This is how it works in Mexico. Acapulco specifically….
In Acapulco there are two new ways to extort: through messages to make deposits in Oxxo stores and with express kidnapping. Organized crime gangs operate impersonally, but if someone does not give their “quota, week, right of flat or protection, pay with life”.
The Independent Cartel, The Sweeper-Selection of the Pacific cartel- and the Beltrán Leyva brothers’ cartel use the paper or delivery method at any time of the day. Under the usual heat of the port, a young man between 20 and 30 years old approaches his victims with the message that explains that they must pay a fee, week, right of flat or protection; the form: through a deposit in the Oxxo to an account number, to later corroborate the transaction with a message via WhatsApp with the name and photograph of the ticket.
The amounts vary, but nobody saves. A masseuse that charges 150 pesos for a service in Pie de la Cuesta gives 400 pesos a week; the man who travels the beach all day offering mangoes, 150; those who sell hammocks and bags, 200; those of aquatic services (parachute, banana, motorboat and boats), 300; those who rent tables, chairs and fill beer and seafood to tourists cooperate up to 500 pesos.
“Here we all enter, they come and they ask us for the famous week. In itself we do not charge much because there are no customers and we still have to take out to give these gentlemen. You see, there are many dead people here, “says Carmen, who has been giving massages for 18 years on the beaches of La Costera, and who gives 40 percent of her profits to the bands.
According to the executive secretariat of the National Public Security System, extortion had its highest peak in 2016 when it went from 57 cases in 2015 to 92 the following year. In 2017, it fell to 73 reports before the federal authorities and until August of this year there are 61 complaints.
Informal commerce, where tourists acquire souvenirs, pays 100 to 200 pesos depending on the area. A lady who sells chilate – a typical Guerrero-based drink made from cocoa, rice, cinnamon and sugar – delivers the profits of her weekly work in a timely manner, as do hundreds of merchants in the center of the municipality.
“There is a lot of crisis, the situation is very difficult … we are forced to give them their quota, because if we do not have problems. We have families to move forward and it is our source of work, “laments Gloria, who sells food. Fearful and looking at the floor tells the extortion of express plagiarism: “When they have a way out, they tell us that in that part they want us, we do not know where we are going, they just take us, the last time they took us to the prison”.
According to the president of the Canaco-Servytur, Roberto Jacinto, revealed that 300 of its two thousand partners have closed businesses so far this year, for extortion. While his counterpart from Coparmex, Jaime Badillo, indicated that 20 small and medium-sized businesses closed and left 700 people unemployed. “The streets are alone, many businesses close for the same reason and for fear of asking for high rates. Every day we go out asking God to protect us and let this end, “Gloria adds. One of the hardest hit sectors that is used by the gangs to send messages is that of the taxi drivers, in 80 years there have disappeared 80 places. The president of the transport organization Un Nuevo Horizonte for Guerrero, Rogelio Hernandez, assures that the fee collection has “devastated” workers, to the degree of operating only with 40 percent of the vehicle fleet.
It also notes that since 2009 about 2 thousand public transport drivers have been killed. “The worker at the wheel is one of the most vulnerable, it is enough that they get on board as passengers and execute them to leave the message on a card. We ask the authority to stop this without excuses, “Hernández demands.
Thanks to Milenio for this story.