In the last few weeks, Chapo Guzmán has launched a public relations blitz in an attempt to gain sympathy for his incarceration. As I speculated in “Chapo Guzman Willing to be Extradited to the US” it appears that the Mexican government wants to rid itself of Chapo as quickly as possible. In response, Chapo Guzmán has launched a public relations team made up of his lawyers, his current wife and his eldest daughter.
The nexus to the public relations activity is Chapo Guzmán’s prison conditions. To be sure, the Mexican government is not taking any chances with another escape and as a result the country’s government official have enhanced the security around him. This is an expensive proposition for the Mexican government and it is unsustainable over the long period. Incarcerating Guzmán did not end the drug trade nor has it diminished it. Guzmán is just a figurehead to the drug problem for both the United States and Mexico. Unfortunately it is an expensive proposition for the Mexican government and the sooner it sends Chapo to the US the better.
Obviously the more unpleasant the prison is for Guzmán the sooner he is likely to stop paying officials and lawyers to fight extradition.
As a result of all of this, Chapo Guzmán launched a public relations scheme centered on negotiating a US deal for his surrender and public sympathy for Chapo’s prison conditions. First, the lawyers were dispatched to make an attempt, through the news media, to make contact with US officials about a possible deal for Chapo. Until the latest prison conditions, Chapo had postured that he did not want to be extradited to the United States. Clearly, his prison conditions in Mexico are much worse and he wants a US prison instead.
Unable to make unofficial contact with US officials to signal a willingness to negotiate a deal, his lawyers signaled through the news media. They seem to be hoping that back channel negotiations with US officials results in a negotiated surrender. This allows Chapo and both governments to save face with the public.
The problem for Chapo is that he has become the face of the worst of the drug problem that both governments have portrayed as the reason to spend billions fighting the Drug War. This makes a negotiated surrender more difficult.
This leaves Chapo with relying on public pressure to force an end to his prison treatment. As a result, Chapo unleashed his current wife, Emma Coronel to show a human face to Chapo’s conditions in prison. Coronel told how Joaquín Guzmán is being isolated and sleep deprived. Coronel has gone on a news media blitz decrying how Guzmán is being mistreated.
Guzmán’s eldest daughter, Rosa Isela Guzmán, was also enlisted to put a human face on Guzmán’s jail conditions. In Thursday’s edition, I will point out how the eldest daughter is an example of US corruption in the drug trade.
For now, let us focus on the unprecedented news media blitz that Chapo has unleashed.
It serves the primary purpose of alleviating Chapo’s prison conditions.
Chapo may have underestimated the Mexican government’s “machismo” psyche by proving that they can keep Chapo in prison. Thus, the initial overtures of a willingness to end legal maneuvers to impede his extradition may have been to lessen his prison conditions because Chapo assumed that the Mexican government would want to make him serve his prison sentence in Mexico.
When the initial public relations posturing did not work, Chapo may now believe that a prison sentence in the US is better than his current jail conditions. Thus, his latest public relations scheme is to build sympathy to his current predicament.
His daughter and current wife seem to be on a mission to put a human face on the monster that has come to symbolize El Chapo Guzmán today.