|Was||Politician Lawyer Civil servant|
|Birth||22 May 1966, Tijuana, Mexico|
|Death||11 November 2011, Chalco Municipality, Mexico (aged 45 years)|
|Politics||National Action Party|
José Francisco Blake Mora ([xoˈse fɾanˈsisko ˈβleik ˈmoɾa]; 22 May 1966 – 11 November 2011) was a Mexican lawyer and politician who served as the Secretary of the Interior in the cabinet of Felipe Calderón from 2010 to 2011. He was Mexico's top cabinet secretary and key figure in the battle against the drug cartels and corruption in the country. Blake Mora was also an important official in the dialogues of Felipe Calderón's drug policy, where he constantly traveled to meet with governors and victims of the drug war.
Early life and education
Blake Mora was born in a working-class family in Tijuana, Baja California. He obtained a degree in law from the Autonomous University of Baja California (UABC) and a diploma in strategic planning and public policy from the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM).
Blake Mora was elected to the office of Alderman of the City of Tijuana from 1995 to 1998, and later served as a federal deputy for the Fifth Federal Electoral District of Baja California in the LVIII Legislature from 2000 to 2003. He then served as a member of the Congress of Baja California from 2004 to 2007. According to Fox News, Blake Mora gained popularity as a public official because he had promoted the cooperation of military forces and civil authorities to combat the drug cartels in his homestate of Baja California before becoming Secretary of Interior.
On 1 November 2007, he was appointed Secretary General of the Government of Baja California by Governor José Guadalupe Osuna Millán. In 2009, he was named as a possible candidate for the office of Attorney General of the Republic. On 14 July 2010, President Felipe Calderón named him Secretary of the Interior to replace Fernando Gómez Mont.
Blake Mora promoted Felipe Calderón's strategy of eradicating the organized crime in Mexico and the notoriously corruption-plagued state and police forces. The British newspaper The Guardian described Blake Mora as Mexico's number-two official in fighting the drug cartels, after the president. In addition, Blake Mora carried out the project for new national identity card for underage people, with modern features that included digitalized fingerprints and iris images saved in government databases, which was intended to prevent criminals from using false IDs.
Blake Mora died in a helicopter accident along with seven other people in Chalco de Díaz Covarrubias, Estado de México, just outside Mexico City. There were no survivors. The helicopter, an Aérospatiale Super Puma, was traveling to Cuernavaca, Morelos for a meeting of prosecutors when it went down. Marcelo Ebrard, the Head of Government of the Federal District, said in an interview through CNN México that the helicopter was "completely destroyed," since it crashed head-on against a hill. Then, the helicopter impacted several times over the terrain as the pilot tried to land the aircraft safely.
Reports state that early in the morning before Blake Mora left Mexico City, the helicopter took a few minutes to take off due to dense fog, which has made observers speculate that visibility was a major factor of the collision. After the helicopter failed to arrive at the estimated time, aircraft were sent to investigate the situation, and eventually reported the damaged helicopter at 11:12 a.m. local time. Along with Blake Mora, the following people were killed in the accident: Felipe Zamora, general of legal affairs; José Alfredo García Medina, director of social communications; Diana Hayton Sánchez, Blake Mora's secretary; René de León Zapien, lieutenant general; Felipe Cortés and Pedro Ramón Escobar, both air force lieutenants; and Jorge Luis Juárez Gómez, army sergeant.
Although not confirmed, some sources claimed that the President Felipe Calderón had plans to travel in the helicopter that Blake Mora was killed in, and was awaiting the flight until the accident occurred. President Calderón said that the helicopter was flying in foggy conditions, and that the crash "was probably an accident." Investigations regarding his death were carried out immediately after the accident. The death of Blake Mora is the second loss in this position during the Calderón presidency, the first one being Juan Camilo Mouriño, who died in a plane crash in 2008.
Blake Mora's last Twitter post before his death recalled the previous death of the former Secretary of Interior, Juan Camilo Mouriño:
The question of whether this incident was a mere coincidence or a conspiracy has been discussed in numerous newspapers, blogs, and other internet sites. However, President Calderón has tried to quell any suggestions of sabotage, saying Blake Mora's helicopter "was always under guard" in the hangar of Mexico's equivalent of the Secret Service and that it had recently undergone maintenance. Before Blake Mora, Juan Camilo Mouriño, who was also head of the Interior, was killed in an airplane accident on November 4, 2008 with the presidential security adviser Jose Luis Vasconcelos and six other officials. And in September 21, 2005, Ramón Martín Huerta, the former Public Security Secretary, also died in a helicopter accident with José Antonio Bernal, who worked for the Human Rights Commission, Tomás Valencia, head chief of the Federal Police in Mexico, and six other officials. Although not proven, these high-profile deaths have fueled speculations on whether they were foul plays by the drug cartels.
Moreover, the death of Blake Mora and the seven others in a helicopter crash puts into relevance the fact that Mexico has no law or protocol that would prevent senior officials from flying in the same aircraft, as in other governments worldwide, to preserve the integrity of government and decision makers. Mexican law has no protocols to prevent the president or his cabinet, including members of the Legislature or the Judiciary, from travelling in the same vehicle for security reasons. In addition, CNN México announced that soon after the death of Mexico's interior secretary, one Twitter user posted on Blake Mora's page a day before his death caught the attention of the media. At the time of the plane crash, only 14 hours had passed since the tweet was posted. One individual under the username @Morf0 posted the following message on Blake Mora's Twitter page:
Nevertheless, the man that posted the Twitter message was interviewed through a phone call on live television, and claimed that his tweet was a prank among a community of internet surfers that were attempting to make predictions online. On another note, Hiram Fernando Escobar said his brother Pedro, co-pilot of the ship, told him two days before the incident that the helicopter was not ready to travel on Friday, the day he crashed in a mountainous area south of Mexico City. Pedro Escobar allegedly told his brother that the helicopter was "not well" and presented signs of failure. In addition, the helicopter, an Aérospatiale Super Puma, was bought from a casino in the United States in 1985, and had been used for governmental purposes in Mexico since 1987. The controversy lies on the idea that the helicopter was "out-of-date" and that it was bought with a considerable amount of flight hours.
Aeronautic specialists from United States, Mexico, and France, along with Eurocopter, are assisting the Mexican government investigate the helicopter accident that killed Blake Mora. President Calderon has solicited help from the National Transportation Safety Board, a U.S. agency specialized in aviation accidents, as well as France's BEA to work together in the investigation regarding the secretary's death. Experts in the Mexican Air Force will also be aiding in the investigations. After preliminary investigation and visual contacts of the accident, the wreckage did not show any damage caused by an explosion or fire, which has made investigators deduce that the collision was due to poor visibility. Investigations by the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation prove that the pilot of the helicopter did not lose control of the aircraft. Initial investigations show that the coordinates of where accident occurred coincide with the last record taken by the helicopter's radar. Moreover, government sources mention that the pilot of the helicopter took a different route in an attempt to escape the cloudiness and find a lower and more visible trajectory to their destination, but eventually wrecked in a hill known as Ayaqueme, situated in the municipality of Chalco.
Forensic investigations and autopsies show that "...all (the deaths) were (caused by) traumas," since the bodies came very complete, and doctors mention that the cause of death of all occupants of the helicopter was due to a very severe impact. Moreover, experts mention that if the helicopter had flown 200 feet (60 meters) higher or 300 meters further south, the helicopter would have not crashed. The reasons why the pilot decided to fly over 200 miles per hour against the mainland, without opening the landing gear, still remains a mystery.
After Blake's death, his functions as Secretary of the Interior were temporarily assumed by the Secretary of Government, Juan Marcos Gutiérrez, while President Calderón appoints a new secretary. Several academics and journalists from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, the Universidad Veracruzana, and CNN México have debated the possible impacts Blake Mora's death can have on Mexico's drug policy and politics. In addition, CNN has sponsored tweets on Twitter and forum discussions on Facebook through the program known as Mexico Opina to allow people to debate and analyze the causes and consequences of Blake Mora's death.
Felipe Calderón, the president of Mexico, named Alejandro Poiré Romero as the new interior minister, six days after the previous head of the agency, Francisco Blake Mora, died on a helicopter accident.
Felipe Calderón inaugurated a boulevard in Tijuana, Baja California called "José Francisco Blake Mora" on 11 October 2012.
According to information published by sources of Baja California, Blake Mora used to go to Mass every Sunday with his family and spend all day together, and share important dates, like Father's Day, with his loved ones. In addition, he used to spend quality time fishing, a hobby his father taught him when he was young.