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In Mexico, Grassroots Efforts to Combat Violence and Poverty

LADB Article ID: 80407
Category/Department: Mexico
Date: 2017-09-13
By: Lindajoy Fenley

In parts of rural Mexico, where many people cower and succumb to drug cartel extortion, others counter the threats of crime and poverty by offering positive activities for young people. Although the wave of violence the country has experienced for the past 20 years hasn’t subsided––government statistics reveal continuing increases in homicide and other violent crimes in most of the country’s 32 states––programs focusing on music, education, and community involvement have shown positive results even in areas where problems persist. In the Tierra Caliente (Hot Land) of southwestern Mexico, a region troubled with narco-driven crime, music schools have popped up in many small towns, including Tlalchapa, Tlapehuala, Zirándaro, and Arcelia, in Guerrero; and Zicuirán, Copuyo, and Apatzingán, in Michoacán. Although many of the places where children learn to play instruments and dance to traditional music are independent endeavors, the government occasionally contributes, sometimes in reaction to the violence. El Tecolote Cultural Center in Arcelia, Guerrero, for example, got help from the government in the wake of a tragedy that had attracted international condemnation—––the disappearance of 43 students in Ayotzinapa.

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