Letter to the Editor: Objections to “El Chapo Comes to America”

This is a letter to the editor submitted by senior Spanish major, Derek Benjamin.

I would like to bring attention to an event hosted by College Republicans, “El Chapo Comes to America.” Below are some objections to the “Open Season” scavenger hunt.

First, such an event trivializes the recent escape of Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the leader of the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico. The drug lord recently escaped from prison for the third time. As a result of the gang’s activity, thousands of people have been murdered, both in Mexico and elsewhere. Many more have had their lives devastated by the drugs trafficked by the cartel and the violence that it spawns. By hosting an event to “capture” El Chapo and creating a poster which calls to mind the days of wanted posters and bounty hunters, College Republicans is not helping to encourage constructive discussions about the topic. Instead, it pokes fun at the most difficult issue facing Mexico at this time and thus does not afford it the gravity it deserves. I highly doubt that College Republicans would treat the escape of an American prisoner in such a flippant manner.

Second, the event subtly presupposes American superiority. It invokes the image of Americans racing across the country in search of a killer drug lord and suggests that such a situation would be more effective for capturing El Chapo than the efforts of Mexican police. The promotion of that idea is not only disrespectful to Mexico, but it also creates an unwelcoming atmosphere for the international students in our community. Belittling the struggles of another nation sends the message that other nations are mediocre at best in comparison to the United States of America.

The Truman community should strive to foster an environment of welcome, hospitality, and inclusivity towards our international students. “El Chapo Comes to America” does not do so.

Finally, College Republicans is selling tickets to the event for $3. It would seem that the organization is seeking to make a profit off of the event. The fact that it intends to fundraise by making fun of the issue of El Chapo’s escape speaks volumes about the organization.

I hope that College Republicans will be more mindful of the content of its future events. “El Chapo Comes to America” does not speak to that which is best in our Truman community.

This story appeared on page 4 of the Jan. 21 Index.