Editor’s note: This is a translation of an article by the distinguished Mexican journalist Dolia Estevez. Though it appeared in Spanish in August in Sinembargo”, most of our US readers are probably unfamiliar with it and its subject, Javier Jileta, a senior official of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs in Mexico.
At the end of the article is Jileta’s response. There are a couple of factual inaccuracies in the article which I correct [in bold italcs and brackets].
Finally, I do think that because Jileta is a senior government official, he should be required to be forthcoming about his role in Nxivm and his support of Keith Raniere and Nancy Salzman. It is my opinion that he very likely saw very little of sexual or criminal activities which led to Raniere’s conviction. I also doubt that he knew about the branding prior to my revealing it on the Frank Report in June 2017.
That said, I think Estevez has a pretty comprehensive report and her take on Nxivm and the events is very colorful.
By Dolia Estevez
[Originally published in the Mexican news site “Sinembargo”. Translated from the original Spanish version.]
The Vow is not the only public record of Jileta’s link with the criminal cult.
“At the 40-minute mark of the first episode of HBO’s ‘The Vow’, Javier Jileta smiles at Raniere in a festive atmosphere of camaraderie,” writes journalist Dolia Estévez. Jileta, a senior official of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, describes his experience with the Nxivm sex cult, of which he was a member, as a “bitter episode”.
Washington, D.C – Javier Jileta Verduzco, a senior official in the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs in charge of promoting foreign investment in Mexico, was a member of the infamous “sex cult” Nxivm.
This is revealed in the docuseries “The Vow”, in which Jileta appears with Keith Raniere, the leader of the cult who was convicted of forced labor and sex trafficking in 2019.
Although the controversial past of Jileta, the current head of Liaison with Civil Society Organizations, is known and justified in the senior hierarchy of the Secretariat, it is the first time it has been publicly disclosed.
In the 40th minute of the first episode of the documentary, Jileta smiles at Raniere in a festive atmosphere of camaraderie. The image was captured during Raniere’s birthday cake game, at the Silver Bay YMCA resort, a huge conference and retreat complex on Lake George near Albany, New York, home to the cult, in August 2016.
It was an annual celebration called “V-Week”, in honor of the birthday of the “supreme teacher”, known among them as “Vanguard”.
“Bitter episode,” Jileta told me about his “experience” with Nxivm, in a written statement.
He denies being aware of any “irregular activity” and says he feels “disappointed” and “deceived” by the organization in which he sought “personal improvement”.
Coinciding with the series on HBO, prosecutors asked the judge for life in prison for Raniere in New York’s Eastern District court in Brooklyn. They reiterated the seriousness of the crimes and the prisoner’s lack of repentance. [Keith Raniere was later sentenced to 120 years in Federal Penitentiary.]
“The Vow” is not the only public record of Jileta’s link with the criminal cult.
Last year, a video was released on social networks where Jileta dances together with the children of Carlos Salinas de Gortari, Emiliano and Cecilia Salinas Occelli, as well as Rosa Laura Junco, daughter of the owner of Grupo Reforma, and the rest of the so-called “México City team”.
Jileta told me that the show was during Raniere’s birthday celebrations in Lake George, in 2016.
Led by Emiliano Salinas, the salsa dancers wear white, yellow, orange and green colored shirts.
“The Vow” explains that the colors were a hierarchical ranking system created by Raniere to indicate the level of indoctrination and financial donations from members. Yellow, the color of Jileta’s shirt, meant “Coach”, the second-lowest in the pyramid; Emiliano’s green meant that he was a “Senior Proctor”, fourth in the hierarchical level [two colors higher than yellow].
The “Coaches” and “Senior Proctors” were authorized to teach classes in Mexico. Moving up [in the stripe path] involved donating millions of dollars, or helping to recruit others – or offering something of strategic value to Raniere (meetings with potentates, movie stars, etc.).
Another example of Jileta’s closeness to Raniere is the “tribute” he pays him on Twitter, “for the inspiration” in his life, on the occasion of his 35 years, on December 1, 2016.
On February 2, 2017, also on Twitter, he thanks “Keith and Nancy” (Salzman, number two in the cult) for “making it possible to enjoy my life” and “building meaningful relationships”.
Jileta joined Nxivm in 2011, but in 2015 he “distanced herself” when he went abroad to study. Despite the distancing, in August 2016 he traveled to participate in Raniere’s birthday celebration.
“It was an annual gathering where those of us who had taken the course met, and I decided to go see my friends,” he told me. He did doctoral studies at University College London but did not graduate. He is a graduate of ITAM.
At the 45th minute into “The Vow”, Carlos Salinas’s son [Emiliano] looks at the camera and says: “Hello, my name is Emiliano Salinas, I come from a political family, my father was president of Mexico from 1988 to 1994 – a time of great transformation for my country – which inspired me to seek a deeper understanding of human and social transformation”. The video was used to recruit members.
With the incorporation of Emilio Salinas Occelli, the cult positioned itself among the Mexican political elite and opened “ESP centers” in Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, and León.
Salinas was commissioned to build Nxivm in Mexico and to recruit an unknown number of Nxians.
Jileta clarified that it was not Emiliano Salinas who introduced him to Nxivm, but rather a “childhood friend” whom he did not identify.
Apparently, there was no “Week V” in 2017 [Editor’s note: actually there was a V-Week in 2017, but it was significantly reduced in size following disclosures on the Frank Report about DOS].
That year, [in October, after the V-Week] The New York Times revealed the existence of a secret sisterhood of Nxivm women who were fire branded with the letters “KAR”, the initials of the Vanguard. Several of those were Mexican.
By then, Nxivm was in the crosshairs of the FBI. [Actually, this is inaccurate — the FBI investigation commenced shortly after the NY Times story] Raniere fled to Mexico, after the publication [of the branding ceremonies]. He was detained for deportation purposes in March 2018, in Puerto Vallarta, after five months in hiding under the cover of his Mexican followers. [He was not ‘detained’ per se, he was seized and deported immediately. It remains unclear who actually seized him in Mexico.]
Raniere and five leading women, including Clare Bronfman, heir to the Seagram liquor empire, were charged with leading the clandestine cult of “slave” women in Nxivm, known as DOS (Dominus Obsequious Sororium – or Lord of the Obedient Companions).
With the exception of Raniere, who to this day maintains his innocence, the rest have pleaded guilty.
After seven weeks of trial, Raniere was found guilty of seven counts: organized crime, sex trafficking and fraud, child pornography, extortion, money laundering, and identity theft.
Federal Prosecutor Richard Donoghue stated that the trial revealed Raniere not to be a “savant and a genius, as he portrayed himself, but rather a master of manipulation, a con artist and a crime lord of a cult-like organization involved in sex trafficking, child pornography, extortion, forced abortions, branding, degradation, and humiliation. The evidence proved that Raniere was a true modern Svengali”.
Donoghue’s office is also in charge of the criminal case against Genaro García Luna, Luis Cárdenas Palomino, Ramón Pequeno García and Iván Reyes Arzate, in the Brooklyn court, where El Chapo Guzmán was convicted – and where the trial against sexually depraved Jeffrey Epstein would have taken place, had he not committed suicide [This last part is not true. Jeffrey Epstein was going to be tried in the Southern District of New York in Manhattan].
On May 23, 2019, when the trial against Raniere, in which he was mentioned, was in its third week, Emiliano Salinas finally disassociated himself from Nxivm, via Twitter.
In language similar to that used today by Jileta, he claimed to have learned of the DOS “atrocities” in early 2018.
[Emiliano knew about DOS earlier than the early 2018 date he claims. He actually knew about it in June 2017 – the time I first published information. I am not sure whether at this point it matters much, but I do have evidence to prove this. When and if the time comes, I will do so, quite possibly in Expansion in Mexico.]
He does not explain why it took him more than a year to disassociate himself from the cult. Salinas denied any involvement in the cult’s criminal activities. None of the Mexicans was charged in the judicial process.
Salinas and Jileta cut ties with Raniere after the dam burst. In the years they served in Nxivm, they ignored published accounts of Raniere’s reputation as a fraudster and manipulator that preceded their arrival in Mexico.
In October 2003, for example, Forbes USA dedicated its cover to the alleged “self-improving” programs of the false instructor who, it warned, actually sought to psychologically break their subjects. “I think it’s a cult,” Edgar Bronfman told the magazine. He was the father of Sara and Clare, who donated millions of dollars to Raniere. Didn’t Salinas and Jileta know – or didn’t they want to know?
At the meeting of ambassadors and consuls last January, Martha Delgado, Jileta’s immediate boss, announced the creation of the General Directorate of Global Economic Impulse to replace ProMéxico. She put Jileta in charge of the new enterprise.
The explanation offered by Delgado’s protégé is not only late but insufficient. And it leaves many questions unanswered. “How close was his relationship with Raniere?”; “How many times did he meet him?”; “Did he help Raniere escape to Mexico?”; “Are there more former Nxivm militants in the government or is he the only one?”.
Many will find little credence in the ignorance that he alleges. If he has more to say about his “bitter episode,” now is the time. It is not about stigmatizing anyone, but about knowing the truth about a matter of public interest: the scope of the connection and penetration of Nxivm in Mexico.
It is not unimportant that a senior Directorate official comes out in a documentary about a criminal sex cult. The standard of ethical and honesty measurement of an official is, or should be, higher than that of any son of a former president.
RESPONSE FROM JAVIER JILETA
To: Alejandro Páez Varela/Managing Director/” Sinembargo”Dear Alejandro,
On August 31, you published the article “A Senior Official for the Mexican Secretariat of Foreign Affairs Fell for Nxivm and Raniere. ‘It Was a Bitter Episode,’ He Says”, signed by Dolia Estévez. In this regard, I would like to make the following clarifications:
The article says that I was a “member of the infamous NXIVM sex cult.” In this regard, I clarify that my participation in said organization was as a participant in the workshops, without having any position on the board or in any decision-making body of the organization involving myself with criminal activities, as the introduction of the text does, is a mistake.
Those responsible for the crimes committed by the DOS group of NXIVM were tried by the Federal Court of the District of Brooklyn. In the investigation carried out by the New York Prosecutor’s Office, the FBI and the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for this process, my name was never mentioned, nor was I associated with the crimes charged to the DOS group, which It shows that I have no connection to the events mentioned. [Unless he had a close association with a high-ranking member of the FBI, it would be impossible for Javier Jileta to know whether his name was ever mentioned during its investigation of Nxivm. Similarly, there is no way for him to know whether he was ever tied to the crimes associated with the DOS group – just as there is no way for him to know whether the FBI ever connected him to any of the other Nxivm-related crimes that it investigated. The FBI does not routinely issue letters-of-exoneration to those that it investigated but did not charge.]
I do not know the reasons why the column speculated on the type of connection I had with NXIVM and decided to focus on myself, when among the more than 14,000 participants in Mexican ESP workshops, there are several linked to public life in Mexico. However, the only truth is that I was one more participant, of the thousands who were deceived by a criminal organization.
I applaud the vital importance of investigative journalism, but I also recognize the danger of stigmatizing people when there is no hard evidence linking it to any event or type of conduct. I appreciate your attention and I trust that you will take my position into account for future publications.
RESPONSE FROM DOLIA ESTÉVEZ
US Attorney Richard Donoghue was the one who characterized Nxivm as “a sex cult type organization,” not me.
My article at no point says that Jileta was mentioned at trial. On the contrary, he clarifies that, “none of the Mexicans was accused in the judicial process.”
Jileta alleges that he was “one more participant” among the 14,000 participants in the ESP workshops. What he doesn’t say is that he is the only senior federal government official with documented ties to Nxivm as of today. Nor does he explain his tweets of admiration and gratitude to Raniere, nor his closeness to the leader convicted of sexual crimes.
If, as he maintains, there are “several linked to public life” among the disciples of Nxivm, he should give me the names so that they are also made known to the public opinion.
My article does not “speculate” about the “type of connection” that Jileta had in Nxivm, but rather publishes the “public records” about his relationship with the “criminal organization”, as he calls it, starting with the video in which he appears with Raniere in the series “The Vow”, that was what led to the article. Last week, when I contacted him, he told me that he hadn’t seen “The Vow”.