Decapitated Heads and Other Mexican Calamities


“Heads in coolers?!” my friend in the States asked me disbelievingly.

Yes, yet again, human heads were found in coolers near the drug violence-ravaged U.S.-Mexico border, this time in the central state of Jalisco. Each head was found in a separate ice chest on the highway leading to Guadalajara. Jalisco is near the state of Sinaloa, where the Sinaloa drug cartel is based.

If only that had been the first time.

But no, twelve decapitated bodies were found in the Yucatan last fall, their heads nowhere to be found, eight tortured, decapitated bodies of government soldiers were found last winter just north of Acapulco outside of a shopping center, and, almost three years ago, five decapitated heads were dumped on a nightclub dance floor in the state of Michoacan.

As Mexico City-ers would say, “No mames, guey.” (You’ve got to be kidding me.)

My parents are worried. Everyone’s parents are worried, Mexicans and foreigners living in Mexico alike. I don’t cover — and have no desire to cover — the incredibly intricate and shady narco story that is swallowing up this country. And that’s a hard statement to stick by. Many American publications interested in Mexico are hungry for gory drug stories — the bloodier and creepier, the better.

Which is both a good and bad thing. It’s about time a hard, close look was given to this catastrophe that is getting stranger by the minute. But all the drug coverage is also overshadowing some of the most interesting aspects of this country. Mexico’s not all about drugs, you know. No (te) mamo.

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