Thursday, April 21, 2016

Solidary Barrios in Xochitepec: Neighbors Protecting Themselves From Crime

Photo by: Cuartoscuro

By Lourdes, Animal Político Reader | Translated by Valor for Borderland Beat

This article is part of a digital project by Animal Político called “Aprender a Vivir con el Narco” (Learning to live with El Narco) released in late 2015.

I’ve been a witness to the “levantamientos” (kidnappings) and deaths of youths in my neighborhood, some of them with whom I grew up with.  Among curfews, abductions, kidnappings, murders, shootouts, and death, everyday life develops in my neighborhood.

One of the most violent nights left five dead, all of them youths.  Now, it’s a militarized place.  Now, you just don’t protect yourself from “the habits” but also of the Mexican Army and the police who extort and threaten.

We have learned to live in fear, we have reshaped violence and created strategies to survive the terror that causes us to live in a place without security and justice.

In the block, solidarity networks were strengthened.  Even in some places, directories were developed with the phone numbers of neighbors in case an emergency occurs.

I remember after the killing of four youths in one night at the hands of organized crime, cardboard signs appeared in busy public places, like in sport fields, announcing a curfew.  The message was more or less as follows: “To whoever comes out after 8:00, you’re fucking dead.”

Faced with this threat, every night, mothers and some fathers would be seen pilgrimaging throughout the empty streets, on their way to pick up their children at the bus stop.  They would say: “I’m going for him, I don’t want them to confuse him.”

I also remember hearing from people that they would have to be very careful when driving a car in the town since any behavior that was read as an insult to “the habit” could cost us our lives.  So then the drivers knew that if there was a car in front of them driving at a very slow speed, they knew that they should try to pass them, or much less honk the horn to pressure them to increase their speed.  The playing of loud music in cars even stopped, especially of narcocorridos.

Socialization has been relegated to the private area, and although violence here is intermittent, life isn’t the same anymore.  Public places are increasingly looking empty and people are increasingly more distrustful.  Although this distrust does not apply with the nearest neighbors.

These strategies have worked in my neighborhood, and while they don’t contribute to a decrease in attacks against the people of this town nor to decrease crime rates, it has helped us to not feel alone, to help us feel stronger and supportive, and to bring about the fear that sometimes permeates everything.

Source: Animal Político


  1. "Cartel Crimes" brought back el PRI, now that they have the police and soldiers to do their dirty deeds for them, and terrorize the people to keep putting them down, they will not stop on their own...
    The city residents need to organize and take over block by block and kick the police corporations and soldiers in the ass, they do not need to be anywhere in town, only the criminals and the people, then the criminals will be gone voluntarily, because they are more decent than the government envoys...

    1. @April 22, 2016 at 12:49 AM
      'Dirty deeds and their done dirt cheap'

  2. What does Enrique Penis Nieto think n say about all this corruption?

    1. 'No comment'

    2. Former presidente de colombia Autodefensas Unidas, I mean Alvaro Uribe always answers to any and all questions about his murdering ways and corruption: "otra pregunta, otra pregunta, otra pregunta, otra pregunta..." for hours, sometimes will take notes, but usually he will just stare into the reporter or questioner's face...
      --that motherfacker is an evil mass murdering assassin, made himself a millionaire with drug trafficking and murdered his partners and friends and foes, and had hundreds of thousands of his countrymen and women and children killed too, about 7 million displaced to steal their land, all by himself with his little angel's face and his autodefensas...
      --any similarity with enrique peña nieto, "el tlacoyo" is not mere coincidence...

  3. So sad , sad , heartbreaking.
    Muy triste la vida , la lucha por la vida , vive la raza.

  4. I had to stop watching a documentary on Link TV about the plight of the Palestinians.
    What has the world become ? Who are these people , certainly not humans anymore, not that history has been very peaceful. The whole world running on caffiene, crank, ice , coke , croc , blablabla..........muy triste .

    1. 8:31 slap yourself on the snout! And soldier on, see syria, iraq, afghanistan and all the other bombed cities, and put it all together, then come back to BB and report.

  5. Starting to get like that in many Mexican barrios in America.
    You hear all the excuses of why Mexico is a criminal sheethole.
    There is no good reason for Mexicans to be criminals in America.

    1. 3:57 it's all been there since forever, you just saw it recently, maybe you just came down a notch or two, did some mexican criminal send your job away to thaililand or taiwan?

  6. Its only some cities of MX that are like this - right?

    1. 6:53 nope, it is the same all over mexico, but not all the news get out, sorry...
      --the circus may be coming home to your city or town if it is not there already, it most likely IS your eyes...

    2. What is your problem ?
      What a hater,a real barrel of laughs.


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