By Carlos A. Quiroga
«The Pope said so!» one could lament. Corruption, drug trafficking, and some of Latin America’s other problems warned about by the Pope in his recent visit to the region all came together in the prison break of Mexican drug lord Joaquin «el chapo» Guzman.
«El chapo» escaped through a tunnel from Mexico’s highest security prison on Saturday while Francis was still preaching in Paraguay, on the penultimate day of his tour in which he also visited Ecuador and Bolivia. The Pope proclaimed that corruption is like a «gangrene» that eats away society, an evil as serious as inequality, poverty, lack of faith, etc.
The Pope’s visit, on one hand, and Guzman’s escape, on the other, show the two opposing facets of Latin America:
-Its immense value as a land of faith and hope, of construction, peace, and future.
-Its inability to dismantle organized crime, especially the drug cartels which are a source of violence, corruption, and in many places, political and social chaos.
Guzman, who had been recaptured in March 2014 after having previously escaped another Mexican jail in 2003, was only held captive for 16 months this time in Mexico’s most secure prison, where even the most sophisticated electronic surveillance systems, cameras, and heat sensors were not enough to stop him.
Those in charge of monitoring these systems were all human, just like «el chapo» and his associates.
«I told you so», cried American billionaire Donald Trump, who had derided Mexico’s high crime rate a few days prior. Nobody immediately responded in defense of Latin America’s «honor.»