Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman - known as El Chapo - met with Sean Penn last year in late September to make arrangements for long-form interviews to be published by Rolling Stone. Due to various extenuating circumstances that followed - including drug raids in which both Mexican special forces and cartel criminals were killed - the interview never took place as intended.
What Penn did obtain, however, was a photograph of himself meeting Guzman on that September evening, as well as video of the Sinaloa Cartel leader answering questions sent to him by Penn. Rolling Stone published Penn’s account of the events on Saturday - from the planning of the interview to his meeting with Guzman and his family in an unnamed location in Mexico - as well as a two-minute teaser of the full-video which will expectedly be released shortly.
Penn deploys a prose suitable for storytelling, complete with left-wing political polemics against the “War on Drugs” with an indictment of American demand for illicit drugs as a driver of widespread criminal violence associated with their trafficking.
During his evening with Guzman, Penn recalls that his "relationship" with the late socialist autocrat Hugo Chavez served as evidence of his "independence" of thought.
Penn highlights what he describes as Osama Bin Laden’s unjustifiable indictment of all Americans for American foreign policy - a hostility towards American foreign policy that Peen seems to share - when drawing a parallel between the since liquidated Islamic terrorist’s notoriety and that of Guzman. The nuance of delineating citizens from governments, however, is not applied in Penn’s wholesale classification of Americans as complicit in creating demand via consumption of narcotics.
“But unlike bin Laden, who had posed the ludicrous premise that a country's entire population is defined by – and therefore complicit in – its leadership's policies, with the world's most wanted drug lord, are we, the American public, not indeed complicit in what we demonize? We are the consumers, and as such, we are complicit in every murder, and in every corruption of an institution's ability to protect the quality of life for citizens of Mexico and the United States that comes as a result of our insatiable appetite for illicit narcotics,” Penn writes.
Hinting at a film biopic of Guzman’s life and times, Penn states that the drug lord was interested in how his legacy might be portrayed.
Guzman was arrested on Friday night Mexican authorities, in an operation that led to the deaths of five suspects. One Mexican officer was injured.