Salma Hayek said she has not been following closely the controversial meeting held by Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and two Hollywood stars because there are more serious problems plaguing Mexico.
“It creates a focus on a Hollywood melodrama that does not advance us on the steps that need to be taken to resolve the problems on either side,” said Hayek, 49.
“What with Kate del Castillo, what with ‘El Chapo,’ was there an interview, was there not an interview!” she said during a press conference in Mexico City over the weekend. “All that is quite different from the real problems the country is facing!”
The “Frida” actress, who recently was in her native country promoting her new animated film “The Prophet,” said that the result of the interview actor Sean Penn conducted with the help of Mexican actress Kate del Castillo is not that important because “it does not resolve any of the country’s crucial problems.”
"How to solve the problem of violence? I find it hard work [figure it out]. Because in other countries we see that [violence] is a matter of war; for example, the refugees, but there is no violence in refugee camps. We can go and try to protect the women, but here [in Mexico] it affects everyone," said Hayek, who produced “The Prophet” and lent her voice to the film, based on the poetry of Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran.
“[The violence problem] gives me great impotence, like it does to all Mexicans,” she said. “It’s a combination of sadness and helplessness. I don’t have a solution except to bring this film to any child who is smarter than me, and perhaps not a child but an entire new generation, with a different social conscience in which we can all participate.”
The recapture of “El Chapo” Guzman earlier this month and the subsequent essay Penn wrote for “Rolling Stone” magazine captured headlines around the globe.
In an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes,” Penn said his article on the drug lord “failed” in its mission. He said his intention was to kick-start a discussion of the U.S. government's policy on the War on Drugs.
In an email exchange with the Associated Press last week Monday about his meeting with Guzman, Penn said, "I've got nothin' to hide." But he told "60 Minutes" he has "a terrible regret."
"I have a regret that the entire discussion about this article ignores its purpose, which was to try to contribute to this discussion about the policy in the War on Drugs," Penn said.
"Let's go to the big picture of what we all want: We all want this drug problem to stop," he said, but added that the market for these illicit drugs includes many Americans. "There is a complicity there."
But what percentage of the discussion that resulted from the article has been focused on these larger issues?
"One percent — I think that'd be generous," Penn said. "Let me be clear. My article failed."
Based on reporting by the Associated Press.