23 July 2015, The Tablet

Mexico bishops' fury at drugs cartel leader's jailbreak

Mexico’s bishops have rounded furiously on their Government, expressing outrage at the escape from prison of the notorious leader of the Sinaloa drugs cartel, Joaquín Guzmán.

The Bishops’ Conference said Guzmán’s escape was an “embarrassment” and questioned the ability of the new Governance Ministry to operate effectively. The ministry, set up in 2012, is known as a super ministry, with a vast array of responsibilities from national security to town planning. An editorial in the bishops’ official newspaper called it a “useless giant”, unable to do anything properly. 

“The super ministry has shown itself to be ineffective in organising public security and intelligence. It has now become a mini ministry,” says the editorial.  

Guzmán, one of the world’s richest men, escaped from the Altiplano maximum security prison last week through an underground tunnel a mile long. He had previously broken out of jail in 2001 going on the run until he was recaptured last year.

The Bishop of Córdoba, Eduardo Patiño Leal said Guzmán's escape revealed the extent of corruption in Mexico. “We'd be naive to think that the authorities weren't complicit,” he said.

The Bishop of Irapuato, José de Jesús Martínez, said the escape further weakened the flimsy credibility of the federal authorities. “It’s yet another drama for Mexico, everything they’ve been telling us about things calming down evaporates when a drug trafficker escapes for a second time from a maximum security prison – it seems like the Mexican people are being mocked.”

The Archbishop of Antequera, José Luis Chávez Botello, said in his homily on Sunday that the escape revealed corruption at every level of government. “This is a wake-up call telling the Mexican people to demand more from the authorities,” he said.

The Bishop of Tlaxcala, Francisco Moreno Barrón, denounced the weakness of the prison system in Mexico, but asked the media to stop focusing on the escape of one man when there were so many other problems to think about. 

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