Tags: Hollywood | Mexico | Drugs | El Chapo | Sean Penn | Sinaloa

Sean Penn Glorifies Murderous El Chapo

Sean Penn Glorifies Murderous El Chapo

Wednesday, 13 January 2016 03:33 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Sean Penn conducted an adventurous interview with Joaquin Guzman, “El Chapo," the leader of the most brutal drug cartel of Sinaloa.

The interview itself and the entire 10,000 words published in Rolling Stone are not particularly enlightening. But Penn’s questions are problematic.

In a bizarre way, Penn tries to make the point that El Chapo does not promote the consumption of drugs in the form of an advertisement. He himself does not consume drugs.

Likewise, another question leads to portray him as somebody who has a great relationship of love and respect with his mom. Also, it is stressed that El Chapo’s two escapes from jail took place without violence.

Let’s face it: Penn’s questions were mostly an attempt to humanize a cold-blooded murderer. That, and criticisms of U.S. policy.

Penn begins by pointing out that El Chapo is not just a murderer but first of all a businessman who only resorts to violence if it advances his economic goals.

He also claims the American people are complicit with a man we demonize because we consume and demand drugs.

Likewise, our system criminalizes consumers of drugs by throwing them into prison.

Penn openly states that there is a moral equivalent between the suffering inflicted by our prison system and the murderous acts of the drug cartels.

He suggests that victims are victims of the war on drugs.

There is no question that there is much to be said about the way the criminal system operates and Penn is not a particularly original on this.

But he displays a thoughtless attitude when the role of victim and perpetrator are reversed. At one point Penn describes El Chapo as a truthful and authentic individual among a sea of hypocrites.

Penn was accompanied in the trip by the Mexican actress Kate del Castillo. Del Castillo points out that she trusts El Chapo more than she trusts the Mexican government.

Del Castillo publicly advised El Chapo to promote love , charity, and good deeds. El Chapo indeed has done some of these things, but as long as he gained popularity and support among locals.

Appealing to the heart of a murderer sounds surreal.

Yet, Penn’s piece is useful because it reveals that this murderer lives in a compound in Sinaloa protected by people with uniforms who are employees of Sinaloa. Thus, El Chapo displays the confidence of somebody who is not worried about the authorities. The state is clearly corrupt and its police officers and leaders have been bought.

It is also clear that El Chapo is more powerful than the local authorities.

Sean Penn aside, the problem needs to be addressed on two different levels. One is addressing the problem of addiction in this country seriously, not by legalization of drugs or just by de-criminalization of consumption.

Today, there is a grass-roots movement that is demanding government to do more to deal with the problem of addiction. Finally for the first time presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle are bringing the issue to the table, still without explicit plans, but are bringing it nonetheless.

Some like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Carly Fiorina are adding their personal family challenges.

People continue to die from drug abuse, and the numbers are multiplying.

Families continue to be destroyed as the problem of addiction affects the entire family.

This is a social problem which affects our society more than any other. It needs to be addressed nationally, in a bi-partisan way, and with lots of government willingness to throw in financial support.

But the elimination of drug cartels is a also a must. The cartels corrupt governments generate anarchy, and increase insecurity — one of the most important issues in Latin America. The drug “business” raises a generation of murderers and multiple victims that no act of generosity — as Del Castillo suggested — can ever compensate.

The Sinaloa cartel under El Chapo works with and enriches the highly repressive regimes such the Venezuelan one. Drug cartels also cooperate with terrorist groups, endangering our security.

These problems cannot be solved by applying the depraved logic of extreme ideologues like Penn and Del Castillo. It is a serious problem; it needs to be scientifically studied. Political support for solutions needs to be secured, and policies need to be applied accordingly.

Luis Fleischman has worked as adviser for the Menges Hemispheric Security Project at the Center for Security Policy on issues related to Latin America. He is the author of "Latin America in the Post-Chavez Era: The Threat to U.S. Security." Fleischman is an adjunct professor of sociology and political science at Florida Atlantic University Honors College and FAU Lifelong Learning Society. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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There is much to be said about the way the criminal system operates and Penn is not a particularly original on this. But he displays a thoughtless attitude when the role of victim and perpetrator are reversed. At one point Penn describes El Chapo as a truthful and authentic individual.
Drugs, El Chapo, Sean Penn, Sinaloa
Wednesday, 13 January 2016 03:33 PM
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