Thursday, March 10, 2016


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A video showing the hideout of JOAQUIN ARCHIVALDO "EL CHAPO" GUZMAN LOERA, filmed October 6 by the Mexican navy and broadcast by the Mexican newspaperEL UNIVERSAL, is incredible for its details!!!

Films shot by law enforcement in the hideouts of mafia bosses are usually very similar—there’s great excitement, even when, as on this occasion, security forces suspect that the boss and those who helped him while he was on the run are long gone. 

There’s the care taken not to touch anything: That’s why they usually enter with video cameras rolling, so that everything is documented; so that nothing, even the smallest clue, can be removed or misplaced. You can always hear the breath of the person behind the camera, who is usually filming with one hand and holding his weapon with the other.

Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude and a book by Italo Calvino were found in the bunker of Pasquale Condello, boss of Italy’s ’Ndrangheta mob, and Camorra boss Francesco Schiavone, known as Sandokan, had dozens of essays on Napoleon. Cosa Nostra boss Pietro Aglieri read only theological works, favoring Saint Augustine. The Camorrista Raffaele Cutolo had Hobbes, Plato’s Republic and Hitler’s Mein Kampf in his cell.

Mafia bosses are experienced businessmen who read, examine, study, analyze and try to use the information circulating about them to construct a twin narrative. On the one hand, it must present them to civil society as men who have tons of women and money and are forced into criminal choices by the world’s iniquity. On the other hand, it must give a forceful and unequivocal message to their members and rivals alike: I am the strongest and most brutal. I punish and seek revenge. They write about my monstrosity, so fear me.

The reality of the global drug trade is so complex and extreme that it sometimes seems unbelievable. Today, Mexico is the center of this world, and El Chapo is its most famous boss. He is living proof that calling the Mexican cartels “narcos” is inaccurate. They are mafias. The difference is not always clear to those reading the news, but it can be clarified like this: Gangsters are motivated by money; mafiosi are driven to construct a system of power (in which money is only one tool).

This distinction is important, especially with respect to the role the United States could, but does not, have in the fight against organized crime. Often governments are moved to act by pressure from public opinion, but in the U.S. public opinion is clueless when it comes to understanding this criminal phenomenon. Americans have a partial vision of mafias and drug trafficking because in the U.S., unlike Mexico or Italy, they don’t kill journalists, they don’t kill priests, they don’t kill judges. And this creates a public perception of the mafia as an organization that is merely theatrical, one that doesn’t present a threat to democracy or hold power over life and death.

The biggest mistake you can make is to believe that mafia bosses are simply war machines or characters of folklore, because in doing so you underestimate them. The criminal economy is a winning economy; the drug trade totals more than $300 billion a year worldwide, so these bosses inhabit the very top of the pyramid. In the United States, the bloodshed is nothing like that on Mexico’s scale; the killing is mostly internal, but the drug lords pollute the economic system:
  • In 2012, banking giant HSBC agreed to pay a fine of $1.92 billion for money laundering linked to drug cartels. Between 2007 and 2008, HSBC Mexico moved $7 billion to the American branch of the bank, a large part of which came from the Sinaloa cartel.
  • In 2009, Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, said there were clear signs that during the global financial crisis many banks were saved thanks to liquid capital from drug trafficking.
  • In 2010, Wachovia Bank agreed to pay the federal authorities $160 million (the result of forfeiture and a fine) for failing to apply the proper anti-money-laundering protocols and allowing transactions linked to drug trafficking. Wachovia, like HSBC, was used by the Sinaloa cartel to launder hundreds of millions of dollars.

NAPLES, ITALY native Journalist/Author ROBERT SAVIANO has authored two books, GOMORRAH, which is about the NEAPOLITAN MAFIA, and ZeroZeroZero, about the Global Cocaine Trade.Because of threats to his life by the CAMORRA MAFIA since the 2006 publication of GOMORRAH, he has lived under intense police protection.
Get the Full Story from ROBERT SAVIANO on EL CHAPO'S NARCO MAFIA in this issue of NEWSWEEK Magazine.




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