MEXICO CITY — Drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán is getting some self-help advice and gaining a bit of weight in prison under his new, tighter-security regime, but Mexico’s formerly most wanted man is apparently not doing so well in the love department.
Guzmán, who tunneled out of the same prison in July, now has two guards standing outside his cell watching him every minute of the day. There is a dog whose only job is to test Guzmán’s food before he eats it to make sure it’s not poisoned. Guzmán no longer has a television, but he gets free reading material.
Since his recapture in January, Guzmán has read “Don Quixote” and has started a Spanish-language version of “The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?” by Rick Warren, a California-based evangelical pastor. The self-help book contains quotes that might pertain to Guzmán, such as: “A pretentious, showy life is an empty life; a plain and simple life is a full life,” and “We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.”
The description of his post-escape prison life comes from a federal official who was not authorized to be quoted by name under official policy.
Guzmán’s attorney and family members have expressed concerns for his health.
The officials said Guzmán has gained a small amount of weight and his blood pressure has been lower since he was taken back to the Altiplano prison west of Mexico City.
Because Guzmán’s associates tunneled him out of prison through the thin concrete floor of his shower stall in July at a spot which surveillance cameras were not designed to reach, he is under constant observation from a ceiling-mounted camera. There are no blind spots.
Since the escape, the floors of the prison’s top-security cells have been reinforced with a 16-inch bed of concrete and a double layer of rebar.
Before he escaped, Guzmán was allowed a four-hour conjugal visit every nine days. In addition, the officials said, he was supplied with Viagra. Not so since he was returned to the prison on Jan. 8.