El Chapo Tweets

24 Jul

Personally I’ve never understood the appeal of Twitter — celebrity spam, politicians’ pronouncements, links to other links – but whatever. Lately, though, it has come to my attention that Twitter has been adopted by the most-talked-about man in Mexico right now. No, not a footaller, and not an actor. I’m talking about Sinaloa cartel leader and skilled escape artist Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman.

Okay, maybe it’s an imposter. Maybe it’s some wit having us on. But, apparently, those in the know believe it really is him, and certainly his more than a half million followers seem to think they really are picking up the billionaire drug lord’s innermost thoughts.

So I’ve been checking out (on my lap top) El Chapo’s tweets. And, with a photo of him in his 1990’s prison garb, they are certainly amusing, if mostly anodyne.

Here’s his opinion of Wednesday’s controversial Gold Cup soccer match between Mexico and Panama (controversial because of the apparently unfair decisions of the ‘arbitro,’ or referee.)

                  Joaquín Guzmán Loera ‏‪@ElChap0Guzman 15h15 hours ago
 

Nunca espero nada de la Selección Mexicana y aún así terminan decepcionándome. — “I never expect anything from the Mexican Selection,” he says, “and even so I end up being disappointed.”

and

Joaquín Guzmán Loera ‏‪@ElChap0Guzman 14h

14 hours ago

El mejor jugador del partido fue el árbitro. — “The best player of the game was the referee.”

Guzman is also handy fellow with thought-of-the-day-type aphorisms, like ‘Better a stupid question … than a stupid person who doesn’t ask questions’ (from Nov. 7); Good people suffer the most’ (from Feb. 26) and, from earlier this month, just days before making his escape from prison by means of a carefully constructed tunnel, this gem: ‘a single mom is like any other mom, except she has the balls the dad didn’t have.’

But what might be the reason he has become so popular are not these bons mots but the stuff he has been saying about President Enrique Peña Nieto. Like this one:

Joaquín Guzmán Loera

‏‪@ElChap0Guzman

Y tú ‪@EPN no me vuelvas a llamar delincuente porqué yo doy trabajo a la gente no como tu pinche gobierno corriente. –‘And you @EPN don’t you call me a delinquent again because I give people jobs unlike your shitty cheap government.’

The irony, of course, is that El Chapo really owes his ease of escape to EPN and governors like him, to the entire culture of which EPN is simply the current most obvious representative of its greed and unaccountability. A culture where trying to help out the police is not just pointless but all too often a big mistake.

“Money makes the dog dance,” he has also proclaimed, summing up the main reason he and other traffickers have been able to earn vast amounts of cash from illegality. His money has made a lot of dogs dance, no doubt, and injects millions of laundered dollars into a Third World economy in which about half the population still live in poverty.

“The Sinaloan economy depends, in large part, on these guys,” says a banker in Culiacan, the state capital. “It’s their cash and investments that provide the work.”

El Chapo’s feistiness, and the embarrassment he has brought an unpopular government, has turned him into a kind of pseudo Robin Hood for many Mexicans. There were big protests in Sinaloa when he was captured and jailed last year. He’s in some way like Mexico’s version of Donald Trump, criticizing the government, posing as a man of the people (absurd as this in in Trump’s case), just a regular guy smart enough to mine a golden business opportunity – and reinforcing the idea that the only worthwhile purpose of life is to become fabulously wealthy. But to the joy of many Mexicans, El Chapo has also tweeted that he will make the racist real estate developer “swallow his words” of criticism against of immigrants from that country.

It’s the Mexican’s government’s huge number of failures, however, that make El Chapo look so, well, so innocent, somehow. He’s a dangerous criminal, proud and grandiose as his tweets indicate, but he doesn’t pretend to be anything else.

Meanwhile the politicians making decisions about the lives and welfare of more than a 100 million people are no less criminal and no less dangerous when threatened, but they pretend to be respectable. They read their lines from their prepared statements, average folk ranged behind them like an admiring Greek Chorus, and admit to nothing but how much they are doing to improve Mexico.

That’s what makes El Chapo this strange local hero, and even now is brings fresh questions to the entire escape. Maybe he didn’t use that tunnel to escape – maybe he was let out , because of all the inside info he’s got on those respectable politicians. After all, as some journalists have pointed out, the police has never let them actually traverse the entire tunnel, only explore either end of it.

What’s more, the Solicitor General has convinced no one with his explanations of the 43 Normal School students presumed murdered in Iguala, Guerrero, or the killing of 22 presumed delinquents in a ‘shoot-out’ in Tlatlaya, or the many other murky incidents that have left large numbers of dead.

So when a country’s elected leaders make a cartel leader look more trustworthy than they are, you know there’s something very wrong – even if the guy was out to lunch about that Mexico-Panama match.

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