Mexico’s interior minister, Jose Francisco Blake Mora and seven others, including Deputy Interior Minister Felipe Zamora and spokesman Jose Alfredo Garcia, died tragically today in a helicopter crash. They were flying from Mexico City toward Cuernavaca for a meeting with prosecutors in Xochitepec, Morelos. His death comes just a week after the three year anniversary of the tragic death of one of his predecessors, Juan Camilo Mourino, who also died in a plane crash in November 2008. There is no evidence yet (in either case) that foul play was involved — though conspiracy rumors are sure to fly.
The interior minister is no longer the preeminent government post (once second only to the Presidency in terms of power), but it is still a vital Cabinet position, and one crucial for executive-legislative relations, for coordinating the work of various ministries and secretariats, and importantly for the government’s security strategy. While a blow to the government and its security team, Mora’s death won’t likely change the Calderón government’s broader drug war policy during this last year of his administration. Sadly, it will mean that the administration will now be searching for a fifth individual to fill Blake’s shoes.