How come the media is treating Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s latest re-capture as some sort of relevant victory in the international “war on drugs?”
According to the January 25th edition of TIME Magazine, once international media made a spectacle of his latest re-capture, Guzman spoke out on his own terms, apparently with actor Sean Penn in Rolling Stone Magazine. According to Ioan Grillo’s article in TIME, “The message delivered by the world’s most wanted drug runner … was as cutting as it was undeniably true … ‘People who dedicate their lives to this activity do not depend on me,’ he said of the industry that satiates the illicit appetites of the American public. ‘The day I don’t exist, it’s not going to decrease in any way.’”
TIME follows this recounting of Guzman’s words with a reminder for the readers of the broad scale of the disciplines within the drug trafficking trade, describing is as a “federation of tens of thousands of criminals – farmers who grow opium poppies, marijuana leaves, and coca leaves; chemists who cook heroin, cocaine, and meth; smugglers who get it all over the border; corrupt police officers who look the other way; and accountants who wash the money.”
And I am sure there is so much more than that… right down to the guy on the street corner who deals to the crack head that you always see there when you drive by.
Now let’s talk geography. Per TIME, “Today the network stretches … along thousands of miles of border, across the U.S.” (right to that aforementioned street corner), … “ and as far afield as Colombia, the Philippines, and Australia.”
If that isn’t a global trade network of grand proportion, I don’t know what is.
And as Grillo so poignantly and accurately asserts in TIME, “Even in handcuffs, [El Chapo] remains the most potent symbol of the drug war’s failure.”
Don’t believe it? “Data from the Customers and Border Patrol shows no drop in the amounts of narcotics that agents on the southwest border have seized over the past decade.” That means that no matter what has happened between drug cartels in-and-amongst themselves south of the border, or what has happened between Mexican authorities and those responsible for drug trafficking, or whatever has happened between the aforementioned farmers, chemists, traffickers, and wheelers & dealers, it’s not slowing down the flow of goods that are attempted to be smuggled into the States.
It’s not my intention to be pessimistic about efforts to decrease illegal drug trafficking. That’s NOT to be confused with the fact that I'm in favor of re-examining WHAT WE DO and HOW WE HANDLE drug-related crime. And certainly I am by all means in favor the re-capture and detention of an individual who gave the go-ahead for what resulted in a trail of bodies over many years. Drug trafficking is a bloody industry when it exists illegally and via the seedy underbelly of society. I’m FOR law and order … I’m not necessarily FOR the “war on drugs” as it is currently being executed. I’m not saying El Chapo isn’t a criminal, or a “bad guy.” “Yay” for the “good guys” for the fact that he has been once again apprehended.
I am merely prompted to wonder why we’re being led to believe by the media that this is some RELEVANT victory in the “War on Drugs?” when it is so clearly not a victory for anyone other than THOSE WHO DICATE THE HEADLINES and the POP MEDIA SENSATIONALISTS who ogle over them.