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Mexico represents a dichotomy of images: first, as a land of sun, surf, and a place of destiny for vacationers, and second, as providing a haven for violent drug cartels operating with virtual impunity from the power of the state that appears unable to provide a fundamental duty - public safety. In the current environment of cartel violence, festive similes of mariachis called narcocorridos are muffling traditional Mexican poems by singing ballads praising drug cartel leaders. Defying the government prohibition against radio stations playing this type of music, narcocorridos are often commissioned by drug cartels as a popular source of entertainment in cities proximate to the United States-Mexico border region.


Originally published as:

Marshall B. Lloyd, Drugs, Thugs, and Mariachis: An Institutional Response to Mexico’s Drug Cartels, 46 Okla. City U. L. Rev. 233 (2022).

Added to Digital Commons with the kind permission of the editors of the Oklahoma City University Law Review.