Many myths and legends have prevailed throughout history through the simple power of word of mouth. That is what Corridos are: the real stories of the land, of the bar, of the good and of the bad and sometimes of heroes.
Drug dealing began in Latin America decades ago, produced in South and Central America and traveling on the best distribution routes, by plane, by sea and even by “Mulas” (people who carry drugs inside their body). The goal is always to get to the most important market, the one that pays in U.S. dollars.
By land, Mexico’s border with the United States has always been the most complicated path to cross due to the big wall that divides both countries. In spite of this, Mexico’s Joaquin Guzman Loera, best known as “El Chapo” Guzmán, was able to drill long enough tunnels to smuggle tons of drugs to his high-profile neighbor.
One way in which Corridos have evolved is from telling common everyday stories to what we call Narco Corridos. This sub-genre paints “narcos,” or narcotics dealers, as loved and hated, portraying them both as heroes and as enemies. Why the contradiction? A corrupt Mexican government and poor administration has caused many towns to live in extreme poverty, making education very difficult and earning a successful living almost impossible. This inevitably leads inhabitants to work in the best-paid and mostly only job around: drug dealing.
“El Chapo” Guzmán has been the most important narcotics dealer of the 2000s in charge of El Cartel de Sinaloa. He surpassed many fellow dealers in power and wealth, including Colombia’s Pablo Escobar and the 90s El Señor de los Cielos who flew drugs by plane at a level where radars couldn’t detect him and who legend says underwent plastic surgery to avoid recognition. In 2009, Forbes magazine included “El Chapo” in both their World Billionaires List and their Most Powerful People list, where he remained for 4 years in a row until his 2014 capture.
This was not his first arrest, however — he’s had several over the years. Every time “El Chapo” has fled prison, parties and masses have been thrown in his hometown of Sinaloa. For some, he is a hero who represents work and money. For others, he is the enemy who brought many people, innocent women and children, to their death in the drug wars.
Last Friday, January 8th of 2016, “El Chapo” Guzmán was caught for the third time and conspiracy theories are already starting: some consider it a pre-conceived act served to hide the historic Mexican peso devaluation against the U.S. dollar. It surely will not end there.
If you want to know more about “El Chapo” Guzmán in the form of music, listen to our “Chapo Guzmán Corrido” playlist, with the Corridos that are sung like legends.