Cultural complexity and context of survivalists and

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cultural complexity and context, of survivalists and capitalists, farmers andtechnocrats, clever entrepreneurs of every ilk, some say silver, and otherslead.A server delivers a bottle of tequila. El Chapo pours each of us three fingers.In toast, he looks to Kate. "I don't usually drink," he says, "but I want todrink with you." After a raise of the glass, I take a polite sip. He asks me if
many people in the United States know about him. "Oh, yeah," I say, and informhim that the night before leaving for Mexico, I had seen that the Fusion Channelwas repeating its special-edition Chasing El Chapo. He seems to delight in theabsurdity of this, and as he and his cohorts share a chuckle, I look to the skyand wonder how funny it would be if there were a weaponized drone above us. Weare in a clearing, sitting right out in the open. I down the tequila, and thedrone goes away.I give in to the sense of security offered by the calm of Chapo and his men.There is the pervasive feeling that if there were a threat, they would know it.We eat, drink, and talk for hours. He is interested in the movie business andhow it works. He's unimpressed with its financial yield. The P&L high sidedoesn't add up to the downside risk for him. He suggests to us that we considerswitching our career paths to the oil business. He says he would aspire to theenergy sector, but that his funds, being illicit, restrict his investmentopportunities. He cites (but asks me not to name in print) a host of corruptmajor corporations, both within Mexico and abroad. He notes with delighteddisdain several through which his money has been laundered, and who take theirown cynical slice of the narco pie."How much money will you make writing this article?" he asks. I answer that whenI do journalism, I take no payment. I could see that, to him, the idea of doingany kind of work without payment is a fool's game. Unlike the gangsters we'reused to, the John Gotti's who claimed to be simple businessmen hiding behindnumerous international front companies, El Chapo sticks to an illicit game,proudly volunteering, "I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine andmarijuana than anybody else in the world. I have a fleet of submarines,airplanes, trucks and boats."He is entirely unapologetic. Against the challenges of doing business in such aclandestine industry he has ––built an empire. I am reminded of press accountsalleging a hundred-million-dollar bounty the man across from me is said to haveput on Donald Trump's life. I mention Trump. El Chapo smiles, ironically saying,"Ah! Mi amigo!" His unguarded will to speak freely, his comfort with his stationin life and ownership of extraordinary justifications, conjure Tony Montana inOliver Stone's Scarface. It's the dinner scene where Elvira, played by MichellePfeiffer, walks out on Al Pacino's Tony Montana, loudly assailing him in apublic place. The patrons at the restaurant stare at him, but rather than hidein humiliation, he stands and lectures them. "You're all a bunch of fucking

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Term
Spring
Professor
N/A
Tags
Mexican Drug War, Drug cartel, Sinaloa Cartel, El Chapo de Sinaloa, Mr Chapo

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