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Analyzing Narco-Culture

Analyzing Narco-Culture

Many people are not familiar with the term Narco-culture and those who are may swiftly pass judgement on it; however, it is imperative we analyze the reasons why so many people would “like” to join such style of life. This article is not meant to defend Narco-Culture; specially when I had family who worked in fields which allowed them to see first hand the life of Narcos. This article is meant to give a brief explanation as to the reasons why someone might choose to get involved in that life and how that operates; hoping to make a clear distinction between money and power.

Money-Power: My father used to say “Money and Power are not the same. You can tell a person who grew up without money by the way he behaves regarding money; he erroneously believes money is power. That type of person is always “hungry” for money, and no amount of money will ever be enough because the issue lies within, that person is trying to prove he is good enough to a world that doesn’t care. The man who grew up with money behaves differently because money is nothing new to him; that man understands money will only get you so far, he was raised to value power over money and to attain power one needs to be a great chess player in life. Although Power and money may seem to most as if they go together, they do not. Money buys you things, power moves the world”.

What my father was trying to say is that money seems like power to many; specially if they grew up without it. However money is only the first of “Power’s” mental traps or as mystics would say “it is power testing the initiate” Most fail at the first gate but aren’t aware of their failure for they are satisfied to have some type of control over others. Control is one of the reasons why many people enter the world of Narco-culture; a world which has its appeals as does the world of those who seem to “legitimately” have power or control. Since my father and two of my uncles had unique jobs, it gave them the opportunity to assess and learn more about that peculiar world. I grew up listening and learning about Narco-world as much as I was being taught about the mechanisms of our traditional system. At some point you learn there is little difference between the powerful business man who pays to protect his interests and the Narco leader who rans a “business”; to both who are at the top of their food chain is about profit but also about power; one wants to keep it, the other has learned the ultimate goal isn’t money and so he seeks to obtain power–their organization will depend strongly on the loyalty of its members, for money is no good without loyalty.

Money can’t give you purpose — at least not one that holds worth. The only use of money is for power, but TRUE power lies in how you can affect and change the minds and actions of other people”

Money is the Mansion that starts falling apart after 10 years. Power is the Old Stone building that starts for centuries”

We need to understand the reason why Narco-culture goes after the young; it is because of their idealism. If we add to this the fact those they tend to recruit are already living in precarious circumstances, then it makes sense why their loyalty becomes more or less solid. The same logic can be used for those recruited for extremist movements/terrorism. They are simple people who have been taught to believe money equals power or in other cases, they are promised control over their already desperate situations.

When I was younger, I used to ask my dad why was Narco culture so attractive to some people, he said to me “Imagine this, if you were a young person (usually adolescents/early 20’s) and you had nothing, your parents are poor and there is no prospective for you to get ahead in life. Education is costly and sadly even then, if you live in a country of “social class”, if you don’t have the right pedigree, your last name can be the end of you. Now you try and try to believe things will get better but they don’t, there is no help and you get hungrier each day and feel more helplessThen comes someone who tells you how different your life can become, that person validates your frustrations against society, God, the Government and validates your desperation. Then he offers you a gift (no strings attached) so you may help yourself and your family; that is where chess (psychology) comes into play. Now your mind starts to associate that person as a friend or at the very least a savior. Normally they will be patient and cultivate the relationship, allowing for you to come to them. Now you get to see a glimpse of their world and promises of change. You are given a simple task and are made to feel like a hero, now because your mind is unprepared to handle real power, you start to feel powerful–that feeling will either start eating at you (delusions of grandeur) or it will push you to believe that maybe YOU can use this new found power to change the unfairness around you. There are two types; those who enter because they just want money and those who want power in order to “change” things; those who want money won’t last long in that world for they are easily corruptible. Those who are idealist, those are the ones groomed to raise in the ranks, because they can be loyal. It is no different than those of us who serve. You are groomed, those with talent and loyalty, we rise up and are used to groom others. They may seem like very different worlds but the same “Machiavellian” techniques are used. Sometimes you start to wonder who is “right”; soldiers are send to wars with all their idealism to ultimately protect the interests of a few mascaraed as “what is good for all” , so are Narcos. Ultimately soldiers die on both sides so those in power can remain there”

In recent decades research on narcoculture has increased; however, within this research many forms to define, characterize and understand Narco-Culture has also emerged, which has led to much confusion. The media and social constructions create life expectancies which are not real for most. It also legitimizes/glorifies drug trafficking, through symbolic forms such as music, literature, television series, religion, architecture and films concerning drug trafficking. Even though many of the films presented do show superficially the violence of that world, it often desensitizes the audience by flashing money, women etc–that way the brain of the person watching fails to correctly associate what he or she is witnessing; with a culture so hungry for instant gratification, this has become easier and faster to achieve. The content found in the media does little to encourage people to properly understand what that world actually implies. The scenes can impact young people’s moldable minds, long-term plans and push them to develop unrealistic expectations for their lives.

“A constant aspect in the characterization of narcoculture are the aspirations and desires it can generate. The symbolic elements contained in it create representations and social imaginaries about drug trafficking which come to configure a world of life with its own styles, values ​​and behavior patterns, and seduces a large number of people through desires ranging from the consumption and appropriation of symbolic contents, up to the incorporation in drug trafficking activities. In this sense, Simonett (2004 and 2006) defines narcoculture as a subculture of the exaltation of violence and the economic and political power of groups and subjects linked to drug trafficking that makes them idols; meanwhile, for Maihold and Sauter (2012) it is a culture of ostentation, the aesthetics of power and impunity. Similarly, Valenzuela (2003) highlights the exaltation of power and impunity of groups and subjects linked to drug trafficking, and the praise for the lifestyle associated with drug trafficking. Likewise, Ovalle (2005) points out that among the continuously associated elements are opulence, transgression, non-compliance with the norm and machismo. These conceptualizations are linked to the analysis of social contexts, in such a way that they explain how crime and illegality can be justified and considered legitimate, given the indolence of social structures and the need to survive in environments dominated by consumption and social exclusion. Córdova (2007) argues that the desires and dreams that it provokes probably have to do with “the need and aspirations for promotion in social structuring, and even with resentment and desires for social revenge”

It is not that Sicarios are unaware of the dangers posed by being a “hitman”, the transfer of drugs or weapons, kidnapping, robbery, collection or other drug activities, they are aware of them and assume costs and risks; as the more formal channels are closed for these young people, the options emanating from informality, parallelism and the drug world are strengthened.

One thing I’ve learned and is quite obvious, is whether one is a Sicario within the Narco-World, for the government or other contracting entities, as the purposes of life are constructed and developed, so is the meaning of death–this one becomes defined in a parallel way.

It is necessary to reflect then on all the circumstances which surround Narco-Culture before making assumptions. Wether we want to accept it or not, they are people just like any of us who were given little if any choice in wether or not to partake. We could sit on our high horse and judge but are we certain we would have done better or can we honestly say our “system” of life at its very fabric operates differently. Let me be clear, I am not defending their sub culture; having seen my father and having survived terrorist movements, I would be the last to say “violence works”. I am someone who believes the key to things don’t lie on one extreme (violence) or the other (passiveness). Todays article however, isn’t being written with the objective of analyzing “right” from “wrong” ; this time I chose to write about a subculture from an “objective” point of view.

It is necessary to analyze to what extent the increase in studies on narcoculture responds to the dazzling effects with which the subject of drug trafficking has been installed in society; just as the public consume the symbolic contents due to the seduction with which the cultural industries present them. Beyond the fascination, it is possible to consider the forms and symbolic contents of narcoculture and what they imply…a questioning of the development of society? In some way they expose a pending social debate; would we find any “right” answer? It is likely we would talk about the need to “Educate” so as to create more opportunities yet we cannot blind ourselves to life’s complexities. Systematic Education is not the answer, but an educated society (a society based on reason/philosophy/self mastery) could certainly do better. The question then becomes, if an educated society could provide better results, why then is it not fomented? Why then each year more and more curriculums seem to be focus on “boxing” people than teaching them to think for themselves? More importantly, until when are we going to believe that education means “to regurgitate” what is taught in most schools and fail to take responsibility for our lack of self instruction. Maybe if we educated ourselves with as much furiosity as when we demand solutions, we would have a better functioning society.

Sofia Falcone


Sofia Falcone

Sofia Falcone
I passionately believe one person can make a difference. I write from my own experiences and interests. It is my greatest hope that by writing about my own challenges and hopes, others may feel inspired to believe more in their inner power and to fully embrace themselves.

Reprinted on crystalwind.ca with permission from Sofia Falcone.

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