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Saturday, July 18

Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán doesn't tolerate thieving, incompetence, or laziness in his organization. A crying shame he's not Mexico's President.

Mexico's President:  God forbid any sweat on his brow

Mexico's most notorious criminal, who loves hard work

 Guzmán in 1992 photographed by Fabrizio León Diez in Almoloya

Guillermo Valdes, former head of Mexico’s National Security and Investigation Center, said: “El Chapo is a person with a leadership capacity and a strategic vision that the other narcos don’t have, and they recognise that.

“He’s a very intelligent person, with a great capacity for listening.”
U.K. Mirror
A Lesson in Leadership

Yet what I find most interesting about Guzmán's career is that he didn't rise in the narco cartel ranks -- the toughest ranks in the world -- through displays of leadership, intelligence, or strategic vision, even though he clearly displayed such at a very early age.  (See the Wikipedia quotes, below.)  Those qualities became noticeable to others in the narco industry only over a period of years. He rose by working very hard, listening to what his superiors told him, and by being as reliable as the sunrise.  

When he finally achieved a position of authority, he demanded the same traits in those who worked for him.  If a smuggler reporting to him was late in making a delivery, Guzman pulled out a gun and shot him in the head. Understandably he didn't have to do that many times.  People who worked for him quickly learned to be on time. 

This explains why his organization prospered even during the years he was in prison.  By setting the bar high and leading by example, he attracted the best people.
So it's not only that he was born to lead.  More than anything else, his capacity to work hard commands the respect of his employees and Mexico's poor.  The capacity speaks to the humility that guided his rise.       

But humility and hard work are the last things respected by Mexico's rulers.  So while it's terrible to say, the best thing that could happen to Mexicans would be if Guzmán led their government.  From numerous press interviews I've read since his escape, I suspect quite a number of Mexicans would agree with me.  

"He's better than the politicians"

From Reuters, July 18, Legend of escaped Mexican kingpin Guzman grows in drug heartland by David Alire Garcia and Lizbeth Diaz reporting from Culican, Mexico:
In the days since Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman turned a grubby corner of his prison cell into an escape hatch to freedom, the notorious drug lord's legend has soared to new heights in the gang-infested landscape of his home turf.
Hailed by supporters in the northwestern state of Sinaloa as a man with more heft than the president, Guzman's audacious breakout from a maximum security prison on Saturday night through a tunnel that surfaced in his shower has all but guaranteed his immortality in global crime lore.
News that Sinaloa's most famous son had cut short his prison stay before the government had even announced it spread on social media in Sinaloa's state capital Culiacan, locals said.
"Everybody wanted him to be out of prison. He helped a lot of people," said Jaime Carrillo, 39, drummer of BuKnas de Culiacan, a U.S.-Mexican band that plays narcocorridos, a style of music that venerates the gore and glamor of the drug lords.
"I think he's more powerful than the president," said Carrillo, who was born just a few miles away from Guzman. "I think he has more command inside the government."
A local hero to mountain villagers living off his largesse, and murderous criminal to his critics, the 58-year-old Guzman is expected to now retake the controls of his Sinaloa Cartel with ease, regardless of where he is.
"He's talented, daring and bold," said one "dismayed" senior official from President Enrique Pena Nieto's ruling party familiar with the capo's career.
The subject of countless songs extolling the "narco" life that raised poor children from the sierra like himself to the status of criminal masterminds, Guzman has profited from a widespread distrust of politicians in Mexico.
"He's better than the politicians, he provides jobs without stealing our taxes," said Claudia Sanchez, 45, a shop worker.

"He's better than the whole corrupt bunch that put him in jail, but then you see he's smarter than them, and escaped."
"This is the way it's always been in Mexico." And the USA.

From a report in The Daily Mail July 18:
A poll in the Reforma newspaper said 88 per cent of Mexicans believe the escape was an inside job, and 65 per cent blame the authorities’ incompetence more than the ingenuity of the drug lord.
The report describes that Mexico's government has doubled down on its imperious behavior since the escape. Prison staff who very clearly were only following orders have claimed they've been brutalized and even beaten by authorities and detained illegally for questioning.  

(Most troubling to me is that the report had to come from a British newspaper and isn't carried in an American one.)  

One woman, Edith Mojicka, whose husband was caught up in the cruel farce, stood outside the Federal Attorney’s offices and screamed accusations of corruption at the government employees who came to and from the guarded building.

"They’re the corrupt ones, but the poor and humble people are being forced to pay," she shouted.

"This is the way it has always been in Mexico."

Yes. This is the way it's been.  And U.S. policy toward Mexico's government has always supported and encouraged the status quo.  

See also Seven jail officials charged over escape of Mexican drug lord, July 17, AFP/Reuters

The die was cast early

Against this, the childhood of a criminal who displays more competence and integrity than both governments put together:   

Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera was born into a poor family in the rural community of La Tuna, Badiraguato, Sinaloa, Mexico. ... His father was officially a cattle rancher, as were most in the area where Guzmán grew up; according to some sources, however, he may have possibly also been a gomero, a Sinaloan word for opium poppy farmer  ...
As the nearest school to his home was about 60 mi (100 km) away, Guzmán was taught by traveling teachers during his early years, just like the rest of his brothers. The teachers stayed for a few months before moving to other areas. ...
As a child, Guzmán sold oranges, and dropped out of school in third grade to work with his father. Guzmán was regularly beaten and sometimes fled to his maternal grandmother's house to escape such treatment. However, when he was home, Guzmán stood up to his father to protect his younger siblings from being beaten. ... 
With few opportunities for employment in his hometown, he turned to the cultivation of opium poppy, a common practice among local residents. During harvest season, Guzmán and his brothers hiked the hills of Badiraguato to cut the bud of the poppy. Once the plant was stacked in kilos, his father sold the harvest to other suppliers in Culiacán and Guamúchil. He sold marijuana at commercial centers near the area while accompanied by Guzmán.

His father spent most of the profits on liquor and women and often returned home with no money. Tired of his mismanagement, Guzmán, at the age of 15, cultivated his own marijuana plantation with four distant cousins ... who lived nearby.

With his first marijuana productions, Guzmán supported his family financially.

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