2022 Man of the Year: Cartel Monkey

El Chango meme / Twitter
December 26, 2022

Pancake-crusher John Kasich and others have dubiously attributed the popular "if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog" mantra to President Truman. It's unclear if Harry ever actually dropped that verbal bomb, but this year we learned that if you're a hitman in a Mexican drug cartel looking for a ride-or-die pet, a spider-monkey will do just fine.

After a June shootout between Mexican federales and the La Familia Michoacana drug cartel that left 11 dead, authorities made a startling discovery: the corpse of a small primate hugging his also deceased drug-trafficking owner. His name was El Chango.

The La Familia Michoacana cartel may operate their narcotics manufacturing labs in the jungle, but their work is no monkey business. It’s a serious endeavor that requires everyone to be properly attired, ready for a fight at any time. El Chango was no exception to that rule.

The murdered monkey was found dressed for war: sporting a camouflage jacket, a bulletproof vest, and a diaper. No reports suggest the diaper was soiled. It’s ape-solutely safe to assume a brave soul like El Chango remained continent when the bullets started flying like the final scene in Scarface.

Graphic images of a slain El Chango captured worldwide attention. A campy meme featuring angelic wings and several emojis went viral on social media. Jeff Bezos’s Washington Post took time away from writing incessantly about Trump and ignoring Amazon’s continued expansion into Saudi Arabia to cover an infectious ballad celebrating the departed spider monkey.

The paper noted that El Chango "appears to be the first animal memorialized in a narcocorrido—a style of music usually reserved for stories of drug lords and their betrayals, arrests, and standoffs." It added that the song "puts El Chango among the ranks of notable narcos—such as the Sinaloa Cartel’s Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán."

The lyrics offer an insight into his personality: "The changuito [little monkey] was not mean, but he was not timid either."

It's an undisputed truth that dogs are a man's best friend. But as El Chango has shown, spider monkeys may not be far behind. When times were tough, he was tougher: clinging to his owner in a hug as they breathed their final bullet-ridden breaths.

The story of El Chango's death is bananas, but the short-yet-epic life he lived is a testament to loyalty that has earned the sicario sidekick the honor of being a 2022 Washington Free Beacon Man of the Year.