By Janet Cacelín @JanCacelin
A blunt and controversial tweet earned Mexican actress Kate del Castillo the trust of Joaquín “ El Chapo” Guzmán Loera, and four years later helped her facilitate the first and only face-to-face interview with the drug lord.
"Today I trust more in "El Chapo" Guzmán than in the governments that hide the truth although it may be painful," Del Castillo posted on her Twitter account in 2012.
Now her role as a bridge between "El Chapo" and her colleague, American actor and director Sean Penn, for a Rolling Stone interview raises questions regarding the depth of Del Castillo's interactions with the drug lord.
Mexican authorities said the communication between the actors and the drug lord helped track down Guzmán Loera, who was recaptured last Friday in the city of Los Mochis, in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, after escaping from prison last July.
In 2012, Del Castillo, who boasts a long acting career in Mexico and is a rising star in the United States, decided to send a message to Guzmán Loera, the most dangerous drug lord in Mexico, who at the time was on the run from justice.
“Mr. Chapo, wouldn’t it be great if you started trafficking in good deeds? In cures for diseases? In food for street children? In alcohol for nursing homes that don’t let people spend their last few years doing whatever they damn well please? Trafficking through corrupt politicians and not women and children who end up as slaves? Burning all those whorehouses where women are not worth more than a pack of cigarettes? Without supply, there is no demand, sir. Come on, you’d be a hero’s hero. Let’s traffic in love. You know how,” she said on Twitter.
Social media erupted with reactions. Some were in favor, and considered her message a personal opinion; others took it as a clear defense of drug trafficking.
Weeks later, during a TV interview, Del Castillo said she didn’t know Guzmán Loera and that he had not responded to her message.
“That "El Chapo" thing was totally ironic, pure sarcasm. Now I know I’m a lousy writer because many people didn’t take it that way,” Del Castillo said in February of 2012.
Last Saturday, Rolling Stone revealed that on October 2nd, the Mexican actress, along with Penn, had a personal meeting with the boss in a Mexican jungle.
According to the publication, Guzmán Loera responded by video to Penn’s questions, in images published on the magazine’s website and attributed to Del Castillo.
The day after that interview, the actress posed with Penn on a photo posted on her Instagram account. Both were at a party with mariachis and tequila, and some media outlets reported the picture was taken at an early birthday party for the actress, who turned 43 on October 23.
Her ‘narco’ power on TV production sets
For Del Castillo, the world of drug trafficking is not anything new, at least not in her career as an actress.
In 2011, she starred in the miniseries “La reina del sur” ("The Queen of the South") as Teresa Mendoza, an young Mexican woman who becomes the powerful and reckless leader of a lucrative drug trafficking business in the Strait of Gibraltar. The show, based on a novel by Arturo Pérez Reverte, initially involves the Sinaloa cartel that Guzmán Loera leads in real life.
Back then, when media outlets asked about her decision to make a telenovela about drug trafficking, Del Castillo assured them that the drug trafficking issue was circumstantial: for her, the show was about a woman who made wrong decisions in the name of love.
Del Castillo is the daughter of actor Eric del Castillo, considered a legend in the golden age of Mexican cinema. She began her career at the age of 8 with the film “El último escape” ("The Last Escape"). It wasn’t until 1991 that her face, with its dark complexion and thick eyebrows, made the leap to fame.
After a series of
telenovelas and Mexican films, in 2008 she was introduced to Latino audiences in the United States with “La misma luna” ("Under the Same Moon"), a film bout the lives of undocumented immigrants that became one of biggest Spanish-language box-office successes in the U.S.
At that point, Del Castillo began appearing on American television on the series “American Family,” which was nominated for a Golden Globe, and she was also a guest star on the series “Weeds,” playing Pilar Zuazo, a powerful boss in the Mexican mafia.
And though she had said she didn’t want to go back to making TV shows, Del Castillo announced in 2014 that she would play the widow of a drug lord on the Telemundo series “Dueños del Paraíso” ("Masters of Paradise").
This year, she'll start filiming the new Netflix series “Ingobernable” ("Ungovernable"), where she'll play the wife of a Mexican president, a woman with her own ideas as well as her own presidential ambitions.