If elected, Vivek Ramaswamy wants to take down ‘The Most Power Cartel in History’ Black Rock, Vanguard, and State Street


Important Takeaways:

  • BlackRock, Vanguard, State Street Are ‘Most Powerful Cartel in History’, Says Vivek
  • Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy has declared the BlackRock, State Street, and Vanguard corporations are “arguably the most powerful cartel in human history,” using their financial might to impose hard-left climate change policies and identity politics on much of the supposedly free market.
  • “[T]hey’re the largest shareholders of nearly every major public company (even of each other) & they use *your* own money to foist ESG [Environmental, Social, and Governance] agendas onto corporate boards – voting for ‘racial equity audits’ & ‘Scope 3 emissions caps’ that don’t advance your best financial interests,” Ramaswamy accused.
  • BlackRock CEO Larry Fink bragged in 2017 that mega-businesses like his were using their financial firepower to “force behaviors” on gender and race, while BlackRock recruiter Serge Varlay was caught boasting that the firm had U.S. Senators and other politician “in [its] pocket” by an undercover reporter earlier this year.
  • “This raises serious fiduciary, antitrust, and conflict-of-interest concerns. As President I will cut off the real hand that guides the ESG movement – not the invisible hand of the free market, but the invisible fist of government itself,” said the tech entrepreneur, a previously unknown figure who has now pulled ahead of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in multiple polls.

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El Chapo’s son led dramatic rescue of his half brother in Mexico battle

El Chapo’s son led dramatic rescue of his half brother in Mexico battle
By Anthony Esposito and Ana Isabel Martinez

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Ivan Archivaldo Guzman, the leader of Los Chapitos wing of the Sinaloa Cartel, was behind the assault on security forces that prompted the release of his half-brother from a house in the city of Culiacan last week, a top Mexican official said.

The men’s father is Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, Mexico’s most infamous drug kingpin, who himself slipped away from authorities on multiple occasions before being sentenced to life imprisonment in the United States this year.

Younger brother Ovidio Guzman was briefly captured by Mexican security forces on Oct. 17 in an upscale neighborhood of Culiacan, until hundreds of heavily-armed Sinaloa Cartel gunmen forced his release.

The botched raid has called into question Mexico’s security strategy and put pressure on President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has insisted that the release was necessary to protect the lives of civilians and security personnel.

Questions have circulated about the role of the older Guzman brother in launching the fierce counterattack led by gunmen in armored vehicles armed with mounted weapons that left parts of the city smoldering.

Late on Thursday, Security Minister Alfonso Durazo said Ivan Archivaldo had played a key part.

“He was one of those leading the mobilization of various criminal elements in Culiacan,” Durazo said, while denying reports that the elder brother had also been briefly captured.

“Ivan Archivaldo was not at the home that was taken over by (security) personnel who participated in this operation,” he said.

A senior security official told Reuters that Ovidio was found in the house with his partner, their two daughters, and two guards. The official asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The Sinaloa Cartel, along with the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, are Mexico’s largest and most powerful drug trafficking organizations.

Since El Chapo left the scene, his partner Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada has taken on a coordinating “godfather” role overseeing several factions in the organization, an official at the U.S. Justice Department told Reuters.

Four brothers, led by Ivan Archivaldo, form one group collectively known as Los Chapitos, or “little Chapos.” El Chapo’s brother heads another unit, and veteran trafficker Rafael Caro-Quintero leads another, the official said. In a 2018 interview with a Mexican magazine, Caro-Quintero denied he was still a drug trafficker.

(Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Additional reporting by Ana Isabel Martinez; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

‘El Chapo’ trial reveals drug lord’s love life, business dealings

Accused Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and his wife Emma Coronel Aispuro looks on in this courtroom sketch, during closing arguments at his trial in Brooklyn federal court in New York City, U.S., January 31, 2019. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg

By Brendan Pierson and Daina Beth Solomon

(Reuters) – On a typical day, Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman would wake at noon and make calls while strolling under the trees in the mountains of his native Sinaloa state, where he was in hiding, a witness recently testified at the kingpin’s trial.

The infamous gangster’s personal life and business dealings have gone on public display since mid-November at a courthouse in New York, where Guzman faces 10 criminal counts and a possible life sentence.

The jury will begin deliberations on Monday, after attorneys for the prosecution and defense gave closing statements this week.

U.S. prosecutors, who say Guzman amassed a $14 billion fortune through bribery, murder and drug smuggling, supported their case by calling to the stand Guzman’s former associates, including one who says she was his lover and another whose brother was among his top allies, as well as law enforcement officers.

“Do not let him escape responsibility,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrea Goldbarg told jurors on Wednesday, standing at a table displaying AK-47 rifles and bricks of cocaine as evidence.

Defense lawyers claim the 61-year-old Guzman, whose nickname means “Shorty,” was set up as a scapegoat. They attacked the credibility of witnesses, many of whom have extensive criminal histories.

Here are some of the most colorful tales from recent weeks in the courtroom:


** Guzman’s voice was “sing-songy” with a “nasally undertone,” said FBI agent Steven Marston. In one recorded call, Guzman tells an associate, “Don’t be so harsh… take it easy with the police.” The partner responds: “You taught us to be a wolf.”

** Text messages between Guzman and his wife, Emma Coronel, often turned to family matters. “Our Kiki is fearless,” Guzman wrote in one, referring to one of their daughters. “I’m going to give her an AK-47 so she can hang with me.”

** After Coronel said she saw a suspicious car, Guzman wrote to her, “You go ahead and lead a normal life. That’s it.” Later he reminds her: “Make sure you delete everything after we’re done chatting.”

** In one of the trial’s final days, Guzman told the judge he would not testify in his own defense. The same day, he grinned broadly at audience member Alejandro Edda, the Mexican actor who plays Guzman in the Netflix television drama “Narcos.”


** Multiple “wives” visited Guzman when he was hiding in Sinaloa, said Alex Cifuentes, a former close partner.

** Lucero Sanchez Lopez, a former Mexican lawmaker, told jurors she once had a romantic relationship with Guzman, who sent her to buy and ship marijuana. “I didn’t want for him to mistrust me because I thought he could also hurt me,” she said. “I was confused about my own feelings over him. Sometimes I loved him and sometimes I didn’t.”

** Agustina Cabanillas, a partner of Guzman who called him “love,” set up drug deals by passing information between Guzman and others. In one message, Cabinillas called Guzman a “jerk” who was trying to spy on her. “Guess what? I’m smarter than him,” she wrote.


** Guzman’s Sinaloa Cartel paid bribes, some in the millions of dollars, to Mexican officials at every level, said Jesus Zambada, the brother of Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada, who worked alongside El Chapo and is still at large.

** Beneficiaries included a high-ranking police official who fed Guzman information on police activities “every day,” said Miguel Angel Martinez, a former cartel manager.

** Guzman once paid $100 million to former President Enrique Pena Nieto, Cifuentes said. Pena Nieto has denied taking any bribes.

** When imprisoned in Mexico in 2016, Guzman bribed a national prison official $2 million to be transferred to a different facility, but the move was unsuccessful.


** After a rival cartel member declined to shake Guzman’s hand, he ordered the man killed, fueling a war between the cartels, Zambada said.

** When assassins reporting to Guzman killed a police official who worked for a rival, Zambada said, they lured him out of his house by pretending they had hit his son with a car.

** Guzman ordered Cifuentes to kill the cartel’s communications expert after learning he was cooperating with the FBI. But Cifuentes said he was unable to carry out the hit because he did not know the man’s last name.

** When Damazo Lopez Nunez, a top lieutenant to Guzman, told his boss that a Mexican mayor wanted them to “remove” a troublesome police officer, Guzman told him they should do her the favor because the mayor was a favorite for an upcoming state election, Lopez testified. He said Guzman told him to make the killing look like revenge from a gang member.

** Lopez also said Guzman’s sons killed a prominent reporter in Sinaloa because he published an article about cartel infighting against their wishes.

** One of Guzman’s former bodyguards, Isaias Valdez Rios, said he watched his boss personally kill three rival cartel members. Guzman shot one of them and ordered his underlings to bury the man while he was gasping for air. On another occasion, Guzman tortured two men for hours before shooting them each in the head and ordering their bodies tossed into a flaming pit.


** For a period of Guzman’s time as a fugitive in Sinaloa, in northern Mexico, his posse lived in “humble pine huts” with tinted windows, satellite televisions and washer-dryers, Cifuentes said. About 50 guards formed three rings around the homes to keep watch.

** Guzman escaped into a tunnel hidden beneath a bathtub when U.S. agents raided one of his homes in 2014, said Sanchez, his lover. She followed Guzman, who was completely naked, into the passage, feeling water trickle down her legs. “It was very dark and I was very scared,” she said.

** Guzman’s wife helped her husband tunnel out of a Mexican prison in 2015 by passing messages to his associates, Lopez testified. She unsuccessfully tried to help him duplicate the escape when he was captured the next year.

(Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; Additional reporting and writing by Daina Beth Solomon in Mexico City; Editing by Tom Brown and Dan Grebler)

Mexico City spike in crime, violence sparks fears of cartel warfare

Police vehicles patrol the streets, after suspected gang members were killed on Thursday in a gun battle with Mexican marines in Mexico City, Mexico, July 21, 2017. REUTERS/Henry Romero

By Gabriel Stargardter

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – The sight of vehicles set ablaze by cartels has mostly been confined to lawless stretches of Mexico’s provinces, so the appearance of burning buses in Mexico City this week has stoked fears that the drug gangs’ violence is spreading to the capital.

The so-called narco-blockade on Thursday in the tough Mexico City suburb of Tlahuac occurred after Mexican marines gunned down eight suspected gangsters in broad daylight, a highly unusual incident that underlined a recent spike in violent crime.

“The city’s authorities have lost control of the situation,” said Jose, a veteran Mexico City policeman who spoke on the condition his surname be withheld.

“Now the cartels are getting stronger, they can’t control them any more. That’s why they asked the marines to come in.”

All told, 206 murder investigations were opened in Mexico City between May and June, making it the bloodiest two month-period on record in the capital, official data show.

Mexico City and its urban sprawl form the economic heart of the country, accounting for roughly a quarter of gross domestic product, according to the OECD, and the rise in violence is a major embarrassment for the Mexican government.

The crime spree mirrors a rising tide of violence nationally that has exposed major law and order shortcomings by Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and his ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, less than a year before the next presidential election.

Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera, who harbors his own presidential ambitions, has also come under fire for not doing enough to protect the capital, and for saying repeatedly that drug cartels do not operate in the city.

In a news conference on Friday, Mancera said the suspects belonged to a “a big, violent criminal organization whose operations were no longer confined to Tlahuac,” noting they traversed the city in armed convoys.

“From my point of view, they didn’t have the structures and size that we associate with cartels,” he added.

Mexico’s criminal underworld has mutated in recent years, thanks to a prolonged military-led assault that smashed the cartels into hundreds of informal crews with little experience in cross-border trafficking.

As these smaller groups jostle over the kidnapping and extortion rackets, violence has soared. The country’s murder tally this year is on track to post the highest since modern records began in 1997.

Various factors are seen behind the capital’s rise in violence.

Weak economic growth and chronically low wages drive youths in poor neighborhoods into crime. These troubled youths often extort small business owners, eventually shuttering them which makes jobs even harder to come by, according to local policeman Jose.

He also dismissed the idea that criminal gangs were not in the city, saying both La Familia Michoacana and the powerful Jalisco New Generation Cartel operate in the capital.

Francisco Rivas, director of the National Citizen Observatory, a civil group monitoring justice and security in Mexico, said regardless of what constitutes a cartel, the days of the capital being isolated from the drug violence were over.

“What’s happening in Mexico City reflects the national outlook,” he said. “We have a crisis of organized crime.”

(Additional reporting by Lizbeth Diaz and Ana Isabel Martinez; editing by Dave Graham, G Crosse)

Mexico captures protégé, turned enemy, of drug lord Chapo Guzman

Accused drug kingpin Damaso Lopez (C), nicknamed “The Graduate”, is escorted by police officers in Mexico City, Mexico May 2, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican security forces on Tuesday arrested accused drug kingpin Damaso Lopez, believed to be locked in a bloody struggle for control of the Sinaloa Cartel against the sons of its captured leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

The attorney general’s office announced that its agents with the help of the army had captured Lopez, 51, one of the top-ranking figures in the world’s most successful drug cartel, which has been destabilized by “El Chapo’s” extradition in January to the United States.

Guzman’s latest imprisonment triggered a violent power struggle that has led to daylight gun battles involving truck-mounted machine guns in the northwestern state of Sinaloa, with Mexican officials attributing the bloodshed to a tussle between Lopez and the former leader’s sons.

“(Lopez) is considered one of the main drug traffickers and generators of violence in Sinaloa and the south of the Baja California peninsula,” Omar Garcia, head of the Criminal Investigation Agency, told a news conference.

Last month the body of a man tossed from an airplane landed on a hospital roof in Lopez’s Sinaloan home town, Eldorado, and shootings have become common this year around the tourist resorts of Baja California.

Lopez was believed to have been seeking a new alliance with rival Jalisco New Generation Cartel, and his arrest will likely be a relief for Guzman’s family and their faction.

“This arrest reduces the possibility of an alliance that the detainee was seeking with another organized crime group that operates in several states of the country,” Garcia said.

Lopez, nicknamed “The Graduate,” was captured in an apartment in a middle-class Mexico City neighborhood in the early hours of Tuesday, a few weeks after a video emerged of him eating at a Mexico City restaurant.

He was held for several hours at the apartment with a heavy army presence outside the building before being sped in a convoy of white vehicles through the city to a unit of the attorney general’s office, live TV footage showed.

Lopez is himself a former security official, believed to have studied at Sinaloa’s state university, who Mexican officials say played a role in orchestrating Guzman’s first escape from prison in 2001, before joining the cartel.

The U.S Treasury Department in 2013 called him Guzman’s “right hand man” and froze his U.S. assets. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in the same year, accused of importing $280 million of drugs to the United States.

Guzman, who broke out twice from prison in Mexico, was recaptured for the last time in January 2016. One of the world’s most wanted drug lords, he was extradited to the United States to face charges there on Jan. 19, the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration as U.S. president.

Trump has vowed to break the power of translational drug cartels and said that his planned wall on the U.S.-Mexico border would stem the flow of drugs into the United States. He has issued executive orders that aim to improve coordination between U.S. law enforcement agencies and their foreign partners.

(Reporting by Dave Graham and Miguel Gutierrez; Writing by Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by W Simon, Grant McCool and Lisa Shumaker)

Shootouts in Mexico show Trump’s drug cartel fight will be tough

forensic scientists work at crime scene

By Christine Murray and Lizbeth Diaz

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Since Mexico’s top drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman was extradited to a U.S. jail, gunfights in broad daylight have rocked his home state of Sinaloa in a power struggle that is a reminder of how hard it is to crush the country’s drug cartels.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday signed an executive order aimed at dismantling the cartels his spokesman called “a clear and present danger.” To succeed, history suggests, Trump will have to go further then capturing or killing gang leaders.

When leaders such as Guzman are taken out, others replace them or the cartels splinter. Either way, the flow of drugs to lucrative U.S. markets is rarely interrupted for long.

As boss of the Sinaloa cartel, Guzman escaped from prison twice before Mexico’s navy arrested him last year after a chase through city sewers. Flown to the United States in January, he is awaiting trial in a New York jail.

In his absence, violence has flared. The Sinaloans, long the world’s largest drug gang with a footprint across most of the United States, appear to be facing both an internal power struggle and challenges from upstart rivals.

Last month, there were 116 homicides in Sinaloa, 50 percent more than the same month in 2016, an official at the state attorney general’s office told Reuters.

Shootouts in the state capital Culiacan resulted in 12 deaths over three days in the last week alone, the office said in a statement. The state education ministry suspended classes in 148 schools on Wednesday, citing security issues.

A video obtained by Reuters from a Federal Police official showed a pick-up truck fitted with a mounted machine gun circling a gas station during a two-minute exchange of gunfire.

The official said the footage was taken in Culiacan. Reuters could not independently verify that. Earlier, a Mexican marine and five other people were killed in clashes with a drug gang’s armed convoy that was roaming the city.

Tomas Guevara, who studies crime at Sinaloa State University, attributed the outburst of violence to the breakdown of an alliance between factions, with Guzman’s sons Alfredo and Ivan Archivaldo on one side and another leader, Damaso “El Licenciado” Lopez, on the other.

Scott Stewart, vice president of tactical analysis at security consultancy Stratfor, said Chapo was out of touch now he was in a U.S. jail.

“That seems to have emboldened ‘El Licenciado’,” Stewart said.

After Guzman was extradited the night before Trump’s inauguration, former and current U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officials told Reuters they expected an imminent move on Chapo’s sons by their rivals. A letter this week to a top Mexican journalist claimed they were injured in the latest violence.


In a call with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto this month, Trump offered help, saying Mexico had not done a good job knocking the cartels out, according to a CNN report.

Trump’s executive order tells federal agencies to increase help for foreign partners on security and on intelligence sharing. The order was vague on details. The U.S. government and Mexico already work closely to tackle cartels.

For example, on Thursday, Mexican marines used a Black Hawk helicopter to kill eight alleged gang members including the head of the Beltran-Leyva gang, a rival of El Chapo. The United States sold Black Hawks to Mexico under the anti-cartel Plan Merida.

Steve Dudley of think-tank Insight Crime said it was impossible to end the flow of drugs, but more could be done on violence. Success would depend on stabilizing the volatile turn in bilateral relations under Trump.

“The overriding concern on the part of law enforcement officials on both sides of the border is that they are now at the whim of a seemingly erratic, chaotic approach,” he said.

Mexico’s national security commission did not respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Christine Murray and Lizbeth Diaz; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and James Dalgleish)

Brazil Drug Cartel Promises “World Cup of Terror”

A Brazilian drug cartel is threatening mass terror attacks during next year’s World Cup.

The cartel, First Capital Command in Sao Paulo, murdered more than 100 police officers in the city last year. The threat of increased terror and violence came as government prosecutors worked to move cartel members to a more secure jail facility.

Six 2014 World Cup matches, including the tournament’s opening game, is scheduled to be held in Sao Paulo.

Soccer’s World Cup draws millions of fans from around the world and would be a major economic boom for Brazil. The recent spate of violence and the threats from drug cartels is putting tourism in question. Officials said that they could not guarantee the safety of anyone who comes Brazil for the tournament.

Rio de Janiero is scheduled to host the Olympics in 2016 and there are fears of violence causing delays in construction of Olympic venues or threaten safety for athletes.