World’s most powerful and feared drug lord, Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman, better known as “El Chapo,” was notorious for running the Sinaloa Drug Cartel and did so with control, violence and killing thousands that got in his way. Not only is he a murderer, but also a business genius running a multi billion dollar drug corporation. Starting from a poor upbringing to becoming a billionaire would be something anyone would be proud of, but not the way El Chapo made his blood money. Under El Chapo’s control he contributed to the ruthless drug war in Mexico, and thousands were found dead or missing under the power of this monster. El Chapo was raised farming opium poppy with his father, a source for many drugs. He would become one of the deadliest and richest men alive by selling drugs for easy money. Many believe that El Chapo’s poverty stricken childhood and his abusive father is linked to his criminal and violent path.
El Chapo was born into a family of poverty in the community of La Tuna , Mexico, where his home was made of mud with no running water or electricity. It is unknown of his actual date of birth if it’s December 25,1954 or April 4,1957 just like much of his upbringing is very ambiguous. As a child he would sell oranges to farmers, because he needed to help provide for his family. He would eventually drop out of the third grade. With scarce opportunities in his little town of La Tuna he would help farm opium poppy with his father, which is a source that is used for many drugs such as heroin. According to da Fonseca, “The longer a young person lives in poverty the more likely they are to engage in delinquent behaviour.” El Chapo’s impoverished upbringing was a precipitating cause and contributed to his monstrosities. With a third grade education and living a disatute life that had little opportunities, would make it impossible to get out of an impoverished life. By the time he was a teenager he entered the drug trade. In an article Where the legend of El Chapo was born, Guzmen “El Chapo” states, “There [were] no job opportunities,” he said in a video posted by Rolling Stone in January 2016. “The way … to be able to buy food is to grow poppy and marijuana, and from that age I began to grow it, to harvest it, to sell it . . . Drug trafficking is already part of a culture that originated from the ancestors” (27). This all began just to put food on the table and to worry about providing for his family must have been a heavy burden for any young child. Feeling trapped with no other way out of poverty he starts to look for a way out.
El Chapo sure didn’t grow up in a “Leave it to Beaver Home,” rather he grew up in a violent home with an alcoholic father. His Father was a selfish man, who would spend all his money on prostitutes and alcohol, making the financial situation at home more stressful. Although he had a troubled relationship with his dad he followed in his footsteps. The sufficient cause to his monster way was his father. According to USA Today, “As a boy, Guzman was physically abused by his father. And yet, with no schooling to point him elsewhere, the young Guzman followed his father into the drug trade and began growing marijuana, operating independently from the man with whom he maintained an icy relationship.” A child looks to his father for guidance and for protection, but rather El Chapo’s father introduces him to a world of crime. El Chapo would soon run with full control a drug trafficking, money laundering and crime organization called the Sinaloa Cartel and this is where El Chapo gives life to his monster. Cohen’s Monster Cultural Body explains it best in thesis one, “The monster’s body quite literally incorporates fear, desir, anxiety, and fantasy (attractive or incendiary), giving them life and an uncanny independence” (4). The blood war between the drug cartels in Mexico has claimed the life and beheadings of thousands, under the orders of El Chapo. According to Malcolm, “ What El Chapo himself says: When he was first arrested in 1993, Guzman told reporters “I’m a farmer.” When he was arrested in 2014, he reportedly told a well-known Mexican journalist that he had killed between two and three thousand people.” These monstrosity had the hands of El Chapo father by leading his son into the world of drugs and violence that he witnessed.
Trying to make a way out of an impoverished condition El Chapo turned to selling and trafficking drugs for easy money. Becoming the world’s biggest leader of the drug cartel. El Chapo Guzman made a name for himself on the Forbes billionaires list. He made his billions by being extreme, effective and with blood on his hands. El Chapo made sure that he made it to the top of his ranking by instilling fear to anyone that crossed his path. According to Savaiano, “If there was a problem, El Chapo eliminated it. If a peasant was enticed by someone with a fatter wallet, El Chapo eliminated him. If a driver with a truckload of drugs got drunk and didn’t deliver his shipment the next morning, El Chapo eliminated him”(1). He was a ruthless man by making sure nothing got in his way and he spared no one. According to El Chapo Ceo of Crime Documentary, “To many in Sinaloa El Chapo is not just a drug trafficker, he’s a hero. They see him as a modern day Robin Hood because he came from poverty and the myth is he helps people from the mountain range where he grew up.” This is where the people separates the person from the monster created within. Cohen’s describe this in thesis five, “ Every monster is in this way a double narrative, two living stories: one that describes how the monster came to be and another, it’s testimony, detailing what culture use the monster serves” (13). People in Sinaloa may see him as a great man because he’s helping the poor were he grew up by giving them money, but it came from the monster that kills for his billions. Although El Chapo made his way out of poverty the evil way, he was a smart man running a drug cartel like a fortune five hundred company. If he had the opportunity such as a to get an education instead of having to worry about putting food on the table he’s future may have been different and may have been a CEO of a legitimate business. Making money the legal way instead of turning to fast bloody money.
Raised in poverty with a violent father and struggling, it would look like there’s no other way out, but to engage in crime. When the world of drugs and fast money was surrounding him, it made it easy to choose the path of crime. He may have made his way out of poverty with billions of dollars, but what good is it when he’s sitting in jail and blood of thousands of victims on his hands.
Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome. Monster Theory: Reading Culture. University of Minnesota Press, 1996.
I used the monster theory 1 and 7 to explain the monster and culture.
Grillo, Loan. Vega, Miguel Angel. Where The Legend of El Chapo Was Born. Time. May2018, Vol.191 (19): 30-37.
This article talks about how El Chapo upbringing and how he’s an evil genius running the drug cartel. This will help my paper because it will give background of his upbringing, that lead to his drug empire.
El Chapo CEO of Crime. YouTube, Oct.2016, Documentary House 2.0
“Chapo’s Rise: From poor, abuse to cartel kingpin.” USA TODAY, 2014 https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/02/28/chapos-abused-cartel-kingpin/5906279/
This helps explain the cause of El Chapo’s monstrous ways due to his fathers abusive ways and how he introduced him into the world of drug.
Roberto Saviano: El Chapo’s Rise to Power And His First Prison Break. Time. July 2015
This help paint a picture on how El Chapo ran the cartel and how deadly he was if anyone got in his way. He had no mercy for anyone that prevented him from making his billions