Through experienced that people face different perceptions regarding Narco


Through this
Development Dictionary entry I will to talk about something that is quite
controversial within Mexico, Narco
Corridos. I aim to reflect upon how the making of development by the
Mexican state towards the eradication of violence that people from Sinaloa live,
by prohibiting narco corridos, tries
to erase music cultural expressions that represent the daily realities of some
people. I approach this from a people and places lens, uncovering the thought
that rules can be just imposed on different people or places and development,
in this case represented by security, will be establish.  I will talk about it from a personal
experience and perspective, as young, privileged and educated women, from the
urban area of the entity Sinaloa, the narco culture ‘meca’. I have personally
being affected directly and indirectly by the dynamics of narcotraffic, more
specifically, of the war that the Mexican state declared against narcotraffic:
I had one of my parents and my one of my closest friend encounter a kidnap by
narco hitman, I had align to a curfew in order to keep myself safe and avoid
any crossfire, my high school classmates and I were hold after hours at school in
order to avoid the clashes within the narcos
and the Mexican army, etc.


Within friends,
family and colleagues, every time the topic of narco corridos comes out, different comments and opinions about it
are put on the discussion table. I have personally experience that the analysis
or understanding that goes around this vary depending on which region the
Mexican people that are discussing this subject come from, but more strongly on
the social economic dynamic that people discussing this topic belong to, and of
course, some personal experiences that we all have lived related to
narcotraffic dynamics: being direct or indirect victims of violence, being used
to listening to narco corridos since
a really young age in family reunions, meeting people that run out from
violence and that at the same time praise this type of music, etc.

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By stories of
other people personal experiences, I have heard that in rural communities in
Sinaloa, mainly in the mountain range, there are people whom the first plants
they have ever hold it’s a Marihuana leaf, and later on, the commerce of this
leaf, classified as illegal from part of the Mexican state, it’s the one that
put food upon this people tables.  Narco corridos translate stories of the
lives of people in places, such as Sinaloa, that live under the dynamics of
narcotraffic, stories that show their daily struggles and their aspirations. As
Kitiarsa (2006) states on her article regarding popular music in Thailand,
”Music reflects the lives and imagination of its performers, audiences and the
societies to which it belongs”  
(Kitiarsa 2006: 37) In Sinaloa, its well known that rural kids feel more
identified with the aspiration of becoming an important narco, which in their reality imaginary can be a successful and
respected business man, than with the aspiration of becoming a doctor or a
Lawyer. To them, becoming a Narco
it’s more realistic.


I have
experienced that people face different perceptions regarding Narco corridos: for some people, narco corridos narrate tales about the
success of drug dealers and the way people get out of poverty and achieve
triumph through immersing in the narcotraffic business; for some they narrate a
life full of excesses that involve women, alcohol and drugs; for some they
narrate the bloody confrontations between the Mexican army and the narco hit man. They narrate stories. For
others, narco corridos, independently
of what they narrate are an aberration, as I heard it from a close friends a
few days ago, she couldn’t understand how there is people that listen to this
music, but what she was more surprised about it was the fact that there
actually exist a market for this type of music. For the Mexican government, narco corridos perpetuate violence.



Making, unmaking and remaking of development in


Just as Kitiarsa
(2006) talks about the prohibition of Thailand popular “Lam Sing” by King
Mongkut, mainly because of his stand against the emergence of the cultural
influence of “an inferior ethnocultural group under his control” (Kitiarsa
2006: 41) In 2011, the governor of Sinaloa issued a decree that prohibited Narco Corridos in all public
establishments, including bars, restaurants, parties in public spaces and
concerts, as a part of an strategy to combat violence related to narcotraffic:
a stand up against the narco cultural
influence. (Cabrera 2016)


In order to
‘make development’ in Sinaloa, and with the objective of avoiding narco violence, allegedly perpetuated by
this type of music, narco corridos
were prohibited. Prohibition of some people forms of expression then became an
institutional solution, perpetuating the eradication of their shared stories as
music and ignoring different ways of knowledge that this people create by their
music. Boaventura Dos Santos would call this an ‘Epistemicide’. With this
example, I can reflect on Boaventura (2007), claims that the Eurocentric legal
and political models are exercised through the denial of identities that are
contrary to the definitions of modern social order. (Santos et. al 2007) Narcotraffic
goes against the dominant conception of law, morality and even economic
activities, but it’s a reality closer to the people that exercised everyday
than the state institution themselves. 


The prohibition
of the narco corridos was a measure
that it didn’t diminish the violence and it as well didn’t stop narco corridos for being reproduced. While
narco corridos where prohibited in Sinaloa
and other states, such as Chihuahua, as a measure to clean the violence out of
the social fabric, the same narco corrido
singers were being nominated in the United States for Latin Grammy awards. (Miserachi
2016) There is a corrido named Que tiene
de malo? In English translates to what’s wrong with it? Released by one of
the most internationally famous Mexican Regional music singer, Calibre 50, which lyrics actually
contest on what’s wrong with listening to narco
corridos. Through a corrido, it
challenges the ones who judge the people who listen to this type of music,
affirming through its lyrics that listening to this type of music doesn’t make
someone a ‘bad mexican’. (‘Letra: que tiene de malo’ n.d.)


One of the
principal reflections I make towards analysing this phenomenon is that, in some
way, narco corridos empower people,
through a narrative that embraces their identity and their daily social
dynamics. It’s the music that speaks to them about their aspirations,
reproducing elements that configure this people and their places. In this case,
the people from Sinaloa. Indeed, there is a big paradox that narco corridos bring with them. People
sing about narco violence but at the
same time are afraid of it. But, regarding the prohibition of this type of
music with the flag of eradicating violence, the following question comes to my
mind: When the state hasn’t been present in the repartition of welfare giving,
till what extent has the right to come and impose a development solution that
goes against this people own cultural dynamics?  I believe the reproduction of knowledge that
is being exercised by this type of music needs to be heard and taken into
consideration by the State, maybe listening and embracing narco corridos as knowledge will enable the State to understand
more about the needs of its society.


production of knowledge is, in itself, a social practice and what distinguishes
it from other social practices is the thinking or reflecting on actors, actions
and their consequences in the contexts where they take place” (Santos et al.
2007: xlvii)























·      Santos, Boaventura de
Sousa, Joao Arriscado Nunes and Maria Paula Meneses (2007) ‘Introduction:
Opening Up the Canon of Knowledge and Recognition of Difference’, in Boaventura
de Sousa Santos (ed.) Another
Knowledge is Possible, pp. x-Ii. London and New York: Verso.  


·      Kitiarsa, P (2006) ‘Modernity,
agenct and “Lam sing”: Interpreting ‘Music-Culture Contacts’ in Northeastern
Thailand’,  Crossroads: An interdisciplinary journal of
Southeast Asian studies 17(2): 34-65. Accessed January 06


J (2016) ‘Mantiene Sinaloa Prohibicion a Narcocorridos’ Accessed January


R (2016) ‘La historia de los narcocorridos, el Twiins Music group y el
movimiento alterado’ Accessed January 06


Que tiene de malo’ (n.d.) Accessed January 07