When I Wear My Alligator Boots: Narco-Culture in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands

When I Wear My Alligator Boots: Narco-Culture in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands

When I Wear My Alligator Boots: Narco-Culture in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands

When I Wear My Alligator Boots: Narco-Culture in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands

Synopsis

When I Wear My Alligator Boots examines how the lives of dispossessed men and women are affected by the rise of narcotrafficking along the U.S.-Mexico border. In particular, the book explores a crucial tension at the heart of the "war on drugs": despite the violence and suffering brought on by drug cartels, for the rural poor in Mexico's north, narcotrafficking offers one of the few paths to upward mobility and is a powerful source of cultural meanings and local prestige.

In the borderlands, traces of the drug trade are everywhere: from gang violence in cities to drug addiction in rural villages, from the vibrant folklore popularized in the narco-corridos of Norteña music to the icon of Jesús Malverde, the "patron saint" of narcos, tucked beneath the shirts of local people. In When I Wear My Alligator Boots, the author explores the everyday reality of the drug trade by living alongside its low-level workers, who live at the edges of the violence generated by the militarization of the war on drugs. Rather than telling the story of the powerful cartel leaders, the book focuses on the women who occasionally make their sandwiches, the low-level businessmen who launder their money, the addicts who consume their products, the mules who carry their money and drugs across borders, and the men and women who serve out prison sentences when their bosses' operations go awry.

Excerpt

When I first met Andrés he was working on a weed removal crew on a brackish tributary of the Colorado River in northern Mexico. It was a scorching August day: only 7 a.m. but already 100 degrees. Six of us were working by the side of the river cutting weeds in a work project for the local river users’ association. The task was to take down the massive overgrowth of tamarisks, the invasive, water-sucking species that plagues the banks of the Colorado from Wyoming to Mexico. The crew was composed of young men from local communities. Andrés was there to make a living. I was there as a volunteer while doing research on the effects of water scarcity on local communities affected by the drying out of the once-lush Colorado Delta.

At 11 a.m., with a pounding headache from the sun, I retreated to the meager shade beside the association’s truck for a break. I could only do this because I was a volunteer. The rest would get 100 pesos (about US$10) for eight hours of work. So they continued their work for another three hours in the blazing sun, ripping out roots with their hands, thrashing the dense thicket with . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.