The story behind “El Chapo” is that he is not all bad, he may have a higher aspiration than just being the number one Drug Lord. He is in hiding and everyone is looking for him. Yet, men describe Guzman’s intellectual curiosity, his intuitive nature and, surprisingly, considering his nickname means “Shorty,” his skills on the basketball court.
Considered to be one of the world’s richest people, Guzman is depicted by his former cellmates as an ideological ally of the struggle against poverty and inequality. Martinez quotes the drug lord as saying he might have gotten involved in social justice issues if not for his success in drug trafficking.
Martinez was released before Guzman’s escape, said to have been carried out by hiding in a laundry basket. But the ex-prisoner said, that the break-out must have been an inside job, as “It was impossible to escape from that prison … the guards told us that not even they could open the final door. They said that was opened directly from the Interior Ministry.”
Martinez refers to Guzman as “a humanitarian” who used his power inside the prison to help others. However, considering that the powerful leader of the Sinaloa Cartel is thought to be one of the most powerful men in Mexico, it is not surprising they declined to criticize him.
Guzman is one of Mexico’s top Drug Kingpins after the arrest of his rival Osiel Cardenas of the Gulf Cartel. He is well known for his use of sophisticated tunnels—similar to the one located in Douglas, Arizona–to smuggle cocaine from Mexico into the United States in the early 1990s. In 1993 a 7.3 ton shipment of his cocaine, concealed in cans of chili peppers and destined for the United States, was seized in Tecate, Baja California. In 1993 he barely escaped an ambush by the Tijuana Cartel led by Ramon Arellano Felix and his gunmen, Captured in Guatemala, he was jailed in 2001 and placed in a maximum security prison called Puente Grande, but paid his way out of prison and hid in a laundry van as it drove through the gates.
He is considered a folk hero or humanitarian in the narcotics world, celebrated by musicians who write and perform “corridos,” extolling his exploits. For example, Los Buitres recorded a ballad extolling his life on the run-
He sleeps at times in homes,
at times in tents
Radio and rifle at the foot
of the bed
Sometimes his roof is the cave