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Drugs are not the answer… so what’s the question?

4 December 2007

In a front page story in the Houston Chronicle, Mexico City bureau reporter Dudley Althaus writes:


MEXICO CITY — Apart from the police and narco-gangsters, few groups have suffered more in Mexico’s brutal drug wars than the singers whose music often chronicles the carnage.

The latest casualty appears to be Zayda Peña, 28, a singer who was shot dead Saturday in a hospital emergency room in the city of Matamoros, across the Rio Grande from Brownsville.

Peña, the lead singer in the grupero band, Zayda y los Culpables, was shot and killed as she was leaving the hospital where she had been treated for a wound received Friday night.  The Friday shooting killed Ana Bertha Gonzalez and hotel employee Leonard Sanchez .

Alhaus writes that

Peña … enjoyed a following on both sides of the border playing music known as grupero, which features bass, electric guitar, drums, accordions and synthesizers. rom Brownsville.

and goes on for several paragraphs about narcotic-related killings, and recent murders of pop stars.


¡PROBLEMA!: Jose Borjon, police reporter for the Brownsville Herald (in separate stories in both the Valley Morning News and the McAllen Monitor) — quoting both U.S. and Mexican police investigators — and Mexican news sources — reports that the murder has absolutely nothing to do with drugs:



Peña was shot … Friday after she was caught with the suspect’s ex-girlfriend, Ana Bertha Gonzalez.

The suspect found Peña and Gonzales, who was also her presumed lover, at the Monaco Motel on La Carretera Matamoros Reynosa.

Tamaulipas State Police believe that Gonzalez’s ex-boyfriend killed her and Peña in a rage over a lesbian affair.

Borjon, whom I don’t know personally, but I am guessing actually knows something about grupero music calls Zayda y los Culpables, “a moderately popular band” Althaus spends four paragraphs on the band and grupero.

Matamoros is in Tamaulipas. Norteños are stereotypically hung up on traditional sex roles, but the neighboring state of Coahuila recently passed a gay marriage law without much fuss, so the stereotype may be out of date. Drugs are not the only cause of violence in Mexico. Proximity to the U.S. border (the killer allegedly bought a car recently in Brownsville, which is why Texas investigators are involved) — where just about any fool can buy a handgun — was probably more relevant.

One is, after all, more likely to be killed by crazy ex-es (especially armed crazy ex-es) — or your partner’s crazy ex- — than rubbed out by gangsters.



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