Drug Culture in Mexico

The lawless culture of drug manufacturing and smuggling has he obvious negative effect of supplying drugs to addicts and people who are at risk of becoming an addict in the United States. The latest art form that we’ve learned is influenced by this glorified drug culture is the cinema and specifically, the thriving narco cinema genre of independent movies.

Previous installments of this blog have chronicled narcocorridos and the Mexican drug cartels as well.

Mexico not only produces a lot of the drugs that enter the United States, it is also a “super highway” for the vast majority of drugs enter the United States from sources like South America and Afghanistan.

Narcocorridos and now narco cinema reflect drugs’ pervasive reach into Mexican society. It is reported (by Vice Magazine via CNN) that the money that funds Narco Cinema actually comes from drug cartels.   The narco cinema movies in turn make money for the drug cartels – much of this money is used to  pay bribes to political and police.

The Reason for Narco Cinema’s Popularity

There are so many factors at play in the recent increase in popularity of narco cinema. The global economy as a whole has struggled in recent years.  This has a negative ripple effect through the manufacturing and more legitimate industries in Mexico.  Only 18% of the Mexican populace can afford to see more traditional movies in the theaters. More people watch narco cinema type independent movies which are part of the “home movie” DVD industry.

Drug dealing thrives in this environment of poverty, and the money that drug smugglers flash is all too tempting for potential accomplices.  Also, the post 9/11 crackdown on smuggling routes that were accessed by air from Europe and Asia has fostered even more Mexican drug trade because of its land border with the United States.

The Chrysler 300 was a legendary narco cinema movie, here is a few scenes from that movie.

Spoiler alert: the name of the movie is taken from the Chrysler car in which a pivotal part of the movie takes place.

It Still Begins with the Music

The narcocorridos are usually the genesis of a narco cinema.  The characters from songs by groups like Los Tigres Del Norte are heroes in Mexican society.  They make their way into narco cinema features.  The features are incredibly low budget and written and filmed in the matter of a couple of weeks.

Surprisingly, narcocorrido artists are not immune to the violence that the drug epidemic has spawned in Mexico. In the past 3 years there has been 25 violent deaths of singers of narcocorridos.  They are executed for either singing about the wrong drug hero or for singing in the wrong territory

Drug Culture is Here to Stay

As long as there is a huge demand for drugs in America there’s going to be these kinds of films being created in Mexico.  The Mexican Government is cracking down on this kind of artistic endeavor but the fact is that drug related violence is out of control and grows more shocking by the month.  Massacres are happening in border towns in both the United States and Mexico.

If you are concerned about drugs and their affect you , your family, and society, it is good to learn about the drugs and start a dialogue with those who are at risk and may be effected.  Our blog is a good resource but there are many more including nida.gov and samhsa.gov.