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Salvadoran President Discloses Assassination Plot

October 13, 2006

SAN SALVADOR – Salvadoran President Tony Saca said Oct. 6 that a supposed plan to assassinate him was motivated by hostility toward his government’s tough stance against drug trafficking.

“Our policy of fighting the drug trade, organized crime and street gangs is what made these people want to assassinate (me),” he said after attending a religious ceremony at a Roman Catholic Church in San Salvador.

Saca gave the statement after the daily El Diario de Hoy published the news Oct. 6 in an interview with him.

The President said the man behind the plot was George Nayes, whom he identified as a Cuban-American of Lebanese descent. The daily said the suspect’s surname is either Nayes or Nayor.

Almost two years ago, El Diario de Hoy cited a “George Nayes” as a U.S. citizen living in El Salvador who was recruiting army and police veterans to work for an unspecified private security firm in Iraq.

In a story on the same subject and appearing around the same time, the Washington Post identified a person matching that description as “George Nayor.”

The Post said that “Nayor” placed newspaper ads telling applicants to come to George’s, a karaoke restaurant located near an upscale mall in San Salvador. That eatery is mentioned in connection with the would be assassin in the El Diario story.

Saca told El Diario that the suspect entered El Salvador on a Honduran passport under the name of Julio Mayorga Ramos, but was arrested by police and deported on Sept. 13 to Honduras “via Washington,” where he was taken into custody as a result of an arrest warrant issued 12 years previously on grounds of drug trafficking.

His arrest brought to light a connection between the Cuban-American and Ciro Casas, the brother of Costa Rica’s second Vice-President Kevin Casas (see story in The Tico Times).

The President of El Salvador said the alleged plotter is not only involved with “Colombian drug guerrillas” but that “he was practically the treasurer of the late Pablo Escobar,” leader of the now-defunct Medellin cartel.

According to Saca, the suspect had purchased SAM-7 surface-to-air missiles in Nicaragua for the purpose of shooting down the presidential helicopter. Nicaragua’s Ministry of Defense did not return a Nica Times request for comment on the allegation by press time.

“I want to send a message to those who want to assassinate me: that we are not going to interrupt our efforts to put order in this country, that they are not going to stop us and we are going to continue jailing drug traffickers and anyone involved in organized crime,” Saca said.

The President confirmed that his administration has arrested and deported capos of the drug mafias that might finance groups responsible for the multiple acts of violence that occur in the country, which has an average of 12 killings a day.

“I have no idea if there is a relation with these domestic events – what I do know is that the large number of deaths, the financing of the street gangs has to do with money from drug trafficking intended to destabilize the country and keep the authorities tied up while (the drug traffickers) do their dirty work,” he said.

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