Narco culture: the wild liberation of the son of Chapo Guzmán and the advances of the narcos from Mexico to Argentina

The Sinaloa cartel, the inheritance of Chapo Guzmán, controls and guards a large part of the townships, considered by specialists as a kind of narco-state. The narcos are not visible, as long as one does not meddle in their business: the trafficking of synthetic drugs to the United States.

The tombs of the narcos in Mexico are like this. Photo: A24
The tombs of the narcos in Mexico are like this. Photo: A24

The shots left him deaf for a moment. He was a few feet away and they sounded as if they were inside his head. He saw a lady fall with the blows of one of the most powerful machine guns in the world. The woman did not fall suddenly, she did so little by little, as if dancing, as the parts of her body, moved and her arms shook from the impact of the bullets.

He says it was a slow-motion movement as blood "flowed out of his body"; images that were recorded on his retinas. Only he and his companion who had gone to look for the terminal in Culiacan managed to protect himself.

Rogelio Valdez lives under threat and now tries to write little about drug trafficking. Last Friday, he went to look for an interviewee to write his column on politics in the medium he runs www.dnoticias.com.mx. He managed to get in the car with his guest and was able to get to an underground parking lot; it was only there that he took a deep breath. 

"It was a historic day, never seen anything like it. All transportation and communication services were paralyzed," Valdez told A24.com from the streets of Cualiacán, the largest municipality in the state of Sinaloa with some 100,000 inhabitants.

Sinaloa is a state of 18 municipalities and has 2,767,760 inhabitants and is considered "the cradle of drug trafficking". From there emerged El Chapo and Mayo Zambada, the fearsome brothers Beltrán and Amado Carrillo Fuentes, "El Señor de los Cielos". They also kill journalists. The Sinaloa cartel is the most important in Mexico and they fight "dead for dead" for top spot against Jalisco New Generation, known as the Kill Zetas.

The Sinaloa cartel, the inheritance of Chapo Guzmán, controls and guards a large part of the townships, considered by specialists as a kind of narco-state. The narcos are not visible, as long as one does not meddle in their business: the trafficking of synthetic drugs to the United States.

But last Friday something unexpected happened. "The narcos took about ten minutes to besiege the city". They locked the city up and asked for the release of Ovidio Guzmán, the son of Chapo who had been detained by federal forces.

To make it clear that they were serious, eight civilians were ransacked and sixteen others wounded. Neither the military nor the police could do anything. The streets turned red and the houses were covered with bullet holes. President Manuel Lopez Obrador had to go out and talk to recognize "the mistake of having stopped the Chapo's son".

Right now, more federal forces are arriving to prevent another massacre because it is thought that there could be more deaths. "The federal government was overtaken by drug trafficking. The four forces - the Military Police, the National Guard of the Federal Government, the Navy and the Army of Mexico - were surpassed in armament, in vehicles and in firepower by a hundred people (...) there are even doubts if the narcos managed to kidnap the federal forces. The miscalculation of the State of Mexico was to assume that "for these days Sinaloa was calm," says the journalist.

Narco-power in Mexico has been going on for years and has taken over several governments. Not even the party that holds the world record for the longest term in power, the PRI, has been able to defeat them. If even in Rambo's last film, recently released among us, Stallone himself has to fight against the hardest of the current powers, the narco. "In Sinaloa, there is no other cartel that can enter. It is run by Ovidio and Archivaldo Guzmán, the sons of Chapo," the journalist remarked from the streets of hell. And he recognizes that since Guzmán Sr.'s arrest, his children have improved organized crime. The narco power can penetrate everything (...) it is an impressive power".

It is impressive that the financial world and the state itself are powerless. The cartels have formal enterprises, arm new bogus companies, launder tons of money through financial means and are even capable of financing political campaigns and putting governments in and out. However, the most subtle and influential thing is not money but culture. Antonio Gramsci, the thinker and founder of the Italian Communist Party, had already pointed to the power of culture.

One step ahead of Carl Marx in terms of the historical materialism of capitalism, Gramsci pointed to the power of culture and explained it through cultural hegemony. From Che Guevara's T-shirts, they went on to those bearing the face of Pablo Escobar Gaviria and Chapo Guzmán. But in Mexico, the culture of the narcocorridos was a step further. The posters hire bands to record songs with their exploits that include cutting heads. And they viralize their music.

Paradoxically, the narcocorrido is a musical subgenre of popular character that has its roots in Spanish romance. Like this one, the bases of its style are the polka, waltz and mazurka rhythms interpreted by the Mexican regional music. In other words, he takes something from the established culture and modifies it and mixes it with blood. The theme of the narcocorridos is varied but well defined and constitutes its own philosophy of life with its particular approach to death and the enjoyment of life.

In the narcocorridos, loyalty, love, women, excesses are often spoken of. The Mexican philosopher Carlos Monsivais identifies the general thematic characteristics of narcocorridos:

"The purchasing power and technological resources of organized crime is a power in itself, the impulse of survival-as-you-go-place, characteristic of the sectors of agricultural abandonment or urban poverty without jobs in sight, the admiration for the thriller and its sequences of speed, death in abundance, easy women, powerful weapons and moral ambiguity, the seduction of advertising and the legendary relief of rude men, independent, habitual to solitude, such as the image of the Marlboro Man depicts them, the obtaining of the aesthetic taste provided by too much money, the brilliant, the striking, the ostentatious, are considered signs of distinction".

With globalization, or regionalization, drug trafficking and culture have become even more intermingled and there is an example among us that alludes to crime in the so-called cumbia villera: just as tango was the song of the shore of the new marginal immigration that lived in the suburbs and conventillos of Buenos Aires.

The cultural identity at the base of the pyramid explains what happens in the emergent. This can be seen in the pantheons and temples and lavish rooms dedicated to the dead. They celebrate their farewell at gunfire, just as they spent the other day in a cemetery in the south of the Bonarense suburbs.

According to journalist Valdez, "today's Mexican narcos don't wear gold chains, they are mega businessmen; they have financiers, they launder money and they are pawnbrokers. And that's the question".

Criticized by the government, the narco advance continues on its way. This week Daniel Arroyo of the Frente Renovador and candidate for minister of Social Welfare if Alberto Fernandez becomes president, said on the TV program that "the biggest lenders in the slums are the narcos".

President Macri himself spoke a few weeks ago of the narco danger. The most complex advance in Argentina began a little more than ten years ago, with ephedrine. In addition to the ephedrine movement, there were chemical strikers for designer drugs and an increase in the number of kitchens that were discovered at first in the north and the last one in the middle of Buenos Aires with Operativo Bachata of the kings of pink cocaine.

Judge Roberto Atilio Falcone, a specialist in these issues, told his concern "for the schizophrenia of law 23.737 that treats the consumer as sick and at the same time condemns him for taking drugs. Falcone believes that with the bill on the decriminalization of drugs already in Congress, "the real drug traffickers will be sanctioned".

Falcone says that "when the government talks about the fight against drugs, in reality, it is as if the cup is bad, because the cup does not respond. Here there is no political decision to really fight against drug trafficking". It is an abstract struggle. For fear, for poverty, for unemployment (sometimes so functional) no one puts those who run the white business in jail. Only the links of a much more powerful chain are cut.

"In Argentina, 20 percent of the circulating drug is manufactured and many times it is stretched. The other 80% enters the country already as cocaine," agree the sources of SeDroNar. The base paste already appears in the statistics. In general, the base paste is delivered as a payment currency and the international bands pay with base paste the logistics that the local gangs supply them.

The "crystallization" of the base paste - through precursors - leaves aside the pure alkaloid (marketed as paco) and, if it is further refined, it leads to cocaine, which is the most refined product obtained from the crystallization of the base paste. Carlos Damin, professor of Toxicology at the University of Buenos Aires, explains that contrary to what is believed, paco is not the garbage left over from this process but the result of a previous step. It is not a waste but a product in itself and more profitable than the hydrochloride. Common sense indicates that if a base paste (cocaine sulfate) is found, it is because someone intends to process it.

The pasta base that arrives in Argentina counts Salta as a key point. And its own trafficking that "is in diapers". Gendarmería Nacional detected an organization based in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, which marks cocaine bars with the figure of a red scorpion (narcos artists).

This band carries cocaine and base paste through the air and through the ground. The Gendarmería seized a ton of coca leaves in their natural state, which were transported by four men, all of whom were arrested. One of the procedures involved the aviation section of the Force where 4 people were arrested near a place known as Pozo del Halcón.

Squadron 20 has seized 13 tons of coca leaf so far this year in the province of Salta, the most important border with Bolivia, a country that is determined to grow its green crops. Unemployed labor is needed.

Some time ago, a former chief of the Gendarmerie, a commander of the Intelligence area, was discovered trafficking cocaine. "He was caught when he had just picked up 291 kilos of cocaine that a Bolivian light aircraft had thrown from the air. Later, an anonymous man revealed that there were another 496 kilos in his truck".

The subsequent investigation showed that he owned a company that allegedly sent timber and other materials to Europe, which was suspected of being used to export the drug. For all this, the Federal Justice of Salta prosecuted him.

It is believed that he is an authentic czar of drug trafficking. The case in which former commander Jorge Martin Dubiel was involved is known as "Drug Rain. The rain is not casual. It is part of a process that, as revealed by a high source of Gendarmerie, has several phases that culminate in laundering, something that is investigated in multiple federal cases in Argentina.

Source: A24

Recommended stories