Almost everyone will agree with me that bribery is corrupt. However, when I try to expand the definition to include acts that are seldom recognized as corrupt many refuse to accept the notion that corruption is not just a quid pro quo between public officials and others. Many times, corruption is as simple as looking the other way.
The one thing that ties all corrupt acts together is the money someone stands to make.
Do not misunderstand me, making money is not corrupt, it is how certain individuals go about making it that is corrupt. It may not be illegal, but it remains corrupt nonetheless.
Kate del Castillo and Sean Penn demonstrate this very clearly.
When Kate del Castillo started communicating with Chapo Guzmán her most basic driving force was getting him to sign an exclusive movie deal with her production company. She used sex and her connections to reign him in. When Castillo realized that making a movie of Chapo Guzmán was financially taxing on her resources, she brought in Sean Penn as a partner.
Together they set out to make a movie.
Kate del Castillo accepted a Blackberry from a drug dealer in order to communicate with him clandestinely. Sean Penn, by his own account, used elaborate means to circumvent those looking for the most wanted drug dealer in the world.
They both did this because they clearly knew it was wrong to communicate with Chapo Guzmán.
They both did it in the hopes of securing a contract from Joaquín Guzmán to make a movie. Both were likely hoping to get an exclusive. It is unknown at the moment whether either received a signed contract but the fact remains that they both corruptly engaged a known felon to make money.
It is as plain as that.
It doesn’t matter whether either broke any laws in Mexico or the United States because the fact is that what they did was wrong. It is corrupt.
The reason this is important to understand is because the billions that Chapo Guzmán has made and the numerous murders that can be directly attributed to him is only possible because of corruption.
It is easy to point to the Mexican government and its many failures but what about those that enable the drugs through to the consumers?
For example, the numerous banks that knowingly accept large cash transactions knowing full-well that it derives from illicit activities. Or, how about the realty transactions, the lawyers and the luxury item peddlers that know full well that it is drug money that keeps them in business.
The bottom line is that numerous individuals line up at the drug trafficking trough waiting for the money to trickle down to them. They each want a piece for themselves, regardless of the many people that are suffering because the drug traffickers keep sending the product to the consumers.
It easy to turn a blind eye by taking the position that it is not their job to check where the money comes from or that they did nothing wrong. But does that really erase the blood from the money?
Kate del Castillo and Sean Penn will likely make their movie. Just remember that the movie is dripping in blood.