CSU students react to El Chapo’s reputation and capture, social climate in Mexico

Tatiana Parafiniuk-Talesnick

Nearly a month ago, on Jan. 8, Joaquín Archivaldo Guzmán Loera, better known as ‘El Chapo,’ was captured for the third time.

Guzman’s capture has been both celebrated and mourned — according to Colorado State University students, how you see him depends on where you’re from.

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“To his community, he’s like Robin Hood,” said sophomore health and exercise science major Diana Granados. “He’s probably one of the best things that ever happened to (them).”

“If you’re one of his people, he helps you out,” said sophomore business administration major Daniel Guevara. “But if you’re not one of his people, it’s just another cartel that takes innocent lives.”

“When El Chapo took over, everything was peaceful,” said freshman social work major Joanna Luna. Luna’s family is from Zacatecas, Mexico. She described a more brutal cartel that had control of the area before Guzman and his cartel took over. “He has power to calm everything down.”

Guzmán is a Mexican drug lord who notoriously heads the Sinaloa Cartel. He last escaped incarceration 7 months ago when he disappeared through a tunnel in the shower area of his prison cell. His escape was followed by county-wide manhunt.

Now in his late 50s, Guzmán’s reputation has had time to grow, and he has become a pop culture icon. In a song called “El Chapo” Gucci Mane sings “All I want to be is El Chapo,” and in his now famous Rolling Stone article, Sean Penn refers to El Chapo as the other president of Mexico.

Several students expressed that Guzmán is not the issue Mexican government should be focusing on.

“They have done so much to capture El Chapo,” Granados said. “Yet, they’ve done nothing about the 40 missing students.”

“They’re just going to keep him that way to show the people that they can keep someone so powerful in jail,” said freshman business major Alondra Soto. Soto’s family is from Durango, Mexico. According to Soto, Durango saw more violence when Guzmán was in jail. “The government wants to show that they aren’t the ones that are corrupt and that they’re the ones who can defend their people.”

“He would make a better president than Pena Nieto,” said freshmen construction management Beatriz Viurquex. Her family is from Guanajuato, Mexico. According to Viurquex Guanajuato, and Mexico as a whole, was more peaceful when Guzmán had control. “He would distribute it(the money) to the people.”

Now that Guzmán is in jail once again, some remain skeptical about how his incarceration will effect crime rates.

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“When he was in jail, there were a lot of killings, it was the narcotraficante, the drug dealers,” Soto said. “As soon as he’s out, everything’s calm.”

“Mexico was calm, there was less shootings,” Viurquex said. “Mexico was more secure, the people felt more secure.”

“As long as there’s people in America who want cocaine and marijuana there’s going to be a drug cartel,” Granados said.

Now Mexican government is in the midst of deciding who is responsible for harboring Guzmán, actress Kate del Castillo and actor Sean Penn are both being accused of protecting the drug lord.

‘El Chapo’s’ story is full of dramatic escapes, movie stars, murder and betrayal, and it is far from over.

“I don’t know if they’re going to start with the killings again,” Soto said. “We don’t know.”

Collegian Reporter Tatiana Parafiniuk-Talesnick can be reached online at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @tatianasophiapt.