Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Book of kids' drawings chronicles Mexico drug war


Children in a western Mexico state besieged by drug violence have helped produce a book that is full of images of shootouts, kidnappings, robberies and grenade attacks that kids are increasingly being exposed to.

The book, "The Mexico I Live," was released Tuesday by the Michoacan state Human Rights Commission and a local university. It contains 45 drawings, most of them of bloody scenes and shootouts taking place outside supermarkets or parks.

One drawing highlights a scene outside a supermarket where a federal police officer is firing his automatic weapon while a man in a baseball cap tosses a grenade at him.

Another child drew the lifeless body of a man who had been shot six times in the stomach and is lying on a pool of blood while his attacker stands over him holding an automatic rifle.

The drawings were selected from a 2010 competition that had called on children between the ages of 7 and 12 to draw pictures alluding to Mexico's 200 years since the start of its battle for independence from Spain. Instead, children drew about their experiences with drug violence.

The pictures "show explicit images of a society devoted to drug trafficking, violence and of abuses against minors," said university professor Araceli Colin, who was part of the selection committee.

Michoacan is the home territory of the violent La Familia drug cartel, which has mounted several ambush-style attacks on police in the last two years.

Children are increasingly falling victim to the brutal violence of Mexico's drug war, a conflict that has killed more than 34,000 people since December 2006, when President Felipe Calderon first launched an all-out offensive against cartels in his home state of Michoacan.

The nonprofit group Network for the Rights of Children in Mexico estimates 994 children and youths under 18 were killed in drug violence between late 2006 and late 2010 across the country, and says the number has risen since then.

Photos: Grupo Reforma


  1. Que tristeza,,,,
    Instead of them drawing pictures of sunny skies and a beautiful land mass the youth of Mexico has been traumatized by la pinche violencia de los ignorantes.

    Pinches narcos, someone needs to take order already. We all know we don't live in a perfect world but enough is enough. They are only destroying a future for their kids.

  2. Is that la Barbie holding an AR-15 on the last drawing?

    -----Just Saying!

  3. I saw this a couple of days ago and wondered..
    who is profitting from this book?

  4. @ Buela: The Michoacan state Commission of Humans Rights held a contest last year for kids aged 7-12. The contest was for them to draw a picture depicting how they saw Mexico.

    Over 3000 drawings were received. Out of those 45 were chosen for the book..36 out of the 45 are drawings of violence, death, and insecurity.

  5. @ ovemex

    You always surprise us with unique articles like this one. I can't imagine drawing these kinds of pictures when I was this age, but these mexican kids are different. These kids are much more mature and much harder. They are a breed within themselves. I grew up in a tough neighborhood too, in L.A. but these kids already understand true violence at such a young age. I did'nt get a taste of real violence until I was 15. In Mexico, violence has already become a natural way of life. To the point where people always have to base their decisions on how to avoid getting killed on a daily basis. That is not a democratic way of life.

    Damn shame

  6. @Overmex

    So I was wondering how the other 2964 pictures looked like? I'm sure Human Rights commission picked those 36 because it showed images like these to get a point across. While the other pics were not drawings of violence, death, and insecurity and would not get so much media attention or would not sell for the book.

  7. @anon 2:08 pm

    That's a damn good question. I'm not even sure how this whole "book" deal is working out. I've tried looking around some more and haven't found additional imfo yet.

    I know it is common for Govt. organizations to hold these types of contests for everything from water conservation awareness to politics "If I were a (child) senator for a day" campaigns. Usually the books created from these types of contests are offered by the states as awards for kids, teachers, parents or for sale at a very low cost.

    I am unsure how this book is being handles or what the other content submitted contained.

    I will continue looking.

    On a separate note, I do know for FACT these types of drawings and expressions are not uncommon. I had the opportunity to see pictures drawn this past Christmas.

    The kids were asked to write and/or draw their Christmas wishes: not toys or gifts, but what they wanted for their family, town, state, the world.

    Many asked for each child to have a home and food, some asked for cures to common, yet deadly diseases, others asked for their entire family to be united in peace and happiness for Christmas (after having relatives kidnapped or picked up), others asked for no more death to innocent people, and one even asked for NO MORE ZZZZZ.

    These were kids in Elementary schools grade 4-6.

  8. I don't doubt the contest or how they were selected or even that the majority in certain areas would draw violence.

    Just wanted to know who gets the money from the book...where exactly it is going. I could not find the answer. and believe me I tried.

  9. @Buela:

    I just found this:

    Apparently the 500 published copies were used and presented at the inauguration of the new Dept of Psychology at Michoacan University.

    State commission of Human Rights held the contest last year "Illuminate your rights", apparently a contest it holds each year...

    among the 300 received in 2010 were also drawings depicting unemployment, health care (and lack of), discrimination, intolerance and environmental concerns.

    The amount of drawings depicting violence caused La Voz de Michoacan editors to request a psychological analysis (By Michoacan U) of the chosen drawings.

    "In his message, the Ombudsman of Michoacan, Victor Manuel Serrato Lozano stressed that this book should be on the desks of every decision/law makers involved in the fight against crime "the ills of society and as well as the solutions here (in this book)." This is an excellent link which goes into more detail.

    From what I can see at this point, the only profit being made on these 500 copies, is in publicity for the new psychological department.

    Of course, time will tell.

    Also....The reports from Michoacan state there were 300 drawings submitted, not 3000 as I had previously quoted from other links.

  10. Marc -

    Esto es peor que una guerra , en guerras nacionales -territoriales se toma al enemigo por preso; aqui en este conflicto en Mexico los sicarios matan al enemigo en formas mas salvaje imaginable.

  11. Ovemex

    nothing is ever as it seems in mexico.
    you know and i know that very well!

    I will accept no one purchased it...SO FAR.
    but if they don't sell it and if people want it well you know how that goes.. it would have been great if they sold copies and donated all proceeds to Hogars or something benefitting children.

    thanks for checking!!

  12. I can't wait for the next generation of MEXICANS they will surley exceed the presant messs.

  13. I do not generalize or condemn everyone for the actions of the few, check out a video I just uploaded, found it on BorderlandBeat:


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