Is Mexico’s Language On Drugs Making Violence Seem Routine?


In Mexico, there are a half dozen words for drug cartel informants, and double that for drug war dead, reports the Associated Press. “Narco” has become a general prefix. The trend has people worrying that Mexico is developing a kind of offhand jargon that makes escalating violence seem routine. Other experts say slang and euphemisms can help people deal with the horrors around them.

Slang for those killed in Mexico’s bloody drug war depends on how the victims are found. “Encobijados” are bodies wrapped in a blanket. “Encajuelados” are those stuffed in a car trunk. “Encintados” are suffocated in packing tape. “Narco” is strewn through everyday speech. “Narco-fosas” are pits where cartels dump victims. “Narco-mantas” are the banners strung by gangs from highway overpasses with threatening messages. “Narco-tienditas” are small drug-dealing locations also sometimes known as “picaderos,” if heroin is sold there. Anti-crime activists view some language as a dangerous kind of avoidance, leaving little room for outrage at the violence engulfing Mexico. “Calling [a killing] a ‘pickup’ takes away from the seriousness of it,” said Miranda Wallace, who led a successful decade-long fight to bring her son’s kidnappers to justice, though his body still has not been found. “You become inured to the pain and suffering of these images.”

Comments are closed.