Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Acapulco Fights to be Known for Fun, not Fear

Sunday, February 6, 2011 |


Acapulco, once a magnet for Hollywood stars on Mexico’s Pacific coast, is now fighting a reputation for gruesome killings, including 15 decapitated bodies discovered this month.

Acapulco is in Guerrero, one of the states most hard-hit by Mexico’s roiling drug violence, and there have also been complaints of partisan violence in the run-up to elections for a new state governor tomorrow.

The rising violence has tainted the port city’s fun-loving reputation among visitors both in Mexico and abroad, to the concern of tour operators.

“We have to thank the tourists who keep coming, but we have to increase promotions and security more creatively, because otherwise tourists will look for other destinations,” said Laura Caballero, president of a local business leaders association.

Although many foreign tourists these days prefer other Mexican resorts, mainly on the Caribbean, Acapulco remains a top destination for Mexicans, particularly for weekend trips from the capital.

Tourism is the main source of income for Guerrero, where there have already been more than 70 brutal killings reported this year.

Industry professionals worry that the gruesome reports and cars full of soldiers now regularly patrolling the city’s famous bay will scare off tourists.

“We need concrete actions to overcome the violence and image of insecurity,” said Carlos Hernandez, president of the state tourism employers’ council.

Several powerful drug gangs are believed to be fighting for control of the key port of entry for drugs heading to the United States, including the Beltran Leyva gang, La Familia and Los Zetas.

The year began with the discovery of 15 decapitated bodies in front of a shopping centre. The same day, January 8, police found the bodies of six men inside a vehicle after they had been forced out of a popular nightclub.

In September, 20 men visiting from the neighbouring state of Michoacan were abducted and all but two were found dead, according to public security officials.

The Michoacan government and family members said the men were mistaken for cartel rivals.

Executions, shootouts between rival gangs and battles with security forces have left more than 34,600 people dead in Mexico in the four years since President Felipe Calderon launched an offensive against the cartels.

Despite the violence, hotel occupancy in Acapulco still reached 90 per cent in the December high season, according to local tourism authorities.

This week at least 4,100 tourists arrived at the port on three cruise ships, including the Queen Elizabeth, according to the port’s captain.

“Of course we have problems of violence, but other countries and tourist destinations do too, and the flow of visitors doesn’t stop,” said Jose Luis Avila, mayor of the city of some 700,000 residents, pointing to recent shootouts in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

A new campaign draws on Acapulco’s past ties with Hollywood stars of the 1950s and 1960s, including Elizabeth Taylor and Elvis Presley.

“Speak well of Aca,” read messages attached to strategic sites, such as movie locations frequented by former stars.

But the election campaign has not helped efforts to clean up the city’s image, with each of the two main candidates accusing the other of receiving support from drug traffickers.

“The appeal to confrontation by both campaigns adds to what Acapulco is experiencing from drug trafficking, with endless killings and the fear that there will be fewer tourists,” said Eduardo Gutierrez, a sociologist at the University of Guerrero.

Resource: AFP-Relaxnews

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11 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm glad carnival cruise lines don't stop in acapulco, don't want to get caught up in the bullshit. Just wanna go off shore drink sum tequla and eat sum tacos. Hope I don't get my head chopped off, a la chingada.

Anonymous said...

Carnival they know what they are doin, they wouldn't stop if the heat to hot. Just got back from a carnival cruise in mexico, it was safe!

Ernest1 said...

Let's be honest about Acapulco's real reputation. It is not a great city to do anything much other than for men to go looking for whores in the night clubs to hook up with, which is the real reason most tourists, both domestic and foreign, make it to the city. In short, it's the perfect place for organized crime to run rampant in.

'The rising violence has tainted the port city’s fun-loving reputation among visitors both in Mexico and abroad, to the concern of tour operators.'

Translated from the language of bs, the city is now getting way too dangerous to be even a good place to go whoreing. City officials are 'concerned'.

Anonymous said...

Someone once mentioned Aca is undereported and I agree. I was coming out of a club last night and right on the main tourist avenue around 4am, The military chased down a SUV and gunned them down. Most old timers sipping margarita's by the pool were asleep for this fiasco and probably won't ever read about it.

Also this weekend, bodies turned up on the tourist area at 5am. The nightclubs for a holiday weekend were empty.

Anonymous said...

really the whoring is THAT good ?
better than any other place?

''lito'brito @ http://www.litobrito.blog.com/ said...

so ...do tell uhrny do tell ..so where are the hot spots

that is a ridiculous thing to say ACA is beautiful and i really doubt ALL the people who go there go there to "go whoring"

Ernest1 said...

Not everybody who goes to Acapulco is going whoring, Brito. That said, all this talk about Acapulco being the 'fun city' does refer quite a bit to what so many Acapulco visitors are looking towards. And that is the sort of thing that does breed an organized crime presence.

Anonymous said...

Acapulco is a huge city. They have their own major drug consumption market both in the tourist area and beyond. It's estimated over 2 million people live here. It's always been a violent part of Mexico. I'm not an expert, but I think a lot of the violence stems from control of the port that receives shipments of drugs and the highways that lead them north in addition to the internal lucrative consumption here. I'm not sure most people come here to go whoring. There are many places in Mex for that. The weather here is beyond perfect and on earth I have not seen better nighclubs. The views are spectacular as well. It's just getting crazy here now. My friends have a villa a few blocks up from the main avenue and they heard at least 30, 40 rounds last night.

Ernest1 said...

Tijuana is a huge city, too. 'They have their own major drug consumption market both in the tourist area and beyond. It's estimated over 2 million people live here. It's always been a violent part of Mexico.'

Tijuana, like Acapulco, has a major industry in the sell of women to men looking for sex. The 'sell' in Tijuana is made more often to international tourists rather than domestic ones, like is more often the case in Acapulco.

Anyplace with a long history in the trafficking of women is simply going to be a major center of organized criminality dealing in other 'products' that are considered illegal by the State.

Anybody who has spent time in Acapulco who is unaware of the 'party scene' for DF 'tourists' is missing the action happening there.

Anonymous said...

well to me chasing women and having fun is not the same as whoring...but i agree it is no doubt a center for vice of all kinds..

i lived in Honolulu for three years (not in the navy) and talk about vice...vice in several languages y razas...hotel street after dark was one of the most dangerous creepy flat out weird places i have ever been...not to even mention Waikiki...

any place where there is surf, sand and sun is gonna have a party...and usually the business owners try like all hell to keep any bad publicity covered up...the number of rapes and murders in H and W were never really reported ...

it is just a part of life on the mudball

"L"B

Anonymous said...

What sucks is some of the best women I've met in my life I met in Acapulco at high end night clubs which used to attract normal girls from all over Mexico. My best times in my life have been here with these girls and they were not Putas, well not in the sense of the word..jajaja..These days I'm afraid to get in their car especially if they are with other guys and everytime a local says meet me here or meet me there at some off the beaten path lunch place, I can't help but to wonder if I'm being set up. Luckily it's not happened and then I feel guilty for thinking like that, but ya never know and truth is, I make more in a week than some make in many months. I'm looking to start spending some more time in DF.

Maybe some of you experts could chime in. I go to the highest end club in Aca which typically is gringo free and doesn't allow men with out women to enter. It's a very Chilango crowd. Lately I'll see the typical dark fat guy with that very ugly face, 2 cell phones and a hat inside and he seems to know the staff. Looks like the transito cop type, but one thing is for sure, this guy doesn't fit in. I often wonder what the heck is up with that. I know last weekend 15 tried to enter the club and the mgr was put in a tough spot...These were very drunk guys who didn't fit in and were definitely part of a local cartel. They ultimately let a few in and my buddy at the club told me what was up. The girl I was with suggested we leave...I asked another friend working there and he agreed, better to be safe. I never recall this shit happening before.

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