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El Chapo’s “Trial Of The Century” Started Last Month And Here’s Everything You Should Know About It

Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán’s greatest fear became true in January 2017, when he was extradited to the United States. For years, the kingpin had escaped US courts by staying in his native Mexico and staging two spectacular escapes from prison. However, and perhaps due to a Twitter war where he threatened incoming US president Donald Trump, the Mexican authorities expedited his extradition. He has been locked in a maximum security prison in New York since then.

His long-awaited trial started on November 5 and all signs point to a very long and very complicated judicial processes. Thousands of files and pieces of evidence will be presented by the defense and the prosecutors, and chances are the jury will feel overwhelmed by all the information. The trial will highlight the contradictory public persona that El Chapo has in Mexico and the US: some see him as a ruthless criminal while others, particularly in his native state of Sinaloa, see him as a righteous messiah who is providing for his people what the Mexican State hasn’t.

Here’s 21 facts about the trial and what has happened so far.

1. His wife Emma Coronel Aspurio has been documenting the trial on Instagram

Credit: Instagram. @emmacoronela

If you want a behind-the-scenes look at the trial you can follow Emma’s Insta account, were she narrates her life in Brooklyn while her husband’s fate is determined. She constantly declares her eternal love for the capo.

2. El Chapo is defended by lawyers Jeffrey Lichtman, Eduardo Balarezo and William Púrpura 

Credit: 1541443777-0001al30i. Digital image. T13.

The experiences litigators will try to convince the jury that El Chapo is not as bad as the popular myth, the authorities and the media has made everyone believe. This will be a hard task given the trail of chaos that the Sinaloan has left in his wake.

3. According to the prosecutor El Chapo has smuggled 154,626 kilos of cocaine to the US

Credit: close-up-of-cocaine-with-rolled-up-paper-currency-and-credit-card-on-black-background-649117683-59a8771022fa3a001154df84. Digital image. Verywellmind

El Chapo started dealing with Mary Jane in his early days in the Guadalajara Cartel, but soon struck a deal with Colombian producers and started smuggling cocaine, following on the criminal legacy of Pablo Escobar.

4. The prosecution has provided 300,000 pages of documents and at least 117,000 audio recordings

Credit: dokumenti. Digital image. Univerza v.

Our head hurts just thinking about going through all that material. One of the prosecutor’s strategies is to overwhelm the jury and dump a mountain of evidence that just by its sheer volume would be hard to doubt.

5. The defense claims that the real leader of the Sinaloa Cartel is Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada

Credit: mayo_redis. Digital image. El Universal.

According to the defense, Chapo is just second in command and the criminal organization is really run by his compadre, Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, who has never been caught by the authorities.

6. Key witness identities are a secret

Credit: download. Digital image. Stamp Lab.

Every day could bring a surprise, as the identities of the key witnesses and informants has been kept secret, and not even El Chapo’s legal team knows what to expect.

7. Prior to his trial, Chapo spent 23 hours a day alone in his cell

Credit: El Chapo. Netflix/Univision

Perhaps due to his past history of extravagant escapes, El Chapo has spent almost two years in complete isolation. He can only be visited by his twin 7-year-old daughters and by his lawyers. Not even his wife Emma can talk to him.

8. But he did blow a kiss to his wife in court

Credit: 636777488995708939w. Digital image. El Diario NY.

According to accounts and sketch art, El Chapo blew a kiss to his wife as soon as he lay eyes on her in court. Kinda romantic and tragic.

9. The trial will cost more than $50 million USD

Credit: EST14480006b4c8047_0. Digital image. El Diario de Juarez.

According to his lawyer Jeffrey Lichtman, El Chapo’s trial will be the most expensive in the history of legal procedures in the United States.

Read: 21 Things You Didn’t Know About El Chapo

10. Jeffrey Lichtman has also defended the Italian mafia

Credit: AENSHQ3D4L74ULIGEOG6BQ5U2Y. Digital image. NY Daily News

Lichtman is an experienced litigator who was able to somewhat successfully defend Italian mafia mogul John Gotti Jr (a kind of real life badass Tony Soprano).

11. The jury is made up by 7 women and 5 men

Credit: thejuryroom2 (1). Digital image. Pure BS Podcast.

The identities of these 12 US citizens is of course a secret. It will be an experience to remember, that’s for sure.

12. 3 juries speak Spanish, at least 3 are immigrants

Credit: post-132451-0-74369300-1358690215, Digital image. Cinemas93.org

The powers that be wanted diversity in the jury, and we know that some of them are Spanish speakers, a key characteristic as most of the witness accounts will be likely provided in Spanish.

13. A jury member was dismissed because he wanted to get Chapo’s autograph

Credit: El Chapo. Netflix/Univision

A jury member from Colombia stressed the fact that he was a bit of a fan of the drug lord, so he was obviously dismissed because there was no way he could be 100% impartial.

14. Chapo is accused of 11 criminal charges

Credit: drug_trafficking. Digital image. The Right Step.

These charges are related to drug trafficking, money laundering and the illegal use of weapons. Some of these charges are likely to be dropped as the trial progresses.

15. El Chapo’s defense has accused two former Mexican presidents of accepting bribes

Credit: 2E3C07F8-7A92-400A-8F9B-579078817BDF. Digital image. iVital.

Yes, this trial has stirred the dark waters of corruption in Mexico. The defense has accused former president Felipe Calderón and current president (he finishes on December 1st) Enrique Peña Nieto of being paid off by the almighty Sinaloa Cartel.

16. And they have obviously denied the accusations

Credit: Twitter. @FelipeCalderon

Enrique Peña Nieto’s office vehemently denied the accusations, while the ex president Felipe Calderón wrote in his Twitter account: “The accusations made by Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán’s lawyer are totally false and bold. Not him, not the Sinaloa Cartel, no one paid me off”.

17. And he has also accused the DEA!

Credit: download. Digital image. Washington Examiner.

Chapo’s lawyer argues that Zambada is the real mastermind of the Sinaloa Cartel and that he has paid off the Mexican Army, federal policy and even the Drug Enforcement Agency from the United States. Big claim!

18. “Mayo” Zambada’s brother, Jesús Zambada, has been a key witness

Credit: 1941240-N. Digital image. La Cronica.

Already held in captivity by US authorities, Jesús Zambada a.k.a. El Rey, has been a key witness as he knows how the cartel operates inside and out.

19. And he has implicated numerous government officials

Credit: chapo-juicio-jesus-zambada-ap. Digital image. Noticieros Televisa.

When Zambada opened his mouth the political establishment in Mexico shook. He has described how bags full of cash were supposedly handed over to officials at all levels of government. He has provided a detailed list and of course everyone was quick to deny the accusations. A pretty The Godfather moment.

20. A key witness, Héctor Beltrán Leyva, died of a heart attack in Mexico

Credit: hector_beltran_leyva. Digital image. El Sol de Mexico.

El Chapo’s lawyer says that the fatal cardiac arrest was triggered by the possibility of being extradited to the United States and being a witness in the trial. He died while being transferred to another prison. His death has been the source of multiple conspiracy theories. The plot thickens!

21. Sit comfortably… the trial could last up to 4 or 5 months

Credit: NWJlYmE4ZjM2. Digital image. Nacion321

A lot of new witnesses and a mounting amount of evidence will be put in front of the jury before the trial of the century finishes. We will keep you posted.

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11 Latina Revolutionaries You Must Know About

things that matter

11 Latina Revolutionaries You Must Know About

There are two undeniable facts about how history is written. One: it is written by the winners. Two: it is mostly written by, for and about men. The role of women in social and political change is only now being acknowledged and properly recorded and commented upon. However, for centuries women have lived in the shadows of history, while at the same time being key actors of historical events.

Here’s a list of 11 women who have rebelled against injustice, the patriarchy and those who oppress their people. As always happens, some of these figures are controversial. 

1. Marichuy

“But it’s precisely because we are the ones who feel the deepest pain, because we [experience] the greatest oppressions, that we women are also capable of feeling the deepest rage”

Credit: 1508971902830-Reportaje-Marichuy_Zapatistas-131-e1511293964532. Digital image. Feministing.


This nahua indigenous woman attempted to run for the presidency of her native Mexico in early 2018, but she could not get the necessary signatures to guarantee her run. Nevertheless, she ignited the hearts and  minds of students, activists and intellectuals. 

Credit: marichuy-2-780×450. Digital image. Chispa OC.


One of her main supporters was the writer and essayist Juan Villoro, who mobilized his influence in political and literary circles. He saw in Marichuy hope in balancing the deep inequalities faced by women, particularly of indigenous origin, in Mexico. 

2. Gioconda Belli

“It had never crossed my mind that a man could think he had the right to stop me from being who I was”

Credit: El-pais-de-las-mujeres.jpg Digital image. Havana Times


This Nicaraguan poet is a symbol of fierce political convictions and a refreshing look at the role of women in society. Belli expresses her femininity through verses that sometimes verge on the erotic. Throughout her life she has spoken out against injustice, whoever the perpetrator is. 

Credit: gioconda_beli. Digital image. Literal magazine


In her novels, Belli writes about the struggles of the indigenous populations under Spanish rule, and about everyday mechanisms of repression. 

3. Josefa Ortíz de Domínguez a.k.a La Corregidora

Credit: josefa-ortiz-de-domingo. Digital image. Mexico desconocido.


She is considered to be one of the precursors of the Mexican independence, which is quite a feat given that Latin American independence wars have been told as “the men who liberated us” narratives. 

Credit: DXS8eMKWAAg2JCH. Digital image. Mexico 21.


She was a wealthy woman whose husband ruled over the city of Queretaro (there are numerous stadiums and streets named after her today). Like other Mexican freedom fighters of the time (the war for independence started in 1810), she basically saw no reason why the then New Spain should keep paying taxes to the debilitated Spanish Crown.

4. Comandanta Ramona

“Our hope is that one day our situation will change, that we women will be treated with respect, justice and democracy”

Credit: a7c2076279be5526946186ed04f7f900. Digital image. Pinterest.


When the Zapatista movement got the international spotlight in 1994 one of the most recognizable profiles was that of Comandanta Ramona, who died in 2006. What she lacked in physical height she made up in dignity, courage and compassion for her fellow dispossessed.

Credit: unnamed_1-678×380 _. Digital image. Voices in Movement.


Ramona was not her real name, but a moniker. She was of tzotzil mayan heritage. The Zapatistas wore masks to hide their identity because, they claimed, they did not want to be protagonists but rather just representatives of the faceless and voiceless. 

5. Las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo (The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo)

Credit: 40-años-de-la-primera-ronda-madres-plaza-mayo-foto-pablo-ernesto-piovano-copia . Digital image. Desinformemonos.


Between 1976 and 1983 Argentina suffered from one of the most severe and ruthless dictatorships of the twentieth century. Hundreds of political activists, most of them young, disappeared and were most likely killed. In 1977 a group of mothers whose children were unaccounted for marched in Buenos Aires downtown, in defiance of the right State laws. 

Credit: Madres old photo. Digital image. openDemocracy.


These courageous women marched every week for years, until they announced their final march in 2006. They became a symbol of quiet and peaceful resistance around the world. 

6.Eva Perón

“I demanded more rights for women because I know what women had to put up with”

Credit: eva-peron-1951-1150×862. Digital image. Remezcla.


One of the most famous symbols of early female power in politics. She was the wife of Argentinian president Juan Perón and as First Lady she became a symbol of all those who support labor rights and implement public policies that benefit the most vulnerable. 

Credit: 3422584. Digital image. Mental floss


One of her biggest challenges was advocating for the right of women to vote. Universal suffrage was the firs, but not the last, battle that Latina women have faced in order to truly be heard in politics. 

7. Celia Sánchez

Credit: Sanchez. Digital image. Roberto Landori.


Like all Cuban revolutionaries, her legacy is controversial: some see her as a hero who helped Castro overthrow a tyrannical regime; others see her and the leaders of the Revolución Cubana as tyrants themselves. Truth is that Sánchez embodied a role often taken up only by men: guerrilla fighter. 

Credit: celia-sanchez. Digital image. Radio Bayamo.


She was a close friend of Fidel Castro and once the Batista government was overthrown she was named Secretary to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, an important role through which Castro entrusted State affairs to one of his oldest and more loyal comrades. 

8. Soldaderas

Credit: 0cbc268db5f98f30e0bf4d29549b8d08. Digital image. Inmense hotels.


The Mexican Revolution was a conflict full of enigmatic characters like Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata. But perhaps none are as intriguing as a group of women who not only took on domestic chores and tended for the soldiers, but took up on arms themselves. 

Credit: soldaderas-640454381. Digital image. History.

Soldaderas, as they are commonly known, were mostly of indigenous origin. Their fierce nature and gender-stereotype-breaking has been immortalized in photographs, pieces of silent cinema and corridos, popular songs that persist even today.  

9. Rigoberta Menchú Tum

“Peace cannot exist without justice”

Credit: tum-13442-portrait-medium. Digital image. Nobel Prize.


Along with thousands of indigenous women in Central America, Rigoberta suffered the atrocities of civil wars and iron-fisted governments. Contrary to most, however, she said “enough is enough”. The soft-spoken K’iche’ Maya feminist has organized not only women, but the indigenous population in general, and built bridges with other indigenous groups in the continent. 

Credit: portada-96-724×400. Digital image. Infinite Fire.

She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992 “in recognition of her work for social justice and ethno-cultural reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples”. Her recent political views have been quite controversial, as she has defended the rule of Bolivian president Evo Morales, who is seen by some as a populist. 

10. Paulina Luisi

Credit: DraPaulinaLuisi[1]. Digital image. Great Thoughts Treasury.


One of the founders of modern Uruguay. She was a revolutionary for many reasons. In 1909 she became the first woman to get a medical degree in her country, an almost impossible feat considering the gender power dynamics of the time. She was also the first Latin American woman to represent her country in the League of Nations (the predecessor to the United Nations). But her biggest achievement was… 

Credit: 231px-Paulina_Luisi_-_1929_-_Planisferio. Digital image. Wikipedia


… getting women to vote! Yes, she was a restless advocate for the right of women to be involved in political life and Uruguay became the first country in America to set things right. 

11. Ana Irma Rivera Lassén

“Don’t take under consideration stereotypes, prejudice or anything apart from reason”

Credit: ana-irma-bn-1. Digital image. 80 grados


It is not easy to be a black girl in a Latin American country, more so if you identify as gay. But Ana Irma Rivera Lassén is an awesome Puerto Rican powerhouse who became the first black woman to head the Bar Association of Puerto Rico. She is an amazing lawyer and unapologetic feminist. 

Credit: Ana. Digital image. 80 grados.


Talk about a power move: she was once forbidden to enter the court in pants instead of a skirt. She sued the judge… and won! Burn!