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Saturday, February 4, 2023

The murder of the leader of the bar and nightclub businessmen puts the Acapulco night in check

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Jesús Rivera, President of the Port of Acapulco Bars and Nightclubs Association.RR.SS.

The story is well known. One or more armed guys come, approach the victim, shoot. They escape. The victim lies on the ground, bleeding to death, an ambulance comes, the paramedics certify his death. In a country used to extreme violence, killing a man in Acapulco almost seems like a lesser evil. After all, the city has lived in relative calm for two years, as has the state of Guerrero, which in 2021 recorded fewer than 1,500 murders for the first time since 2008.

However, it happens 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 comes months after a group of thugs set fire to the Baby’O nightclub, the jewel of Acapulco’s nightlife, a fact that goes unpunished and keeps the place closed indefinitely. The question is, is violence returning to the port?

Rivera’s colleagues, presidents of other tourist boards in Acapulco, say no. For example, Alejandro Domínguez, president of the city’s Association of Hotels and Tourism Businesses, points out that “crime in Acapulco has gone down significantly. A situation like last week maximizes things.” Domínguez adds: “We deeply regret these events, this unfortunate situation, but we have to 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, takes a similar view. “We have a situation that is all over Mexico, I talk to him about the violence,” he says. “But there is a large reinforcement of the Navy, the Army and also the National Guard. The violence has decreased, we are not like we were a while 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 lowered it,” he adds.

The truth is that Guerrero is a success story, as is Acapulco, albeit with limitations. According to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography, the state is registering fewer homicides each year, a trend that began in 2018. In the previous year, 2017, the region had 2,637 cases, a number that has fallen to 1,469 over the past year. In the port, the situation is somewhat different. The city peaked in 2016 with 1,088 homicides and then declined to 471 in 2020, the year the pandemic began. In 2021, however, the number rose again to 570.

In cases like Rivera’s, the concern goes beyond the attack and points to its importance. Why would anyone 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 4 a.m.? Given the experience of the city itself and the activity of the locals it represents, the simple answer is that it could have been extortion.

“You can talk about many theories. It could be blackmail, of course, but it could also 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 the 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.

When asked about it, a city reporter with experience covering violence mentioned that Rivera “had a reputation for being strict with money and inventory. I never wanted anything to be missing.” The reporter mentions that Rivera’s bars like La Hamaca, VIP Costera or Tóxica had a reputation for being problematic, especially the former. It was not for nothing that a client ended up on the sidewalk in front of the company’s premises last weekend, with his head split open from a bottle.

Regarding extortion, Alejandro Domínguez points out: “We cannot judge what happened. It’s a very sensitive issue, it’s up to the authorities. If you ask me if it has gotten worse, yes there are companies where they ask for blackmail. It has an important, very negative impact at the international level.”

Domínguez is calling on the authorities, Acapulco Mayor Abelina López and Governor Evelyn Salgado, both from Morena, to increase the police presence. “We demand that there are elements of police intelligence. We can have 200,000 police officers from Caleta to Diamante, but it will have no significant effect in reducing violence. We have to be smart,” he says. “In Los Cabos they had a very delicate situation of insecurity three years ago and there was an intelligence problem and they’ve made progress, I’d tell you 90%,” Ditch.

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Source elpais.com

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