Sean Penn regrets "El Chapo" interview didn't spark drug discussion

The actor Sean Penn admitted to a "terrible regret" that his controversial Rolling Stone interview with Mexican drug boss Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman did not spur a discussion on the US' war on narcotics trafficking.

"I have a regret that the entire discussion about this article ignores its purpose, which was to try to contribute to this discussion about the policy in the War on Drugs," Penn said in an excerpt released Friday from an interview with the programme 60 Minutes of US broadcaster CBS.

The two-time Academy Award winner said he pursued the interview to "begin a conversation about the policy of the war on drugs. That was my simple idea."

"We all want this drug problem to stop. We all want ... the killings in Chicago to stop," Penn told CBS.

"We are the consumer. Whether you agree with Sean Penn or not, there is a complicity there. And if you are in the moral right, or on the far left, just as many of your children are doing these drugs ... And how much time have they spent in the last week since this article come [sic] out, talking about that?"

Penn also pushed back against suggestions that the meeting led to the drug lord's eventual capture.

"There is this myth about the visit that we made my colleagues and I with El Chapo, that it was - as the Attorney General of Mexico is quoted - essential to his capture," the actor said.

Penn, 55, said that he and actress Kate del Castillo met Guzman in October "in a place nowhere near where he was captured."

The cartel chief was recaptured last week after a shootout in the city of Los Mochis, on Mexico's Pacific coast.

"We know that the Mexican government ... they were clearly very humiliated by the notion that someone found him before they did," Penn explains.

"Nobody found him before they did. ... We're not smarter than the [US Drug Enforcement Agency] DEA or the Mexican intelligence. We had a contact upon which we were able to facilitate an invitation."

The DEA had offered a reward for information leading to Guzman's capture. In July, "El Chapo" escaped from a high-security prison for the second time, this time through a tunnel equipped with lights and air conditioning.

The entire 60 Minutes segment will air on Sunday.

Last update: Fri, 15/01/2016 - 21:07

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