“Even though his arrest was hailed as a tremendous achievement for the Enrique Peña-Nieto administration, former and current DEA officials openly feared that Mexico’s government would allow Guzman to escape in a matter of time. In an interview just after his arrest, retired DEA Agent Phil Jordan told CNN interviewers that “If he does not get extradited, then he will be allowed to escape within a period of time.” Not only did Jordan’s prediction come true but intelligence provided by DEA to the Mexican government in March 2014, just one month after his capture, reported that the Sinaloa cartel had immediately begun working on getting Guzman out of prison. The intelligence was ignored, particularly because the Peña-Nieto administration loathes the DEA and their presence in Mexico, thus rarely cooperates with the agency.”
I have no conflict with Mexico’s present lack of coordination with the DEA on most issues, extradition requests inclusive because historically, this agency has implemented policies in all of Latin America which are considered gross intervention into the affairs of sovereign nations. Mexico’s war which has caused over 100,000 deaths plus an estimated 30,000 forced disappearances, actually more deaths, millions displaced internally and to the U.S., is a case in point. From the outset reports pointed to the war as a concession to the George W. Bush Administration hatched at a 2006 meeting between Mexico’s newly installed government officials and leading members of the armed forces and American Embassy representatives, including the DEA. Allegedly, the gathering was had in Cuernavaca, an hour away from the Mexican Capitol. The American geopolitical diplomacy applied here was part of the Merida Plan and truly, contextually speaking, no different than the long list of wars, coups or interventions on Iraq, Libya, Viet Nam, Korea, Spain, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Grenada, Colombia, Nicaragua, and Cuba to name a few. The CIA, like the DEA Narcos, has a similar but darker well documented history such as the Contra-Iran Affair in which tons of cocaine were smuggled from Colombia by CIA couriers with refueling stopovers at a Salvadoran elite army base and then flown in to the US for distribution in the African American ghettoes. The profits were then flown to Iran to purchase massive amounts of weapons of destruction delivered to military bases in Northern Honduras for the CIA created Contra Freedom Fighters. Of course, most were right wing mercenaries and drug lords.
However the flight of Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman Loera from El Altiplano Maximum Security Prison, which occurred late Saturday July 11 -the first was 14 years ago from Puente Grande Penitentiary in Jalisco- ought to question the Mexican government’s discourse and official strategy on security as well as the fabricated “Drug War” against organized crime and its historic link to institutional corruption. Indeed, it was painful how the country and us 40 million Mexicans watched “the 2nd great prison escape” of the man whom the governments of Mexico and the United States, have for years, described as the most dangerous and is now offering up to 60 million pesos for information leading to his capture. He flew by night through a state of the art 1 ½ kilometer tunnel and in less than 24 hours he had Twitted Donald Trump telling him to back off or else. Essentially what Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto should have done from day one, defend his nation and us from the Republican candidate’s violent and racially charged political campaign rhetoric.
From the outset, the explanations given by the National Security commissioner, Monte Alejandro Rubido, hinted at a complete loss of control in the prison and its physical surroundings. The internationally impacted event cannot be understood unless you analyze and speculate on the quality of the team that conceived, planned and executed the escape of and the applied professional architectural work that can only be described as monumental. It necessarily required a vast intelligence operation, infiltration into the administrative structure of the prison, the suppression of surveillance mechanisms, and finally the cooperation it must have had from higher levels of government and the prison system, as well as the meticulous coordination at the time of the escape.
The episode, therefore, not only allows the world community to get an idea of the power and capacity of organized crime, but also of the supreme indolence and serious decay which is rampant in Mexico’s government agencies.
Part II will be published over the weekend and it will humbly provide a historical backdrop.
Javier Rodriguez is a political and media strategist and a blogger at Larayueladejavier.wordpress.com