Acapulco Falls from Tourist Mecca to Murder Capital
The Washington Post’s front page on Friday was a reminder of the crime catastrophe occurring next door in terms of drug cartels terrorizing Mexico. Acapulco has become the deadliest city in the country, which is quite a decline from its former standing as a top tourism town.
Acapulco used to be a glamorous vacation spot for Americans looking to catch some sun. Elvis made a movie there in 1963 titled “Fun in Acapulco” but tourists are avoiding the town now because of the cartel warfare. A few days ago NPR reported, “U.S. State Department Expands Travel Warnings For Mexico’s Beachside Tourist Meccas.”
Narco-crime is spreading and violence is up, with one indicator being Mexico’s murders reaching a 20-year high in May. The carnage has continued without abating since then: Mexico has had more than 12,000 homicides in the first six months of this year, and it’s likely the trend will continue. The Post observes the “disintegration of order across growing swaths of this country.”
President Trump needs to get that wall built already because Mexico is getting worse!
Here’s a bit of the Post story:
How Acapulco Became Mexico’s Murder Capital, Washington Post, August 24, 2017
ACAPULCO, MEXICO — From the crescent bay and swaying palms, the taxi drivers of Acapulco need just 10 minutes to reach this other, plundered world.
Here, in a neighborhood called Renacimiento, a pharmacy is smeared with gang graffiti. Market stalls are charred by fire. Taco stands and dentists’ offices, hair salons and auto-body workshops — all stand empty behind roll-down metal gates.
On Friday afternoons, however, the parking lot at the Oxxo convenience store in this brutalized barrio buzzes to life. Dozens of taxi drivers pull up. It’s time to pay the boys.
When the three young gunmen drive up in a white Nissan Tsuru, Armando, a 55-year-old cabbie, scribbles his four-digit taxi number on a scrap of paper, folds it around a 100-peso note and slips it into their black plastic bag. This is his weekly payment to Acapulco’s criminal underworld — about $5, or roughly half what he earns in a day.
“They have the power,” said Armando, who identified himself only by his first name because he feared reprisal. “They can do whatever they want.”
For each of the past five years, Acapulco has been the deadliest city in Mexico, in a marathon of murder that has hollowed out the hillside neighborhoods and sprawling colonias that tourists rarely visit. And yet, the term “drug war” only barely describes what is going on here.