by Charlie Crooijmans
There is a lot of drug-related violence in Mexico. In the five years of presidency of Felipe Calderon many thousands of people have been killed (BBC). According to former Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge G. Castañeda the war on drugs has not brought any solutions. Therefore, he pleads for the legalization of drugs (NPR). Last Sunday candidate Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI), who won the presidential elections after a recount, claimed – during the campaign – to be open to debate on legalisation even though he opposes it. But his strategy on drugs will not differ greatly from Calderon’s (Huffington Post).
The political debates, as you can see, are heated. This is why just before the elections Camilo Lara, aka Mexican Institute of Sound (M.I.S.) decides to sing about politics instead of fun and parties.
Recently M.I.S released the track Mexico, which will be part of a new album called Politico. The song Mexico is a sharp commentary on the drug-related violence.
We’re living in a place that is almost at war, where all the people that are supposed to take care of your safety are working with the narco and the people that are causing the violence. So I guess what I did with my song is I tried to do kind of a song that speaks from my point of view. I don’t have any agenda. I’m just a citizen that does music. (PRI’s The World)
He realizes, after the police discovered explosives at his neighbour’s house, that randomly everyone can be a victim.
We always think on the narco situation as a glamorous thing, as if everyone was the Godfather. And that’s not true. I mean, real narco traffic happens on the street, and be careful because you could be the next one to be in the middle of a horrible situation.(PRI’s The World)
The lyrics of the song contain a satirical look upon the Mexican anthem and flag. The original anthem is like a warrior song, echoing the daily violence the common people have to deal with. And the colors of the flag symbolize the painful reality.
It is green for pot, white for coke, and red for your blood. Which explains pretty much the situation. And I guess if we had to recap right now what is happening, that would be a clear way to put it. And I wanted to do that because Mexican flag and Mexican anthem are these icons that most of the people never touch. And it would be hitting something really precious in our culture. (PRI’s The World)
In the video below you can see M.I.S. wearing a T-shirt with ‘Yo Soy 132’, a student movement who opposes the elected Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI’s The World). The biggest TV network had a lot of influence.
We have a rotten system because we have a dictatorship on the media, and the media has created these candidates that are appealing. They are almost like soap opera characters. So it’s a really sad week for us, getting the results of the election and seeing that there is no change, and there will be [none], at least it doesn’t look like it will be in the next six years. (PRI’s The World)
Since there has been a lot of violence against journalists in Mexico, M.I.S.’s popular mestizo sound to deliver criticism to the current situation is a welcome change.