By The Economist. ON THE evidence of Sean Penn’s interview with him, published in Rolling Stonemagazine, Joaquín Guzmán, Mexico’s most successful exporter of narcotics to the United States, is not a thoughtful man. If he were, he would reflect on the many ironies that attend his recapture on January 8th, after two escapes in 15 years from high-security prisons.

Mr Guzmán knew he had a good story to tell, which is why in October he met Mr Penn, a Hollywood actor, in his jungle hideout in Mexico’s drug-producing “Golden Triangle”. His first escape, in 2001, was reportedly in a prison laundry cart; his second, in July 2015, was through a mile-long tunnel, built by engineers whom he had sent to Germany to learn the craft, he told Mr Penn. Between relatively brief spells in prison Mr Guzmán, better known as El Chapo (Shorty), bloodily built his Sinaloa drug gang into Mexico’s most powerful. He was apparently hoping that his showbiz contacts would lead not just to an article but to a film.

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