I, like most millennials who refuse to have a standard cable contract, find myself diving head first into every Netflix series that catches my eye, binge watching every episode with a hunger for more entertainment. “The Day I Met El Chapo” was one that especially grabbed my attention. I found myself finishing the real life telenovela in a single afternoon of binging. It's a tale of how Kate Del Castillo, famed Mexican actress and Chicano household name, managed to meet El Chapo, who professed his fandom in a heartfelt letter and creepy legal aid visits. What I found most interesting, and which pertains to my interest in international relations, was the way in which the governments, both Mexican and US, portrayed the actress who—by all accounts in the series—was placed in an impossible position.
Kate met Sean Penn at a party and, by chance, confessed she had been in contact with El Chapo by way of his attorney. Like most Hollywood tales of drugs and rebellion, the pair set out to try to interview the legend to make a movie about his life. Ultimately, Kate was able to play an integral part in obtaining footage of El Chapo and getting Sean Penn to the hiding place of the world’s most wanted man. Unfortunately for the actress, Penn decided to leak the information to the press in an interview with Rolling Stone. For Kate, the world came crashing down almost immediately. As a result, she was subjected to (basically) seeking asylum in the US. She has not returned to Mexico since the incident.
In the end, I was enthralled by the show and believe it is a crucial insight into the Mexican government. It displays all the modern complexities in a way that is personal and intimate. So if you're looking to learn a little about international relations in an accessible way, pull the shades, pop the corn, and enjoy.
About the Author
Bryce Slaughter is a former global education intern at the IRC. He is currently a graduate student studying education at Avila University.