Kate del Castillo Talks Fallout from El Chapo Meeting: "I'm Afraid of the Mexican Government"
"I know they have the power to manipulate and do things," the actress told Carmen Aristegui in the first of a two-part interview that aired Tuesday on CNN en Espanol.
Mexican film and television actress Kate del Castillo, who arranged Sean Penn's Rolling Stone interview with drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, said she fears the Mexican government even more than the powerful Sinaloa cartel.
"I don't fear the cartel, that's not my fear," she said in a televised interview with CNN en Espanol on Tuesday night. "I'm not afraid of Mr. Guzman nor his people. I'm afraid of the Mexican government. I'm afraid because I've seen all they've done, how they destroyed me during months."
Mexican authorities are investigating del Castillo for alleged money laundering. Attorney General Arely Gomez told a Mexican daily in January that there are "indications" the actress could have received illicit funds from El Chapo, but the ongoing investigation has shared no evidence to corroborate that.
Del Castillo, who resides in the U.S., denies that she has ever received money from El Chapo for any business venture.
In the interview with journalist Carmen Aristegui on CNN, del Castillo accused the Mexican government of leaking phone texts exchanged between her and El Chapo, messages that she claims were taken out of context to make it look like she was having an affair with the drug boss.
"They are leaking evidence," said the lead actress of the hit narconovela La Reina del Sur. "It's completely illegal what they are doing."
Del Castillo reiterated that she still plans to produce a biopic about Chapo's life story once she resolves her current legal situation. She says Chapo will have no veto power over the movie's depiction of him as Mexico's most notorious drug lord.
She also cleared the air about director Oliver Stone, saying he's not involved in the project despite rumors suggesting otherwise. Del Castillo explained that she met one of the film's producers at Stone's house several years ago and they later met for lunch to discuss the possibility of a film project.
The CNN interview then turned to Sean Penn. Del Castillo brokered Penn's visit with El Chapo in January prior to Guzman's arrest. The project's producers, Jose Ibanez and Fernando Sulichin, also went to the private meeting in a remote Sinaloa jungle.
When the group of four met with El Chapo, Penn took out a letter of assignment from Rolling Stone saying that he and the two producers were working on a story about Chapo and he wanted del Castillo to translate their interview. Del Castillo says she did not know about the letter ahead of time, while Penn says he discussed it with her in advance.
"From our first meeting, I discussed with her my intention to interview Joaquin Guzman for an article in connection with the meeting that she facilitated," Penn told The New Yorker. "We discussed it again during the flight and the trip to Mexico with our partners.”
Del Castillo responded to Penn's claim that he discussed the article idea with her as “total and complete bulls—," but she went forward with the interview because she thought the article might provide material for the movie.
By the time del Castillo met with Penn to look over his final draft, she said she had realized Penn was not interested in the movie project. She said she did not read the story in its entirety when Penn presented it to her, but once she eventually did she found issues with how Penn portrayed her at times, and she disagreed that the group went through a military checkpoint on the way to their meeting with Chapo.
According to Penn, a vehicle driven by Chapo's son was waved past a military checkpoint, but del Castillo said that never happened.
In the CNN interview, del Castillo said a version of Penn's article that had been approved by Chapo (Penn and Chapo agreed beforehand that the drug lord would be given final approval on the story) made no mention of the checkpoint.
"They changed it," she told Aristegui. "Do you think that if I had seen what he said about the military checkpoint I wasn't going to say, 'Are you crazy? You delete that because it didn't happen.'"
Part two of the interview airs on CNN en Espanol on Wednesday night.