El Chapo Trial Has Yet to Reveal Mexico’s Dark Secrets of Narco-Corruption

December 10, 2018

December, 10 2018 (New York Times)

For a moment, the trial of Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the Mexican drug lord known as El Chapo, seemed like it might turn into a kind of truth-and-reconciliation commission that would reveal, not only the details about the defendant’s life of crime, but also secrets about narco-corruption in Mexico.

But after a flurry of prosecution filings and rulings by the judge in the first three weeks, it now appears unlikely the trial will become a sweeping exposé on bribery. The jury has heard plenty so far about payoffs to the Mexican police and politicians, but there is much they have not heard — and probably never will.

Setting limits on evidence at criminal trials is common in order to focus on specific charges against specific individuals. But the limits placed on the evidence in this case seem to counter a deep desire in Mexico for a public airing of the sins of its law-enforcement and political establishments in a longstanding drug war.

“I had really big expectations,” said Daniel Ortiz de Montellano Vasquez, a compliance officer at a currency exchange at the Mexico City airport. But at least so far, he said, those expectations have not been met.