Mexico City: Goths and Rockeros and Jipis, Oh My!

I spent my first weekend here in Mexico City exploring some of the counterculture of the massive metropolis. One of the places I went was the old Buenavista railroad station. The station is closed now, but right next door is a nearly three-decade old Mexico City phenomenon: the tianguis (market) del chopo, where every Friday and Saturday, the city's various youth culture tribes come out to see and be seen, listen to the latest sounds, and buy music, posters, clothing, pins, and all sorts of other goods. (For a nice introduction to the city's tribes, check out veteran Mexico-watcher John Ross's piece in Counterpunch.) Man, what a show it is! Punkis (punks), skatos (ska fans), metaleros (you guessed it), darketos (Goths) mix with dread-locked followers of Bob Marley, emerging from the Buenavista metro station like a legion of the undead. There's not a lot of directly drug policy-related stuff to be cleaned from the chopo, but I did talk with some of the more jipi (hippie)- type vendors and their clientele. You know, the guys selling the marijuana leaves and extolling the virtues of the herb. But I didn't really hear anything new from them. Sadly, my trip to the rockers' market was a bit spur of the moment, so I didn’t have my camera with me. Suffice it to say, there were some pretty impressive mohawks and some pretty glam Goths. While in that neighborhood, north of the historic center of the city, I walked over to the Guerrero metro station in search of a church I heard of where there is supposedly a chapel dedicated to San Jesus Malverde, the (unofficial) patron saint of drug traffickers. I couldn't find it, but the search continues, and so does my quest to find adherents of the church of Saint Death. Supposedly some of these folks are hard-core hard cases, dead-end dopers. I want to see what that's all about. Stay tuned for more on this front. I did get some pics from my visit to the plaza in Coyoacan, an upscale southern suburb. The plaza has been a gathering place for jipis and artists for decades, and the plaza has recently been crowded with the stalls of the vendors, many of them embracing the jipi lifestyle and selling that kind of stuff. But now there's a battle going on between the local government and some businesses on one side and the vendors and their allies on the other. For the last three weeks, the plaza has been torn up for "reconstruction," putting a real damper on the scene there, and there are no plans to make room for the vendors when the project is completed. Part of the authorities problem with the plaza scene is the ongoing drug dealing. It's been known for that for years. But the disruption, not to mention the heavy police presence, has quieted things down for now. I start meeting with people tomorrow, although a big meeting that was set for then has now been pushed back to Thursday. That may pose problems for getting a feature story on Mexico out this week, but the upside is it gives me more time to dig around before that. Meanwhile, the drug war continues. I've been reading La Jornada, a left-leaning Mexico City newspaper, and it has a daily rundown on the killings. There seem to be five or six or ten a day every day, and every day, some of them are cops or soldiers. Friday was a particularly tough day for the military--11 soldiers died when the chopper they were riding in on their way to raid drug fields in Michoacan fell out of the sky.
Location: 
Mexico City
Mexico
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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God's Middle Finger

In the middle of this book right now. A lot of stories and content on drug trafficking in the Sierra Madre region. Fascinating, and very scary stuff.

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