Since I’ve been spending so much time, over many months, following various deep-state scandals and their impact on the 2020 election, I decided this weekend to take a break from all that, sit back, and watch some TV.
Little did I know that a Netflix series called EL CHAPO would pull me right back into the world of election fraud. And the plot of Season 2, Episode 6, released in October, 2017, bears a fascinating resemblance to suspicions about our own 2020 election.
EL CHAPO is a Mexican production, a serialized docudrama “inspired by...newsworthy events concerning one of the most notorious criminals of our time, Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, a matter of utmost public interest and concern.” While some supporting players are composites of real people, some names have been changed, and some elements of the timeline have been altered for dramatic purposes, this show is said to be based on real events. And there’s a presidential election in it –- an election that was apparently stolen.
In this episode, El Chapo orders henchman “Don Sol” to keep candidate Andres Labrador from becoming president of Mexico in 2006, as he sees Labrador as a threat to his drug trafficking. The rest of the show deals with how that order is carried out. Spoiler alert: Labrador is defeated and a new president, Felipe Alarcon, wins through election fraud.
Labrador is a political outsider who says the two established parties are “two sides of the same coin.” He promises to be tough on criminals, even those who are wealthy elites. And he’s rising in the polls. So “El Sol” gets to work for El Chapo, meeting with Labrador’s campaign coordinator in an empty parking garage to set up a meeting with Labrador. But he is rebuffed. Labrador won’t negotiate with drug lords, the campaign coordinator says.
Later, when El Chapo calls Don Sol to ask how things are going, Don Sol simply assures him, “Don’t worry about Labrador. He won’t get elected.”
Labrador’s opponent, Alarcon, receives a visit from Don Sol (the man turns up everywhere, kind of like Michael Sussmann), who tells him, “I can help you expose a side of Labrador that nobody knows.” He says he can find all of Labrador’s secrets. In exchange, Don Sol wants an appointment in Alarcon’s new administration as the director of national security. They make a deal.
Next, Don Sol visits his team of computer spies. (Is this sounding familiar yet?) “What did you find out about Labrador?” he asks. They tell him they’ve found nothing useful. He doesn’t believe it. “Nobody gets that high up without getting their hands dirty,” he says. “You just have to find the closet that holds the skeletons.” But they insist they’ve gone back even to his boyhood and there is nothing to exploit. (As another scene makes clear, Labrador really is clean; he doesn’t want to make dirty deals or owe people favors, which frustrates his own campaign aides who are looking for cash.)
So Don Sol asks his spies, “What about his collaborators?” It’s time to start spying on Labrador’s campaign and business associates. (Does this remind you of anything?)
One of them, a businessman named Almada is recorded taking a big suitcaseful of cash (it’s staged –- fake news!), and the video is revealed in what looks like an ambush interview on national TV. Though Labrador has done nothing, he starts falling in the polls. The businessman gets a passport and a way to “disappear” into Cuba while the bribery accusations are dealt with. The idea is for him to be richly rewarded later for playing his part in the scheme to tar Labrador.
A hoax smear campaign is created against Labrador. They even use computer images to place him in pictures with Communist symbols and banners and linking him in news reports to “his friend, Hugo Chavez.” Fake news! (They come up with everything but computer servers “pinging” back and forth.) Labrador continues falling in the polls.
The businessman from the phony video ends up not being protected by Castro and comes forward to say the handoff of money was a fake, designed to hurt Labrador in the election. Labrador says this is evidence of a conspiracy against him, but the hoax continues.
With the election nearing, those computer spies discover that teachers’ unions have tried to make a deal to “deliver votes” to Labrador that he turned down. So Don Sol quickly calls El Chapo –- who now more than ever wants Labrador defeated –- to get some big-time cash with which to incentivize (bribe) the unions to surreptitiously stuff ballot boxes and control tabulation on Election Night.
In meetings with business figures, Don Sol trashes Labrador as “an opportunist who seeks to divide the people and weaken our economy.” They’re hesitant to actively work against Labrador because he might win but are warned of the “imminent danger he represents to this country.”
There is NO “imminent danger.” This is all made up out of nothing. NOW does it sound familiar?
On Election Night, early polls show Labrador with a slight advantage, with Alarcon three points behind. El Chapo’s people, charged with getting Alarcon elected, look glum, as they know that if Labrador wins, their boss will be very, very angry, and nobody wants that! They know that if El Chapo says heads will roll, he means literally.
But Don Sol has things well in hand. He made sure the unions are running the ballot boxes. Watchers are ejected and the counting process is blocked from view –- I guess in Mexico, they use something besides pizza boxes in the windows –- to the extent that some experts are already crying foul. By 10PM, Labrador’s lead has been cut to under one percentage point.
“The Union is going to steal this election from me,” Labrador tells an aide.
Felipe Alarcon “wins” the election with a razor-thin 0.56 percent lead. Labrador’s people sit in stunned silence, as they believe the election was stolen, and they know this outcome means more criminality in Mexico. There are protests. Labrador publicly accuses his opponent of stealing the election, but nothing is done.
True to the agreement Don Sol made with the winner’s campaign coordinator, he becomes the new president’s director of national security, so El Chapo is now inside the new administration. Don Sol immediately advises finding ways to make the fraudulent new government seem more legitimate. The new president decides he’s going to be known as “the president who controlled drug trafficking in his country,” when that is a joke –- it’s actually the opposite of that.
So, we have a candidate who’s an outsider, a tough negotiator who won’t be cowed by powerful forces but who is defeated in part by a hoax linking him to a corrupt Communist foreign leader. His campaign officials and business associates are spied on. He's smeared as an "imminent danger." His enemies control ballot boxes and prevent watchers from seeing the vote count. When he loses, supporters protest a “stolen” election, but that’s it.
Gee, does this plot remind you of any other election? It looks to me as if all we’re missing is a “dossier.”