Mexican actress Kate del Castillo

By Tania Noriz

I spent part of the early morning last Sunday reading the interview that Mexican kingpin Joaquín “el Chapo” Guzmán gave to Sean Penn, and then I realized, without much drama, where the problem of drug trafficking in Mexico comes from. For me, it is the result of ignorance. El Chapo has said he had no choice: his involvement in the world of drugs exists because in his rural community in the north of the country, there was no other way to get something to eat other than working in the poppy fields. He had already worked selling soft drinks and candy, like those children on the streets here selling chewing gum that nobody buys. But el Chapo was not like any other campesino. He was smart and driven, a special poor Mexican campesino who, thanks to the help of the government, the educational system, and Mexican TV, has become the richest and most powerful criminal in the world. Can you imagine? A campesino from Sinaloa! What if he had had a teacher who had helped him direct his hunger, intelligence, and motivation to do good?

As a rural schoolteacher, I have identified those kinds of persons—boys who know their hunger and dreams are confined to the four walls of their corral, or to the fields they work that crack their hands, or to death in the desert, trying to escape their awful lives. They are boys whose only consolation is getting home in the evening to watch TV or soap operas like La reina del sur or to idolize the corrido singer el Komander because he is the jester who lets them know about the most recent adventures of el Chapo right there in their corrals.

Kate del Castillo is as trivial and empty as the idiotic system for which she worked for years. She has not the slightest idea what she is talking about or what she is getting into. “Let’s traffic with love, dear Don,” she advises el Chapo, the man on whose shoulders are thousands of heads that have lost their bodies and souls in a war produced in the purest Mexican style: where we all cooperate just by looking and doing nothing, or not teaching because I prefer fighting for my wage, or producing TV shows for the poor in money and mind, or allowing the government—with the money that cost us nothing earning and losing it—the right to kill our children. This has made us poorer and has contributed to ignorance, low gas quality, or tortillas made of Maseca. They laugh at us and, as always, we allow them to do so. They laugh at us with indecent and impudent tweets to tell us that they finally got him. They laugh at us with all those pesos used to buy food to hand out at the political campaigns. They laugh at us opening schools with programs that are “genetically” modified so that students do as they learn and do as they think. There is no doubt that this country is one of contrasts. It is beautiful and ugly, good and evil—here, where the seed is killed and where we exalt darkness, where the bad guys were never meant to become evil and when they did, they became anything but that—heroes, pop culture characters captured in Rolling Stone magazine, Mexican deities, axolotls, with daggers made of flint and divine breath, ready to give and take away life when they want.


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