El Chapo and the Endless War

The War on Drugs has been an endless battle from the 1960s until our day and age. The United States, in the last decade, has teamed up with the Government in Mexico to find a solution to put a stop to the drug trafficking along the border that claims to be the source of the 90% consumed drugs in the United States. The United States has funded Mexican intelligence to stop the flow of drugs which have continued to be failed efforts.

However, last year in February, El Chapo, the King Pin drug lord of jefe de los jefes,  Joaquin Loera Guzman, was located and arrested. He was considered the “richest and most powerful criminal in the world”, “‘most cogent organized crime syndicate in the world'” that was trafficking and the Departments of Enforcement Administration’s “biggest manhunt of all time”.

During his warrant for his arrest, El Joaquin Guzman was considered Forbe’s 14th richest man, making him a global leader and a Mexican folk hero.

Also during his warrant, many people believed that the law enforcement, United States’ and Mexican governments, and the DEA, knew where he was the whole time and was making deals with him to keep his location secret.

After his arrested, the governments thought that the War on Drugs would end along with his reign, however, there are drugs still being imported as other cartels and leaders are rising up. El Chapo’s roots and influences have branches out from Sinaloa outward to other cartels and into the continuation of the War on Drugs.

What could have been prevented in this decade war is the cost of lives, both dead and missing, along with the United States dollars that were taken from other budgets. If what is true about the governments making deals with El Chapo, then they have kept that money,or riches, for themselves and have created this war with no cause. We can only hope that the decriminalization and legalization of Marijuana could help cease this war.




The number 43

Last fall, a group of 43 students from Ayotzinapa, Mexico made a trip to Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico to protest against unfair hiring processes for teacher at a conference led by the Mayor of Iguala’s wife. Their bus was stopped by the police and it is said that there was some sort of confrontation that remains unclear.

Protest arose from all over, including other students, showing their concern and support in finding the 43 students.

Conspiracy started as many thought that the Mayor Jose Luis Abarca Velazquez, was the one who arranged for the students to be stopped. He was later found guilty and arrested. This whole story has also made international news.

But where was President Peña Nieto during all of this time?

In Mateo Pimentel’s article, “Preying on Mexican Populism“, he brings up the point violence is not new in Mexico. Earlier on, there was a group of individuals who were kidnapped from a club, held for ransom and later murdered. This story did not receive the same about of media coverage as the story on the missing 43 students. He also argues that once the story came out about the missing 43 students, people forgot what Peña Nieto had done in his presidency.

But this is not the first time a group of individuals has gone missing in Mexico, let alone in Latin America as a whole. Media has shaped the violence in these countries as being ordinary, making it seem like “Oh that’s normal”. There is no urgency to find victims, and this is the real problem. It is the system that is letting this keep happening? Or are they the one’s that commit these acts in their own countries – against the people that they were swore in to protect.

The 43 students was just another example. Why won’t it stop? better question, who will stop it?







20th Century Populism

In following of the Mexican Revolution’s 1917 Constitution, Lazaro Cardenas began the country’s move towards populism. Wealth was rising along with stability as he reviewed and continued the plans of Emiliano Zapata and Francisco “Pancho” Villa. He helped conduct reforms for land sharing, the control of domestic enterprises that included oil and also shutting down other foreign companies and their ownership of Mexican enterprises. He also aimed to divert the Catholic Church’s influence as well as allowing workers to have the right to form a union. He obtained the support from many indigenous groups, unions of teachers as well as middle and lower class workers. He put importance on social equality.

Cardenas stuck by his revolutionary background as he was apart of maintaining his people’s rights.

Through his land reform, he redistributed large amounts of land,that had become commercial hot spots, back to the peasants. This gained the important support from them so he could continue his presidency.  He also had a labor reform for industrial work. This fixed work eight hour days and the right to basically strike if needed. To finalize his need for support, he reached out to the indigenous communities. During the 20th century, there was still the “need” of assimilation for the indigenous groups that were still left. However, Lazaro Cardenas saw that their cultures had some sort of value and created a department to handle problem of just indigenous peoples. This department held national indigenous congresses that brought together different indigenous groups to discuss the issues going on in their communities. Gaining their support sealed the deal to his presidency. He was also know for being in support of women’s rights and suffrage since there was a strong idea of social equality although it was never fully achieved.

As with the rest of the populist leaders in Latin America, he had the charisma and power needed to make a change and gain abundance of followers.




Previously, I mentioned a historical figure by the name of Doña Marina.

Before she was renamed to Doña Marina, she was born Malintzin, we know by Malinche, to a father who ruled a village called Paynala. She was fluent in Nahuatl and was educated which was a privilege for women in her village. Legend says that she was captured at a young age and that is how she ended up with Hernan Cortes.

In the 16th Century, Hernan Cortes was on a mission from Spain and had won battles along Central America. In exchange for his achievements, he was given Indigenous slaves and Malinche was among them. Since she was so fluent in Nahuatl and able to speak to the Aztecs, Hernan saw her as useful and kept her along his side and renamed her Doña Marina.

He used Doña Marina to establish agreements and orders to the Indigenous people of the Aztec Empire, including her own village she was born to. He was finishing his manifesto.

It was not before long that Doña Marina and Hernan Cortes began to have relations. She bore him his first son, and the first Mestizo – European and Indigenous blood.

Image: “Storming of the Teocalli by Cortez and His Troops,” 1848, painting by Emanuel Leutze

“Storming of the Teocalli by Cortez and His Troops,” http://blogs.plos.org/publichealth/2013/07/30/guest-post-what-killed-the-aztecs/

In the end, she was seen as a traitor to her people and given the name, La Chingada, meaning “the fucked one”. Some see her as the Sacajawea of Latin America and some see her as the cause for the fall of the Aztec Empire. Her history has been told in different aspects. She has even been seen as La Llorona. However, she did give birth to what would become a new race. Without this race, many of use who live in the southwest would not be here today. Although life and culture was lost, a new one was born.



Treaty de Guadelupe Hildalgo

Many of those residing in Arizona, California, Texas, and a few other states, do not know the history of how those states came to be. Arizona, California, Texas, Colorado, Nevada, and parts of Utah and Washington were once a part of Mexico and are a result of a Treaty proposed by the United States. But first, I will discuss the Divisions in Mexico before the Mexican American War in 1846.

Mexico has already had it’s share of visitors before the States. Spain had dominated the native people and saw them as a huge source of labor. The Spaniards had also started to mixed their blood with the Aztecs, inevitably creating the Mexican Race. There is the legend of Doña Marina, La Chingada, that was said to be when the first Mexican came to be.

Then, after Spain had established it’s New empire, the English colonizers decided to move south to open new market opportunities and gain use of new resources.  These visitors were different. They refused to mix blood and kind of looked at the residence of the southern lands as uncivilized. This resulted into the Mexican American War; a fight for Independence.

This War was fought on Mexican soil with one side being fully prepared and the other’s not knowing what to expect and having little military resources to use, again. Remember the Alamo? The result of this 2 year battle was a peace treaty signed in 1848, called the Treaty de Guadalupe Hildalgo. The treaty would give $15 million to Mexico from the United states in exchange for a massive land intake. The residence in those areas would have the opportunity to receive American citizenship and full rights or relocate themselves within the new Mexican border. However, those who did decide to remain where they were, were forced into new culture norms and religion – assimilation began again.

In my opinion, the result of the Mexican American war are still felt today with our perceived problem of immigration. We live in an system based on law after an unlawful situation.