A challenge for Mexico

Extradition is the most practical and popular way to take Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán out of circulation. An opinion poll found that seven out of every 10 Mexicans do not believe that Mexico can guarantee his imprisonment. The majority thought it would be best to send him to the U.S., like it has happened with other drug lords.

What would be right is for Mexico—as a democratic society based on solid institutions—to put Guzmán on trial and punish him for the damage he caused to Mexicans with his crimes. The challenge for Mexico’s government is to demonstrate that past experiences, which led to distrust among the public, are not part of this “new Mexico” that President Enrique Peña Nieto is touting.

The Mexican government is the one responsible for making sure that “El Chapo” stays locked up, is prosecuted and gets sentenced to the fullest extent of the law. When his sentence ends, he can be extradited to the U.S. for the crimes on this side of the border. Let’s not lose sight of the seriousness of his crimes.

The legal prosecution of “El Chapo” is already underway. According to Mexico’s Attorney General, there won’t be an extradition, at least a quick one. Peña Nieto’s administration seems to be betting on Mexico’s biggest drug boss being tried in his country. This arrest and prosecution for organized crime can prove that the government is really capable of providing the security that Mexicans demand.

The popular distrust when it comes to “El Chapo” surpasses political matters, the wondering if the PRI, the PAN or the PRD is the most corrupt. Mexicans know that Guzmán’s arrest is testing the strength of the Mexican justice system. It tests the power that goes beyond a six-year term, which persists at different levels in institutions where chains break at the weakest link, whether a judge, a guard or someone else.