Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman is among the most cunning of Mexican drug cartel leaders. Born in La Tuna, Sinaloa in Mexico, he has for decades worked to expand territories controlled by his cartel – the Sinaloa Cartel, making it the biggest in the country and with its influence in the trade covering most of America. According to Business Insider, his cartel was pumping about three billion dollars worth of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana into the United States as of 2013, which is about 80 percent of the drugs in the country.
To protect the trade and individuals involved, El Chapo’s Sinaloa cartel and other Mexican cartels have had to make attempts to gag the media. In some cases, this has involved threatening and killing informants to the media as well as reporters. According to a CPJ report, the current tally since 1992 is 35. Other reports put the number close to a hundred. The following are some of the most recent media victims, according to the site.
“Rubén Espinosa Becerril, Proceso, AVC Noticias, Cuartoscuro
July 31, 2015, in Mexico City, Mexico
Filadelfo Sánchez Sarmiento, La Favorita 103.3FM La Voz de la Sierra Sur
July 2, 2015, in Miahuatlán de Porfirio Díaz, Mexico
Armando Saldaña Morales, La Ke Buena 100.9 FM
May 2,3 or 4, 2015, in Oaxaca, Mexico
José Moisés Sánchez Cerezo, La Unión
January 2, 2015, in Medellín de Bravo, Mexico
Octavio Rojas Hernández, El Buen Tono
August 11, 2014, in Oaxaca, Mexico
Gregorio Jiménez de la Cruz, Notisur and Liberal del Sur
Between February 5 and 11, 2014, in Las Choapas, Veracruz, Mexico
Adrián Silva Moreno, Freelance
November 14, 2012, in Tehuacán, Mexico”
As is evident from the list, not a single western journalist has been killed, and the same applies to the list of 35. Yet American reporters go into Mexico doing interviews and following up on cartel related evidence all the time.
Most recently, Fusion’s Mariana van Zeller made a bold attempt to conduct an interview with El Chapo’s mother. With no security detail, she was able to go into Guzman’s home turf of Sinaloa and specifically the place he was born and brought up. Situated in the photogenic Sierra Madres, she was able to observe that there was little presence of authorities in the area, despite the fact that El Chapo had just recently escaped from prison.
At first, she was told that his mother – María Consuelo Loera Pérez was resting and didn’t want to be disturbed, but partly also because there were ‘orders’ that she shouldn’t speak to anyone. A little while later, a guy in an ATV turned up and requested her to follow him to a location where a man who appeared to be in charge spoke to her.
According to her description, he had about five walkie-talkies strapped on, and more men in ATVs were present. He did a search, found a microphone and ordered her to leave them in the car. She was then given a cell phone to speak with someone on the other end who spoke in fluent English. He said that he was in charge and that if she wanted to speak to Guzman’s mother, she would have to pay some money, at which point she declined. The tone is said to have changed and she was given 30 minutes to leave the area or there would be consequences.
The following is the video.
Going back to the question as to why American journalists are rarely murdered by cartels, the killers are usually bound to take a lot of heat for such crimes to such an extent that it is just better to leave them alone. The killing of Kiki Camarena, a DEA agent in the ’80s, and the consequent arrest of drug lord Caro Quintero in relation to the case is a great example of just how much is at stake once drug lords are found to have killed notable American citizens.
[Photo by John Moore/Getty Images]