Newsbrief: Ban on Narcocorridos Spreads in Mexico 10/11/02

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The congress of the state of Nuevo Leon this week passed legislation that would ban the radio or TV broadcast of narcocorridos, the Mexican border ballads that sometimes lionize participants in the drug trade. Nuevo Leon becomes the seventh state this year to attempt to suppress the wildly popular musical genre, joining Baja California, Sinaloa, San Luis Potosí and Coahuila y Querétaro. The ban cuts across the narcocorrido heartland in north-central Mexico, leaving Chihuahua and Tamulipas as the only border states that have not banned the songs.

Narcocorridos, with their tales of bravery, treachery, smuggling, and above all, putting one over on the gringos, sell millions of copies on both sides of the border, but their popularity has frightened Mexico's moral watchdogs and good burghers. The songs glamorize the drug trade and make heroes out of criminals, they complain. Such complaints are often valid, but, like gangster rap music in the US, narcocorridos are a means of expressing social reality, as unsavory as it may be. CD sales in the hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions, on both sides of the border, testify that the music touches a popular nerve.

But the legislators are having none of it. The resolution passed in Nuevo Leon asks the Mexican attorney general to apply with full rigor articles of the constitution that allow for the censorship of broadcasts that "are contrary to good customs, whether through malicious expression, provocative words or images, phrases and scenes with double meanings, or apologies for violence or crime" or "contrary to the security of the state or public order."

In the 1950s, unregulated Mexican radio superstations pumped Wolfman Jack and the throbbing beat of rock 'n' roll deep into the American heartland. Now, as US stations from Los Angeles to Houston continue to play narcocorridos while Mexican stations turn silent, another subversive cultural message is heading in the opposite direction, going back home.

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Issue #258, 10/11/02 Editorial: Just Claims | Ordeal of the Pain Doctors: California Physician Still Struggling to Clear His Name, Trial Date Set for December | DRCNet Interview: Nandor Tanczos, Member of Parliament, New Zealand | California Medical Marijuana Chronicles: A Widening Conflict | MedMj Chronicles I: The Feds Are Deadly Serious: Bryan Epis Sentenced to Federal Prison | MedMj Chronicles II: San Jose Police Department Cuts Ties with DEA Task Force | MedMj Chronicles III: Marijuana Patients and Caregivers Sue the Feds, Seek Order to Stop Raids | MedMj Chronicles IV: Marijuana Rescheduling Petition Revived | FDA Approves Buphrenorphine for Home Addiction Treatment | Whose Brain on Drugs? Stanford Symposium Focuses on Addiction and Chemistry | Newsbrief: Colombian Ombudsman Petitions Government for Suspension of Herbicide Spraying | Newsbrief: RAVE Act Stalled in House, Could Be Dead for the Year | Newsbrief: Wisconsin Couple Commit Suicide After Pot and 'Shroom Bust, Forfeiture Notice | Newsbrief: Ban on Narcocorridos Spreads in Mexico | Newsbrief: School Districts Drug Testing for Tobacco, Too | Newsbrief: Leaders of Former Soviet Republics Meet to Fight Drugs and Terror, Drink Wine | Newsbrief: Canadian Researchers Seek Approval for Heroin Maintenance Study | Calling on Students to Raise Your Voices for Repeal of the HEA Drug Provision | Action Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision | The Reformer's Calendar

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