Alejandrina Guzman, the daughter of notorious crime lord El Chapo, has stamped her father's face on hundreds of face masks and care packages being distributed through Guadalajara. Her company, El Chapo 701 (the 701 is in reference to his ranking on Forbes Magazine's list of richest people back in 2009) is attempting to repaint her father as a modern day Robin Hood, returning his wealth to the citizens struggling with the Mexican government's poor response to the coronavirus.
El Chapo's reputation has gained in popularity with the poor. Musicians wrote dozens of ballads glorifying his exploits, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador chatted with El Chapo's mother during a visit to his hometown, and Guzman's efforts have been some of the only relief the average citizen has seen. President Obrador has resisted calls for more aid beyond his 60 million peso relief package, and banking officials have predicted an 8% drop in the economy.
This is part of a trend in Latin American countries of criminal groups acting as de facto governments during the crisis. Gangs in El Savador and Colombia are enforcing the lockdownas self-appointed guardians of civic responsibility.
They’re “being very public about it,” said Maureen Meyer, Mexico director at the Washington Office on Latin America, a think-tank. The movement “suggests these organizations have little concern of retaliation from the federal government.”
Currently El Chapo 701 is only giving away relief kits in Guadalajara but says it plans to expand its efforts into other cities. In a video posted this week on Facebook, El Chapo 701 workers assembled boxes that included toilet paper, pasta and vegetable oil. “We’re working for you,” one of them said. A half dozen photos show the elderly and infirm receiving the goods.