Sunday, November 13, 2011

Mexican Norteno Singer Shot Dead by Gunmen in Sinaloa

Mexican narcorridos singer Diego Rivas killed.

Police in Mexico say three people have been killed in a drive-by shooting in western Sinaloa state.

One of those killed is Diego Rivas, a singer of narcocorridos - songs glorifying drug traffickers.

Officials said gunmen opened fire on the singer and his friends in the city of Culiacan in the early hours of Sunday.

Police say musicians who celebrate the lives of drug barons often become targets for rival drug gangs.

One of Mr Rivas' songs is an ode to Joaquin Shorty Guzman, Mexico's most wanted drug lord.

Born in Culiacan, in Sinaloa state, Mr Rivas started singing in school contests.

He later joined the band Arriba Mi Sinaloa, but split from them in 2006. He has since been appearing with his band Los Guaruras.

Among his best known songs are Brindo con Sangre (I Toast With Blood) and El comander (The Commander).

Prosecutors say Rivas was singing and drinking with friends early Sunday outside a house when gunmen arrived and started shooting with AK-47 or "cuernos de chivo." Rivas and two others died and three people were wounded.

Singers of the Grupero genre of music have in the past been targeted by drug gangs.

Last year, Sergio Vega, better known as El Shaka, was shot dead only hours after he had gone on radio to deny reports he had been murdered.

And in 2007, the singer of K-Paz de la Sierra was kidnapped, tortured and murdered after performing at a concert in the western state of Michoacan.

“He is short of stature, but his brain is big... He is the hardest among the hard, and those who don't like him are from a rival gang... The orders are clear, says Shorty, you know what to do, and if there are any problems, you answer with goat horns (AK-47 rifles)...Shorty doesn't need to raise his voice, his words carry great power.”

Translated extract from Diego Rivas' Ode to Shorty Guzman. 

Sources: BBC, El Debate