MEXICO CITY - Mexican authorities seeking to ban drug ballads known as "narco-corridos" have levied one of their stiffest punishments yet against the music, fining concert promoters 100,000 pesos (almost $8,000) for a weekend performance in the northern city of Chihuahua.
Authorities said Friday the city-imposed fine was for a performance today by Alfredo Rios, better known as "El Komander," one of the best-known singers of the "Altered Movement" genre whose lyrics frequently focus on shootouts, killings and guns.
Thousands of people in the border state of Chihuahua have died in drug-related violence in recent years, and starting about three years ago, authorities in the state capital decided to try to discourage songs that glorify drug trafficking or crime.
Javier Torres, the Chihuahua City assistant government secretary, said the concert promoters had been forced to forfeit a 100,000-peso deposit they posted prior to the weekend concert.
Torres said the money will be used to buy computers for community centers. It's not the first time that promoters have lost deposits after singers stepped out of bounds. In July, the organizers of a local fair lost a 97,000-peso deposit after the Tucanes de Tijuana performed some narco-corridos in Chihuahua City.
"In an atmosphere of violence. It's not right to have people glamorizing crime," said Torres.
There is little doubt that "El Komander" has glorified violence.
In one song "Cuernito Armani," a reference to a designer assault rifle, he sings, "My luck was with me, a bullet pierced their driver, their truck flipped over, they couldn't do me any more harm."