Wednesday, April 7, 2010

More buzz on El Mayo

I think I will weigh in on some of the buzz about El Mayo, because it is what everyone's talking about this week.
There are a couple of key points that people have made that I think are worth addressing:

1) Is the interview propaganda?
Most definitely not. It's boilerplate, and rather dull, but what do you expect? Julio Scherer may have asked the drug lord questions about his guilt etc, and held back from publishing them. After all, they'd be evidence admissible in court, and El Mayo wouldn't want that. El Mayo could have spilled the beans on his entire operation, and Scherer would wisely respect the fact that this was completely off the record.
An interview with President Calderon would be much the same. It's not as exciting journalism, but it's fair. It's certainly not propaganda. The photo of Scherer and El Mayo is pretty self-promoting, mind you – but if you were Proceso and you got this interview, wouldn't you sell it for all it's worth? Even the grayest of gray ladies would capitalize on this one.

2) Conspiracy theories have arisen that this interview took place because the Sinaloa cartel or the government ordered it so. For some sort of PR reason. I can buy that, most definitely. As I commented the other day, El Mayo talking gives him some semblance of legitimacy: dialogue is often the first route to forgiveness. But as Michel Marizco points out at, El Mayo is not a lone gunman. He is one of the heads of an often very fiery bunch of narcos, who most likely wouldn't just let even their boss walk away, even in old age, even though his son is in jail and his nephew is dead etc.

Unless... both Chapo and El Mayo can negotiate a deal and ensure that their subordinates are protected if they are gone (by the possible future governor of Sinaloa, perhaps, who Mexico's spy agency has just cleared of narco allegations?). They turn themselves in (or get "caught"). The war is declared over. They also avoid extradition because Mexico sincerely wants to prove it can lock up capos and keep them from running their business. The US helps Mexico guard their cells, or something like that, as collateral. The two capos point fingers and name names of their suppliers outside of Mexico, and the DEA and international authorities go on to bigger fish, leaving Mexico's drug trade in the hands of smaller-time criminals, gangs effectively.
Let's face it, it's a possible scenario.

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