The commotion created by Mexican government agents and the media in both the United States and Mexico for the apprehension of Joaquin Guzman, the so-called Mexican drug lord, brought flashbacks and memories of similar incidents from the past.
Years ago one of the casinos on the Strip had a high-roller that everyone like d because of his big tips and ways to solve many Cubans’ financial stresses and problems.
One in particular has stayed in my mind all this time; one of the Cuban dealers in that casino had a bad habit of gambling away all his tips, and — believe me — in those days, the tips from one shift could amount to a whole month’s income for some of us.
One day this high-roller came to Las Vegas at the same time that his daughter was getting married, and the dealer in question was, as always, broke; the high-roller learned of his countryman’s situation and gave him a great amount of money to cover the wedding, to cover the gambling debt, and — at that time — a no-license loan shark, plus a few dollars for him to “have peace of mind during the wedding.”
One day the high-roller got arrested and his name and picture were in almost every newspaper and everyone pretended to be shocked to learn the business the high-roller was involved with.
One night, as I used to do every night, I was doing my rounds by the casinos and by the dealers room door there was this man talking to a few other dealers and I heard him saying, “I am glad that they caught him; everyone that come to this country to commit crimes need to be put behind bars, I hope he stays in prison for a very long time.” I happened to hear all the comments from him and could not resist getting involved in the conversation, asking him if he was talking about that man and he said yes.
I could not hold myself back and asked the guy in front of all his co-workers that if he had such an opinion about that man, why did he take his money and invite him to his daughter’s wedding and brag to everyone at the party that the guy was his friend.
He did not realize that I knew about the wedding gift, the loan shark pay-off and everything else; he did not realize that the man accepted his invitation to the wedding to see if he had gambled the money or spent it the right way.
I watched a lady interviewed about Joaquin Guzman by a Spanish channel saying, “I may not agree with his line of work, but he has been very good to this community and helped many people here,” and I liked that statement — for one thing, because it is true, from the priest to the church to many others in Guzman’s hometown, he has been a good Samaritan and no one can deny that.
Now the American media, television, newspaper and social media are making fun and even asking that Sean Penn, the American socialist actor that interviewed Guzman for Rolling Stone magazine, be prosecuted for meeting the alleged drug kingpin in his hideout.
I don’t remember anyone asking that New York Times reporter Herb Mathews be prosecuted when he traveled to Sierra Maestra in Cuba to interview a criminal named Fidel Castro.
This Mathews guy billed Fidel Castro as a hero, a revolutionary that later destroyed the most beautiful island in the world, but I think that if anyone wants to punish Sean Penn for being a socialist and a friend of Hugo Chavez and the Castro brothers, they should extradite him to Cuba and let the man have a taste of what a socialist regime really is.
You see, I never listen to the bought media and the government official’s opinion when they refer to someone that they are envious of and jealous because they live better than they themselves do.
I have seen the late John Gotti admonishing kids that had skipped school and ordered them to go back to classes. I have seen so-called mob guys have more integrity and decency that many “pillars of the community” in respecting each other’s families.
I have known police officers or detectives stealing the wife of their fellow officers and later themselves being divorced because their own wife had cheated on them with their own partner; in fact there is more domestic abuse and immorality among police officers than any other group of men.
I guess I was born way too early for this world we are in today; everything is texting, emailing, twittering, and who knows how many other forms of communication. People do not talk any more. I have been doing a business transaction for the last week and everything could have been done in one day if we would have stopped the texting and just talked to each other.
To me, the females in a friend’s household are off-limits, no matter how beautiful or good-looking they are.
But I am happy to be that way and I have no regrets. I respect everyone, even my enemies, and I expect the same from every one because respect cannot be forced or demanded; one has to earn it.
My name is Rolando Larraz, and as always, I approved this column.
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Rolando Larraz is Editor in Chief of the Las Vegas Tribune. His column appears weekly in this newspaper. To contact Rolando Larraz, email him at: Rlarraz@lasvegastribune.com or at 702-272-4634.