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Thursday, January 23, 2020

Zihuatanejo, Guerrero: The Majesty and Decay of “El Negro” Durazo

Video translation is as follows:

Reporter: Of this size is the opulence of power in Mexico. To the south of the country there is a property that could summarize the degradation of Mexican politics.

We are in Zihuatanejo, we are heading to the mansion of "El Negro Durazo", known as El Partenón to see how this property is after years of abandonment.

Arturo Durazo Moreno, better known as “El Negro” Durazo, was the police chief of Mexico City during the López Portillo administration, between 1976 and 1982.

Upon leaving his post, he became the number one enemy of the country because of the chain of abuses he committed. He is accused of murder, torture, drug trafficking, weapons collection, fraud and bribery, as well as extortion, against police officers who worked for him.

"El Negro" was the most visible face of the arrogance and the impudence of the political system at that time.

"El Negro" Durazo: You know perfectly well that the capital police are quite numerous and there are some human errors. As such we are all humans.

Reporter: His inexplicable wealth surpassed cynicism. To have his parties, he ordered built in Zihuatanejo Guerrero, a mansion similar to the Parthenon, the most famous Greek monument that adorns the Acropolis of Athens. The chief of the capital police was not a god, but he had his own temple.

Well, we’ve already entered the house of "El Negro Durazo", we are in the dining room. This is a fairly large marble dining room, you can fit about 10 people on this side, and 10 on the other: more or less 22 people.

On this side we have a fountain, I guess here the water came out while they were eating and drinking. Everything on that side is adorned with Greek art symbology. Everything on that side is Greek art. This is the pool, right now it’s already full of seaweed, but sure when it worked it had a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean.

I measure 5’9, check out the size of this gate.

“El Negro” Durazo: So we started to make the Zihuatanejo house, but for some reason people, I don't know, they think we should all just live in caves. All those people who point fingers and criticize are the worst.

Reporter: This mansion measures 20 thousand square meters and costs 700 million pesos. Although it’s abandoned it hasn’t been vandalized, aside from some graffiti on the walls over there.

Some rooms still retain their mirrors on their walls and ceilings. Yes: on the ceilings. At first we thought that the only tenants of the Parthenon were the bats, like this or this one, who were not comfortable with our visit, but then we saw empty beer cartons, a lounge chair to rest and even a hammock, someone keeps having a good time here.

This is the outdoor hot tub that "El Negro" Durazo owned. Of all the elements of the house this looks the newest, it’s a bit dirty and unhinged but it’s at most 10 years old. 

We don’t know what happens here when there is no one around. Here we assume this was the dance floor because of the way it’s built and because there are light installations that no longer have wiring all over the ceiling.

"El Negro" Durazo surely had to have brought escorts and put together some mega drunken events here. 

"El Negro" Durazo: I am a good man. I like parties like every human. I’ve been able to succeed with my investments.

Reporter: The party for “El Negro” Durazo ended in 1984 when he was arrested. Justice accused him of collecting weapons and abuse of authority. He spend 8 years in jail, a sentence that many considered insufficient compared to his crimes.

After his release he couldn’t return to the Parthenon: it had been confiscated along with his other properties. Therefore, for 35 years, the only witnesses of the deterioration here are the statues and the murals of the Greek gods that adorn the small Acropolis of Durazo.

This is just one of the murals that we can see in the house, all with motifs from Greece. This is the bar where they prepared drinks for "El Negro" Durazo, well, for him and his friends. Many of the waiters and servants that he had were police officers from Mexico City.

Many police officers were also employed as masons to build this ode to the power of their boss, who died in the year 2000, after giving himself a tycoon life with the money of the citizens.

After winning a lawsuit against the Durazo family, this property now belongs to the Guerrero government. This mansion, not only shows us the darkest face of authority.

The 42 pillars that support it seem like a metaphor for how difficult it is to tear down the old system. The Parthenon of "El Negro" Durazo is the perfect monument to corruption in Mexico.

Sol Prendido Borderland Beat   Source


  1. Unlikely Durazo studied Greek architecture...his builder seems to have butcherd the Doric Order (massive column) with the Ionic (slender column) as well as the architrave, frieze...a mish mash of sorts.

    Canadian girl 😘

  2. How we need a Durazo now

  3. Now the government wants to make it a tourist attraction

  4. I met Durazo's son Pedro while traveling through Lagos de Montebello in Chiapas, spring and summer of 1982. He was a silver jewelry artisan hippie dude with a Jesus kinda look, he could smoke tons of mota and he had many wild stories about his papa.

  5. There is a private beach in between Acapulco and Pia de La Cuesta, the name us Playa Mimosa. It had 7 bungalows up top with a main house on the beach. It was for sale back in 1997 for $350,000.
    We used to pay $8 pesos to use the beach. Around 2001 (?) It was purchased. From what I understand is that a Narco Political purchased it. Shortly after that it was confiscated.
    I drove by there the other day and it is still abandoned. There are several large unfinished projects just like this around Acapulco.

    Does someone out there know why the Guerrero Government cannot sell these properties at auction?


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