On July 12, 2015, headlines blared that Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, Mexico’s most notorious drug trafficking kingpin, had escaped from a high security (insert laugh-track here) prison in the State of Mexico. Anyone who follows Mexico, and many who don’t, already know the details about how he escaped through a kilometer-long tunnel dug under the prison, so we won’t rehash that here. The point is that this is the second time the biggest cartel don in Mexico has been captured in spectacular fashion, incarcerated, and then strolled to freedom after waiting a brief but respectable amount of time to maintain appearances.
This is not bad luck people. OK the guy has a good engineering team but it’s not about that. The problem, visible to all, is that institutions such as law enforcement in Mexico are a travesty from top to bottom, but the responsibility lies at the top, not with the lowly gaolkeep. You know what’s a strong institution in Mexico? Tacos al pastor. What institutions are a national disgrace? The judiciary, law enforcement and public education. We have and will continue to take up those topics in separate posts, but the point of this brief post is this: President Enrique Peña Nieto is waking up from the dream in which his sweeping reforms make Mexico the comeliest maiden at the emerging market ball, and finding that in the waking world our nation is catastrophically farked up on the inside. Yes we have low inflation and yes our automotive and aerospace industries are booming and yes our chilaquiles game is next-level, but is it not all for naught if we are like the Wizard of Oz looking like a jackass behind the curtain?
The Chapo-escape news broke as President Peña was arriving in France for a state visit. Opposition parties naturally clamored for the president to return home to face the crisis but Peña was all Oh Hell No. Homey stayed in France for the parade, leaving his subordinates to take the scorching heat, which they have been doing in Three-Stooges-esque fashion. With the president scarfing down snails and champagne in Paris, it was left to Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong to report “humena humena humena…” à la Ralph Cramden to U.S. Ambassador Anthony Wayne in explaining how El Chapo was able to take it on the lam once again.
Right now Mexican law enforcement authorities are doing what they do best, which is to mount an extremely elaborate and high-profile show of locking the barn door now that the horse is drinking beer in his private plane. We feel it is unlikely Mr. El Chapo will be apprehended for a third time, but if he is, you can rest assured he’ll be delivered ipso facto to the United States. In the meantime, President Peña has one word for the rest of the world: Eee Aww.