Tourist hotpot bans ‘Narco’ concerts to stop rise of drug-related violence

A popular tourist hotspot in Mexico has banned 'narco' concerts amid an escalation of drug-related violence in the region

The local government in Cancun declared it will no longer allow concerts by some of the country’s most popular musicians because they “promote violence.”

As crime continues to rise concerts scheduled for Alfredo Ríos, known more commonly by his stage name El Komander, and the band Grupo Firme, were cancelled.

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Both acts are two of the most famous performers in the massively popular narcocorrido subgenre, a traditional kind of Mexican folk ballad that narrates the exploits and lives of drug traffickers.

The general secretary of the Cancun City Council, Jorge Aguilar Osorio, announced the ban in a video statement on Twitter last Sunday (May 21).

“We will not continue to allow people to promote apologising for violence. Of course, we respect freedom of expression, but we cannot continue to encourage events that promote violence,” he said

He continued: “Public shows should not promote any type of violence and, unfortunately, we have had incidents every time there are these types of concerts.”

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Although both El Komander and Grupo Firme are renowned for their love ballads and party music, their connection to organised crime often overshadows their more commercial songs.

In January 2022, a video went viral of Grupo Firme singing a song at a party about Ovidio Guzmán, the son of incarcerated kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

El Komander also collaborated on arguably the most notorious narcocorrido track in recent history: Sanguinarios del M1 (roughly translated as M1’s Bloodthirsty Guys).

The song ushered in a hyper-violent narcocorrido subgenre known as Movimiento Alterado, with lyrics that detail extremely violent acts committed by cartel members, referencing everything from incinerating enemies to beheadings.

Although the ban took aim at prominent narcocorrido acts, it is not exclusive to that controversial genre, with burgeoning gangster rap artists also having their events pulled.

On Saturday, a hip hop concert in Cancun headlined by Alemán and El Millonario was canceled at the last minute.

Alemán, who has begun to break borders with his music, recording songs with U.S. hip hop superstars Snoop Dogg and B-Real of Cypress Hill in recent years, released a video on social media lamenting the cancellation of his concert

"It is not fair because we come to work” he said

“There are people who traveled from far away and paid for a ticket.”

“At my shows there are children who always get on stage to break dance with me, we come to have a good time and not hurt anyone. I have always spoken to them in my songs about getting ahead, looking for success, looking for a better quality of life,” said Alemán.

He continued: “Truthfully, I feel that this law that they have here is imposed against freedom of expression.”

The string of canceled concerts came after years of increasing crime and drug-related violence in the city of Cancun and throughout the state of Quintana Roo.

Quintana Roo's governor, Mara Lezama, expressed her support for the concert ban.

“We promote peace, a culture of values, the family, non-violence and the rejection of destructive attitudes.”


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