The extradition of Emilio Lozoya is one big performance
The former Pemex CEO arrived in Mexico early Friday morning after being extradited from Spain to face corruption charges. The man who arrived at prison the day after was not him.
Emilio Lozoya Austin was the head of Mexico's state-run oil company, Petroleos de Mexico (PEMEX), and his extradition seems to come at a perfect time as the country grapples with a global pandemic and economic freefall.
With the highest unemployment rate in years, the economy plummeting, and peak levels of violence, insecurity, and COVID-19 deaths, the extradition of the former Pemex CEO seemed too good to be true.
It is not the first time the Mexican government has prepared a charade of this size. The country’s ability to assemble scenes under unexpected circumstances such as this one has been proven before.
The news regarding Lozoya’s extradition was so accurate that skepticism began to simmer early.
The initial plan was to take Lozoya from the airport to the prison after he arrived from Spain, so he could make a statement to the judge. An act that, because of the health emergency, would have been held behind closed doors (a decision which, despite the pandemic, was already unconstitutional).
However, every procedure that was planned beforehand changed the moment the former CEO stepped onto Mexican soil.
The van supposedly transporting him left the airport followed by journalists full of expectation was a distraction.
Instead of going straight to prison to testify, Lozoya was taken to a private hospital because apparently, he arrived in Mexico with anemia — a symptom that wasn’t recorded when he first left Spain.
As a result, the man who arrived at prison, whose face was covered by a mask and was photographed by the press gathered outside thinking he was Lozoya, turned out to be another character in the setup.
The extradition of Lozoya from Spain to Mexico was carried out under the slogan that he was going to collaborate under the "opportunity criterion" to incriminate others who had been involved in Pemex's bribes during his administration.
It was even said that Lozoya brought with him more than 15 hours of video where figures such as Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico’s former president, appeared implicated.
Indeed, instead of bringing him back on a commercial flight, Emilio Lozoya was extradited to Mexico on the presidential plane.
Lozoya's “willingness to help” and the ripple effect his statements can generate have made him a treasure that has to be treasured.
The performance was prepared to give Mexico a great victory in times of crisis.
That's the timeline of how Emilio Lozoya Austin, a man who was incriminated for corruption and accepting millionaire bribes, went from being a criminal to a national hero.