Interview with Chapo

May 14, 2014

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I’m a young reporter and delighted to be first to interview Chapo Guzman in his new cell at Altiplano, in the state of Mexico. I’ve met some celebrities but never such a big star. I imagine he must be pretty sad and discouraged living in a prison that has proven impregnable. Walls three feet thick deter frontal assaults as do armored vehicles stationed nearby. The bad guys can’t fly in, either, since airspace is restricted over the prison. They better not try any other trickery or the finest sensory and tracking devices will instantly pinpoint their location. And forget corrupting prison employees: everyone from guards to the director undergoes regular lie detector tests. They even give me one and electronically check my fingerprints. Chapo won’t escape from this prison like he did the last one.

He still seems happy when I arrive, shaking my hand hard and slapping my shoulder with his left hand as I enter a modest cell offering only a thin cushion over a concrete bed, an immovable concrete stool and desk, a steel toilet joined to a sink and water fountain, and a shower with a timer. From his cell Chapo can squint through a four-inch window into an inner courtyard. He rests on the bed, his back against the wall. I sit on the concrete stool about breaking my behind.

“Must be a difficult adjustment,” I say.

“Sure, but I’d spent most of my time hiding in rat holes in the Sierra. Didn’t get nearly as much luxury as a billionaire should.”

“Do you ever feel remorse about killing so many people?”

“No, I feel good because I destroyed people who were trying to take my territory or who’d insulted me or the Sinaloa Cartel. People like that, we cut their balls off, nice and slow, and then their lips, before we cut off their heads.”

“Isn’t there a helluva lot of stress in a job like that? Worrying about other narcotics traffickers killing you, always having to run from the police and the army, the ones you didn’t bribe.”

“There’s stress but, for me, being poor was worse.”

“How do you spend your days? Do you still run your businesses?”

Guzman looks very unpleasantly at me and says, “They’ve jammed cell phone communication outside ten kilometers. Can’t do much.”

“Not much drug dealing but what about other options?”

“My reading’s getting better. I only went to school about three years, you know. We can borrow two books from the library. Can’t go there so they roll the books here on a cart. We’ve got a week or so to read them and don’t get any more until we give a short book report.”

“You write the reports?”

“Most of the time they’re satisfied when I just tell them what I’ve read.”

“I’ve seen their workshop on TV. They’ve got a lot of hammers and sharp tools. Have you been making any furniture?”

“They don’t let our group in there, and they don’t let us see each other. I wouldn’t either, if I was in charge. At least sometimes I get to visit my family in the auditorium.”

“Are these conjugal visits?”

Chapo again appears unhappy.

“Well, great, I’m glad you’re able to see them,” I say. “Are you going to high school?”

“That shit’s too tough and doesn’t interest me. I’ve got a hundred degrees in my line of work. I should be teaching business and chemistry and agriculture and distribution and maintaining airplane fleets and paramilitary tactics and psychology and intimidation and plenty more. You think any high school teacher could do all those things.”

“No way. How’s the food?”

“Damn near every day they tell me how nutritious it is and to make sure I eat my apple.”

“You’re kidding?”

“No. They think they’re rehabilitating me.”

Looking at a gray steel door on the right wall of his cell, I ask, “What’s on the other side?”

Chapo eases up and walks over and scratches the door which soon opens, and he steps through and motions for me. The door closes and leaves us in a carpeted room with a king size bed and giant TV on the wall and a refrigerator and bar and two young ladies in bikinis. Chapo embraces one, kissing her open-mouthed, and motions for me to get busy. I comply, and four hours later I’m lying drunk and coked out on the bed with the other three, and Chapo points at me and says, “I’m thirty years older than you but took more drugs and fucked twice as much.”

“Yeah, but you ate all the Viagra.”

“Didn’t really need it. I’m a bull.”

Source: Borderland Beat, February 24, 2014

George Thomas Clark

George Thomas Clark is the author of Hitler Here, a biographical novel published in India and the Czech Republic as well as the United States. His commentaries for are read in more than 50 countries a month.

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