Mexico: narco gangs kill musicians

As Umberto Eco said about Salman Rushdie, “A death sentence is a rather harsh review.” From AP via the San Diego Union-Tibune, Feb. 19:

MEXICO CITY – Gunmen shot to death four men identified as members of a musical group as they returned from a performance in the western Mexico state of Michoacan, a state prosecutor’s spokeswoman said Monday.

The shooting early Sunday in Puruaran, 300 kilometers (185 miles) southwest of Mexico City, killed four men between the ages 21 to 37 who were part of a group known as the Banda Fugaz, spokeswoman Magdalena Guzman said.

A fifth man was shot several times, but survived, Guzman said.

The band was returning from a Saturday night performance in the nearby hamlet of Las Caramicuas when the attack occurred.

Guzman said the band wasn’t known to sing controversial songs about drug trafficking, known as “narcocorridos.” No other motive was identified, and officials had made no arrests in the case.

The killings were the latest in a string of fatal shootings of Mexican musicians.

On Nov. 25, Valentin Elizalde, a norteño singer, was shot to death along with his manager and driver shortly after performing in the city Reynosa, across the border from McAllen, Texas. Police have not yet established a motive in that case, but are investigating a possible connection between the killing and a video posted online set to one of Elizalde’s songs, “A Mis Enemigos,” or “To My Enemies.”

The 3-minute video posted on shows a collage of grisly photographs of people killed in drug-related violence, wanted posters of former soldiers who authorities say joined the Gulf cartel, and footage of an alleged hit man for the cartel being shot in the head.

In December, another musician, Javier Morales Gomez, 28, of the band Los Implacables del Norte, was shot to death in a park in the town of Huetamo, Michoacan. Officials have not released a motive in that case, either.

Michoacan has been plagued by gunbattles, executions and beheadings involving drug gangs. In early December, federal troops and police agents launched a large-scale operation to quell the state’s violence.

See our last posts on Mexico and Michoacan, and the narco crisis.