Things That Matter

One Of ‘El Chapo’s’ Sons Threw A Lavish Christmas Party For The Sinaloa Community And Even Gave Out Free Cars

Since the mid 1980s, when the Guadalajara Cartel became the prime exporter of cannabis to the United States first, and then acted as intermediary between the Colombian cartels and the US market, illegal trafficking organizations have become an important yet controversial institution in many parts of Mexico. We use the word “institution” a bit ironically, but there is some truth to it. Because state and federal governments often fail to provide even the most basic services to rural communities, drug kingpins, often of origen humilde themselves, are famous for giving back to their people, and then some. 

Not only in Mexico, but also in Colombia drug lords have built houses, churches, roads, clean water, schools and all sorts of basic amenities for marginalized communities. Pablo Escobar is famous for building houses for the most impoverished sections of his native Medellin. As the Daily Mail reminds us: “The Colombian drug lord once ordered the construction of more than 200 homes for poor families living in the Medellin slum of Moravia, and also built more than 50 soccer pitches. He also made his henchmen delivers loads of gifts ahead of Christmas.”

In Sinaloa, Mexico, El Chapo is revered and famous for his generosity, perhaps on par with the infamous violence he has unleashed for years. State governments often stay out of cartel territory as the population itself has chosen sides a long, long time ago. All of this comes with a prize, of course, and that often comes in the guise of social disruption and turf wars among the cartels and between cartels and the military, which results in death and anguish. 

In many regions of Mexico, cartel kingpins are basically Oprahs, and so much more.

Yes, cartel leaders love to display their wealth and their generosity. They often fulfill roles that the government is just disinterested in when it comes to taking care of the population.

As this author stated on an academic paper, drug kingpins have become mythical figures that have become fascinating to people and the entertainment industry: “Because the federal government has failed to provide basic services for large segments of the population, Mexican narcos are immortalised in popular lore as modern day Robin Hoods who distribute wealth in a more just, if unlawful, manner. The celebre Joaquín “Chapo” Guzmán, for example, has been the subject of movies and documentaries (Chapo: el escape del siglo (Axel Uriegas, 2016); El Chapo: CEO of Crime, 2013), as well as a 2017 quality TV show coproduced by Univisión and Netlix, El Chapo”. 

This is Ivan Archivaldo Guzmán, son of El Chapo and allegedly one of the current bosses of the almighty Sinaloa Cartel.

We all know that El Chapo is currently behind bars and will remain there for the rest of his life. There are conflicting reports on who runs the Sinaloa organization today. Some accounts claim that Mayo Zambada, El Chapo’s compadre, has always been the true boss. He has been elusive and has never been caught by the authorities. Other’s say that it is El Chapo’s son, Ivan Archivaldo, who truly runs the cartel and that there are sometimes conflicts in the highest spheres of the organization. 

As shown on a video leaked online, Ivan Archivaldo threw a lavish Christmas party for his town.

Credit: Daily Mail UK / YouTube

What has become clear, however, is that the cartel remains powerful even in the face of the competition from the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion, CJNG, which has conquered plenty of territory in recent years. The recent find and then release of Ovidio, Ivan Archivaldo’s brother, demonstrated both the firepower and social influence that the Sinaloa Cartel holds in their home state, and the support it is still getting from the population in all corners of the state.

This event also demonstrated that the AMLO government is perhaps as incapable of asserting its authority over the cartels as previous administrations. The cartel had a lot of reasons to celebrate and they threw la casa por la ventana with music acts and dance, drink and music. 

He even gave away cars, complete with Mexican pinatas on top.

Credit: Daily Mail UK / YouTube

As the Daily Mail UK reports: “Videos uploaded across several Mexican social media accounts showed a row of at least 10 cars and SUVs lined up at the event at an unidentified town in Mexico.”

Ivan Arcvhivaldo remains at large, so the use of social media is often discouraged in these type of gatherings. But there are always a few videos that record these parties. 

And the kids got toys, and there were electronics galore as well.

Credit: Daily Mail UK / YouTube

Allegiance to the cartels starts at a young age, and kids shouted “Gracias, Don Ivan” as they got toys and pinatas fat with treats. 

Things between the cartels and the population are not black and white, there are many shades of gray (much more than 50!)

Credit: Daily Mail UK / YouTube

From a Global North perspective it might be easy to blame the population for being complicit with the cartels, but things are not that simple. In places like Sinaloa, which is a rural state crossed by impenetrable mountain ranges, government aid is hard to come by. So what would anyone do if someone brings mild prosperity to a godforsaken land? See? Not that easy to see it in terms of “good guys versus bad guys” is it?

A New Investigation Alleges That Some Of Mexico’s Largest Tequila Brands Are Laundering Money For Drug Cartels

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A New Investigation Alleges That Some Of Mexico’s Largest Tequila Brands Are Laundering Money For Drug Cartels

Carlos Jasso / Getty

Thre have long been alleged links between Mexico’s drug cartels and legitimate businesses. Whether by pressure or choice, several companies have been proven to be working alongside some of Mexico’s most deadly cartels – whether it be laundering money, lobbying politicians, or paying off corrupt officials.

However, a new investigation has revealed just how far the cartels have gone to ensure a steady stream of cash directly to their pockets. And in the process, they’ve revealed that some of Mexico’s most iconic brands may be tied to some of its most dangerous cartels.

Working together with the U.S. DEA, Mexico has identified tequila brands that are allegedly laundering money for cartels.

On Tuesday, Mexican financial regulators unveiled details about companies they believe to be linked to movements totaling more than $1.1 billion related to the hyper-violent Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG). They also froze the bank accounts of nearly 2,000 people they allege are involved in the money laundering scheme.

The country’s anti-money laundering agency said it worked with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to identify the 167 companies caught up in the financial dragnet, dubbed “Operation Blue Agave.”

Blue agave is the plant used to make tequila, which is the signature drink of Jalisco, the cartel’s home state.

Drug cartels have a long history of using tequila to disguise their operations, dating to at least 2006.

Credit: Carlos Jasso / Getty

This isn’t the first time that criminal groups have used Mexico’s most popular beverage to advance their illegal activities – links between the tequila industry and drug cartels go back to at least 2006. That was the year the DEA first discovered a connection between tequila and drug trafficking in Mexico, the newspaper Milenio reported on Thursday.

Much like today’s report, it’s alleged that drug cartels are using legitimate – and sometimes totally fake – tequila companies to launder money.

In 2006, it was the Tequila Cartel – also known as the Arellano Félix organization – that was found to be using tequila as a front for illegal activities. the U.S. Treasury Department had alleged that the tequila company 4 Reyes had helped the Tijuana Cartel to launder the money it obtained from distributing drugs in both Mexico and the U.S.

So which tequila companies have been accused of working alongside the cartels?

Mexican officials so far are remaining pretty tight lipped about which specific companies have been accused of working alongside the cartels. However, from previous reports, links between the tequila company Onze Black have been discovered. The company was set up by Los Cuinis, a drug cartel with close ties to the CJNG, to help finance its criminal activities. The U.S. government added the company to an economic blacklist the same year.

Another tequila company, one owned by the actress Kate del Castillo, was investigated by Mexican authorities to establish whether it had any financial links to the former Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, currently imprisoned in the United States.

However, no illicit dealings between del Castillo’s company, Tequila Honor, and El Chapo were detected.

Violence In Mexico Is Expected To Get Even Worse Just As The Country Enters The Worst Phase Of The Pandemic

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Violence In Mexico Is Expected To Get Even Worse Just As The Country Enters The Worst Phase Of The Pandemic

Sergio Maldonado / Getty

On paper, Mexico has seemed to largely escape the worst of the Coronavirus pandemic. Although its leaders came under fire from many at the beginning of the outbreak, the healthcare system hasn’t collapsed and in many parts of the country, it’s largely been business as usual.

However, officials are warning that as the economic impacts of the pandemic begin to take hold, the country could be in store for a very violent 2020. And this dire warning comes as Mexico is already experiencing it’s deadliest year in modern history, unrelated to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Even with Coronavirus restrictions, deadly violence continues to rise in Mexico.

Officials had thought that with Coronavirus-related restrictions in place, much of the widespread violence that plagues the country would gradually be reduced as more people stayed at home. But with the 6,000 homicides between March and April, 2020 is shaping up to be the deadliest year in modern Mexican history – just after 2019 claimed the top spot last year.

So far in 2020, homicides have climbed by 2.4% in the first four months of the year, compared to 2019. In the first four months of this year, 11,535 murders were registered, up from 11,266 homicide in same period last year, preliminary data from the security ministry showed. Just over 34,600 murders were logged in Mexico in all of last year.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador pledged to bring down gang-fueled violence afflicting Mexico when he took office in December 2018, but homicides hit a record level in 2019 and have continued to climb even during the Coronavirus lockdown.

And now as the country begins to find a ‘new normal’ and slowly reopen, officials are warning that the situation will only get worse.

Credit: Henry Romero / Getty

Speaking at a “justice, transparency and Covid-19” conference, Santiago Nieto, the head of the government’s Financial Intelligence Unit, bluntly declared that an economic and security “crisis is obviously coming.”

He predicted that burglaries, financial fraud, human trafficking and child pornography offenses will be among the crimes that will increase. Mexico’s court system will consequently come under significant pressure, Nieto said.

For his part, the head of the Federal Protection Service, a division of the Security Ministry, told the newspaper El Universal that Mexico is likely to go through a “very rough” period of insecurity in the next three to six months.

Although the economic losses haven’t been as severe as in the U.S., Mexico was already in a precarious economic situation before the pandemic.

So far, the pandemic has left more than 750,000 Mexicans without work in the formal sector – this isn’t including the roughly 60% of Mexican society that works in the informal economy. And analysts and financial institutions are forecasting that the economy will suffer a deep recession in 2020.

Commissioner Manuel Espino Barrientos said the Coronavirus pandemic and the economic downturn caused by the mitigation measures put in place to limit the spread of the virus will leave Mexico in a “very complicated” security situation.

Violence and crime will increase because a lot of people “will not find work but they will be hungry,” Espino said.

Despite the economic downturn, a new poll shows that a majority of Mexicans support further extending strict stay-at-home orders.

Although Mexico’s President AMLO has repeatedly stated that the country’s Coronavirus pandemic is under control, that’s not what most Mexicans feel, according to a new poll.

Conducted by the newspaper El Financiero on May 22 and 23, the poll found that 52% of those polled believe that the Coronavirus situation has not been controlled.

Participants were then asked to offer an opinion on the government’s coronavirus mitigation measures, and 64% of poll respondents said that more restrictions should be enforced and stay-at-home orders/recommendations should be extended.