Letter from a Drug Cartel Member to His Mother:
I am sending along this note with Gerardo, who is traveling back to Torreon for his abuelo’s funeral. I know you lie awake at night wondering where I am and why I had to leave you alone.
Our pueblo has changed so much since you were a child. I know you look at our village as the same as it was years ago, but it is very different. There are no jobs, and even the farmers have abandoned their crops for the factories in Ciudad Juárez. I am sure it gets lonely for you there.
When you were small, neighbors looked out for one another, and children could play wherever they wanted without fear. But now the drug cartels control everything. Even Mayor Roberto D. takes from the pockets of the cartel. I know you think a lot of him, but he is dangerous. Do not confide in him or tell him you heard from me.
I pray every day to Santa Muerte for protection from death. I work as a mule, carrying cocaine in a backpack across long stretches of desert. It is always hot, and sometimes I go for two days without water. But I make enough to buy food and a place to sleep, although sleep seldom comes until I’m totally exhausted. It is hard for me to shut my eyes for fear that the enemy of my jefe will find me exposed.
I know you pray to the Virgin of Guadalupe for my safety, and I would ask you to continue. But I don’t know if any amount of prayer will save us from the darkness that has fallen over our beloved Mexico. I have no hope, Mamá. I wish I did. Hope has a price on her head and a mask over her eyes. Just like me, hope is not returning home.
Stay safe, Mamá
Your loving son, MartÍn