Poor Mexico

The country where hope died

A true valiente himself, Chalino always packed a gun—and for good reason: not everyone liked him or his music. Once, an audience member shot at him as he performed onstage in a bar in Coachella.

Chalino finally met his doom during a visit to Culiacan, the state capital of Sinaloa and the most violent city along Mexico's heroin- and marijuana-rich coastline. Shortly after leaving a bar one night, Chalino, his two brothers, a cousin and several young women—including Chalino's girlfriend—were stopped by armed men in an official-looking Chevrolet Suburban. As Quinones reports, one of the men told Chalino that his "comandante" needed him; the group led him into the darkness.

Quinones picks up the narrative, telling Chalino's story—and maybe Mexico's. "A few hours later, as dawn broke on May 16, 1992, two campesinos found the body of Chalino Sanchez dumped by an irrigation canal near the highway north out of town. He was blindfolded, and his wrists had rope marks. He had been shot twice in the back of the head."

True Tales From Another Mexico: The Lynch Mob, the Popsicle Kings, Chalino and the Bronx by Sam Quinones; University of New Mexico Press. 320 pages, hardcover, $29.95.
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