Much of the historical material is from a story on Borderland Beat posted by Gerado back in 2011. Link .below
Now that the Mexican government has nabbed the country's most-wanted drug lord, Fernando Antonio Robles is worried about the future.
Robles, 16, is a bricklayer's apprentice in the wild drug-producing municipality where Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman grew up. In this hardscrabble patch of mountainous Sinaloa state, more than 74 percent of the people live in poverty. And yet the tiny county seat is full of fine new, freshly painted houses.
Robles knows that many of them were built by El Chapo's men.
"A lot of people are going to be unemployed," Robles said while loitering with a friend on the handsome town square, "because a lot of people worked for him."
Here in the heart of El Chapo's worldwide empire, many see him as a sympathetic character whose operation pumped billions of dollars into the state.
"He's helped a lot of people," said Jesus Gonzalez, the caretaker of a famous chapel honoring Jesus Malverde, an unofficial "folk saint" for the poor — and for drug dealers. According to legend, Malverde, who died in the early 20th century, was, like Guzman, a bandit who spread his wealth around. Guzman "has given out a lot of money," said Gonzalez. "He's built many things."
The new homes and buildings in the municipality of Badiraguato (a municipality is like a county in the US) create a real dichotomy here because in Badiraguato one third of its 35,000 inhabitants fall within the level of “pobreza alimentaria”. Simply put these are families that do not have enough to eat. The hunger is distributed in the mountains, in eleven scattered villages and countless hamlets above the town. A world where many homes are constructed of cardboard or sheets of tin or crumbling adobe, where the women and children live barefoot.
Surrounded by hills and streams, these communities can only be reached by 4 x 4 vehicles or ATV’s or horseback. The journey should be taken during the day because there is no lighting or even proper roads.
Badiraguato is the second largest municipality in area within the state of Sinaloa, but for 2011 received the lowest budget, which totaled 100 million pesos. "Barely enough for current expenditures," says the mayor
Badiraguato, Sinaloa is the birthplace of drug trafficking in Mexico, the genesis of today’s violence. It is a land of contradictions where marijuana is extensively cultivated and yet the community remains one of the poorest in the nation, abandoned to its fate. It is not now nor has it ever been a place for the weak.
Maybe it is the water, or maybe the geography, but Badiraguato has a curious distinction that sets it apart from any other municipality in the entire country of Mexico.
Badiraguato is the birthplace of “Narcos”. In the 1940’s the hills of this municipality gave birth to Pedro Aviles (considered by some to be the first drug kingpin. He was killed by the federal police in the 1970’s), Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada and Juan Jose Esparragoza Moreno “El Azul” (the latter two are both bosses in the Sinaloa cartel), and Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo (former leader of the Guadalajara cartel and implicated in the death of DEA agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena)
Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada
Juan Jose Esparragoza Moreno “El Azul”
Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo
In the 1950’s Rafael Caro Quintero, convicted in Mexico and released from prison recently after serving 28 years of a 40 year sentence for drug trafficking and the murder of Camarena, and Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera, the head kingpin in the Sinaloa cartel were born in the villages up in the hills.
Rafael Caro Quintero CHAPO GUZMAN
In the 1960’s Arturo, Alfredo, Carlos and Hector Beltran Leyva, the brothers who founded the Beltran Leyva cartel and distant cousins of “El Chapo” were born and raised in Badiraguato.
Alfredo Beltran Leyva
Arturo Beltrán Leyva
Carlos Beltrán Leyva
Hector Beltran Leyva
But spawning drug lords is not the only thing Badiraguato is noted for. The state of Sinaloa is known for it's beautiful women and Badiraguato contributes it's share.
Candidates for Miss Badiraguato 2007-2008
The men of Badiraguato are widely seen as macho, closemouthed people of tight knit clans, with traditions of intense loyalty, blood feuds and honor killings. It is said that the code of silence in Badiraguato is deeper than that of the Sicilian Mafia.
"It's true. All that is true. They were born here. They saw poverty and went to seek a better life. Some would return and help with food. Others are still in search of their life, "says Mayor Angel Robles.
The roots of drug trafficking in Badiraguato go back to start of the 20th century when Chinese migrants arrived in the area as cheap labor for the construction of railroads and brought their knowledge of the cultivation of opium with them.
It was found that the sierra surrounding Badiraguato had the perfect geography and climate and poppies became a permanent fixture in the agriculture of the municipality.
Opium still played a minor role until the market exploded during the Second World War and morphine was in high demand worldwide. During the post war period the market for morphine and heroin from soldiers returning to the U.S. and the remoteness and inaccessibility of the Bidaraguato sierra led to the formation of criminal enterprises dedicated to drug production and trafficking.
In June 2009 in the municipality of Badiraguato, Mexican Marines seized and destroyed the largest methamphtamine lab ever found (up to that point in time) in Latin America. According to Mexican authorities there were enough precursors on site to manufacture 40,208 kilos of methamphetamine with a value of 437 million dollars
Soto, of the Institute of Economic and Social Research at the Autonomous University of Sinaloa (UAS), says: "Badiraguato has been excluded from agricultural production because people see it as a harsh, aggressive and delinquent setting. Investors are afraid to initiate projects here, or to even put into place sustainable seasonal agriculture for the local market."
“This isolation contributes to the lack of employment and no income,” says Soto. "So people become prey to drug trafficking."
This intricate destiny began in 1970. Arturo Lizárraga, a researcher of Sinaloa migration studies, argues that is the year the sowing and harvest of marijuana began in Badiraguato’s high sierra. It became the catalyst for the daily violence in people’s lives.
The federal government sent the first Army troops to the villages to catch the marijuana growers. Victimized by the suspicion of the authorities, many residents fled. Others who stayed seized the vacated lands. Some who fled returned and seized other lands.
Seven years later Operation Condor was launched, which meant the distribution of 10,000 soldiers in the region dubbed the "golden triangle", the mountainous area Sinaloa, Durango and Chihuahua meet. Since then Badiraguato has been considered the gateway to that triangle.
The villagers do not view this past with pride. They complain of their present. They say their children can no longer live in this endless conflict. "You know the soldiers enter our homes without permission," says one woman. "And you never get used to it, how does one get used to being always treated like a criminal?”
The cemetery with graves of adolescents and young adults are the most reliable evidence of this chronic unremitting tragedy. Better to live like a “rey” (king) for six years than a “guey” (fool) for sixty is a common saying in this municipality.
Four generations of men are buried in many plots. Everything one sees here confirms that in five decades there has been no peace.
These hills build fear in some and conviction in others. A primary school teacher in the town explains: "No, children are not indoctrinated into drug trafficking. It is simpler than that. The children have their parents or siblings in jail. Or dead. Because they were tending the fields or were in the outlaw life or were gomeros (men who specialize in growing opium poppies). Because of shame, anger or solidarity or any other reason they all enter that life. Illegal activity is not condemned or praised. It is treated with silence."
is clear is that Badiraguato is an area with a lot of poor people.
“Up there in the mountains there are no schools, no roads, no electricity and no water other than that provided by Mother Nature. But there are families, and they need to live somehow,” expressed Martin Meza, the previous mayor.
“If we want to win this war against drug trafficking we-as a government-have to start by providing people with some hope and a future, aside from the one they provide for themselves by growing drugs.”
Notes on Operation Condor:
Operation Condor was a massive antidrug operation by 10,000 Mexican Army troops that swept the Golden Triangle area of Sinaloa, Chihuahua and Durango in search of marijuana and opium growers and traffickers.
The operation began in 1975 under pressure from the Nixon administration that had started the U.S. “war on drugs”. It is rumored that American advisors and DEA agents took part on the ground and American pilots took part in the spraying of defoliants.
The commander of the operation was General Jose Hernandez Toledo who had taken part in the student massacre in Mexico City’s Tlatelolco square in 1968.
Operation Condor was in fact an extension of Latin American cold war counterinsurgency warfare using tactics that had successfully liquidated a rural guerrilla movement named “El Partido de los Pobres” led by Genaro Vasquez and Lucio Cabañas in the state of Guerrero in the early 1970's.
The brutal repression used by the army in the Golden Triangle left a legacy of violence and hatred for authority that continues to this day. Although widely touted as being successful in reaching its objectives of destroying vast quantities of drugs, the operation was in fact a failure in that the flow of drugs into the U.S. was not stopped. Most of the traffickers were able to leave the region while the rural poor suffered most.
Operation Condor also had the unintended consequence of consolidating drug traffickers into the nucleuses of the large cartels that we see today.
Words are powerful weapons, be careful how you use them.
good post DD.
The way I see it.... the more people that don't like me, the less people I have to please
I'll say again what chivis said...great post
to you, DD
In reply to this post by Chivis
Thanks Chivis and the others for your kind comments. I spent some hours reading about Badiraguato. Then it took me several hours to put it together because Nabble didn't want to cooperate with me posting images.
Almost gave up on it.
Words are powerful weapons, be careful how you use them.
Thanks from me as well for the great post. Nabble has given me fits a couple times. Sometimes a post I'm working on will just go blank.
Those that say, don't know. Those that know, don't say.
what happen to mexicos slogan vamanos al norte a truinfar now its i wanna be narco when people didnt find work in mexico they would just head north for the border and try to live the american dream what makes these people have peace of mind working for el chapo what happens when the boss comes drunk one day or el rancho cajoncinto situation or somebody stealing product when the actual thief is the supervisor and his blaming one of the workers do they just take their complaints to the human resource dept hmmmmm. thats a toughy!
Badiraguato is one of those places in sinaloa in which the narco-law is king. The very few cops are colluded to the extent of it.
All men in it, especially in the Sierra, are raised with guns and start shooting one since when they can remember, they are a sort of militia. Most young men have dads, brothers, uncles and cousins in organized crime therefore follow their steps. These parts of sinaloa is where with no doubt the druglords go around with at least 50 bodyguards some times over a hundred.
It has been rumored and is very believable that el chapo would go around with 200 bodyguards around these places. Untouched and unbothered.
ranchos are away from the city pueblos have like 2 to 3 local cops ranchos have zero cops if you kill someone in el rancho by the time cops get there your already deep in the sierras i can see how easy it was for el chapo to walk around with 200 men on his side la tuta does the same thing los ranchos usually only have 2 entrances in the front and in the back and some have long roads before you even start to see houses setting up halcones is easy there cutting theyr main phone line is also easy some celphones dont even get reception no celltowers for miles and people know too keep thier mouth shut if you pass gas everybody will know who did it
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