‘It’s a Way to Ignore the Failures That Exist in the US’


Janine Jackson | FAIR | January 24, 2016

JANINE JACKSON: US media find drug cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera a colorful character, and the fact that media played a role in his recent capture–Guzman appears to have been caught out by his own Hollywood ambitions; his arrest followed a meeting with actors Sean Penn and Kate del Castillo about a proposed biopic–well, that just made the story still more likely to garner press attention in the US.

But is the story serving as an opening for serious questions about the efficacy and impact of the US “war on drugs” in Mexico?  Joining us now to discuss these issues is Laura Carlsen, director of the Americas Program of the Center for International Policy.  She joins us by phone from Mexico City.

Welcome back to CounterSpin, Laura Carlson.

LAURA CARLSEN:   Thank you, Janine.  Thanks for the invitation to be on the show.

Sean Penn with El Chapo Guzman (photo: Rolling Stone)

Sean Penn with “El Chapo” Guzman (photo: Rolling Stone)

JJ:   Well, it’s not to say that the arrest is not significant.  But you might imagine from some of the US coverage that Guzman was single-handedly killing Chicago youth and  hand-delivering billions of dollars of drugs. I’m not holding my breath for mention of money-laundering by HSBC bank, for example, for which the bank received a deferred prosecution agreement brokered by Loretta Lynch, who now as attorney general, we’re told, is very amped to get at “El Chapo.”

But still, there are clearly other institutional players that are key to a drug cartel’s operations. So how much or how little is that bigger picture going to be affected by Guzman’s capture?

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