Acapulco Killer, by journalist David Espino, brings together eight stories spun over eight years in the port of Acapulco and in the rest of the state of Guerrero with victims and executioners, and is a reflection of the wave of violence suffered by the country and journalists.
Espino commented to the agency EFE who in his book rescues stories of people who have a common point: the violence.
This, he says, has disrupted the lives of the more than 3.5 million inhabitants of Guerrero, one of the poorest regions of Mexico, who have sought to survive calamities of all kinds: hurricanes, plagues, hunger, bad governments, drug trafficking and violence.
“There are lives, people who have completely disrupted their reality, their common life, their ordinary life. And all because of the violence”, he stated after years of journalistic investigations.
Espino, a freelance journalist who has collaborated with national and foreign media, explains that his book seeks to reflect the various faces of Acapulco, the best known city in Guerrero and popular worldwide.
Well, that city is not only the paradisiacal port that, once, was the favorite place of famous people, both foreign and national.
“Acapulco is immense and the idea was to introspect as a society how we see violence and how this problem has changed the realities of the population”, he says.
For the journalist, this is a portrait of how violence and its normalization escalated from the north to the south of the country and how people are beginning to get used to the damage caused by drug trafficking.
“People no longer have opportunities, nothing is done about it. It is a type of violence not only of weapons but a state violence, because if you go to a neighborhood in Acapulco you will see an infinity of bars and there is not a sports field or a cultural center to try to balance”, he affirms.
Over time, he says, this normalization reached young people, who “not only normalize violence but poverty”.
According to statistics, Acapulco is one of the municipalities with the largest number of people in extreme poverty in the country.
And although it is also the one that contributes the most to the Guerrero economy, it is also one of the most violent.
Espino addresses these chiaroscuros in his book, with stories such as that of the Acapulco Philharmonic Orchestra which, in a genuine attempt to put an end to this normalization of violence, has a music program so that children and young people learn about other options.
“They are children and adolescents who are aware that there is another reality and that they can change at least their immediate environment, their own lives, and that they will not be able to do so if they do not turn to the other side, in this case, the other side. It’s the music,” he says.
a dangerous profession
The stories, confesses Espino, were not easy to get.
On the one hand, the authorities maintain an institutional opacity of the data, and on the other, gaining the trust of young people involved in criminal gangs for some reports was complicated.
“When you report with the boys, when you go with them to their places, to their environments, where they move there are always risks, of course, that they confuse you or believe that you are a police officer”, dice.
That is why, it exalts, the reporter must learn to take the risks that the profession implies.
“We know that our work carries risk, that’s why I take my precautions,” he says.
He acknowledges that he was afraid during the process of preparing his chronicles for the book, since several of his interviewees were murdered, forcing him to self-exile from Acapulco as a precautionary measure.
“You have to create your own protocols to take care of yourself,” he says.
Their fears are not unfounded since Mexico is considered one of the most dangerous countries for the practice of journalism in the world and During 2021, 7 murders of journalists were recorded.
Finally, Espino evokes those times when the bay, previously considered one of the most beautiful on the planet, was famous for being the inspiration for the Mexican musician Agustín Lara to compose his emblematic “María Bonita”, or the same one evoked by Frank Sinatra in his song “Come fly with me”.
“(Acapulco) That’s not going to come back, it’s over. High tourism no longer comes nor will it return to Acapulco”, he concludes.