“Sol Prendido” for Borderland Beat
Narco corridos, songs that narrate and sometimes praise the activities of organized crime, have been the subject of controversy in Mexico for years. But do you know how much the fine is for singing them?
Recent sanctions against artists for performing these genres put at the center of the debate whether or not it is legal to sing this type of music genre.
What does the law say about narco ballads?
While there is no specific prohibition on narco corridos, Article 208 of Mexico’s Federal Penal Code prohibits “apology of crime”, i.e., publicly glorifying crime or its perpetrator.
Therefore, those products or performances that glorify drug trafficking could be crossing a dangerous line. This applies not only to narco ballads, but also to any other artistic expression that glorifies crime.
So what is the fine for singing narco ballads in Mexico?
Those who incur in the apology of crime can face sanctions ranging from 10 to 180 days of community work, according to Article 209 of the same code.
State and municipal entities in Mexico have the power to determine additional sanctions. For example, in Chihuahua, where corridos have been banned since 2015, fines can reach up to 350 thousand pesos.
There are several cases that have sounded on this issue. In Quintana Roo, particularly in Cancun, events where narco corridos are played have been cancelled. However, economic sanctions are not always imposed.
One case that attracted attention was that of the soccer player Julio César ‘Cata’ Domínguez, who organized a party with a theme alluding to drug trafficking. Despite the controversy, no fines were imposed by the authorities.
And although there is no specific prohibition on narco ballads, the risk of penalties for making an apology for crime is present. Artists and promoters should be informed and aware of the legal landscape when planning their shows.
Natanael Cano receives a fine of more than one million pesos in Chihuahua
This weekend, the Secretary of the Chihuahua City Hall, through its Subdirección de Gobernación, imposed a fine of 12 thousand UMAS to the renowned singer Natanael Cano, which means a total of 1 million 244 thousand 880 pesos.
Cano was sanctioned after being caught performing songs that glorify crime. In addition, the content of his songs promotes violence against women, contributing to their denigration, discrimination, marginalization and exclusion.