January 22, 2016

El Chapo—jailed and “depressed”—is gifted a book by his guards


For El Chapo's return to prison, fewer conjugal visits means more time for reading. Image via YouTube

For El Chapo’s return to prison, fewer conjugal visits mean more time for reading. Image via YouTube

During Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán‘s last stint in prison, which lasted 16 months (before, you know, he escaped through an underground tunnel), the cartel kingpin was granted 46 conjugal visits. As Mexico News Daily helpfully points out, that’s one visit from a girlfriend or “concubine” every nine days.

Unfortunately for El Chapo, Mexico’s second attempt at detaining him—this time at El Altiplano maximum security prison—will not include visits from lady friends. And while this might leave El Chapo a little depressed, it’ll also leave him with plenty of time to catch up on his reading.

According to Mexico News Daily:

…depression is what Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán was suffering when he was returned to El Altiplano maximum security two weeks ago following his recapture after six months on the run.

So he was given a copy of the classic Spanish novel, Don Quixote of la Mancha.

“He arrived depressed and tired of running,” said Mexico’s prisons chief, Eduardo Guerrero Durán. “That’s what he indicated in his first declaration upon arriving at the prison, which is why we gave him Quixote.”

It’s worth noting that Cervantes’ classic is not exactly what police found on El Chapo’s bedside table when he was recaptured. The book found was  Zero Zero Zero, a 2013 title by Robert Saviano, described by its publisher as a “groundbreaking investigation of the international cocaine trade.” Which Mark Bowden at the New York Times Book Review described as “a concordance of cruelty.”



Julia Fleischaker is a former director of marketing and publicity at Melville House.