The Sinaloa criminal syndicate was given a jolt when its head, Joaquin Guzman Loera, known as El Chapo, was captured on Saturday. Ismael Zambada Garcia, nicknamed “El Mayo,” is viewed by experts as a natural successor.
Like Guzman, Zambada began his drug-smuggling career in the 1990s, working as a coordinator for several organizations. The 66-year-old, who according to the U.S. State Department is 5 foot 9 and 160 pounds, amassed power quickly and formed strong relationships within the drug trade. When Guzman was captured in 1993, security experts say, he handpicked Zambada — both are from the northwestern state of Sinaloa — to run his business until he escaped from prison in 2001. Since then, analysts say, the two have been trusted allies.
“The Sinaloa cartel is very structured, with a clearly defined succession line,” said Jorge Chabat, a drug and security expert at CIDE, a Mexico City research university. “The fall of its leader won’t affect its operations. It will be business as usual.”
Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera, Leader of the Sinaloa Drug Cartel, Is Arrested in Mexico.
Newsweek profiled Loera, Mexico’s “Most Powerful Drug Lord”, aka the Most Wanted Man in Mexico, several times over the years. His cartel has had an impact on everything from the country’s musicians to the imagination of its children.
But those who know of Chapo’s powers say that no matter where he’s kept in Mexico, he’ll receive special treatment: his cartel runs the country’s prisons as efficiently as it crosses the U.S.-American border.
Out with the old, in with the new. In 2014, Iran — and the related cruel war in Syria — will dominate Middle East headlines; tensions between China and Japan will top that region on America’s list of national security concerns; and the splintering of al Qaeda will force Washington to further rethink the war on terror.
As the immigration debate rages in Washington and Congress pushes for a $46.3 billion border-security surge, undocumented immigrants continue to perish in Arizona’s harsh wilderness. In this week’s Newsweek, Terry Greene Sterling tells the story of one mother’s attempt to bring her family to America.
Want to chat immigration and learn a little about the militarization of America’s southern border?
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“For sure, he was killed because of his work as a reporter. Over his at least 17 years at the newspaper, he made a long list of enemies, many of whom I imagine would love to see him dead. But he denounced so many people and so much corruption that it is impossible to say who was behind his murder.” — O Estado do Maranhao state affairs editor Silvia Moscoso • Discussing the death of Decio Sa, one of his co-workers at the Brazilian newspaper. The political reporter was killed Monday night, gunned down while eating dinner. Brazil is a particularly dangerous part of the world for journalists — four journalists have been killed just this year alone, along with 21 since 1992.
Rest in peace, brother.
From his morning-time perch above the southbound lanes of Highway 85 in Monterrey, Mexico, photographer Alejandro Cartagena catches images of people on their way to work.
A little dose of vacation for your afternoon, c/o Mazatlan, Mexico.
NWK Tumblr just put three supergrande bottles of tequila in the mail bound for cold coworkers in NYC.
Arian Campo-Flores, on the Mexican blogger who works where reporters fear to tread.
Lally Weymouth has a nice interview with Felipe Calderón. Then, for a look at another side of Mexico’s drug war, we are reminded of this nice piece from last summer on El Chapo, the most wanted man in Mexico.