When a Corpse Is a Message

Álvaro Enrigue

  • BuyNarcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords and Their Godfathers by Anabel Hernández, translated by Iain Bruce
    Verso, 362 pp, £16.99, September 2013, ISBN 978 1 78168 073 5
  • ZeroZeroZero by Roberto Saviano
    Feltrinelli, 444 pp, £23.00, March 2013, ISBN 978 88 07 03053 6
  • BuyMidnight in Mexico: A Reporter’s Journey through a Country’s Descent into Darkness by Alfredo Corchado
    Penguin, 248 pp, £17.00, May 2013, ISBN 978 1 59420 439 5

On 11 December 2006, Felipe Calderón, the president of Mexico, appeared on television dressed as a military commander and announced that he was ‘declaring war’ on organised crime. It was an unforgettable and grotesque gesture, which won him an invaluable spike in popularity. The news was unexpected: it was the first time his National Action Party (PAN) had used the militaristic liturgy of Mexico’s previous post-revolution governments. And the scene took place little more than a week after Calderón, a Catholic lawyer before becoming a member of Congress, was elected with a promise to be ‘the employment president’ in a country that was ideologically divided but at peace.

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