Sean Penn Interview With El Chapo in Rolling Stone

Update: Penn was not present during the interview. He met with El Chapo in Mexico, and they agreed to do the interview in the future, but circumstances prevented it. So Penn sent the questions by Blackberry Messenger and El Chapo filmed and sent his replies.

Orignal Post

Rolling Stone has just published a two minute video clip from a recent video interview of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman by Sean Penn at a secret location. RS says the interview was submitted to El Chapo and he had no changes.

The producer of the video is none other than Kate del Castillo, the terrific Mexican actress who starred in La Reina Del Sur and more recently, Duenos del Paraiso(See my post here.) She's also in the new film The 33 about the trapped Chilean miners. She's my favorite Mexican actress, by miles. [More...]

Castillo became a U.S. citizen in September and sent out a tweet blasting Donald Trump. Here's a photo of her at the naturalization ceremony which she posted on her Twitter feed.

For months there have been rumors she was dating Sean Penn, which she denied. Here's a photo of them she posted on her Instagram account. It seems to me they were just palling up for the El Chapo interview.

According to the New York Times,

The interview with Rolling Stone, probably the first drug trafficker granted in decades, took place at various meetings. It began at the beginning of October, with a trip in the middle of the jungle until you reach the top of a mountain. Surrounded by a hundred of his men and dressed in a silk shirt and black trousers, Guzman met with Penn and Kate del Castillo, a Mexican actress who plays a drug dealer in a soap opera.

The Times reports El Chapo told Penn new details of his July, 2015 prison escape:

The engineers who built it describes Penn, were sent to Germany for training. Motorcycle that moved through a rail system that used the hood to escape was specially modified to operate in an underground environment with little oxygen.

Even when the Mexican troops attacked the place where he took refuge days after their first meeting, forcing him to a flight complicated, Guzman decided to go ahead with the interview with the two actors, via the messaging system of Blackberry and a video sent to Penn and the Castle.

The Times reports Penn said the cartel was informed in advance of surveillance drones:

[T]he Sinaloa cartel was informed when the Mexican army made rounds with surveillance aircraft from large heights which could detect their movements.

Why did El Chapo choose Kate del Castillo?

Reportedly, because of her 2012 tweet to El Chapo. The tweet said:

Today I believe more in the 'Chapo' Guzman on governments to hide me even painful truths, who hide the cure for cancer, AIDS, etc. for their own benefit and wealth ".

She also released a long letter about her beliefs, that included a paragraph addressed to him. You can read the full text here. Essentially, she asked El Chapo to use his huge power for good and said he would be a hero if he helped cure diseases, helped street children, "dealt with corrupt politicians", and trafficked with love. "Life is a business, the only thing that changes is the goods."

She took a lot of flak in Mexico for her tweet and letter, particularly after his escape. She hasn't apologized, and has said it's what she believed at the time. As to his escape, she refused to comment, saying only "its crazy."

Apparently, either that was enough for El Chapo, or maybe he watched her on TV and developed a crush on her. (Penn seems to intimate infatuation may have been the cause.) Whatever moved him, he had his lawyer contact her.

According to the New York Times article:

Castillo, who was contacted through his lawyer after she wrote him a message on Twitter, was the only person he trusted to make efforts for the film, according to the article. Penn learned of the connection of Castillo with El Chapo through an acquaintance in common, and asked if the drug trafficker would agree to an interview.

Penn also described the security precautions taken with phones:

It has that you used mobile phones from low cost, one for each contact, which must destroy, burn or change your encryption, which used Blackphones (a maximum security smartphone), anonymous email accounts where exchanged messages in the Outbox drafts.

Despite this, he wrote: "Don't have the slightest doubt that the DEA and the Mexican Government are monitoring our movements".

From the Rolling Stone article, Penn writes:

The trust that El Chapo had extended to us was not to be f*cked with.

He also points out that El Chapo has a reputation for avoiding violence unless necessary.

I took some comfort in a unique aspect of El Chapo's reputation among the heads of drug cartels in Mexico: that, unlike many of his counterparts who engage in gratuitous kidnapping and murder, El Chapo is a businessman first, and only resorts to violence when he deems it advantageous to himself or his business interests.

As to what prompted him to want to do the interview:

As an American citizen, I'm drawn to explore what may be inconsistent with the portrayals our government and media brand upon their declared enemies.

And, of course, the fact that the war on drugs is a failure:

As much as anything, it's a question of relative morality. What of the tens of thousands of sick and suffering chemically addicted Americans, barbarically imprisoned for the crime of their illness? Locked down in facilities where unspeakable acts of dehumanization and violence are inescapable, and murder a looming threat. Are we saying that what's systemic in our culture, and out of our direct hands and view, shares no moral equivalency to those abominations that may rival narco assassinations in Juarez? Or, is that a distinction for the passive self-righteous?

...Perhaps in the tunnel vision of our puritanical and prosecutorial culture that has designed the War on Drugs, we have similarly lost sight of practice, and given over our souls to theory. At an American taxpayer cost of $25 billion per year, this war's policies have significantly served to kill our children, drain our economies, overwhelm our cops and courts, pick our pockets, crowd our prisons and punch the clock. Another day's fight is lost. And lost with it, any possible vision of reform, or recognition of the proven benefits in so many other countries achieved through the regulated legalization of recreational drugs.

I have nothing but huge praise for Sean Penn and Kate Castillo. I appreciate them doing the interview and taking the huge risks associated with it. And sharing their beliefs about the war on drugs, which just so happen to so closely mirror mine.

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  • Display: Sort:
    I just read a "tweet"... (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by lentinel on Sun Jan 10, 2016 at 10:46:30 AM EST
    "Hey Mexico. Send us El Chapo. You can keep Sean Penn."

    I can't figure out how anyone (5.00 / 4) (#23)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jan 10, 2016 at 03:45:34 PM EST
    Perceives El Chapo a hero

    Thank you for saying what I have (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Anne on Sun Jan 10, 2016 at 03:50:25 PM EST
    been thinking...

    Really, I just don't get it.


    Please... (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 10:37:11 AM EST
    ...the jack@sses in Oregon are getting support from all over the country, is it really that hard to fathom why people, perceived as sticking it to the man, are heroes.

    Our biggest heroes are generally people related to death, aka in the military, who have reached hero status because of the number of people they have killed.

    While I disagree with the hero status, I get it, human beings are idiots.


    Seems to me that the (none / 0) (#43)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 12:36:21 PM EST
    Country is split as to granting hero status. I am not surprised when wingnuts grant hero status to murderers, but I am when Liberals do.

    I understand there is a great deal (none / 0) (#26)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jan 10, 2016 at 03:59:05 PM EST
    Of government corruption in Mexico, but being a muderous drug kingpin is still just that. There's a lot of naivete on an actresses part taking place here. Or perhaps it is all for the photo snaps considering the current theatrical success of Sicario.

    We recently watched it, and I read yesterday the sequel is already in the works. I think the next Hollywood trend is going to be the drug wars. Everyone's tired of WOT movies.


    I sometimes get the impression that (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Anne on Sun Jan 10, 2016 at 04:08:42 PM EST
    reality is being ignored and el Chapo accorded all the glitz and glamour associated with the world of the telenovela.

    This man has a lot of blood on his hands, and there's nothing glamorous, exciting or worthy of admiration about him.


    This makes me think of the (none / 0) (#56)
    by jondee on Wed Jan 13, 2016 at 05:20:32 PM EST
    actors and actresses who got in line to schmooze with "Crazy Joe" Gallo in the seventies..

    Or the Hollywood types who basked in Ben "Bugsy" Siegel's dangerous glamour in the Forties.


    The Tragic Farce of El Chapo (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 05:46:16 PM EST
    by Patrick Radden Keefe, The New Yorker

    The myth of El Chapo is clearly alive and well, even as his own conduct would seem to undermine it. After the arrest on Friday, I spoke with Carl Pike, a recently retired D.E.A. agent who spent years pursuing Chapo. "He's always played the tough-guy angle," Pike said. "But when it came down to it, he let five of his own guys get killed trying to protect him, then he gave himself up without a fight." Guzmán had taken to telling people, over the years, that he would never allow himself to be taken alive. "It was all B.S.," Pike said. When I talked to a former employee of Guzmán's, a convicted trafficker who used to smuggle drugs across the border into Texas, he was less surprised by El Chapo's surrender. "Let me tell you something, man. Nobody wants to die," he said.

    Rolling Stone (none / 0) (#1)
    by ragebot on Sun Jan 10, 2016 at 12:51:14 AM EST
    granted El Chapo approval of the article about the interview.


    I said that in the first (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jan 10, 2016 at 12:58:51 AM EST
    sentence of my post. If you are going to comment on something I write about, please read it first.

    Sorry (none / 0) (#4)
    by ragebot on Sun Jan 10, 2016 at 01:42:35 AM EST
    the link I posted noted that El Chapo was granted approval before the interview and that:

    "It is widely considered to be against the basic principles of journalism to grant a subject such authority over a piece.

    Rolling  Stone's journalistic practices have been criticized since its publication of a now discredited gang-rape story at the University of Virginia."

    Not sure why you are upset about this but it is your site and your rules.


    if you had made this point (none / 0) (#6)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jan 10, 2016 at 02:09:19 AM EST
    in your first comment, I wouldn't have said anything. But all first comment did was state something that was in the post. That's not a comment. It didn't even have a thought attached, such as "I find it interesting that...."

    Anyway, now that you've explained why you find that significant, your comment is fine.


    The technology stuff was interesting (none / 0) (#3)
    by shoephone on Sun Jan 10, 2016 at 01:14:01 AM EST
    Not surprising about the burner phones, but the communicating by Blackberry Messenger raises a point about surveillance and tracking. Blackberries--at least any of the versions before the newest ones--don't have GPS. Also, one of the (few) attractive things about them is that, unlike with iphones and other smart phones, the battery can easily be removed. Which means your movements disappear from anyone conducting surveillance.

    Seem to remember (none / 0) (#5)
    by ragebot on Sun Jan 10, 2016 at 01:45:32 AM EST
    reading somewhere that Penn commented about seeing drones overhead and perhaps implied that was the source of the intel producing the location of El Chapo.

    what is this suppose to mean (none / 0) (#7)
    by nyjets on Sun Jan 10, 2016 at 05:52:02 AM EST
    ' El Chapo is a businessman first, and only resorts to violence when he deems it advantageous to himself or his business interests.'

    So it is okay to commit violence when it is to your advantage. That statement makes no sense. The point is he has committed violence and in all likelihood hurt innocent people.  

    The premise is balderdash (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Mr Natural on Sun Jan 10, 2016 at 02:11:50 PM EST
    Guzman admitted killing "two or three thousand people" to journalist Carlos Loret de Mola.

    In a twist that only a few would call a testament to Guzman's benificence, here's an update on Ciudad Juarez, which had at one point during the Cartel wars seen a murder rate of one per hour.  

    The Saint of Sinaloa.


    And given the stories out there, ... (5.00 / 2) (#35)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 01:51:53 AM EST
    ... apparently very few people resorted to violence quite like El Chapo. The Drug War has been nothing short of a profound national tragedy for Mexico, with an estimated 130,000 dead and some 27,000 missing since 2006.

    To put this into perspective, that's roughly the same casualty rate that was incurred by U.S. forces in combat during the Second World War. And were those numbers to be comparably inflicted upon us here in the U.S. today, it would amount to 340,000 Americans having been killed.

    So in that regard, I must agree with the opinions expressed by Militarytracy and Anne here. I really fail to understand this celebrity treatment being accorded to the sorry likes of Joaquin Guzman, as if all this carnage is somehow for the TV viewing audience's vicarious entertainment. And out of respect for our host, that's the last I'll say on this matter.



    That was not the only blurb (none / 0) (#8)
    by ragebot on Sun Jan 10, 2016 at 09:12:04 AM EST
    I remember where there seemed to be an attempt to paint El Chapo in the best light.  As I have posted previously RS granted El Chapo the ability to approve the article prior to publication.  This is the very reason this type of agreement is frowned, there is a tendency to slant coverage to make sure the subject approves of the article.

    I understand the position of the many detractors of the war on drugs.  I am much more in tune with the libertarian position on drugs.  Many years ago when Dave Scott was the undisputed best Ironman he did a PSA where he said "go ahead and use drugs, it just makes you easier to beat" which is basically my position.

    My take is that RS, Sean, and Kate oppose the war on drugs and along with El Chapo and are engaged in an effort to produce not only this pro El Chapo article but a movie as well.  The problem is as you pointed out El Chapo has lots of big ugly warts like the deaths of many innocent folks being on his hands.


    You can oppose (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by TrevorBolder on Sun Jan 10, 2016 at 02:22:26 PM EST
    The War on Drugs,

    And not reap unthinkable financial rewards,

    Along with causing the deaths of tens of thousands,

    And spreading ruin to countless other lives.


    seeing drones overhead (none / 0) (#9)
    by TrevorBolder on Sun Jan 10, 2016 at 09:47:56 AM EST
    A Mexican federal law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to comment on the issue, told the Associated Press it was the Penn interview that led authorities to Guzman in a rural part of Durango state in October.

    Authorities who later raided the area decided not to open fire on Guzman as he ran away because he was with two women and child.

    He was able to escape, and officials once again apparently lost track of him. But they finally caught him Friday at a house in Los Mochis where Mexican marines nabbed him after a shootout that left five people dead.


    El Chapo (none / 0) (#10)
    by lentinel on Sun Jan 10, 2016 at 10:23:36 AM EST
    must have secretly desired to get back to the can.

    Can you imagine setting up an interview - a personal interview with a world famous celebrity - and not expect that the cops would track you down?

    What a waste of everybody's time.

    Legalize drugs - no more El Chapos or El Kingpins.

    As Al Capone said, all he was doing was providing a service.

    This whole scene strikes me as being so infantile.
    Boys playing together.
    I want to scream, "Grow up!".
    We have serious problems here.

    El Chapo did himself in (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by shoephone on Sun Jan 10, 2016 at 02:41:53 PM EST
    with his own hubris. Cavorting with celebrities. Basking in their glow. Now rotting in a jail cell.

    True enough! (none / 0) (#28)
    by lentinel on Sun Jan 10, 2016 at 04:46:36 PM EST
    I just wonder, because it is so monumentally numb, whether he has another escape all ready to go.

    He can't be that stupid - rising to the top of his chosen "profession"...it must require some kind of brains.

    But, as you say, pride might have done hims in, and cancelled every element of caution of sense of reality... Why bother to escape if he was just going to put a big target on his back and tell the cops where to find him?


    I Read He Was Shopping... (none / 0) (#38)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 10:46:10 AM EST
    ...his story to many different venues, Rolling Stone being the one that went with it.  But he was contacting all kind of writers/producers to get a film made about his life.

    It also sounds like his infatuation with the Kate del Castillo may have clouded his judgement.


    Texts Purportedly Reveal El Chapo's... (none / 0) (#51)
    by ScottW714 on Wed Jan 13, 2016 at 11:12:37 AM EST
    ...Eagerness to Meet Actress Kate del Castillo
    A batch of newly published text messages purportedly shows how former fugitive Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán was eager to set up a clandestine meeting with Mexican actress Kate del Castillo -- and apparently had never heard of actor Sean Penn.

    The texts published late Tuesday by Mexican newspaper Grupo Milenio show how Guzmán began courting Castillo in late September for a meet-and-greet.


    Translated version of link in quote which has the texts.


    If I have to choose (none / 0) (#11)
    by lentinel on Sun Jan 10, 2016 at 10:29:33 AM EST
    between evils, El Chapo or Volkswagen...

    And Volkswagen, Hitler's car, is still running commercials after admitting that they deliberately installed devices to defeat detection of emission standards--- It's like nothing happened.

    It just shows that if you're a corporate monster, or thief, or murderer, associated with a white collar, it's different than if you are a dealer in something associated with minorities.

    I haven't a clue how you equate (none / 0) (#24)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jan 10, 2016 at 03:49:46 PM EST
    Violent blood filled murder to today's Volkswagens. Six degrees of separation doesn't actually make all things equal.

    Maybe I was (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by lentinel on Sun Jan 10, 2016 at 04:48:19 PM EST
    a little over the top, but I equate pollution and emissions from cars with the spread of illness and death.

    FWIW... (none / 0) (#39)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 10:58:30 AM EST
    ...the cars that aren't diesel still need selling.

    The notion that a world wide conglomerate is just going to stop doing business because they deceived customers, is very unrealistic.

    Using your logic, we are all polluting, so we are doing to same thing, just on a smaller scale, so anyone that contributes to pollution is in a sense spreading illness and death.


    Maybe just my eye sight but (none / 0) (#13)
    by ragebot on Sun Jan 10, 2016 at 11:31:55 AM EST
    El Chapo according to the DOS wanted poster is 5'6" while Penn is suppose to be 5'10" or so, with a full head of hair adding maybe a couple of inches.  Yet the pix I see of the two shaking hands don't only seem to show Penn as a little taller.  Anyone else think this image seems a little funky.

    No (none / 0) (#14)
    by CoralGables on Sun Jan 10, 2016 at 12:25:00 PM EST
    not at all (none / 0) (#15)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jan 10, 2016 at 01:16:50 PM EST
    strange in my view.

    look at the pix (none / 0) (#19)
    by ragebot on Sun Jan 10, 2016 at 03:04:13 PM EST
    draw an imaginary, or real, level line across El Chapo's eyes; or do the same thing for Sean.  Their eyes are basically at the same height.

    No they're not (none / 0) (#20)
    by shoephone on Sun Jan 10, 2016 at 03:15:00 PM EST
    El Chapo is standing straight and puffing his chest out, while Penn is slightly stooped. There's nothing weird about the photo. Can't imagine what point you are trying to make.

    FWIW, I do see a height difference, (none / 0) (#21)
    by Mr Natural on Sun Jan 10, 2016 at 03:15:27 PM EST
    although IMDB lists Penn's height as 5'8".  Adult actors who play high school students, as 21 year old Penn did in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, tend toward lesser stature.

    In this photo, if Penn loses the soul patch, he and Guzman are effectively mirror images.  

    My guess is that Penn is trolling for his next movie roll.  Who wouldn't want to play a drug lord?  Pacino, move over.


    You may be right about Penn's height (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by shoephone on Sun Jan 10, 2016 at 03:20:09 PM EST
    I just don't get why ragebot was making a big deal about the photo.

    This link (none / 0) (#31)
    by ragebot on Sun Jan 10, 2016 at 07:00:12 PM EST
    says Penn is 5'10".  Not sure just how tall he is and I understand your point about a 21 year old playing a HS kid.

    Not trying to make a big deal out of it.  I was just wondering if something like the old Hollywood trick of an actor standing on a box was being used.

    Given what Mr. Natural posted about Penn's height maybe he is the one standing on a box.



    Penn's Excellent Adventure in Narcoland (none / 0) (#30)
    by Mr Natural on Sun Jan 10, 2016 at 06:27:30 PM EST
    If Only the 'Real Journalist'... (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 11:12:01 AM EST
    ...would critic other 'real journalists' instead of actors we might have a better press on issues of real importance.

    Going after Penn for his journalistic integrity is like going after Reagan's acting chops, who cares.  Sound more like whining that an actor got the gig rather than a journalist.  I also think it's a backhanded way of going after Rolling Stone.

    Never mind that the actor actually played a part in catching Mexico's most notorious criminal, it's the integrity of the journalist that really matters here...


    I agree with this (none / 0) (#44)
    by shoephone on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 01:24:51 PM EST
    I think the griping from "real journalists" is jealousy, nothing more.

    Marcy Wheeler's calling BS on (none / 0) (#32)
    by Anne on Sun Jan 10, 2016 at 08:11:35 PM EST
    a number of aspects of this whole interview thing, here:

    Right. Chapo Guzmán is bashful, and bewildered that he might be of interest to the entire world. And as it turns out the answers to the question -- which Rolling Stone published as a verbatim transcription -- are less insightful than details (such as that Chapo drew fake pesos when he was a kid) Penn must have gotten during the hours he spent with the drug lord in October. Penn had his story, but insisted on this video (remember, they had decided months earlier they weren't doing an actual film!) so someone in Chapo's camp would once again send video to him.

    In short, it's a load of horse shit that is entirely inconsistent with Chapo's assent to do the meeting in the first place.

    But it makes a nice cover story, even if it doesn't amount to journalism. And journalists are so obsessed with the ethics of this non-journalism they're not noticing all the other details that don't make sense.

    Update: There's something else stupid about assuming Rolling Stone let Chapo approve this.

    He's in prison!

    So either, they had the article ready to go, but held it until such a time he got caught (as if they knew he was about to be caught). Or they went to Altiplano, where Chapo is being held, to ask for his approval.

    Or, they got approval from someone else entirely.

    Don't take off your thinking caps, people!

    Hmm. Thought provoking, yes (none / 0) (#33)
    by shoephone on Sun Jan 10, 2016 at 08:41:13 PM EST
    Somehow it just doesn't add up for me. Why would Penn aid the U.S. govt., which he vilifies constantly? Knowing his politics, and his penchant for pissing off the U.S. (e.g. supporting Chavez) I have to wonder if this scenario has much meat to it. Guess we'll find out more as things unfold. Whether Penn was working with intelligence agencies, or doing his darndest to thwart them, I do think it's clear that this escapade helped lead to El Chapo's capture.

    If I remember the (none / 0) (#34)
    by ragebot on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 12:30:38 AM EST
    AP story had several comments along the lines of RS/Sean/Kate knew if they did not agree to giving El Chapo approval, or published the story with something he did not approve of they faced the real possibility that he would ordered them killed as revenge.

    Not saying this is true, but I know I would not do anything to anger the most powerful drug lord in the world.


    Mexico wants a interview as well (none / 0) (#36)
    by TrevorBolder on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 05:25:53 AM EST
    (ALMOLOYA DE JUAREZ, Mexico) -- Mexican authorities want to speak with U.S. actor Sean Penn and Latin television star Kate del Castillo, a Mexican law enforcement official told NBC News Sunday.

    The revelation came a day after Rolling Stone published a secret interview that Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman apparently gave to Penn while on the run.

    The official also said that investigators were able to learn details about Guzman's whereabouts by intercepting phone conversations between Penn, Del Castillo and the drug lord.

    Not disagreeing, but (none / 0) (#41)
    by ragebot on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 12:10:36 PM EST
    I wonder how hard, or easy, it is to intercept phone calls.  I remember when McDermott was able to intercept Newt's phone call, but I have to think that is not how the Mexican government intercepted Sean's calls to El Chapo.

    Not sure just what the Mexican LEOs want to talk to Sean or Kate about.  Maybe there is something in he intercepts incriminating.  I doubt El Chapo was discussing details of his operation.  Also doubt El Chapo would provide names of those who assisted in his escapes.

    I am still trying to figure out just what Sean or Kate did that was illegal, as opposed to simply having bad judgement.


    McDermott did not intercept that call (none / 0) (#42)
    by shoephone on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 12:24:13 PM EST
    No one "intercepted" it. A Florida couple was riding in their car, and accidentally happened on to it through a low frequency station on their car radio. When they realized who it was talking , and what they were talking about, they started recording it. Later, they gave the tape to McDermott, who was head of the ethics committee, and he gave it to the NY Times.

    no mcdermott talk here please (none / 0) (#47)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 05:15:04 PM EST
    the topic is El Chapo. Please stay on topic

    Apologies (none / 0) (#49)
    by shoephone on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 06:47:51 PM EST
    I felt compelled to point out the inaccuracy.

    Back to our regularly scheduled programming...


    Sean Penn's prose (none / 0) (#45)
    by KeysDan on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 02:18:22 PM EST
    is on a journalistic line of Hemingway's machismo and the insights of Tom Friedman's taxi drivers.  On journalistic dangers recognized but overcome: "..I throw my satchel into the open bakc of one of the SUVs, and lumber over to the tree lilne to take a p$ss. D$ck in hand, I do consider it among my body parts vulnerable to the knives of irrational narco types, and take a fond last loo, before tucking it back into my pants."

    On humanizing with unexpected forgiveness. "..Chapo puts his arm over my shoulder and renews his request that I see him in eight days. "I'll be saying goodbye now," he says.  At this moment, I expel a minor traveler's flatulence (sorry), and with it, I experience the same chivalry he'd offered when putting Kate to bed, as he pretends not to notice.  We escape its subtle brume, and I join my colleagues inside the bungalow. "

    Is it journalism or a screenplay?  It is both.

    I'll be polite. (5.00 / 3) (#52)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Jan 13, 2016 at 12:37:44 PM EST
    I'll spare us my opinion of Penn's attempt to gin up a large Samoan of his own.

    The Paris Review interview with Hunter S. Thompson, The Art of Journalism No. 1, Fall, 2000.


    That was a great read! (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by shoephone on Wed Jan 13, 2016 at 01:57:13 PM EST
    Thanks for posting the link.

    I can't help but think that the entire time (none / 0) (#46)
    by Anne on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 02:26:55 PM EST
    he was doing this interview, he wasn't so much in the moment and experiencing the visit one person to another, as much as he was seeing it all as if he were the camera and already writing the screenplay.

    There's a detachment that makes it hard for the reader to know how much of it was real; it's a little annoying.  

    As an aside, I guess I'd have to wonder what the point of it all was.


    Mexico's PGR released surveillance photos (none / 0) (#50)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Jan 11, 2016 at 07:47:16 PM EST
    "Burner phone" Dilettante led cops directly to El Chapo (twice):

    Today it is revealed that Kate del Castillo, the actress who brought actor Sean Penn and el Chapo together, was to be the producer of Chapo's film.

    The government has been conducting surveillance on Castillo since 2014 because of her "friendship" with Chapo.

    El Universal published photos captured by agents using telephoto lens during the Sean Penn trip.

    Did Penn lie about El Chapo (none / 0) (#54)
    by ragebot on Wed Jan 13, 2016 at 02:41:30 PM EST
    Seems like El Chapo's lawyer is disputing Penn's account of the interview.  Blurb from the link below:

    "Its a lie, absurd speculation from Mr Penn," Juan Pablo Badillo, one of a team of Guzman lawyers, told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday."

    Some of the comments in this link seem to think Penn may need to start worrying about retaliation from El Chapo.  It will be interesting to see how Sean and Kate are involved with the legal proceedings.

    If nothing else, this (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Jan 13, 2016 at 03:07:12 PM EST
    will be a good road test of the contention, voiced by Penn and echoed by our Host, that "El Chapo has a reputation for avoiding violence."

    If you follow the wrong links from some of the El Chapo reports, (at Borderland Beat, etc) you'll see images and video that make ISIS' famous head jobs look like child's play.  Bodies literally hacked into chunks, strewn beside urban roads or deep in the country.  No sign of El Chapo himself, of course, but the mantas (banners) they leave behind make clear for whom they kill and who they're warning with the carnage.

    At this point, I wouldn't want to be standing in Penn's handmade boots.


    How Mexico secretly launched a crackdown (none / 0) (#57)
    by Mr Natural on Sun Jan 17, 2016 at 04:33:47 AM EST
    after Penn met with El Chapo.

    Four days after Sean Penn met with Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán last October, Mexican marine helicopters swooped in on the drug lord's hideout atop a pine-studded peak in the Sierra Madre mountains.

    Starting that morning, local farmers said, the marines went on a shooting and looting spree that appeared like an act of collective punishment. The marines peppered homes and trucks with bullets, set fire to four-wheelers and stole money, jewelry, blankets and clothes, residents said. The military hemmed in villages, prohibiting people from leaving their homes for up to five days in their ferocious search for Guzmán, according to interviews over four days with residents in the tiny mountain villages.

    "This did not seem like the Mexican government," said Maria del Carmen Verenice, a 47-year-old housewife, who added that she crouched in a ditch while shots were fired on the village from helicopters, then spent the next two days hiding in the woods. "This was a terrorist government."