2016 came with good News (capitalised for relevance). One that caught the world’s attention was the recapture of El Chapo Guzman. Another that generated tons of commentary and reactions was #SeanPenndejo meeting with El Chapo. In a delicious turn of events, it is being claimed that Penn’s Tequila-drinking soireé with El Chapo actually cost the drug lord his freedom. How sweet. This reminds of Raul Reyes’ location having been revealed -which led to his death- after talking to Hugo Chavez via satellite link.
Sean “7-hours” Penn is no stranger to controversy. His forays into Latin American issues are inversely proportional to his acting prowess. He belongs to that rare breed of America-loathing Americans that owe every success they’ve had to America. Only because of his success in America, Penn has talked to Hugo Chavez for 7 hours; he has sipped wine with Raul Castro for 7 hours; he “interviewed” El Chapo for 7 hours, after travelling thru “dense, mountainous jungle in a two-truck convoy, crossing through river after river for seven long hours…” Oh, and he repeats with raging gusto, like the amazing actor he is, every anti imperialist script put out there by the enemies of democracy and rule of law, and, indeed, by ruthless assassins he’s infatuated with. Communism in Cuba? An utterly corrupt and absolutely dysfuntional regime in Venezuela? Thousands of assassinations and drug trafficking in Mexico? “That’ll be America’s doing” Penn thinks, while farting, or suddenly feeling fond of his dick.
Emili Blasco, from ABC in Spain, claims that Penn’s get together with El Chapo started to be arranged in Venezuela, in October 2015, by intermediation of one of El Chapo’s sons. OFAC-designated Kingpin, Hugo Carvajal, allegedly provided protection. Carvajal, a high figure of Venezuela’s chavista regime, stands accused of coordinating “transportation of approximately 5,600 kilograms of cocaine from Venezuela to Mexico.” Who was the recipient of that shipment, if not El Chapo’s Cartel de Sinaloa?
Venezuela has become a playground for drug traffickers. Not only has the country been turned into a “global cocaine hub” and launchpad for most of the cocaine produced in the Andean region, but, alarmingly, drug lords effectively control the State. Diosdado Cabello, by all accounts Venezuela’s second-in-command, is widely believed to be the boss of Cartel de los Soles. Direct relatives of Venezuela’s First Lady (Cilia Flores) have also been charged for drug trafficking. This means that both branches of chavismo -military led by Cabello and civilian led by President Nicolas Maduro- are implicated.
When Carvajal was arrested by DEA agents in Aruba in July 2014, the highest Venezuelan officials sprang into action to avoid Carvajal’s extradition to the U.S. When Cilia Flores’s godson and nephew were arrested in Haiti, Petroleos de Venezuela’s American lawyers from Squire Patton Boggs were sent -until it became imposible to explain its involvement and, more importantly, justify use of Venezuelan public funds to pay for such involvement.
These facts will never appear in Penn’s motorcycle diaries though. His world view is as Hollywood-esque as they get. Big bad Uncle Sam wrecks havoc on poor and progressive Banana Republics south of the border, whose citizens have no say, no responsibility whatsoever, on issues that affect their nations. So Mexico has two presidents, according to Penn: the democratically elected one, and El Chapo. Cuba’s “revolution for the people”, otherwise known as the continent’s longest dictatorship, spanning five decades of misery without a single democratic election, an untold amount of human rights violations, and absolute lack of freedom, is not the product of Fidel Castro’s derangement, but a consequence of U.S. foreign policy. Only yesterday, Venezuela’s Supreme Court -on Cabello’s and Maduro’s orders- basically voided any and all legislation coming from a new Congress controlled by the opposition, but that’s not to do with kingpins running the show, no. It’s all to do with folks calling chavismo a dictatorship.
Penn-like “journalism” is a species endemic to Hollywood, State media, and corrupt ecosystems. While he keeps feeding his gargantuan ego with cavalier tales –Robert Young Pelton would be proud– millions of people live subjugated and victimised by his idols. Chapos run countries, misusing State resources without a shred of accountability to advance criminal interests. Penn’s detachment allows for romantic views of reality. His willingness to “suspend judgement” seems the regular travelling companion. In those infamous, 7-hour tours, to chavistas, castristas, and narcoterroristas Potemkin villages, which end up without fail with narratives lacking the most basic grasp of facts, Penn exhibits an almost psychopathic absence of empathy towards the real victims. For who, in a sane state of mind, would at this point dare apologise for Chavez, the Castros, or El Chapo Guzman?