Ed Calderon of Ed’s Manifesto

By February 7, 2020March 24th, 2021No Comments

What an amazing story and opportunity to get to chat with Ed of Ed’s Manifesto. Ed Calderon began his journey as a medical student in Mexico but eventually ending up a part of a task force within the Mexican governments law enforcement. Ed was extremely under trained and needed to learn how to survive by improvising and learning to plan ahead for every unique environment he was forced to work around. Ed highlighted in our talk the corruption Mexico has become known for especially pertaining to the drug cartels. Listening to Ed’s story it became clear that he had a unique ability to understand, adapt and overcome almost any situation.

I was excited for the opportunity to have Ed on The John Bartolo Show and get to hear the story in his own words. He is now in the United States on a work visa training citizens, law enforcement and agencies all the tactics he has learned over the years of battling corruption, drug cartels and hostile environments south of the boarder. Ed’s Manifesto is a non glamorized non Hollywood look into the true dangerous of Mexico.

Kidnapping, drug running and the lack of respect for human life have shaped many of Ed’s beliefs and constructs. Ed shared many stories painting a vivid picture of the war on drugs and in his thoughts how to overcome it. His points on the USA and Mexico working together to first recognize the problem for what it truely is and following a plan of action to root it out is not overlooked in our talk. Ed also dives deep into the need for boots on the ground in Mexico the emphasis on lithium deposits and coming battle for natural resources in Mexico. He also supports and understands the need to categorize drug cartels as terrorist organizations.

Ed’s podcast with me is not the next Hollywood action movie but a true story of overcoming all conditions to build a better life for himself. Ed has classes all over the United States and is currently teaching with renowned instructors such as Ernie Emerson of Emerson Knives and has an emphasis on improvised attacks. Remember to listen and leave a review and listen anywhere podcasts are heard. Thank you to Ed Calderon of Ed’s Manifest for taking the time to share his story.


John Bartolo Show – Ed Calderon (Ed’s Manifesto)

Short Summary: 

Ed Calderon, host of Ed’s Manifesto, drops into the studio to talk about the origins of his work. Ed describes his history working with the Mexican government in cartel intervention, the severity of the violence in Mexico, and possible strategies for solving the drug problem in the future. Ed travels around the country and trains law enforcement explicitly in handling cartel situations.

Long Summary: 

Ed was born and grew up in Tijuana, where he saw the formation of the drug war. 9/11 happened while Ed was in medical school. He spent 12 years as part of a counter-drug task force to fight the drug war in Northern Mexico, including jobs dealing with human trafficking and cartel work. Now he trains civilians and law enforcement how to combat drug trafficking. Ed struggled with continuing this line of work, but weighed it against protecting his loved ones. He suggests that Mexico is “corrupt all the way up,” with part of the problem resting in the culture of Mexico. He talks about training with only 20 rounds before being given his badge. He brought all of his experience working with cartels into developing his own training program for families and bodyguards. As word spread, he started giving classes in the US, starting in San Francisco, which opened up more doors. At that point, he went into teaching full-time.

Ed just finished filming a documentary called Siete Muertas. He was given carta blancas from the government, which ultimately gave them free reign to clean up the streets. Ed describes how the current administration in Mexico has, in many ways, allowed the proliferation of the cartels and the growth of violent crime. He tells stories of people being dissolved in acid by cartel agents disguised as federal agents in California. His experience shows just how cartel violence has ripped apart families all across Mexico.

Unfortunately, there are interests to keep all of these things going. The political systems are profiting from it. He says that the US needs to decide they want to do something about it—it’s not a Mexico problem, but a US-Mexico problem. Glorifying the cartel culture is a problem, but so is the United States’ massive appetite for drugs. Ed predicts that there will be an energy-related crisis that causes the US to finally put boots on the ground in Mexico, and thus deal with the drug war. Ed also describes how dangerous it is to travel to Mexico. He recommends seriously doing homework before traveling to Mexico. It’s not always safe in Mexico, even for people without money. There’s something of a civil war going on in Mexico, but it’s not reported that way. If the US doesn’t do anything to stabilize the region, it will take some foreign interference to set a fuze to the powderkeg, which Ed says will set off a regional conflict “unlike anything we’ve ever seen.” He also thinks there will be a mass exodus in the coming years.


1:06 — Ed’s story and how Ed’s Manifesto came to be.

5:00 — Ed takes part in some experimental police work in Tijuana.

8:15— What it’s like to be under the cartels.

13:45 —Just how corrupt is it in Mexico?

20:15 — Why Ed chose to take the path of instructor after leaving service.

24:17 — Ed talks about violence in Mexico.

28:00 — Ed tells two stories that are especially violent, showing that the US is not safe.

36:00 — How do we fix this?

47:00 — How dangerous is it to vacation in Mexico, and what does the endgame look like?

56:30 — What does Ed’s instruction bring to the table?—Appropriate advice to those already 

trained—how do you arm yourself in any situation?

1:08:30 — Where you can find Ed Calderon.

1:13:15 — Three pieces of advice for people traveling to Mexico.

Key Quotes:

  • “We used to carry around tuna cans to try to find things to eat in the environment.”
  • “This guy said, ‘not enough bullets,’ under his breath. He was thinking about shooting me and two other guys and taking off with the money.”
  • “[Mexico is] corrupt all the way up.”
  • “Hugs not bullets” is the current mentality.
  • “2019 was the most violent, bloody year in recorded Tijuana history, and it has something to do with the current administration.”
  • “They think this is a foreign problem…they think this isn’t a problem in the US.”
  • “In some places, it’s everyday violence. Kids will help wash blood off the sidewalks.”
  • “Drugs are going to get across no matter how tall that fence is.”
  • “The worst planning will always be better than the best improvisation.”


Where to find Ed:

  • @edsmanifesto on Instagram. (He’s shadowbanned, so you need to type the whole name in.) 
  • Ed’s Manifesto on Facebook
  • Edsmanifesto.com is his website
  • He writes for Skillset Magazine and Recoil Magazine