Death is in demand. Life is golden, until it isn’t.
October 18, 2018 2:18 PM   Subscribe

The Life and Death of a Mexican Hitman
Researching how Mexico can uproot the scourge of organised crime, Falko Ernst befriends a doomed hitman on the run from his past. Talking to the sicario in the Michoacán underworld, he learns much about the deadly challenges the new government faces. Additional: 'The training stays with you': the elite Mexican soldiers recruited by cartels.
posted by adamvasco (2 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
“Over the past decade, Mexico’s drug violence has undergone a dizzying escalation, claiming more than 230,000 lives”

I was trying to compose a comment to go with this but words fail me.
posted by epo at 2:57 PM on October 18, 2018 [3 favorites]

Thanks for posting this. It was heart-wrenching to read about El Grillo’s short, ugly life as a child soldier in a meaningless conflict over business opportunities. And it must have taken enormous bravery on the part of Falko Ernst to research the story.

I read the article last night while waiting for a plane in Acapulco, just down the coast. Acapulco has a deservedly bad reputation, but it still has plenty of world-class hotels and expensive seafront property. You can still drive there from Mexico City if you’re careful about the time that you travel. The US State Dept ranks Guerrero and Michoacan states equally (“Do Not Travel”, as per other active conflict zones around the world) but from the perspective of Mexicans, there’s a world of difference. I travel to Acapulco frequently - this week as usual, I was there with friends for a social event. If I’d suggested travelling to the Tierra Caliente, they’d probably have physically restrained me.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 8:52 AM on October 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

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