Friday, February 28, 2014

The Land of La Mordida

Since as far back as anyone can remember graft and corruption have been a part of daily life in Mexico. It is called "La Mordida" which translates as "the bite". It is an intrinsic part of life and everyone from bandits to politicians partake. Got a traffic ticket, no problem. Need to get out of jail, no problem. Need a cop to look the other way, no problem. It is an accepted practice to discreetly hand over your license with a folded bill or two when a cop asks for it. The problem is that the line between right and wrong has gotten muddied. So much so that violence has permeated the towns and cities along the border with the U.S. The cartels have so much cash that they can operate with impunity just about anywhere in Mexico (and other countries). They simply pay everyone off. Even an honest fellow has to think twice when he is offered the money these guys toss around. They take the famous phrase from the "Godfather" movie to new heights. The offer from them that you cannot refuse is the threatened death of your entire family for not cooperating with them. Out of all this chaos has come a group of Mexican Marines, seemingly ignorant of  the death threats and possible consequences, who chase down the cartel leaders responsible for most of the violence. After assistance from the FBI, the US Marshalls and other American law enforcement, they were able to corner Joaquin Guzman aka "El Chapo" near the resort town of Mazatl├ín, Mexico. Even then, he was able to elude the Americans before being chased down by the Mexican Marines. El Chapo translates to "Shorty" or "The Short One", and Mazatl├ín is in the state of Sinaloa, which is the namesake of Guzman's cartel.  I am always glad when someone of this man's repute is captured and (hopefully) incarcerated. Mind you, he has been incarcerated in Mexico before and escaped in a prison laundry truck; which only added to the legend. Which begs the question-how long will they be able to keep him incarcerated and where will they find officers of the court willing to try him; much less witnesses and a jury. Add to that that Mexico has steadfastly refused to extradite him, and the plot thickens. Mexico has no death penalty or even life terms as punishment. I can only imagine what a man with "El Chapo's" resources is capable of. Sadly, I don't think we have heard the last of him and there are many hands willing to accept his donation(s) to the mordida.

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