Following the fall of Osama bin Laden, is Chapo Guzman now the world's most-wanted man?
Well, to clarify all the chatter, there really is no such thing. Forbes named him the 2nd most-wanted fugitive in the world a while back, but that doesn't mean US authorities are now scrambling to find the gomero's son from Sinaloa. Chapo isn't even on the FBI's 10 most-wanted list. Through the US State Dept., the DEA did issue a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture in 2004; that order still stands.
As a face of the enemy, as Sam Keen might have put it, Chapo is probably now the most-wanted man in the world. The Australian authorities are talking about him as if he was personally responsible for delivering all the drugs consumed in their country, and throughout Europe, his name is starting to become known. In the US, people know about him and I've even encountered some folks who believe he's a rebel of sorts, to be admired – they've made t-shirts and painted canvases of his face.
But I don't anticipate a massive push to catch or kill him, except for what the authorities are doing right now. The authorities know full well that his death or capture won't end the drug trade or drug war. They also know that, like bin Laden, Chapo is now more of a symbol than hands-on leader. His people work in his name, and put up narco-mantas from Culiacan to Juarez declaring his might, but even if he were gone tomorrow, they'd keep trafficking drugs, keep killing their rivals and innocent people, and disrupting the social order.
Still, catching Chapo would be a massive political boon for Calderon. Like Obama, he would gain ground in polls; he would be able to quiet critics who say he's made a pact with Sinaloa. Calderon would not be able to claim an end to the drug war, but he'd be able to close a chapter on it, as I've said before. So all in all, it'd be well worth going after him ahead of the 2012 elections, rather than letting him retire in peace.