Latin America & Caribbean

El Chapo: Seven things we did not know last week

In the seven days since Mexican security forces recaptured Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, a wealth of new information has surfaced about the country's most wanted drugs lord. Here is the most eye-catching.

1. 'El Chapo' likes his vests

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mexican media said the drug lord had been "hunted like a rat"

When the Mexican security forces captured Joaquin Guzman, he was wearing a white vest, covered in grime from his escape through the sewers of Los Mochis, a city in his home state of Sinaloa.

Bruised and bloodied, he did not look like one of the men on Forbes' list of the world's richest people.

2. But when he dresses up, he is partial to colourful patterned shirts from an LA-based maker

Image copyright Barrabas
Image caption Barabas advertises its shirt with the photo of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman meeting Sean Penn

While on an average day he may wear a vest, he prefers tight colourful shirts on days he wants to dress to impress.

A day after his recapture on Friday, Rolling Stone magazine published an interview with Guzman conducted by Hollywood actor Sean Penn back in October, arranged by Mexican actress Kate del Castillo.

A photograph of Sean Penn and Guzman shaking hands shows the cartel leader in a striking blue and grey patterned shirt, which LA shirt maker Barabas recognised as one of its creations.

In a video also released by Rolling Stone, he wears a blue shirt also from Barabas called "Crazy Paisley".

3. When women are not present, he is armed

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Guzman and his men were heavily armed as they fled through the sewers of Los Mochis before police caught up with them

In his article, Penn describes how the moment del Castillo retired to another room, Guzman and his men strapped on body armour and guns.

According to Penn, Guzman had taken both off as a courtesy to del Castillo and to make her feel at ease.

4. Guzman is not much of a drinker

Image copyright AP
Image caption Guzman said he was not much of a drinker, so he is unlikely to miss alcohol while in jail

Mexican daily Milenio on Tuesday published a series of Blackberry messages it says Guzman sent to Kate del Castillo on 25 September.

In them, he tells the actress he does not drink much but that he will make an exception if she comes to meet him.

"I like tequila and Bucana [Buchanan's whiskey], I'll have some of the tequila you bring and champagne. I'm not much of a drinker but your visit will be lovely and I'm looking forward to getting to know you and becoming really good friends," he is quoted by the paper as writing.

5. He loves a soap opera about a female drugs lord

Image copyright Katy Watson
Image caption Police showed journalists a neat stack of DVDs in the house where El Chapo was hiding

Mexican officials showing journalists around the house in Los Mochis where Guzman had been hiding pointed out a pile of DVDs of Mexican TV series La Reina del Sur (Queen of the South).

La Reina del Sur is a drama based on the novel of the same name by Spanish author Arturo Perez Reverte.

In the series, actress Kate del Castillo plays a young woman from Mexico who rises through the ranks of the Sinaloa drugs cartel to become the most powerful drug trafficker in southern Spain.

Some journalists, however, pointed out that the pile of DVDs looked very neat in comparison to the chaos in the rest of the house, hinting that it could possibly been planted after the raid.

6. He has a crush on Kate del Castillo

Image copyright AP
Image caption Mexican officials said Guzman was "obsessed" with Kate del Castillo

Following the above, it will come as little surprise Mexican officials are saying that Guzman has a crush on actress Kate del Castillo.

A Mexican government source who wished to remain anonymous told Efe news agency that Guzman had an "almost obsessive interest" in the Mexican actress.

The source said that Guzman was hoping to have another meeting with del Castillo after the one he had with her and Penn.

In his article, Penn says Guzman was gallant and caring towards del Castillo.

This would seem to backed up by the 25 September Blackberry Messenger conversation in which he is quoted as saying: "You're the best thing in the world. We'll be really good friends."

"You organise when you can come back, hopefully it will be soon, although it's better to wait a week so I can get everything ready. I will have everything just super for you so no detail is amiss. Trust me, you'll be fine. I'll look after you just like after my own eyes."

7. He did not know who Sean Penn was before meeting him

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Guzman wanted to know which films Penn had starred in before agreeing to a meeting

Judging by the messages his lawyer sent him prior to the meeting, Guzman was not aware of who Sean Penn was when his lawyer told him that Kate del Castillo wanted the three to meet.

"What's that actor called?," Guzman asks his lawyer according to the transcript published by Milenio.

"Sean Penn. He was in that film, 21 Grams," his lawyer replies, adding: "He hardly acts anymore, he now produces films and knows almost all the directors and producers in Hollywood."

He also says that Penn is "drooling" at the prospect of meeting Guzman.

"What's the latest film he has produced?" Guzman asks in return, before agreeing to Penn accompanying del Castillo.

A day later he asks his lawyer again what "that director is called". He then proceeds to "look him up on the internet".

His lawyer tells him: "The lady says he's more badass than the one who did The Godfather", which seems to have convinced Guzman to meet with Penn.

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