Today’s Washington Post has a good summary of the international search for Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. He’s worth billions, is in hiding but not on the run, is ruthless with those who try to claim his territory, including the Mexican government, and has a small personal army that may or may not have shoulder-to-air missiles.
He was the barefoot son of a peasant who became one of the richest moguls in the world, a billionaire entrepreneur with a third-grade education. He controls a vast drug distribution empire that spans six continents, but he still carries his own AK-47. He is generous and feared, a mass murderer and a folk hero. He is a ghost who has become a legend.
In the fifth year of a terrible war in Mexico that has exhausted the military, consumed the presidency of Felipe Calderon and left more than 43,000 dead in drug violence, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the founder of the Sinaloa cartel, reigns supreme.
He also has daughters who are American citizens, but that’s a separate story.
Felipe Calderon has pledged to arrest El Chapo, his nemesis, before he leaves office. I wish him luck. But then what?
Then there’s the possibility that removing Guzman will unleash an even bigger bloodbath across Mexico, as rivals rush to fill an enormously lucrative power vacuum. U.S. drug agents warily agree. “It will be a zoo,” one said.
This is not to say that I don’t wish Guzman brought to justice. I sincerely do, and wish him a long life of pain and humiliation in prison. It is only to say that the war will go on with or without him.