CUAUTLA, Mexico – With a resolve that accompanies 45 years of experience, Andres Gutierrez’s movements are still fast and accurate, a talent reflecting the martial arts training that equipped him to serve as a bodyguard for clients such as Pope John Paul II and Donald Trump.
During an interview in the central Mexican city of Cuautla, Gutierrez demonstrated for EFE how to disarm and take down an armed assailant at close range.
He said that his martial arts expertise was key to his being selected to handle security for Pope John Paul II’s visit to Mexico in 1999, as firearms were not permitted inside the Vatican mission in the capital.
And with the Mexican army’s presidential guard out of the equation because the Vatican did not want “anything from the government,” the only option was to hire private security professionals.
Gutierrez took six months to plan for keeping the pontiff safe in venues such as the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Mexico’s giant Aztec stadium.
He recalls one occasion when John Paul II allowed him to enter the chapel where the pope was praying, which he learned later was a “great honor.”
Gutierrez, however, rejects the notion that the honor was extended to him as an individual.
“The pope was very fond of Mexico, of Mexicans, and this was an honor he granted to Mexicans, not to Andres Gutierrez,” the veteran bodyguard said.
Gutierrez’s encounter with Donald Trump came in 2007, when Mexico City hosted the Miss Universe event.
Put in charge of Trump’s security, Gutierrez says that he found the future US president “difficult.”
Trump was “very arrogant, despotic toward those he considered insignificant,” Gutierrez said. “But it was my job to protect him, I had to do it. And I did it with pleasure: it’s my job.”