Entertainment

21 Things You Might Not Know About El Chapo

His real name is Joaquín Guzmán Loera, but he is known to the world as El Chapo. From his Mexican villas, he ran the biggest drug operation in the world. As the head of the Sinaloa Drug Cartel, El Chapo amassed unmatched wealth and power.

Guzman’s story is widely known to the public. The most recent version of his life story is featured on Netflix’s TV series “El Chapo.”

While there seems to be no shortage of information about El Chapo, there are a few things that might not be known to all. Who was El Chapo as a person? What was he like?

Here are 21 things you may not have known about El Chapo.

1. How he got his nickname

Twitter @DailyMirror

The phrase “El Chapo” is a slang term similar to “shorty.” With Guzman, it was used to describe his short stature, standing at only 5’6″ tall. This physical attribute became an advantage when he escaped prison, crawling into a small hole under his cell’s shower.

2. He’s a real-life Robin Hood

Twitter @NewsweekEspanol

Despite being a criminal, Guzman has the empathy and support of people from his town. Locals were reported as saying that Guzman has given the people money and jobs, which was more than what the Mexican government has done.

3. He escaped prison twice

Twitter @RT_com

Guzman first escaped Puente Grande prison in Jalisco, Mexico, with 78 people cited as conspirators. He was recaptured in 2014 but escaped again in 2015, this time through a tunnel dug under his cell’s shower room.

4. His birthday is unclear

Twitter @ABC7

There are two conflicting dates reported as Guzman’s birthday. One report says he was born on December 25, 1954, and another that says April 4, 1957.

5. He did not finish grade school

Twitter @elnacionalred

El Chapo is reportedly semi-illiterate. His highest educational attainment is the third grade.

6. He gave an interview with Sean Penn

Twitter @thenewsamed

While on the run, Guzman met Hollywood actor Sean Penn. Penn interviewed the Mexican kingpin and it was published in Rolling Stone magazine. Guzman was quoted as saying, “I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana than anybody else in the world.”

7. He married four times

Twitter @nypost

El Chapo is said to have married four times. The latest one happened in 2007 when he married Emma Coronel Aispuro, a former beauty queen.

8. He was on the Forbes Billionaires list

Twitter @ABC7

In 2009, Guzman made it to the Forbes Billionaires list. He ranked 701 with an estimated wealth of $1 billion. In Mexico, he was the 10th richest man in the country.

9. He has fathered 13 children

Twitter @abc13houston

Guzman’s Wikipedia page currently lists 13 children. Some of his children from his first marriage are also involved in the drug trade. One of his sons, Edgar, was shot and killed in a gunfight near Culiacan, Mexico.

10. He initially kidnapped his third wife

 Twitter @latimes

In 1977, a bank clerk from Nayarit by the name of Estela Peña caught Guzman’s eye. He captured her by force and had sexual relations with her. They eventually married shortly after.

11. He doesn’t speak English

Twitter @financeprnews

He is reported to have used translators in all of his court proceedings in the United States. It is known that El Chapo did not fully complete grade school, and entered the drug trade at an early age.

12. He was Chicago’s modern-day Al Capone

Twitter @marinamaral2

Bringing in over 4,000 pounds of cocaine in Chicago every month, Guzman was given the title “Public Enemy No. 1,” second to Al Capone. There was no evidence, however, that El Chapo was ever in Chicago.

13. He had a lover in jail

Twitter @LaNetaNoticias

Guzman met Zulema Hernandez in jail. She was imprisoned for aiding drug traffickers. Guzman and Hernandez were said to have a romantic relationship while in prison. A rival gang killed Hernandez after her release.

14.  The United States Treasury calls him the “most powerful drug trafficker in the world”

Twitter @TheSource

As the leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel, Guzman has moved illegal drugs in the US more than any other drug lord. He is reported to have brought 500,000 tons of cocaine in the United States using a fleet of vehicles that include jets, boats, and submarines.

15. He started his own marijuana plantation at 15 years old

Twitter @DrFrankLive

Guzman’s father mismanaged the money he made from growing and selling marijuana, so Guzman took it upon himself to start his own marijuana trade. Along with his younger brothers, Guzman sold marijuana and became the family’s breadwinner.

16. He uses Twitter to threaten enemies

 Twitter @elpesobueno

Guzman has maintained a Twitter account and has over 500,000 followers. Guzman has recently tweeted his disapproval of US President Trump. Trump has also replied to a few of his tweets.

17. He disguised drugs as chili peppers

Twitter @keegan_hamilton

Of the many creative ways Guzman used to smuggle drugs, the most interesting is probably packaging them in chili pepper cans. A sample of the exact can used was entered into evidence for his ongoing trial.

18. There are ballads written about him

Twitter @mattdanzico

Guzman, revered by his fellow townsmen, is the subject of many “drug ballads” called narcocorridos in Spanish. The is more proof that he is considered to be a town hero worthy of admiration. The ballads openly express support for the drug kingpin, especially when he is recaptured by authorities.

19. He escaped an assassination attempt

Twitter @RicardoAlemanMx

Assassins wrongly identified Guzman in a car in Guadalajara airport. Thinking Guzman was in the vehicle, the assassins fired shots at the vehicle. Guzman, however, was nowhere near the area. Six people were killed in the shooting, one of them was the car’s passenger, Cardinal and Archbishop of Guadalajara Juan Jesús Posadas, who was said to be mistaken as Guzman.

20. He has his own shipping line

Twitter @THEBLKDMNDS

To ensure total autonomy in his drug smuggling trade, Guzman built a shipping empire. He uses the business to transport drugs without having to deal with third-party shippers. A recent report claimed that he used 747 jets and submarines to move drugs from Mexico to the US.

21. He used a catapult to “deliver” marijuana to the US

Twitter @NewstalkFM

A DEA official revealed that one of Guzman’s smuggling technique was a simple catapult. They would load bales of marijuana on it and “throw it” over the Arizona-Mexico border.

At this point, Guzman is awaiting trial in a United States court. He has pleaded not guilty to all 17 charges that include drug smuggling, murder, and money laundering. Guzman was arrested in 2016 in Los Mochis, Mexico. If found guilty, El Chapo faces life in prison.

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Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks Working with Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato

Entertainment

Exclusive: Luis Fonsi Talks Working with Rauw Alejandro, Christina Aguilera, and Demi Lovato

Luis Fonsi is kicking off 2021 with a new single. The Puerto Rican superstar premiered the music video for “Vacío” on Feb. 18 featuring rising Boricua singer Rauw Alejandro. The guys put a new spin on the classic “A Puro Dolor” by Son By Four.

Luis Fonsi throws it back to his románticas.

“I called Omar Alfanno, the writer of ‘A Puro Dolo,’ who is a dear friend,” Fonsi tells Latido Music. “I told him what my idea was [with ‘Vacío’] and he loved it. He gave me his blessing, so I wrote a new song around a few of those lines from ‘A Puro Dolor’ to bring back that nostalgia of those old romantic tunes that have been a part of my career as well. It’s a fresh production. It sounds like today, but it has that DNA of a true, old-school ballad.”

The world got to know Fonsi through his global smash hit “Despacito” with Daddy Yankee in 2017. The remix with Canadian pop star Justin Bieber took the song to new heights. That was a big moment in Fonsi’s music career that spans over 20 years.

There’s more to Fonsi than “Despacito.”

Fonsi released his first album, the fittingly-titled Comenzaré, in 1998. While he was on the come-up, he got the opportunity of a lifetime to feature on Christina Aguilera’s debut Latin album Mi Reflejo in 2000. The two collaborated on “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” Fonsi scored multiple Billboard Hot Latin Songs No. 1s in the years that followed and one of the biggest hits was “No Me Doy Por Vencido” in 2008. That was his career-defining romantic ballad.

“Despacito” remains the second most-viewed music video on YouTube with over 7.2 billion views. The hits did not stop there. Later in 2017, he teamed up with Demi Lovato for “Échame La Culpa,” which sits impressively with over 2 billion views.

He’s also appearing on The Voice next month.

Not only is Fonsi working on his new album, but also he’s giving advice to music hopefuls for the new season of The Voice that’s premiering on March 1. Kelly Clarkson tapped him as her Battle Advisor. In an exclusive interview, Fonsi talked with us about “Vacío,” The Voice, and a few of his greatest hits.

What was the experience like to work with Rauw Alejandro for “Vacío”?

Rauw is cool. He’s got that fresh sound. Great artist. Very talented. Amazing onstage. He’s got that great tone and delivery. I thought he had the perfect voice to fit with my voice in this song. We had talked about working together for awhile and I thought that this was the perfect song. He really is such a star. What he’s done in the last couple of years has been amazing. I love what he brought to the table on this song.

Now I want to go through some of your greatest hits. Do you remember working with Christina Aguilera for her Spanish album?

How could you not remember working with her? She’s amazing. That was awhile back. That was like 1999 or something like that. We were both starting out and she was putting out her first Spanish album. I got to sing a beautiful ballad called “Si No Te Hubiera Conocido.” I got to work with her in the studio and see her sing in front of the mic, which was awesome. She’s great. One of the best voices out there still to this day.

What’s one of your favorite memories of “No Me Doy Por Vencido”?

“No Me Doy Por Vencido” is one of the biggest songs in my career. I think it’s tough to narrow it down just to one memory. I think in general the message of the song is what sticks with me. The song started out as a love song, but it turned into an anthem of hope. We’ve used the song for different important events and campaigns. To me, that song has such a powerful message. It’s bigger than just a love song. It’s bringing hope to people. It’s about not giving up. To be able to kind of give [people] hope through a song is a lot more powerful than I would’ve ever imagined. It’s a very special song.

I feel the message is very relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic we’re living through.

Oh yeah! I wrote that song a long time ago with Claudia Brant, and during the first or second month of the lockdown when we were all stuck at home, we did a virtual writing session and we rewrote “No Me Doy Por Vencido.” Changing the lyrics, kind of adjusting them to this situation that we’re living now. I haven’t recorded it. I’ll do something with it eventually. It’s really cool. It still talks about love. It talks about reuniting. Like the light at the end of the tunnel. It has the hope and love backbone, but it has to do a lot with what we’re going through now.

What do you think of the impact “Despacito” made on the industry?

It’s a blessing to be a part of something so big. Again, it’s just another song. We write these songs and the moment you write them, you don’t really know what’s going to happen with them. Or sometimes you run into these surprises like “Despacito” where it becomes a global phenomenon. It goes No. 1 in places where Spanish songs had never been played. I’m proud. I’m blessed. I’m grateful to have worked with amazing people like Daddy Yankee. Like Justin Bieber for the remix and everyone else involved in the song. My co-writer Erika Ender. The producers Mauricio Rengifo and Andrés Torres. It was really a team effort and it’s a song that obviously changed my career forever.

What was the experience like to work with Demi Lovato on “Echáme La Culpa”?

She’s awesome! One of the coolest recording sessions I’ve ever been a part of. She really wanted to sing in Spanish and she was so excited. We did the song in Spanish and English, but it was like she was more excited about the Spanish version. And she nailed it! She nailed it from the beginning. There was really not much for me to say to her. I probably corrected her once or twice in the pronunciation, but she came prepared and she brought it. She’s an amazing, amazing, amazing vocalist.

You’re going to be a battle advisor on The Voice. What was the experience like to work with Kelly Clarkson?

She’s awesome. What you see is what you get. She’s honest. She’s funny. She’s talented. She’s humble and she’s been very supportive of my career. She invited me to her show and it speaks a lot that she wanted me to be a part of her team as a Battle Advisor for the new season. She supports Latin music and I’m grateful for that. She’s everything you hope she would be. She’s the real deal, a true star, and just one of the coolest people on this planet.

What can we expect from you in 2021?

A lot of new music. Obviously, everything starts today with “Vacío.” This is literally the beginning of what this new album will be. I’ve done nothing but write and record during the last 10 months, so I have a bunch of songs. Great collaborations coming up. I really think the album will be out probably [in the] third or fourth quarter this year. The songs are there and I’m really eager for everybody to hear them.

Read: We Finally Have A Spanish-Language Song As The Most Streamed Song Of All Time

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Lifestyles Of The Rich And Dangerous: Cartels Are Using TikTok To Lure Young People

Things That Matter

Lifestyles Of The Rich And Dangerous: Cartels Are Using TikTok To Lure Young People

If you’ve ever wondered what someone with a bulletproof vest and an AR-15 would look like flossing — the dance, not the method of dental hygiene — apparently the answer to that question can be found on TikTok.

Unfortunately, it’s not as a part of some absurdist sketch comedy or surreal video art installation. Instead, it’s part of a growing trend of drug cartels in Mexico using TikTok as a marketing tool. Nevermind the fact that Mexico broke grim records last year for the number of homicides and cartel violence, the cartels have found an audience on TikTok and that’s a serious cause for concern.

Mexican cartels are using TikTok to gain power and new recruits.

Just a couple of months ago, a TikTok video showing a legit high-speed chase between police and drug traffickers went viral. Although it looked like a scene from Netflix’s Narcos series, this was a very real chase in the drug cartel wars and it was viewed by more than a million people.

Typing #CartelTikTok in the social media search bar brings up thousands of videos, most of them from people promoting a “cartel culture” – videos with narcocorridos, and presumed members bragging about money, fancy cars and a luxury lifestyle.

Viewers no longer see bodies hanging from bridges, disembodied heads on display, or highly produced videos with messages to their enemies. At least not on TikTok. The platform is being used mainly to promote a lifestyle and to generate a picture of luxury and glamour, to show the ‘benefits’ of joining the criminal activities.

According to security officials, the promotion of these videos is to entice young men who might be interested in joining the cartel with images of endless cash, parties, military-grade weapons and exotic pets like tiger cubs.

Cartels have long used social media to shock and intimidate their enemies.

And using social media to promote themselves has long been an effective strategy. But with Mexico yet again shattering murder records, experts on organized crime say Cartel TikTok is just the latest propaganda campaign designed to mask the blood bath and use the promise of infinite wealth to attract expendable young recruits.

“It’s narco-marketing,” said Alejandra León Olvera, an anthropologist at Spain’s University of Murcia, in a statement to the New York Times. The cartels “use these kinds of platforms for publicity, but of course it’s hedonistic publicity.”

Mexico used to be ground zero for this kind of activity, where researchers created a new discipline out of studying these narco posts. Now, gangs in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, and the United States are also involved.

A search of the #CartelTikTok community and its related accounts shows people are responding. Public comments from users such as “Y’all hiring?” “Yall let gringos join?” “I need an application,” or “can I be a mule? My kids need Christmas presents,” are on some of the videos.

One of the accounts related to this cartel community publicly answered: “Of course, hay trabajo para todos,” “I’ll send the application ASAP.” “How much is the pound in your city?” “Follow me on Instagram to talk.” The post, showing two men with $100 bills and alcohol, had more than a hundred comments.

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