Thursday, December 06, 2007

Indiana's Changing Face 

I heard this story on NPR and then heard about the local connection. Such terrible violence, such things we don't need here in Indianapolis. We have enough of that as it is.

Of things of Mexican origin I am glad to have here in our city is the small local chain, Merry's Bakery, mentioned in the article. I have eaten their baked goods on at least dos Dia de los Muertos, and at their stores. Very tasty breads.

You can take this article how ever you want, but as has been obvious for years, drug prohibition does not work. Make the drugs legal, make the market legal and take it away from the gangs and cartels. Use the marketplace to our advantage to remove the violence from the mix.


From the Indianapolis Star
A popular musician who had lived in Avon since 2003 is the most recent victim of a wave of entertainment-related violence in Mexico.

Paying respects: hundreds of people line up as a hearse carries the body of Sergio Gomez, The lead singer in the top-selling band K-Paz de la Sierra, in his hometown of Ciudad Hidalgo, Mexico. - Agencia Esquema / Associated Press

Sergio Gomez, 35, was killed last weekend after performing with his top-selling group, K-Paz de la Sierra, in Morelia, Mexico.
Gomez enjoyed regular airplay on Indianapolis-based Spanish-language radio station WEDJ-FM (107.1), and he sang to a packed house at Club Tropicana, 6447 W. Washington St., earlier this year.
His music was fashionable in cities stretching from Chicago, where K-Paz made its first recordings, to Morelia, the capital of Mexico's western state of Michoacan. Five of the band's albums have reached the Top 10 on Billboard magazine's Latin music chart.
Morelia is the site of bloody turf battles between Mexico's two main drug cartels. Gomez was tortured and fatally strangled after a concert there Saturday, and organized crime is suspected in his death, as well as in the recent murders of female Mexican vocalist Zayda Pena and male Mexican vocalist Valentin Elizalde.
"The strange thing is that (Gomez) made romantic music," said Ildefonso Carbajal, editor of Indianapolis-based newspaper La Ola Latino-Americana. "When you hear about this kind of thing, it's usually because someone got killed for singing 'narcocorrido' (music glamorizing drugs and guns). Supposedly, this guy never did that."
Mayraelisa Arroyo, on-air personality at Spanish-language radio station WSYW-AM (810), said Gomez moved from Chicago with his parents, siblings, wife and three sons to Indiana to live closer to relatives in the Alcauter family, who own and operate several locations of Merry's Bakery.
"They liked the city," Arroyo said. "It was quieter and a better city than Chicago."
K-Paz de la Sierra specializes in Duranguense music, a style similar to country music that grew in popularity in Chicago before catching on as a mainstream format in Mexico.
"That's a popular band," newspaper editor Carbajal said. "I always thought they lived in Mexico. Now I find out they were right here."
K-Paz songs were fixtures of Top 20 airplay at WEDJ, program director Manuel Sepulveda said.
On Wednesday, WEDJ played two-minute tributes to Gomez every hour.
"People are calling in to say, 'We really appreciate what you're doing,' " Sepulveda said.
Arroyo described Gomez's music as being almost "too sweet" in its ability to reach a listener's heart. The singer's father, Baldomero Gomez, told the Chicago Tribune: "His doors closed just as they had started to open."
Gomez's body will be brought to Indianapolis today. Calling will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday at Stevens Mortuary, 5520 W. 10th St.
Marco Dominguez, news anchor for local television station WIIH-Univision, predicted network crews from Univision and Telemundo will be in town to report on the singer.
Hundreds of people mourned Gomez on Tuesday in his hometown of Ciudad Hidalgo in Michoacan. About 200 more also gathered in Mexico City, where Gomez's body was transported Tuesday night.
Gomez's manager, also named Sergio Gomez, told the TV network Televisa that the singer had received threats warning him against performing in Morelia.
K-Paz canceled an appearance in Morelia last year after similar threats, according to band representative Mario Olvera, and Gomez had refused to cancel again.
"In Morelia, he told me: 'I'm not afraid to die. I feel happy because I've gotten where I wanted to go, and we've done so much with this group,' " band member Humberto Duran said at a news conference Tuesday.
After Saturday's concert, Gomez left with two business associates but was intercepted by 10 Chevrolet Suburbans. His body turned up on a rural roadside with signs of strangulation and severe bruising on the thorax and abdomen, as well as burns on the legs. The associates reportedly were released unharmed.
Singers, whether they have any links to drug cartels or not, are routinely "adopted" by drug gangs, which post Internet videos showing their members torturing and executing rivals to soundtracks of popular tunes.
"It really has people worried, because you never know if you go to a concert what will happen, whether somebody might get shot," said Pablo Zuack, press coordinator for Bandamax, a cable TV channel specializing in northern Mexican music.
Elijah Wald, author of the book "Narcocorrido," said the musicians' fears may be justified.
"They've just kidnapped and murdered a major international star traveling with bodyguards," he said, referring to Gomez. "That is a very clear message: 'We can get anybody.' "

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