tv CNN Spotlight CNN May 23, 2014 10:00pm-10:31pm PDT
holy mother of santa muerte, please protect my stash of cocaine. let it not be interfered with by the cops, or the competition. let any who would mess with me be killed. my enemies destroyed. please forgive us our sins, for they are many. so is business good? i mean, are there more murders, particularly narco murders? >> [ speaking foreign language ] >> every day, mexico wakes up to count the dead.
they are, after all, left out to be seen. often with a helpful note, identifying who done what and generally speaking why. there is a language to the never-ending violence, a coded message in the twists and marks of the bodies. and valente rosas is one of many documenting them for the press. this is what he does every night, rides around waiting for a phone call or a radio message telling him that there's another one. so who's buying drugs? who's selling drugs to who? >> [ speaking foreign language ] >> here, you kill each other for a reason. it's business?
>> si. >> more mexican civilians have been killed since 2006 than all the american military lost in ten years of the vietnam war and eight years of wars in iraq. what do you do if you're one of these cops, you're driving around one night, you see some guy outside of a bar beating somebody or disturbing the peace, you start to arrest him and he's got a diamond studded pistol, it's got his name on it. now you realize you've just arrested somebody with serious powerful connections. what do you do? [ speaking foreign language ] >> you let him go? >> si. >> why do they always pull their
pants down? our local fixer, alex, is here to translate. >> in this case he thinks that they pull the pants down so check for weapons. >> they're loading him into the sheet. >> this is the csi team, so when they were pulling his pants off, money and jewelry started falling from the pockets. basically, they took the money out his pockets and that was the only available spot. >> to show they didn't take anything. >> yeah, exactly. so this is also a drug dealer. the thing here in mexico, as soon as someone's killed, normally they get candles just right next to them. sometimes it's related to drug dealings and criminals. >> how long have you been doing this? >> about nine years. >> how many bodies do you think? hundreds? >> si. >> how do you push them out of your mind when you're not working? >> a lot of people ask him about this.
but he said like it's a job, not like any other kind of job, but as soon as he gets home, he just takes this cover off and just keep living. >> that's a terrible picture. that's sad. what happened here? >> there was an elephant called gilda. she run away from a circus. so she basically was crossing the highway and was just run over. >> the world we live in now, of all of these pictures, this is the one that would get people most upset? you'd get the most mail, the most oh, my god, what kind of a world do we live in? >> this was probably the most viewed picture from different media around the world. >> 80,000 mexicans have died in the last seven years in narco violence? >> and this is the most important picture. >> as our crew gets ready to crawl back to our hotel, valente gets the call we thought we had been waiting for. one dead male, shot in head. a note pinned to his chest.
in mexico, people fight to live every day. one man stands alone, facing another man. his intent, to beat his opponent with his fists until he can resist no more. a match, yes, but more accurately, a fight. jorge lasierva is a former bantamweight title holder. with his father, jorge senior and his son alexis, he trains aspiring fighters in this gym in the santa anita neighborhood of mexico city. he knows these young men, like
generations of boxers everywhere from other neighborhoods like this, are looking for a way out. >> in mexico city boxing is kind of a save your life. you know what i mean? boxing they give them a little discipline. >> let's say you're good but you're not that good. can you make a living just being a contender? >> no, but a lot of fighters, they try to make it. tons of boxers. they want to be a champion. >> everybody wants to be a champion. >> everybody. everybody wants to get to the big shot. but you know, it's just one. >> those are bad odds. the history of boxing is not kind. i mean, most managers and promoters don't really give a -- about the fighters. they use them up but at the end they leave a guy all broken down, no money and scrambled brains. >> we're just like prostitutes. you know what i mean? >> in this area what are your options?
if you drop out of high school. >> nothing. it's just like being on the street. snatching, robbing. a lot of kids in the hood will go let's go kidnap that guy. >> big industry. >> everybody here now wants to be a soccer player. >> why boxing? >> because they make money here. >> who's got a longer career, a narco or a boxer? >> i don't know. might be 50/50. i mean, narco, you can last longer. >> you can. >> you are protected by the police. you just pay off, nobody's going to touch you. >> expensive protein shakes and dietary supplements? not so much. boxers here eat what they can afford. >> the food is good and it's cheap. you know, in mexico, there is no middle class. >> you're either poor or you're really, really rich. >> i mean, it's a crazy thing. the minimum wage here is like 50, 60 pesos, which is like five bucks.
marginalized, the criminal. people for whom the traditional church has less relevancy. for the unforgiven and the unforgiveable. for those on whom the catholic saints have turned their backs, there is santa muerte. this is a place and santa muerte is a saint that accepts everybody. "death to my enemies" written on a votive candle. let's face it, we have all prayed for that at one point or another. topito is a poor neighborhood for sure, and a tough one. a center of commerce both above-board and not. perhaps a breakfast beverage first.
a michelada. one giant beer with lemon, chili powder, salt and magi sauce. that's a sizable morning beverage. my companion, blogger and chronicler of the city, jorge pedro. >> wow. a whole season of the walking dead for 25 cents. >> you want to buy something, topito's got it. looking for some cheap underwear, pirated copies of man versus food seasons one through five? this is where you find them. so this all seems very wholesome. i mean, where could i buy a gun, some heroin and a prostitute? i was looking forward to that. >> let's say topito has many layers. >> right. >> and we are in the surface. >> okay. >> we are among movies, clothing, families. but i don't think it's as easy as to ask where can i get a gun? probably they will kill you if you ask that.
you know santo huditas? the patron saint of hopeless causes. >> oh, lost causes. >> it's become very popular in the last years. >> a lot of good smells here, man. and a lot of good-looking food. my happy place is somewhere in here. oh, there it is. >> yeah. >> beautiful. wherever there's bones and guts simmering in broth, chances are i'll be happy. writer, sociologist and life-long resident of topito, alphonso hernandez, apparently feels the same way. is this supposed to be a bad neighborhood? this is the best. i love this neighborhood. [ speaking foreign language ] >> it is known for being the lost souls neighborhood. it is called angeles neighborhood. like angels being there, but in topito there are no angels but lost souls.
>> what's the saying? [ speaking foreign language ] >> showing los juevos to death. >> show your balls to the devil? >> to death. >> on the menu, migas. the base comes from boiling cracked ham bones to release the marrow, to which garlic, onion, cascabel peppers and episote is added. thickened with stale bread and leftover tortillas. you got nothing, you make something really awesome out of nothing. >> the grandmothers have the ability to take advantage of the bones of the pigs. and now it's a gourmet dish. >> any great old culture where there's poverty, there's something like this. by the way, if you're watching this, after you do this you've really got to wash your hands before you touch your -- that's a rookie mistake. >> she's asking you if you like the migas.
if you enjoy the meal. >> yeah, it's good. delicious. so this has been open 65 years? >> all the members of crew are relatives. >> is there hope for social change in this country? >> unfortunately, mexico has become the topito of the world. topito, this is still the synthesis of the mexican. >> not a lot of upward mobility here. the rich get richer, the poor get ground slowly under the wheel. eduardo garcia has hacked his way up the ladder to become chef owner of the city's hottest restaurant. >> i grew up in the states. i was a migrant worker picking fruits and vegetables as a kid. my parents didn't earn a lot of money, so i decided to work rather than go to school. >> the restaurant business as i
well know ain't no picnic. and in mexico city, it's particularly rough. >> mexico has a reputation where we all know that the country's run by corrupt politics. you have to stand up for what you believe. if you don't, people will run you over. you won't last a minute. i don't let people bully me around. >> garcia runs maximo bistro with his wife, gabriella. here's the kind of extra helping of crap you've got to deal with if you run the hottest restaurant in mexico city. in 2013 the spoiled daughter of the head of mexico's consumer protection agency walks in and demands a table when there's, unsurprisingly, no table available. when garcia says sorry, no can do, she pulls a you know who i am and then calls daddy and gets the health inspectors in to shut
the place down. so your other customers basically started taking pictures of them with their cell phones? >> next thing you know, we have the media outside and this is friday. >> right. >> sunday morning, we're front page of one of the most important newspapers in mexico. >> well, it was very embarrassing to the government. >> and it should be. >> because they got caught doing what they do all the time. but if you were not the hottest restaurant in town, you were just running a cantina a few blocks away -- >> i would have been -- >> they would have closed you down and that's that. right now, the defiant young creative generation of mexican chefs like eduardo are performing some of the most exciting cooking anywhere on earth, a mixing of the very old and traditional with the very new. >> so you worked at la bert hanan. >> as a kid, yes. one of the jokes throughout the whole time that i worked is how old are you? i'm 18. you've been 18 for three years.
those are abalone from baja. i told you i love butter. i use it even for some mexican dishes. and then just some roasted chili serrano just to give it a nice little kick for me. >> they're finished with lemon and of course brown butter. >> beautiful. mm. very delicious. very mexican, very french. brown butter, awesome. makes everything better. >> of course. i think the most important thing about mexican cuisine in general if it's traditional, it's the ingredients. >> confit of suckling pig topped with grandma's salsa. an instant classic. >> have at it. you do it like the mexican way. pick it up and go. >> wow. pretty hard to imagine anything better than that. you're stuck with this dish forever, man. it's going to be like mick
jagger 50 years from now singing "satisfaction." there's no getting away from it, man. this is so good. this is a classic. but even now with all his success, garcia is still fighting a struggle most mexicans are all too familiar with. >> what happened that day happens every day. and the promise always is we're going to shut you down, you don't know who i am. and for me, i would rather close my restaurant than live like that. if you close my restaurant, i will go across the street, i will go to another state or i will go to another country, and i still will make a good restaurant. (mother vo) when i was pregnant...
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♪ under former president felipe calderon, mexico launched a concerted war on drugs. ostensibly against the notorious and seemingly untouchable cartels. absolutely no one can say with any credibility, by the way, that mexico's war or our trillion-dollar war -- >> just say no. >> -- has had any effect in diminishing the flow of drugs into our country.
one very brave journalist has uncovered exactly how deep the rot of corruption and dirty money has penetrated into every level of mexican institutions. >> my grandmother is from oaxaca. so how we used to drink the mescal is never with lemon. it's with orange. >> it is not what a lot of people wanted to hear, much less see published. today anabel hernandez, author of the groundbreaking expose "los senores del narco" lives under guard in a secret location, the threat very, very real and very explicit. >> do you think there was ever a minute when the calderon war on drugs, was it ever genuine? >> no. who really start the war against the cartels was vicente fox. felipe calderon just followed that instruction, but he didn't really do anything new. he just did it worse.
since the beginning, the plan of the government was protect the sinaloa cartel and fight against the enemies of the sinaloa cartel. >> of the seven major mexican cartels, the sinaloa cartel is considered the most powerful, with the farthest-reaching and most pervasive tentacles extending deep into every corner of government, banking and private industry. its rivals, the tijuana cartel, the gulf cartel, the juarez cartel, the beltra levya, la familia michoacana and the particularly murderous los zetas. the cartels are responsible for importing roughly three quarters of all illegal narcotics to america. in your work, you uncovered what had to be some very embarrassing and incriminating associations and connections between very
high elected officials, the presidents and entire administrations, and acts of incredible criminality. how did that change your life? >> well, when i start to make this investigation on 2005 and i really understand that it would be very dangerous. i have to say that it wasn't really a surprise for me what happened after i published my book. what i didn't expect is that the threats came from the federal government. >> anabel says that one of her sources warned her that the biggest threat was from within, that one of the most highly placed, most senior law enforcement officials in mexico had ordered her killed. >> because in my book i put his name and also showed some documents that proves that he
was involved, he was in the payroll of the sinaloa cartel. >> what happened to this man? >> right now, he's very happy drinking rum, i think, building many enterprises, fake enterprises, laundry his money. >> to me the weak link are the bankers. a banker who launders money, he's got a family, he's got a reputation, he gives money to charity, his neighbors think he's great. his kids think he's wonderful. he's got something to lose. so i wouldn't be prosecuting drug dealers. i would be prosecuting bankers. >> the name of my book is "los senores del narco" because los senores del narco are not only chapo de guzman. and the leaders of these cartels. no. los senores del narco are also the politicians and bankers and businessmen. the people have to know who are these people by name. >> you have been a journalist for how long?