Global Voices

Mexico Hands Over Drug Lord in Move Viewed as ‘Farewell Gift’ to Obama

The extradition of the notorious criminal "El Chapo" Guzman to the United States makes waves in Mexico, where it's said to be a “farewell gift” to Barack Obama.
Fotografía de Day Donaldson, publicada bajo licencia Creative Commons.

Photo: Day Donaldson, published under Creative Commons license.

A few hours before Donald J. Trump‘s inauguration as the 45th president of the United States, the Mexican government announced that it will turn over Joaquín Guzmán Loera, known as “El Chapo” Guzmán, who's wanted by U.S. law enforcement.

Before being recaptured in 2014, “El Chapo” was considered the most wanted criminal in the world. In June 2015, he escaped for a second time from a supposedly high security complex, exposing remarkable deficiencies in Mexico's prison system, which Global Voices has covered before.

The Mexican website “Animal Político” reported the news this week, explaining what will become of Guzmán:

Fuentes del gobierno federal confirmaron que el Chapo fue trasladado de la cárcel donde estaba recluido en Ciudad Juárez Chihuahua, rumbo a Nueva York, donde será encarcelado en el Metropolitan Detention Center, una prisión federal.

Sources from the federal government confirmed that El Chapo was arrested in the prison where he was in Ciudad Juárez Chihuahua to be sent to New York, where he will be sent to the Metropolitan Detention Center, a federal prison in the United States.

U.S. officials requested Guzman's extradition, in connection with charges related to drug trafficking and other crimes.

Sopitas, another website in Mexico, has recommended several sources of information to learn more about the circumstances surrounding the criminal:

Para tratar de dimensionar al personaje de “El Chapo”, recomendamos ‘Atentamente, El Chapo‘ de Héctor de Mauleón.

Sobre su fuga de 2015 y la tradición muy mexicana de usar a los criminales para criticar al Estado y naturalizar la violencia, recomendamos Los asesinos celebrados, de Pablo Piccato.

Por último, sobre “El Chapo” como empresario, recomendamos Chapo Guzmán, CEO, de David Pérez Esparza.

To try to understand the dimension of the character that is El Chapo, we recommend “Sincerely, El Chapo” by Héctor de Mauleón. About his escape in 2015 and the very Mexican tradition to use criminals to criticize the State and naturalize violence, we recommend Celebrated Killers, by Pablo Piccato. Finally, to see the figure of “El Chapo” as a businessman, we recommend Chapo Guzmán, CEO, by David Pérez Esparza.

After the news of Guzman's transfer to the United States was reported, the story trended on Twitter. Some of the most shared reactions are translated below:

In politics, there are no coincidences. Why is Mexico extraditing El Chapo hours before Trump's inauguration?

El Chapo has been extradited to the United States. Yes, a day before Trump takes over the Presidency.

The last images of El Chapo in its cell before being extradited to the United States.

According to The Washington Post, officials in Mexico have characterized the extradition as a “farewell gift” to Barack Obama, and not a gesture meant to curry favor with President Trump.

Twitter user Shekizu made the following comment:

El Chapo is a criminal, but he's loved in Mexico. Speaking of hurting the country, it is our politicians the ones who have hurt it the most.

Meanwhile, Fernando Ferreira observed:

Together with El Chapo, they should also take all of those who admire him and give them the death penalty #ForABetterMexico.

As the leader of an armed group and an infamous drug lord, “El Chapo” has been a central figure in what's known as Mexico's “War on Drugs,” started by former President Felipe Calderón and continued by the country's current president, Enrique Peña Nieto.

Originally published in Global Voices.

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