This process, the very ability to prosecute a tactical operation of the kind that took Guzman down, is the fundamental difference between success and failure and why Mexican authorities were successful. Mexico's former President Felipe Calderon was committed to breaking the cycle of cartel violence. Current President Enrique Pena Nieto has redoubled that commitment by focusing on a comprehensive strategy to eradicate the cartels by improving the Mexican economy, its schools, its infrastructure, and its law enforcement capability. This strategy is working, and we saw it first-hand when Mexican Marines walked out of that Mazatlan apartment with “El Chapo” Guzman in handcuffs.
I believe the bond the United States and Mexico now share will continue to strengthen in the years to come. Our governments are united in the concern we share for the safety of our citizens. For too long, too many lived in fear of Guzman and his organization.
But, while Guzman is under arrest, others remain at large. These organizations operate like Hydra -- as soon as one head is taken out, another will fight to emerge.
The value of our relationship with our neighbors to the south will continue to increase as our nations continue to fight the now-weakened and more vulnerable Sinaloa Cartel and the others remaining. But neither side can let down its guard. Much remains to be done. The war has not yet been won.
But, by working to ensure this partnership continues to evolve, all of our citizens will continue to reap the benefits of safer borders, safer communities, and a more prosperous future.
David Aguilar is former Acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and National Chief of the Border Patrol. He currently is a partner in Global Security and Intelligence Strategies, an international consulting firm.