Sean Penn’s controversial interview with El Chapo did one major thing: it undermined all the drug war victims, including those who live in fear and the journalists who have died trying to report the truth. This, according to writer and poet Javier Sicilia and journalist Alfredo Corchado.
In the interview, Sean Penn portrayed El Chapo as a sort of “Robin Hood” who helped his community and only kills when necessary. The interview, even a week later, is still grabbing headlines.
Sicilia, whose 24-year-old son was tortured and killed by cartel members in 2011, says, “The face of El Chapo is a smokescreen. Behind the kingpin’s image, which is magnified by the media and the politics of Mexico and the United States, is the hidden truth… of the dead and those who are still disappearing.”
And, in terms of the many journalists who have lost their lives, Corchado says this interview was an “epic insult to journalists who died in the name of the truth.”
Now Sicilia is asking del Castillo and Penn to use their fame to garner attention for the victims, including those who still live in fear and are constantly disappearing: “[Penn] has a good reputation as a defender of noble causes… and Kate del Castillo—who accompanied us in Los Angeles when we did our march for peace—have the capacity to interview many people,” he said. “And while governments and the media continue to use abstract numbers to talk about victims, it will be difficult to move and touch the hearts of others.”
Read more of what Javier Sicilia has to say from NBC News here.
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A federal judge in Brooklyn, N.Y., has sentenced drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán to a term of life in prison without the possibility of parole plus 30 years for his role in leading Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel. A life sentence was mandatory; U.S. prosecutors had asked that three decades be added onto Guzmán’s punishment.
The sentence also includes a multibillion-dollar financial penalty for the wealthy drug dealer.
The former drug lord was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years.
A federal jury convicted Guzmán in February, finding him guilty of a raft of serious charges, from drug crimes to a murder conspiracy. His conviction included 10 counts of crimes such as narcotics trafficking, using a firearm in drug crimes and money laundering.
The 62-year-old former drug lord was extradited from his native Mexico to the US in January 2017. The terms of his extradition included a pledge that US authorities would not seek the death penalty.
The drug kingpin has repeatedly made headlines during his criminal career — first for the vast power he ruthlessly amassed and later for his seeming ability to break out of any prison in Mexico. In 2015, he escaped from a maximum security prison for the second time, after spending more than a decade eluding Mexican authorities. He lived outside the law for an additional six months, before he was captured in a high-profile operation in early 2016.
He’s also been ordered to pay more than $12 billion for his negative impacts on the country.
Drug kingpin El Chapo was ordered to forfeit more than $12.6 billion in ill-gotten drug money today. Many are already coming out with ideas on hote government should best spend that money.
While others are pointing out the irony in the government taking drug money as if it was simply taking its cut.
El Chapo’s attorney reiterated his call for a new trial over alleged misconduct by jurors.
This case was simply an inquisition. It was a show trial, and how it ended is exactly perfect for that description,” defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman said. He said the government’s witnesses had included “lunatics and sociopaths and psychopaths” and that “up to five jurors broke the law — violated the law while they were judging Mr. Guzmán for crimes.”
After Guzmán was convicted, his defense team said the trial was tainted, claiming that members of the jury had ignored the judge’s orders not to read about the trial outside of court proceedings.
Guzmán plans to appeal, Lichtman said.
People were anxiously waiting to see if Guzmán would speak at his sentencing.
El Chapo spoke publicly for the first time since his conviction on Wednesday, complaining to a judge that his incarceration at a Manhattan lockup has been absolute “torture” before being sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years.
“I’ve been forced to drink unsanitary water. I’ve been denied access to fresh air and sunlight. The only sunlight I have in my cell comes through in the air vent,” the 62-year-old convicted drug kingpin told Brooklyn federal Judge Brian Cogan ahead of his sentencing.
Guzmán concluded his lengthy remarks by saying, “The United States is no better than any other corrupt country that you don’t respect.”
So where will El Chapo likely be spending the rest of his life?
Since he was sentenced to life, El Chapo will likely be serving that sentence in just one facility – the supermax prison just outside of Florence, Colorado. That is, of course, as long as he doesn’t successfully escape…again.
Many were just counting down the weeks or months until his third escape.
Some on Twitter pointed out that he’s already evaded authorities bascially four times now and made two high-profile escapes, including from a supposed supermax prison facility in Mexico.
Many are questioning how long it will take him and his Sinoaloa cartel to break him out of his cell in Colorado…
Giant estates with swimming pools and escape tunnels, a ranch surrounded by acres of land, and a chic luxury apartment with a terrifying history were among the 27 properties Mexico had seized from drug traffickers and others auctioned on Sunday.
The government is seizing property and selling it at auction.
The apartments auctioned on Sunday include one of a cartel leader who was killed there and disposed of by his brothers.
The government is also selling off land. The cheapest is a lot in Culiacán, Sinaloa, priced at about $11,200 USD, while the most expensive is the Rancho Los Tres García in Naucalpan, México state, priced at over $1.6 million USD. It was confiscated from convicted drug trafficker Carlos Montemayor, father-in-law of Edgar “La Barbie” Valdez Villarreal, after he was arrested in 2010.
According to Mexican media, the auction raised $56.6 million pesos (or about $3 million USD) of the 167m pesos predicted.
The Mexican President pledged that all the money raised from the auctions would go to benefit impoverished communities.
According to Lopez-Obrador (AMLO), the proceeds from the auction of properties and land, which had been seized by previous governments, would go to aid marginalized communities in the poor and violent state of Guerrero.
“Buyers will know that in addition to acquiring a good deal, they will also be doing good, that is, they will be helping those who need support because of the situation of poverty and marginalization they suffer,” AMLO said Friday.
In one of his first acts in office, Lopez Obrador enforced an austerity plan.
AMLO sold government-owned vehicles and even planned on selling the president’s brand new Boeing 787 jetliner. He also dismissed the Presidential Guard, which is tasked with protecting the president, and declined to move into Los Pinos – Mexico’s version of the White House – and instead lives in his private home.
In a similar auction at the end of May, Mexican authorities raised $1.5 million from the sales of 82 vehicles, including a Lamborghini and other assets seized from criminals and at least one former politician.
The late-May auction saw 800 bidders, with the money raised going to two poor communities in the southern state of Oaxaca to improve roads and schools. Seventeen black, bulletproof Chevrolet Suburbans were also up for auction but it was the muscle cars and vintage VWs that got all the attention.
Reactions on Twitter were pretty mixed.
A pretty common sentiment across Twitter was that people just wouldn’t feel safe moving into a home that had been seized from a former drug lord. I mean just think of all the risk that carries with it. Like that drug lord still has connections, still has friends – there are still people that are aware of its history. Maybe they’d show up wanting to take it for themselves at some point.
But everyone agreed that giving the proceeds of the auction to help the poor was the right move.
Especially since the communities that will benefit from these proceeds are in violence plagued Guerrero state – a state that has suffered greatly because of the Drug War.
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