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El Aguaje, paradise of the Mexican drug trafficker and ghost town that attracted the nuncio

Morelia (Mexico), Apr 25 (EFE) .- The Mexican town of El Aguaje, which the nuncio and representative of the Pope, Franco Coppola, visited because of their violence, was a national leader in marijuana cultivation and now faces a massive exodus of families who made fortunes by smuggling it to the United States. El Aguaje is the most recognized town in the municipality of Aguililla, in the western Mexican state of Michoacán, and is famous for “narcocorridos” that describe its history as a “narco town”, although today it barely reaches 300 inhabitants of the 15,000 that had in the 90s. At that time, the town was known as a “narco’s paradise” by the dozens of families who built ostentatious residences, accompanied by luxurious trucks at their doors. Juan, a young lemon cutter who refuses to leave the town, tells Efe that the clashes between hit men, with shrapnel, grenades, drones with explosives and even “monster” trucks (armored with metal) have caused an exodus of more than 2,000 people in recent months. “Here when it was the town or private party, there were always important musical groups such as El Recodo, the Banda Machos, Los Yonics, Los Freddy’s, Los Muecas and other important ones of the time, which did not even reach the largest cities of Michoacán. “says the man.” The whole party was paid for by marijuana and you were impressed to see how many bottles of whiskey and Martell cognac were consumed as if they were beers. They even mixed them with orange sodas, “adds Juan, who asks not to be identified with his surname. WAR ZONE Unlike last century, today El Aguaje and Aguililla are experiencing a violent wave due to the war of the Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) cartels and La Nueva Familia Michoacana. It is this violence and the forced displacement of its inhabitants that called on the Mexican nuncio to visit Michoacán, one of the six states with the most intentional homicides. Coppola, the prime minister of his type who visits El Aguaje, called on Friday for the “conversion” of drug traffickers to redress the violence that this area of ​​Michoacán called Tierra Caliente now suffers. The state highway that connects the municipality of Apatzingán with Aguililla for 7 kilometers also serves as the main avenue of El Aguaje, where now abandoned houses of various levels, types and finishes look like evidence of a “war zone” not recognized by the authorities. La Banda Machos, a regional Mexican music group that had its greatest success in the 1990s, performs the song “Traficantes Michoacanos”, considered a hymn to the “narco people” that was El Aguaje. “Several vans leave for California from Aguililla and El Aguaje, they leave very early in the morning. And they carry a shipment of rubber (opium) and weed “, the letter reads.” They all boast squads (pistols), and their very nice trucks (trucks) look very well arranged, with their very dark glasses, so that they don’t you can see nothing, “he adds. HISTORY OF VIOLENCE Miguel Estrada García, chronicler of Apatzingán, the main municipality of Tierra Caliente, explained that the historical archive of that area of ​​Michoacán reveals that in the 70s even the most humble house had a” satellite dish ” for satellite television. “50 years ago the inhabitants of El Aguaje had a way of distinguishing themselves from the rest of the Tierra Caliente and, although their houses were apparently humble, they had satellite dishes and Cheyenne-type trucks, which combined with three or four gold chains and slaves “, he specifies. Estrada García explained that residents of El Aguaje produced marijuana to offer it to drug traffickers as a barter for objects or money. “The villagers in the 60s and 70s started to produce marijuana to exchange it in sacks for a sewing machine for their mothers, for a refrigerator, or even for weapons and money. Everything arrived in trucks that in minutes were empty after the exchanges, “he points out. The chronicler mentions that in the 1950s and 1960s, the Army even detected DC-3 aircraft for 21 passengers, which landed on clandestine runways high up in the mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental to collect packages of marijuana and opium gum, to later transport them to the United States. “By 1965, the mountains of Coalcomán, Tumbiscatío, Arteaga and Aguililla were invaded by clandestine airways,” he mentions. But as the years have passed, Mexican drug traffickers have shifted marijuana to focus on hard drugs that they demand in the United States. “Now marijuana had poppy as a neighbor, as the climatic conditions typical of the Sierra Madre Occidental were excellent for this crop, so the alarm was also suddenly triggered in the International Narcotics Office in Mexico and international pressures were allowed feel ”, concludes Estrada. (c) EFE Agency