Sunday, May 26, 2024

El Chapo’s wife stands by her man, ‘excellent father, friend, brother, son, partner’

During a period of 10 weeks at the New York trial of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, a total of 56 witnesses gave testimony against the former drug lord, portraying him not only as a drug trafficker but a ruthless killer and an insatiable womanizer.

But his wife sees him rather differently.

Sitting in a reserved seat in the public gallery of the Brooklyn federal court almost every day of the trial, 29-year-old Emma Coronel Aispuro heard just about every word spoken against her husband of more than a decade.

And despite the evidence that continued to mount against the father of her twin seven-year-old daughters, Coronel continues to stand by her man.

“Everything that has been said in court about Joaquín, the good and the bad, has done nothing to change how I think about him after years of knowing him,” she said in a post on Instagram yesterday.

“I don’t know my husband as the person they are trying to show him as,” Coronel told the New York Times in an interview. “But rather I admire him as the human being that I met, and the one I married.”

Although he has either been in prison or on the run during the entirety of their nearly 12-year marriage, Coronel said that Guzmán is an “excellent father, friend, brother, son and partner.”

If convicted – the jury will start deliberating on Monday – the 61-year-old former head of the Sinaloa Cartel will face a likely sentence of life imprisonment, meaning that until the day he dies, he will have to conduct those personal relationships from behind bars.

Such was the overwhelming evidence against Guzmán, that his legal team presented a defense Tuesday that lasted for just 30 minutes. The prosecution rested its lengthy case Monday.

During the trial, Guzmán has been held at an undisclosed location, where the only approved visitors are his daughters, Emali and María Joaquina, who attend school in Mexico.

Coronel has not been allowed to visit or speak to him, and before his trial started the presiding judge ruled that she couldn’t give him a brief hug.

Even so, Coronel, who was born in California but grew up in Durango, told the Times that she didn’t consider herself a single mother.

“More so, a mother who in this moment doesn’t have the support of her husband, but trusts that the family will be well,” she said while conceding, “obviously our life has changed.”

Coronel said that Guzmán “was a father very present to the attention of our daughters,” adding that the girls are “the adoration of their father and he is the adoration of them.”

Coronel, who wed Guzmán in a “very simple ceremony” when she was just 18, didn’t take the witness stand herself as married couples cannot be compelled to testify against each other but she was nevertheless implicated in the trial.

One witness, Dámaso López Núñez, named her as a co-conspirator in Guzmán’s infamous 2015 prison break via a tunnel, and a recording of a telephone call between the couple was played to the jury.

During the conversation, Coronel passed the telephone to her father, also a former cartel member, and Guzmán told him about a drug shipment into the United States.

Prosecutors also shared text messages that the couple exchanged in 2012, which revealed that Coronel was preparing for a potential raid by authorities.

“Any weapons there, love? Do you have a gun?” Guzmán asked in one message. “I have one of yours. That you gave me,” she responded.

The evidence presented has led many to wonder how Coronel has managed to avoid criminal charges herself. Prosecutors declined to answer questions about why she is not in danger of being charged.

“My name was often mentioned and called into question,” Coronel admitted.

“I can only say that I have done nothing to be ashamed of. I am not perfect, but I consider myself a good human being who never intentionally hurt anyone.”

Source: AFP (sp), The New York Times (en) 

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