the Interior (Secretaría de Gobernación) Francisco Blake Mora (45) died in a helicopter crash that killed seven others, including the flight crew and key members of his staff.  The helicopter had departed Mexico City en route for the nearby city of Cuernavaca, and crashed at approximately 11:00am after losing radio contact. Those on board the helicopter included Francisco Blake Mora (Secretary of the Interior), Felipe Zamora Castro (Undersecretary of the Interior for Juridical Affairs and Human Rights), José Alfredo Garcia Medina (Director General of Communications for the Interior Secretariat), Diana Miriam Ayton Sánchez (Technical Secretary for the Office of the Secretary of the Interior), Major René de León Sapién, Lt. Coronel Felipe Dacio Cortés (Air Force), Lt. Pedro Ramón Escobar Becerra, and Staff Sgt. Jorge Luis Juárez Goméz.

While the cause of the crash is still under investigation, in his initial remarks President Felipe Calderón indicated that it appeared to be an accident and that poor visibility due to fog was a likely cause. However, the crash resulted in ample speculation about possible foul play, due a similar accident three years before that killed Blake Mora’s predecessor, then-Secretary of the Interior Juan Camilo Mouriño and seven staff on November 4, 2008, two years into Calderón’s term.

In fact, Blake Mora had just attended Camilo Mouriño’s three-year memorial service the week before his November 11 death and had last tweeted “Today we remember Juan Camilo Mouriõ three years after his passing, a man that worked to make a better Mexico.” Camilo Mouriño’s plane crash during an attempt to land at the Mexico City airport, was also officially ruled an accident. However, given both Camilo Mouriño’s and Blake Mora’s leading roles in crafting and supporting the Calderón administration’s militarized crackdown on drug trafficking organizations, speculation abounds about Blake Mora’s death.

As the New York Times reported, “Twitter and Facebook exploded with commentary, much of it presuming that some criminal group had brought the helicopter down.” The same article also noted suspicion about President Calderón’s order that the National Meteorological Agency should not discuss the weather conditions surrounding the crash. The president has insisted that the crash was likely an accident, but has said his government will thoroughly investigate the matter.

A memorial service was held on Saturday to honor Blake Mora, during which Calderón praised Mexico’s resiliency and noted the need, now more than ever, to carry on Blake Mora’s work. The president added that the best way to pay respect to those lost is by “looking towards the future and persevering.”

President Calderón will take the first step by identifying Blake Mora’s replacement, who will be the fourth person to occupy the post in five years. In the New York Times article, Eric Olson of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center observed, “It’s a tragedy. There has been a revolving door for the ministry, and its role has to do with police reform, migration, intelligence, all key issues in the battle against organized crime. The fact that they haven’t had continuity in that position is a major factor.”

Blake Mora had been appointed to the cabinet of President Felipe Calderón in July 2010 after serving as secretary general of the state government of Baja California. He was born and raised in Tijuana and received his law degree from the Autonomous University of Baja California (Universidad Autonomo de Baja California, UABC).


Redacción. “Mueren Juan Camilo Mouriño y José Luis Santiago Vasconcelos.” Noticieras Televisa. November 6, 2008.

Cave, Damien. “Top Mexican Official Among 8 Dead in Helicopter Crash.” New York Times. November 11, 2011.

Montalvo, Tania. “Blake, segundo titular de Gobernación fallecido en accidente aéreo.” CNN México. November 11, 2011.

Redacción. “Lista de fallecidos en accidente,” El Universal, November 11, 2011.

Morales, Alberto y Torres, Alberto. “Se oyó un trueno contra el cerro,” El Universal, November 11, 2011.

“México saldrá ‘una vez más’ adelante: Calderón.” El Informador. November 12, 2011.

2 thoughts on “Mexican Secretary of the Interior Francisco Blake Mora and Staff Die in Helicopter Crash”

  1. Pingback: Alejandro Poire Named New Interior Minister of Mexico « Justice in Mexico

  2. Pingback: Guadalajara Massacre Victims Identified, Sinaloa Massacre Raises Questions « Justice in Mexico

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *