Arts & Entertainment

Journalist: Women are key in Mexican drug trafficking’s survival

By Mariana Gonzalez-Marquez

Guadalajara, Mexico, Dec 5 (EFE).- The Mexican state should put on trial and imprison the wives and daughters of drug kingpins, given that they are key to maintaining the legacy of impunity and violence of the criminal groups, investigative journalist Anabel Hernandez told EFE in an interview on Sunday.

“The criminal organization remains and afterwards it’s the children who are the successors of these capos – who educates the children? Who feeds that criminal system? It’s the women … the family environment. These women play a much more complex and fundamental role” than has been recognized to date, Hernandez said.

She said that Emma Coronel, the wife of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, is the first such woman to be tried and convicted in the United States because that country understood the role she played in the organization.

In addition, the journalist said that there are signs that the Mexican government could do the same after the arrest or Rosalinda Gonzalez, the wife of Nemesio Oseguera Cervantes, alias “El Mencho,” the head of the powerful Jalisco New Generation cartel.

“We’re at a moment when, either the government alone is going to pursue a cartel and thus give it a fatal blow, which is the wife, or we’re going to also go against the others. It’s interesting and it could change the dynamic of the fight against drug trafficking if (the government) began doing that,” she said.

Hernandez, a journalist who has been threatened by several cartels, is at the Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL) where she presented her 2021 book “Emma y las otras señoras del narco” (Emma and the other narco women), in which she discusses the role that women play in the dynamic of corruption and the logistics of the criminal organizations.

Far from being the dolls of drug traffickers, with plenty of money and perfect lives as the media and television have often portrayed them, the narco women play a major support role for their spouses, are instrumental in ensuring “family cohesion” and within the criminal group but also live like “slaves,” Hernandez said.

“They are the emotional and psychological nutrient of these men, they are the fundamental ingredient for maintaining the cohesion of the families and thus they extend and multiply their kind because the sons and daughters who grow up in these environments end up reproducing these criminal enterprises,” she argued.

This helps explain why, despite the fact that governments imprison the leaders, confiscate their assets and dismantle certain criminal groups, such groups continue to exist, she said.

The book tells various stories in which Hernandez explains why the wives, lovers and daughters of drug traffickers remain closely allied with the criminal organizations despite the hostile environment and violence they are subjected to by their partners or relatives around them.

In the book, written as part of a lengthy investigation into the drug cartels that Hernandez has been pursuing for more than a decade, she says that many actresses, models and television hosts in Mexico have been attracted by drug traffickers and have allowed themselves to engage in one-night stands for thousands of dollars or to become drug kingpins’ lovers for a period of time.

Hernandez said that the TV series that show the inside secrets of drug trafficking in Mexico and other Latin American countries have contributed to the fact that the criminals are seen as role models to follow when the reality is much bloodier.

“We’re talking about organized criminal bands that kill, rape, execute, torture, disappear people, are corrupters of all of society, and it seems to me that this is not something that one can trivialize. … (The series) are not showing the criminal world as it is, they’re fiction and are working against what is the reality,” she said.

These productions involving renowned actors trivialize the drug trafficking world and its crimes and normalize violence for viewers, Hernandez said.

“‘El Chapo’ was a raper of girls. He could go from the bed of Emma (Coronel) and then return with other women. That’s what we’re talking about, and how it’s permitted and tolerated isn’t talked about in the television series because surely if they talked about this coarseness nobody would watch them. The series distort the cruelty of these men and the misery in which (the women) live,” she said.

In the book, Hernandez presents a list of men and women in show business who have had a personal or friendly relationship with drug traffickers like Guzman, who is serving life in prison in the US, or with Edgar Villarreal Valdez, alias “Barbie” or “Guero,” who was imprisoned in 2010.

Former Mexican lawmaker Sergio Mayer and his wife, as well as actresses Alicia Machado and Arleth Teran and TV host Galilea Motijo are just a small number of the people linking the capos with the entertainment world who Hernandez presents with the aim of getting to the point where they can no longer provide that connection, she said.

EFE mg/er/rrt/bp

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