Archive for the ‘drug smuggling’ Category

NarcoCorridos

February 26, 2010

Los Tigres del Norte

Los Tigres del Norte are perhaps the most accomplished Mexican group today. Their musical career expands over three decades. They sing songs of love and heartbreak. But they also sing songs that have a social message to them. They sing very poignantly about Mexican migrants in the US.

Even more, in 2000 they founded a non-profit to preserve Mexican and Mexican American music. UCLA was the recipient of a grant from their foundation and they have used it to digitize one of the largest collections of Mexican music from the early 20th century.

But what identifies Los Tigres del Norte the most is that they are the most succesful NarcoCorridos interpreters both in Mexico and abroad.

NarcoCorridos are a genre of muisc that stems from the Corridos. Corridos are a genre of norteño music, a grandchild of the polkas, and their distinctive feature is that they tell a story. Corridos became popular during the Mexican Revolution. They communicated news to a largely illiterate population.

NarcoCorridos also tell stories, but they tell stories about narcos and drug trafficking. They first became popular in 1973 when Los Tigres del Norte recorded “Contrabando y Tracion” Drug Smuggle and Treason also known as Camelia the Texan.

Los Tigres newest NarcoCorrido is called “La Granja”, The Farm, and it makes allusion to George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

But this song and all other NarcoCorridos have been banned from the airwaves in Mexico by president Felipe Calderon. His argument being that NarcoCorridos celebrate drug traffickers and violence and are therefore to blame for the current violence and drug war in Mexico.

Granted, there are some NarcoCorridos that do celebrate violence but I consider banning them scapegoating at its worst. Not only that, it is a spit in the face to Mexican’s liberty of expression. NarcoCorridos are not responsible for the drug war. They are a critique and reflection of it.

The real reasons behind the drug war are:

1) Government corruption at all levels.

2) The insatiable demand for drugs from US consumers.

3) The ease with which weapons, most of them legally bought in the US, are re-sold and bought in the black market.

I’m surprised there haven’t been more protests against the prohibition. Imagine the uproar if Gangster Rap was banned in the US. But then again just because something is banned doesn’t mean people don’t listen to it. I mean, drugs are banned…

***

Los Tucanes de Tijuana

Los Tucanes de Tijuana are another group that stands out when it comes to NarcoCorridos. Their lead singer and guitarist Mario Quintero writes all their songs. He has very witty lyrics.

In his song My Three Animals he uses the slang words perico, chivo y gallo (parrot, goat, rooster) to talk about cocaine, heroine and marijuana.

And similarly in his song my 3 women he sings of a white woman, a woman with green eyes and a black woman to talk of those drugs again.

Besides trafficking marijuana from Mexico and cocaine and heroin from abroad, Mexican Narcos have recently become a large producers of methamphetamines too. What animal or type of woman would best suit to describe this drug? A crazy macaw, perhaps?

I’d love to collaborate with Los Tigres or Los Tucanes and do a CD cover for them. Hence the square format of my illustrations. And I plan on doing more illustrations of Mexican music genres and prominent Mexican musicians. Suggestions are welcome.

I also recently found out that narco videohomes, a B-movie industry about narcos is thriving. Check out this article on Vice. They are kind of like the Ghanean movies that you find in black hair saloons and that are loved by the African Diaspora worldwide. But they are with Mexican people and about drug smugglers.

narco videohomes

I’d love to do some dvd covers for them too.

Advertisements

Silver or Lead, the drug war in Mexico

October 10, 2009
Silver or Lead cover

Silver or Lead cover

A few months ago I did a series of illustrations for a short book called “Silver or Lead, the drug dilemma.” It was written and designed by my talented friend Marissa Haro. To see more of her work check out her website: www.marissaharo.com

index

index

In the book Marissa tackles several issues pertaining to the drug war that is taking place in Mexico and the US. Mexican president Felipe Calderon openly declared war on the Mexican drug cartels in December of 2006, and heavily militarized the country. Since then, more than twelve thousand people have been killed.

so far from God, so close to...

so far from God, so close to...

In Mexico there is a saying “so far from God and so close to the US,” and in the case of the drug war, the saying is more than accurate. The US is the largest exporter of weapons and the largest consumer of drugs. Ninety percent of the weapons that are seized from Mexican drug traffickers can be traced back to the US. Most of these weapons are actually bought legally and then sold in the black market.

p16-17

p16-17

90% of the weapons

90% of the weapons

That is not say that the Mexican government is exempt of responsibility for the current situation. Widespread corruption among Mexican officials has allowed the cartels to flourish and to have their present strength. Corrupt officials continue to protect them.

p20_21

p20_21

without govermental coruption...

without govermental coruption...

However, any realistic end to the drug war must involve a shift in policy from the US towards both the use of drugs –treating addicts clinically as oppose to criminally—and towards gun control.

p18-19

p18-19

To me it’s simple economics. Consumption, not production is what needs to be deterred. If there is demand there will be supply. If a day ever came when the Mexican cartels no longer existed, new cartels would spring up in the Caribbean, in Asia, or anywhere else in the world for that matter.

In Drugs We Trust

In Drugs We Trust

I have an earlier post on the subject. This is a link to it: https://duncantonatiuh.wordpress.com/2009/04/21/narcocorridos/ The illustrations in that post have backgrounds, etc. Marissa decided to use only the characters in the images I made for design purposes.

What ever happened to the Narcos and the drug war?

May 3, 2009
what ever happened to the Narcos?

what ever happened to the Narcos?

So 2 weeks ago, before this whole outbreak narcos and the drug war dominated the Mexican news. But now they are like an old fad.

Is influenza also affecting the narco’s economy? Are they profiting and having an easier time these days since the focus is off of them? AND are they washing their hands constantly and wearing face masks when handling the drugs?…

Narcocorridos

April 21, 2009
South American and Mexican narcos doing business

South American and Mexican narcos doing business

I’m posting a series of illustrations about the drug war I was commissioned to do recently. I am fascinated with the topic and have been following it. I am content with the way the Obama administration has been responding to the issue. I am glad that the US government is acknowledging that it is as a large a player in the drug business as are the Mexican narcos and corrupt Mexican officers.

camion_usa1

camion_mexico

madrina

The large majority of the guns that have responsible for the deaths and mayhem in Mexico come from the US. Most of them are in fact bought legally. The US government needs to have stricter gun laws, or at the very least tighten security at the border to prevent both the smuggling of weapons in to Mexico and the smuggling of drugs into the US.

Gun-Mart

Gun-Mart

Further as long as there is demand its going to be profitable to supply that market. The narcos in Mexico might one day be stopped, but drug traffickers in other parts of the world, whether it is in China, Haiti, anywhere really, are going to spring up to fill the vacuum. I would encourage the US government to develop health programs that help addicts become free of their addiction, rather then wasting those resources incarcerating petty offenders.

cocoles

I’m also posting this piece, which I haven’t finished yet. It is about the actual production of the cocaine. There are interesting videos of how it is produced on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sVGOw0g0BA. It’s full of nasty shtuff, gasoline and what not. The farmers that grow in South America often don’t have better options and growing coca is what they can do to survive.

produccion

To see larger versions of my images check out my website: http://www.duncantonatiuh.com or email me duncasito@yahoo.com.

I am looking for magazines and newpapers that are interested in my images. Any body have suggestions for how i can get in touch with Art Directors for the Economist, The New York Times Magazine, etc?