The story is known. One or several armed guys arrive, approach the victim, shoot. They flee. The victim remains on the floor, bleeds to death, an ambulance arrives, the paramedics certify her death. In a country accustomed to extremely high levels of violence, the murder of a man in Acapulco seems almost a lesser evil. After all, the city has lived two years in relative calm, just like the state of Guerrero, which in 2021 had fewer than 1,500 murders for the first time since 2008.
It happens, however, that the man murdered in Acapulco is Jesús Rivera, president of the association of bars and nightclubs in the port. And that the attack against him occurs months after a group of thugs set fire to the Baby’O nightclub, the jewel of Acapulco’s nightlife, a fact that remains unpunished and keeps the place closed indefinitely. The question is obvious, is violence returning to the port?
Rivera’s colleagues, presidents of other tourist associations in Acapulco, say no. Alejandro Domínguez, president of the city’s Association of Hotels and Tourist Companies, points out, for example, that, effectively, “in Acapulco crime has dropped significantly. A situation like the one experienced last week maximizes things.” Domínguez adds: “We are very sorry for these events, this unfortunate situation, but we must leave a clear message so as not to affect such an important tourist destination.”
Francisco Aguilar Ordóñez, president of the Association of Hotels and Restaurants in the Traditional Zone, has a similar opinion. “We have a situation that is in all of Mexico, I talk to you about the violence,” he says. “But there is a great reinforcement of the Navy, the Army and also the National Guard. Violence has decreased, we are not like some time ago. At least as far as the Coastal area is concerned. There are some problems on the banks, in the semi-rural zone and in proletarian neighborhoods. But in the Costera they did lower him, ”he adds.
The truth is that Guerrero is a success story, as is Acapulco, although with caveats. According to data from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography, the State registers fewer murders every year, a trend that began in 2018. In the previous year, 2017, the region had 2,637 cases, a figure that dropped to 1,469 last year. In the port the situation is slightly different. The city peaked in murders in 2016, with 1,088, and then dropped to 471 in 2020, the year the pandemic began. In 2021, however, the figure rose again, to 570.
In cases like Rivera’s, the concern transcends the attack and points to its meaning. Why would someone attack the owner of several bars and nightclubs in the port? Why would they shoot him up to 11 times, according to authorities? Why already at dawn, almost at 4 in the morning? Given the experience of the city itself and the activity of the locals it represents, the easy answer is that it could have been a matter of extortion.
“You can talk about many theories. It could be extortion, of course, but it could be something else,” explains Aguilar Ordóñez. “Last week we had a meeting there in La Playita. We were with him, looking for some projects for next year. All very friendly. He didn’t mention that he was worried about anything. As far as I know, he had nothing to hide, he had nothing against anyone, ”he adds.
Asked about it, a city reporter with experience in covering violence mentions that Rivera had “a reputation for being strict with money and inventories. He never wanted anything to be missing.” The reporter mentions that Rivera’s bars, such as La Hamaca, VIP Costera or Tóxica had a reputation for being problematic, especially the former. Not in vain, last weekend, a client ended up on the sidewalk, in front of the premises, with his head split open by a bottle.
Regarding extortion, Alejandro Domínguez points out: “We cannot judge what happened. It is a very sensitive issue, it is up to the authorities. If you ask me if it has worsened, yes, there are businesses where they ask for extortion. It has an important, very negative impact at the international level.”
Domínguez calls on the authorities, the mayor of Acapulco, Abelina López, and the governor, Evelyn Salgado, both from Morena, for a greater police effort. “We request that there be police intelligence elements. We can have 200,000 police officers from Caleta to Diamante, but it will not have a significant effect in reducing violence. We have to have intelligence,” he says. “In Los Cabos they had a very delicate situation of insecurity three years ago and there was an intelligence issue and they have advanced, I would tell you 90%”, she settles.
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