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    Posted April 2, 2014 by
    pontevedra, Spain

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    Rafael Louzán and Hermelino Alonso: opening the doors for drugs

    One would think that a politician and the head of customs of a coastal region would work together against illegal trading like drug and tobacco smuggling. But not in Pontevedra.

    The northwest region of Spain, which falls into Galicia, is a heaven for Latin American drug gangs thanks to its favourable political climate and uncontrollable shoreline. Rafael Louzán is the president of Pontevedra, and controls the Vilagarcía de Arousa harbour. He has been in this job since 2003 – when he was just in his mid-thirties. Not bad for a man who didn’t even finish primary school, a requirement for all “normal” politicians.

    But Louzán is not your normal politician. He at the age of 20 that the way to get ahead in his home region was to be the smuggler’s butler – not enemy. His first job was as a night guard in a sports venue in Ribadumia, a small town known for its wineries but also for its trafficking of drugs and cigarettes. The town is close to the Portuguese border and has many estuaries – ideal to land drugs without being noticed by Spanish customs.

    Louzán forged useful links in his job as a night guard, and later – when he presented himself as a politician and family man – would store trafficked tobacco at his home for smuggler José Prado Bugallo 'SitoMiñanco'. His links impressed his party, the Popular Party, so much that it facilitated Louzán’s election to the council of Pontevedra in 1996, and to its president in 2003.

    This position in itself has a long tradition of foul prestige. Mariano Rajoy, now prime minister of Spain, held this job from 1983 and 1986, and Crespo Xosé Cuiña, a close fried of former Franco minister Manuel Fraga and Francisco Correa, who headed a network of firms that received public contracts to finance autonomous communities by the PP, known as the “Gürtel” (German for “belt”).

    Since Louzán’s ascent to the Pontevedran political throne, he wasted no time putting friends and relatives into top positions, while fostering his friendships to Rajoy and Alberto NúñezFeijóo, president of Galicia.
    Except the friendship to Feijóo has turned sour. Last April, pictures resurfaced in the press of Feijóo and drug baron Marcial Dorado together on a boat on holidays. These images had been seen before, so it is curious why they returned to public attention.

    Spanish media believes the re-release was orchestrated by three close allies of Louzán to damage Feijóo and force him to resign so that Louzán could rise to the presidency of Galicia. These three allies were XesúsPalmou Lorenzo, justice councillor in Galicia for the Popular Party, José Antonio VázquezTaín, a judge, and the chief of the Customs Vigilance Service in Galicia, Hermelino Alonso Eiras.

    Alonso is the most interesting figure in this unholy trinity: he was in 2010 accused of having received bribes from Dorado. Louzán, however, defended him publicly. The drug smuggler, Louzán and Alonso have clear and long-standing connections – something that came in useful when attempting to smear Feijóo.

    Feijóo knows the internal workings of Pontevedra. In order to save his own skin, he must act against Louzán, Alonso and their drug lords.
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