News From the Border

Providing the news from a different front but from a war that we must win as well! I recognize the poverty and desperate conditions that many Latinos live in. We, as the USA, have a responsibility to do as much as we can to reach out to aid and assist spiritually with the Gospel and naturally with training, technology and resources. But poverty gives no one the right to break the laws of another sovereign nation.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Mexico: the danger of 'drug ballads'

In the past two years, 15 mexican musicians have been murdered. Their crime: to fall foul of the country's drug barons. Ioan Grillo reports

It was three in the morning and the Mexican group Banda Guasavena were driving back from a concert at a cockfighting festival, just over the border from Texas. The audience had been even more rapturous than usual and Fausto Castro-Elizalde, the band's horn player, recalls them chatting happily about the evening.

Then Kalashnikov bullets started flying through the window. 'The whole moment was unreal,' he says. 'One second we were all happy after the show. The next we being cut up by bullets.'

Castro-Elizalde, 34, was hit by seven 'caps' in his arm and legs but miraculously remained conscious. His cousin and the band's 27-year old singer, Valentin Elizalde, was not so lucky. 'He died instantly. He fell into my arms and I kissed him,' says Castro-Elizalde.

Elizalde's murder is not an isolated incident. In the past two years, assassins have shot, burnt or suffocated at least 15 Mexican musicians. The latest victim was sprayed with 20 bullets as he sang alongside his band, Brisas del Mar, at a dance near the Acapulco resort in March. In December, three entertainers were killed in a week: one singer was kidnapped, throttled and dumped on a road, a trumpeter was found with a bag on his head and a diva was shot dead in her hospital bed.

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