October 20, 2012 |
ECATEPEC, Mexico - As the country is driven deeper into despair, their industry coasts to success. That is the weird reality of the Mexican car-armoring business, and its top executives, like Esteban Hernandez, have spent time pondering the paradox. After all, they can't just dismiss the violence and skip off to the bank. They live here. Their families live here. Hernandez, 47, gets around town in an armored Jeep. The Colombia native is the general manager of a bulletproofing company called Auto Safe, in Mexico City, and his conscience is untroubled.
June 1, 2012 |
CULIACAN, Mexico - For generations, the extended Hernandez family tended fields of marijuana high in Sinaloa's western Sierra Madre highlands. They sold their crops to representatives of the Sinaloa cartel for a fraction of what the drug would bring at the U.S. border and eked out a pittance. Barefoot children never went to school; they just helped their dads with the planting and harvest. Women washed clothes in the river. They burned pine sap for light at night because there was no electricity.
January 20, 2012 |
What happens when being in the right place at the right time is also the wrong place at the wrong time? When what saves you could ultimately destroy you? That's the terrifying minefield that the terrific "Miss Bala" navigates in a modern-day Mexico where beauty pageants, politics, police, power and a billion-dollar drug business mingle to deadly effect. Directed with great verve by Gerardo Naranjo, and the country's Oscar entry in the foreign language category, the film takes on the bloody running turf wars of the narcotics trade from street level.
September 1, 2011 |
Araceli Rodriguez felt a jab of dread when her son, Luis Angel Leon, a federal police officer in Mexico City, announced that he was going on a mission in the western state of Michoacan. "I told him that Michoacan is very dangerous and that I didn't want him to go," Rodriguez recalled. Leon, 24, with two years on the force, said he could use the extra earnings. On Nov. 16, 2009 — a Monday — Leon climbed into a civilian SUV with six other officers and a driver. The group has not been heard from since.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 26, 2011 |
Second of four parts G abriel Dieblas Roman took orders from cartel bosses in Mexico, hard men who ruled by fear, but he wouldn't approve a shipment without talking to a plucky, middle-aged woman from Compton. Guadalupe "Lupita" Villalobos ran a storefront botanica where Virgin of Guadalupe statuettes sat beside grinning Saint Death skeletons. She would threaten to turn neighbors into toads, and her clients believed she could divine the future by studying snail shells scattered on a tabletop.
May 8, 2011 |
Last year I visited a friend of mine, journalist Raúl Silva, in a working-class neighborhood of Cuernavaca. A popular destination for tourists and students of Spanish, the city, about 60 miles south of the Mexican capital, was on edge. Only a few weeks before, a drug gang had audaciously displayed its power, issuing a curfew one Friday night, warning that anyone out after 8 p.m. might be "mistaken" as an enemy and killed. A terrified public huddled indoors, and although no serious violence occurred, the incident left a deep scar.