29+ quotes from The Cartel by Don Winslow

Quotes from The Cartel

Don Winslow ·  616 pages

Rating: (15.5K votes)


“Maybe money can’t buy happiness, but it can rent it for a long time.”
― Don Winslow, quote from The Cartel


“When you ask people, “What’s America’s longest war?” they usually answer “Vietnam” or amend that to “Afghanistan,” but it’s neither. America’s longest war is the war on drugs.”
― Don Winslow, quote from The Cartel


“It infuriates him, this killing, this death. Infuriating that this is what we’re known for now, drug cartels and slaughter. This my city of Avenida 16 Septembre, the Victoria Theater, cobblestone streets, the bullring, La Central, La Fogata, more bookstores than El Paso, the university, the ballet, garapiñados, pan dulce, the mission, the plaza, the Kentucky Bar, Fred’s—now it’s known for these idiotic thugs. And my country, Mexico—the land of writers and poets—of Octavio Paz, Juan Rulfo, Carlos Fuentes, Elena Garro, Jorge Volpi, Rosario Castellanos, Luis Urrea, Elmer Mendoza, Alfonso Reyes—the land of painters and sculptors—Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Gabriel Orozco, Pablo O’Higgins, Juan Soriano, Francisco Goitia—of dancers like Guillermina Bravo, Gloria and Nellie Campobello, Josefina Lavalle, Ana Mérida, and composers—Carlos Chávez, Silvestre Revueltas, Agustín Lara, Blas Galindo—architects—Luis Barragán, Juan O’Gorman, Tatiana Bilbao, Michel Rojkind, Pedro Vásquez—wonderful filmmakers—Fernando de Fuentes, Alejandro Iñárritu, Luis Buñuel, Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo del Toro—actors like Dolores del Río, “La Doña” María Félix, Pedro Infante, Jorge Negrete, Salma Hayek—now the names are “famous” narcos—no more than sociopathic murderers whose sole contribution to the culture has been the narcocorridas sung by no-talent sycophants. Mexico, the land of pyramids and palaces, deserts and jungles, mountains and beaches, markets and gardens, boulevards and cobblestoned streets, broad plazas and hidden courtyards, is now known as a slaughter ground. And for what? So North Americans can get high.”
― Don Winslow, quote from The Cartel


“Just across the bridge is the gigantic marketplace, the insatiable consumer machine that drives the violence here. North Americans smoke the dope, snort the coke, shoot the heroin, do the meth, and then have the nerve to point south (down, of course, on the map), and wag their fingers at the “Mexican drug problem” and Mexican corruption.”
― Don Winslow, quote from The Cartel


“He became his own blues song, a Tom Waits loser, a Kerouac saint, a Springsteen hero under the lights of the American highway and the neon glow of the American strip. A fugitive, a sharecropper, a hobo, a cowboy who knows that he’s running out of prairie but rides anyway because there’s nothing left but to ride.”
― Don Winslow, quote from The Cartel


“Maybe, Keller thinks, I’ve become too used to solitude. Maybe I like it too much.”
― Don Winslow, quote from The Cartel


“Left-wing lesbians are perfectly natural,” Giorgio says, “but there’s something about a right-wing lesbian that’s, I don’t know…almost North American. Sort of Fox News–ish.”
― Don Winslow, quote from The Cartel


“you do not avenge a murder by killing—you avenge it by living.”
― Don Winslow, quote from The Cartel


“Giorgio cannot leave a bottle undrunk or an attractive woman unfucked, and those activities tend to get in the way of revolution.”
― Don Winslow, quote from The Cartel


“The conversation swings from the brothers Bush to the war in Iraq to the emerging rights of Muslim women to postfeminism to current cinema—Mexican, American, European (Giorgio goes spasmodically mad over Bu-ñuel), and back to Mexican again—to the relative superiority of shrimp over any other kind of taco to the excellence of Ana’s paella, to Ana’s childhood, then to Jimena’s, to the changing role of motherhood in a postindustrial world, to sculpture, then painting, then poetry, then baseball, then Jimena’s inexplicable (to Pablo) fondness for American football (she’s a Dallas Cowboys fan) over real (to Pablo) fútbol, to his admittedly adolescent passion for the game, to the trials of adolescence itself and revelations over the loss of virginity and why we refer to it as a loss and now Óscar and Tomás, arms over each other’s shoulders, are chanting poetry and then Giorgio picks up a guitar and starts to play and this is the Juárez that Pablo loves, this is the city of his soul—the poetry, the passionate discussions (Ana makes her counterpoints jabbing her cigarette like a foil; Jimena’s words flow like a gentle wave across beach sand, washing away the words before; Giorgio trills a jazz saxophone while Pablo plays bass—they are a jazz combo of argument), the ideas flowing with the wine and beer, the lilting music in a black night, this is the gentle heartbeat of the Mexico that he adores, the laughter, the subtle perfume of desert flowers that grow in alleys alongside garbage, and now everyone is singing— México, está muy contento, Dando gracias a millares… —and this is his life—this is his city, these are his friends, his beloved friends, these people, and if this is all that there is or will be, it is enough for him, his world, his life, his city, his people, his sad beautiful Juárez… —empezaré de Durango, Torreón y Ciudad de”
― Don Winslow, quote from The Cartel


“This is not a war on drugs. This is a war on the poor. This is a war on the poor and the powerless, the voiceless and the invisible,”
― Don Winslow, quote from The Cartel


“He who speaks least has the most power.”
― Don Winslow, quote from The Cartel


“The U.S. government has in recent years fought what it termed wars against AIDS, drug abuse, poverty, illiteracy and terrorism. Each of these wars has budgets, legislation, offices, officials, letterhead—everything necessary in a bureaucracy to tell you something is real. —Bruce Jackson Keynote address “Media and War” symposium, University of Buffalo November 17–18, 2003”
― Don Winslow, quote from The Cartel


“Betrayals start that way, with lies hidden in the shadows of silence.”
― Don Winslow, quote from The Cartel


“Grande is Mexico’s harshest and most secure prison, and”
― Don Winslow, quote from The Cartel


“prefer married women and expensive whores. You have a nice meal, a few laughs, a good fuck, and then you each go back to your own lives. It’s better that way.” So”
― Don Winslow, quote from The Cartel


“The Mexicans have finally found a drug that white trash likes and can afford. And one thing you ain’t never gonna run out of is white trash.”
― Don Winslow, quote from The Cartel


“Tell me you don’t want to do those women on Fox News,” Jimena says. “Tell me you don’t,” Giorgio counters. “Anyway, of course I do. I want to convert them through the subversive power of the orgasm.” “So it would be a political act,” Jimena says. “I am willing to sacrifice myself for the cause,” Giorgio answers.”
― Don Winslow, quote from The Cartel


“We will go to heaven or we will go to hell, but we will go together.”
― Don Winslow, quote from The Cartel


“Perhaps loneliness—it is that loneliest time of the night, the predawn darkness when the worst dreams come, the sunrise seems far off, and the creatures that inhabit both the real world and the darker edges of the unconscious prowl with the impunity of predators who know that their prey is helpless and alone.”
― Don Winslow, quote from The Cartel


“It’s the new face of narco gang war, isn’t it? They’re becoming media savvy. They used to hide their crimes, now they publicize them. I wonder if they haven’t taken a page from Al Qaeda. What good is an atrocity if no one knows you did it? And maybe that’s the lede on my story. “The crimes that used to lurk in shadows now seek the sunlight,” or is that a little too “pulp”? Óscar will decide.”
― Don Winslow, quote from The Cartel


“As for corruption, who’s more corrupt—the seller or the buyer? And how corrupt does a society have to be when its citizens need to get high to escape their reality, at the cost of bloodshed and suffering of their neighbors?”
― Don Winslow, quote from The Cartel


“the old “4-4-40” rough standard for human survival: four minutes without air, four days without water, forty days without food.”
― Don Winslow, quote from The Cartel


“You’re a big boy,” Ana observes, staring blankly into her cup. “You could have said no.” “I stand with Oscar Wilde on the subject of temptation.”
― Don Winslow, quote from The Cartel


“He writes mostly about crime, although if he can talk Óscar into it he’ll do “color” features,”
― Don Winslow, quote from The Cartel


“with simultaneous wars in Baja, Tamaulipas, and now Michoacán. Keller has to admit that the violence is unprecedented. Even at the height (the depth?) of Barrera’s war against Güero Méndez, back in the ’90s, the fighting was sporadic—brief sudden peaks of violence—not a daily event. And not spread across three broad areas of the country, with multiple and interconnected antagonists. The Alliance fighting Teo Solorzano in Baja. The Alliance fighting the CDG/Zetas in Tamaulipas.”
― Don Winslow, quote from The Cartel


“Why do women love to talk about love?” Giorgio asks. “Why don’t men, is more the question,” Ana says.”
― Don Winslow, quote from The Cartel


“You can either love,” Pablo says, “or you can talk about it. You can’t do both.”
― Don Winslow, quote from The Cartel


“He tells his guys, you change the oil in a Nissan, you just can't kill it. You'll die before that car will.”
― Don Winslow, quote from The Cartel


About the author

Don Winslow
Born place: in New York, The United States
Born date October 31, 1953
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