Authorities in Cancun, Mexico’s tourism showcase, have banned concerts and songs glorifying drug traffickers, the narcocorridos, some of whose performers, such as the young singer known by the pseudonym Peso Pluma, enjoy international success.

Cancun Mayor Ana Patricia Peralta opposes this genre, which is based on Mexican traditional music and “in one way or another promotes violence.”

Result: Grupo Firme, one of the most popular bands of Mexican traditional music (rancheras, norteñas…), canceled a concert scheduled to play in the city on July 1st.

The measure was nevertheless welcomed by traders and restaurateurs of the jewel of tourism on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, whose airport is the main gateway to the country: welcoming almost 9.5 million foreign tourists in 2022, according to official data.

“In restaurants, we stopped playing narcocorridos a long time ago because they attract violent people who engage in illegal activities,” explained Julio Villarreal, a spokesman for the restaurants.

Other cities banned this type of Mexican music long before Cancun, such as Juárez – over the border with the US – in 2015, or Mexicali, also over the border.

“Narco-corridos” were also banned as early as 1987 in the state of Sinaloa (northwest), home of the dreaded former drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who is currently serving a life sentence in the United States.

However, Peso Pluma, a young singer from Guadalajara, is one of the most listened to creators on the Spotify platform.

Although his most successful song (‘Ella Baila Sola’) does not belong to this genre, the performer, rapper and songwriter admits that he has composed works of dark types on demand: “sometimes [το απαίτησαν] through messages, sometimes themselves.”

As in much of Mexico, drug cartel violence plagues Cancun, where drug traffickers battle for market control or extort merchants and restaurateurs and bloody settlements take place.