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Making the wrong commentary about the drug war in Mexico could create problems for public figures. Take the case of Kate del Castillo, a Mexican actor who incurred the wrath of many in the country after she tweeted that she preferred drug gang leader Chapo Guzman to the government.
Her mistake was to post a long statement on social media site Twextra. “Today, I believe more in El Chapo Guzman than in the governments that hide truths from me,” she wrote, adding later:
“Mr Chapo, wouldn’t it be great if you started trafficking with positive things? With cures for diseases, with food for street children, with alcohol (drinks) for old people in retirement homes, where they are not allowed to spend their final days doing whatever they like. You can traffic with corrupt politicians and not with women and children who end up as slaves?”
She ended the statement urging Guzman, one of Mexico’s most powerful drug bosses, to become “The Hero of Heroes,” a play on a Mexican corrido song describing a top drug baron as the “Jefe de Jefes” or Boss of Bosses.
El Chapo, which translates to “Shorty”, is one of Mexico’s most powerful drug traffickers. He was named the most influential drug trafficker in the world by the US Treasury Department, and has been ranked as one of the richest Mexicans by Forbes for the last three consecutive years.
The only entertainers who flocked to support Kate were Ranchera singer Chavela Vargas and Puerto Rican singer Ricky Martin, plus her ex-husband Demian Bichir.
Most Mexican entertainers stay away from appearing too chummy with known drug traffickers. Several singers of traditional grupero music have been killed in the last few years. None of the cases have been solved and the killings are said to be linked to songs the singers were paid to compose and make famous. Many of the songs describing and praising drug traffickers are called “narco-corridos”, a spin on the traditional corrido ballad music of Mexico.
Del Castillo, a top name in Mexico, recently moved into the US market, playing a role in Showtime’s Weeds. She also starred in the Spanish-language TV series La Reina del Sur, in which she played a female drug trafficker. The series is based on a real life drug trafficker, Sandra Avila, known as La Reina del Pacifico, who is in a Mexican jail today, fighting extradition to the United States for cocaine smuggling. Avila laundered money for the Chapo Guzman’s drug syndicate.