This past Tuesday, two people were executed in front of a hotel in the Golden Zone in Mazatlan, a touristed area. As it happens, the Patterico clan was in Mazatlan that day. I swear I had nothing to do with it.
Nor did I have anything to do with the headless body tossed in front of a restaurant the same day.
The story of the double murder at the hotel barely merited a couple of lines in the Associated Press:
Farther north, in the Pacific coast resort of Mazatlan, two men were shot to death in the parking lot of a hotel frequented by foreign tourists. Neither of the victims were tourists, but guests reported hearing the gunshots.
A travel site adds these details:
Also, a travel agent told TravelPulse.com he received an email from a client on the Norwegian Star who said other passengers in the vicinity reported hearing about 40 shots being fired.
That was our cruise ship, and there was indeed a lot of talk about it, although it was mostly in the form of fourth-hand rumors that botched the details, as you would expect. As for us, we hadn’t gone into town, as we had opted for a boat ride around some estuaries that would keep us out of the town. I sort of wanted to see the cathedral afterwards, but I was the only one — and with all the previous reports of muggings and such in the city, I didn’t force the issue. I’m now glad I didn’t.
As for the headless body, well, that didn’t even merit a single mention in any English-language Big Media source I could find. It took an exploration of Mexican newspapers to learn about the beheaded body. . . and the head, in a separate bag . . . and the body of the pig:
Una persona fue decapitada y su cuerpo dejado en el acceso principal de un restaurante en la zona Dorada, en la cual se encuentran la mayoría de los hoteles, restaurantes y discotecas turísticas del puerto de Mazatlán.
Junto al cuerpo que estaba envuelto en una bolsa de plástico negro, estaba la cabeza en otra bolsa negra. A menos dos metros dejaron un puerco muerto, al cual le dispararon en la cabeza los sicarios.
El reporte de la Policía Municipal señala que la víctima no ha sido identificada, aunque autoridades presumieron que se trata de una persona secuestrada.
El restaurante de la zona dorada, donde dejaron el cuerpo es El Habaleño, el cual a la hora en que dejaron el cuerpo decapitado y el cerdo, ya estaba cerrado. En este inmueble también ejecutaron a dos personas identificadas como Guadalupe Núñez el domingo pasado por la tarde.
I include the Spanish for the benefit of readers who can read it, as I have no reliable translation. A horrible Google translation is available here, but I would ignore that. I’ll do my best at a rough translation, and then you smarty-pantses who know better can correct me:
A person was decapitated and his corpse was left in the main entrance of a restaurant in the Golden Zone, where the majority of the hotels, restaurants, and nightclubs of the port of Mazatlan can be found.
With the corpse, which was wrapped in a black plastic bag, was the head in a separate black bag. Less than two meters away the killers left a dead pig, which they had shot in the head.
The report of the Municipal Police indicated that the victim had not been identified, although authorities presumed that it was a kidnapping victim.
The Golden Zone restaurant where the body was dumped is El Habaleño, which was already closed at the time that the decapitated corpse and the pig were left. The previous Sunday afternoon, at the same location, two people were executed who went by the name of Guadalupe Núñez.
Another story here (horrible Google translation here) adds the charming detail that the killers, after dumping the headless body, carjacked a woman in a Lincoln to make their getaway.
Again, the headless body dump and the double murder all occurred Tuesday, oddly enough, the same day we were there.
I suppose the silence in English-language papers about the beheaded body in Mazatlan is no surprise. After all, in the very same AP story I quote above, it was reported that police had found seven hacked and mutilated corpses in the seaside tourist town of Acapulco the very same day. Three were found “dumped in a highway tunnel that leads into Acapulco’s tourist zone” with pieces of the bodies missing. Three more “bullet-ridden bodies” were found in the streets, and police “discovered a fourth body half-buried and lacking its head.”
Heck, even that wasn’t the lede of the story, which was primarily concerned with the discovery of a rural camp suspected to be operated by one of the cartels, containing “72 sticks of commercial synthetic explosives . . . 14 rifles, eight grenades,” and “more than 4,000 bullets.”
So I guess a single headless body with accompanying head is no big deal.
Except that it is. Because the violence continues, even after we tourists depart. And it has ripple effects.
The day after we left, gunmen sprayed a different tourist restaurant in Mazatlan with gunfire. That restaurant and three namesake restaurants were all closed. (Story here, horrible translation here.)
Although none of the victims of these crimes were tourists, the cruise lines have had enough. After the double murder, Carnival Cruise Lines immediately canceled a planned stop in Mazatlan, and Norwegian Cruise Lines canceled its Mazatlan stop for the season. And that was, ostensibly, only because of the murders at the hotel. Never mind the headless body or the restaurant shooting the next day.
This means that the nice fellow with the easy sense of humor who ran our little boat outing in the estuaries is going to have a much harder time finding guests for his excursion, with fewer cruise ships coming into town. And he, his son, and the other good people of this little city will continue to live in an atmosphere of increasing and constant violence.
And all this is a picnic compared to Juarez.
Mexico is a great place, huh?
UPDATE: I should note that I obtained several links from a very interesting blog called The Fulano Files. The proprietor appears to keep a close watch on Mexican violence. I will likely be citing this blog again.