Nov 12 - Mexican Interior Minister Francisco Blake is killed in a helicopter crash. Marie-Claire Fennessy reports.
EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL Mexico's interior minister is killed in a helicopter crash. The wreckage was found scattered on a green hillside south of the capital, where Francisco Blake and seven others on board were killed on Friday. The nation's President, Felipe Calderon paid tribute to the man who served as one of his top ministers for 16 months. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) MEXICAN PRESIDENT, FELIPE CALDERON SAYING: "With deep sorrow and pain, I was informed this morning of a fatal accident that killed the Interior Minister Jose Francisco Blake and seven other public servants. Jose Francisco, or Blake as he was called by the many who loved him, was a great Mexican who deeply loved his country and served it until the last moment of his life." Calderon said conditions were cloudy when the helicopter came down so an accident looked probable, but did not rule out other explanations. Mexico is locked in a brutal conflict against drug cartels that has killed 45,000 people in the last five years. Blake was a key member of Calderon's security team. As interior minister, he was responsible for helping Calderon implement his strategy against drug gangs, as well as negotiating with opposition parties in Congress. Blake is the second interior minister under Calderon to be killed in an air crash. The previous one three years earlier was declared an accident. Marie-Claire Fennessy, Reuters