Forgotten Guerrero

Alfredo Bosco

2018 - Ongoing


Since its beginning in the early 2000s, the Mexican drug war has seen the state of Guerrero play a most important role.

This reportage looks at the region’s current social and political situation. Violence is relentlessly on the rise amongst cartels and self-claimed defence groups and local feuds force the population to abandon their towns surrendering them to a domestic conflict.

In the heart of La Montaña, on the eastern side of the state, the largest amapola cultivation of the country is located.

Despite the military’s crack-down on production and the sharp price drop of heroin, the end product of amapola seems to see no real undermining in its share of the market.

In 2017 the army eradicated a total of 84,000 m2 of cultivation, 20,000 m2 more than in 2016.

Unlike other states under the control of only a single organization, Guerrero is hostage to various wars: between the cartels, between the cartels and self-claimed defence groups, and between the self-defence groups themselves.

Frequent power struggles and turmoil occur and the Government is hardly present in the larger urban centres. The operation “Guerrero Seguro”, which was meant to reduce violence and the number of killings, resulted solely in the confiscation of stolen vehicles and a few arrests. Meanwhile, the Police of Tlacotepec is attempting to open the way to control the capital city of Chilpancingo.

It’s easy to die in Guerrero, and even easier to disappear. And as the desaparecidos abruptly become ghosts to the families who live in the constant uncertainty of what has become of them, the empty houses and the deserted villages quickly turn into ghost towns.

Hundreds of families enervated and tired of waiting for official action, have desperately started searching on their own for their loved ones in the woods.

In 2014 the disappearance of 43 students caught the attention of international media. Nevertheless, the drug cartels’ necropolitics continues to rule and imposes itself as the actual law in the region.

“There are too many bosses to deal with and too many evil people to face”, says Chilpancingo Bishop Salvador Rangel Mendoza to describe the fights between the self-defence groups who aim for the control of the illegal gold mines. In recent years the lowered profitability of heroin has reinstated gold as another sought-after resource in the mountains of Guerrero.

{{ readMoreButton }}

  • Mexico; Guerrero; Petlacala; 2018

    Members of a self defense group in a poppy field.
    The self-defence group of Sierra of San Miguel claim to protect the local population from the criminal group of the Tequileros, which are specialized in kidnapping and extortion, and at the same time take part in the heroin business.

  • Mexico; Guerrero; Acapulco; 2018

    The stabbed back of a 17-year-old boy found dead with his head and limbs detached.
    He is just one of the countless innocent victims found in Acapulco who are violently murdered to spread terror among the local population.

  • Mexico; Guerrero; Chilapa De Alvarez; 2018

    Banner at a bus stop in Chilapa: "The who can avoid a crime but chooses not to, consents to it".

  • Mexico; Guerrero; Rincon De Chautla; 2019

    Since the beginning of 2019, numerous attacks on part of the cartel of Los Ardillos struck the town of Rincon De Chautla forcing its residents to defend themselves. Portrait of a mother with child who chose to take part in the town's community police.

  • Mexico; Guerrero; Acapulco; 2018

    Assassinated man in the Acapulco neighbourhood of Zapata.
    The sharp rise of violence in the city caused a tourism crisis and forced the Government to intervene with the security operation “Guerrero Seguro”. All forces, from the local police to the Marines, are attempting to stop or at least limit the dramatic situation.

  • Mexico; Guerrero; Acapulco; 2018

    Federal police patrolling the once touristic city of Acapulco.
    Governor Flores decided to intervene by implementing “Guerrero Seguro”, a massive operation coordinated by all the police and military forces with the goal of ending crime in the city. For the moment results have been very poor as Acapulco remains the most violent city in the state. The only outcome has been the confiscation of a few stolen vehicles and a few arrests.

  • Mexico; Guerrero; Acapulco; 2018

    Crime scene in Acapulco.
    Tourism and investments have dropped as Acapulco is currently the most violent city in Guerrero, and for the last five years has been the most violent of Mexico.

  • Mexico; Guerrero; Ayutla; 2018

    Displaced family in the area of Ayutla. Many live in precarious conditions without basic needs.

  • Mexico; Guerrero; Los Timontos; 2018

    Members of the self-defence group of Policia Ciudadana de Leonardo Bravo holding their positions.
    In the municipality of Leonardo Bravo 6 villages out of 18 are under the command of Policia Ciudadana de Leonardo Bravo, which also aims at controlling the route that takes to Chilpancingo as it is a crucial point for the local, illegal, economy.

  • Mexico; Guerrero; Acapulco; 2019

    Crime scene in Acapulco. After being kidnapped in the afternoon, the victim suffered the loss of several fingers, an eye and part of the tongue. The man was brought to the hospital but died a few hours later.

  • Mexico; Guerrero; Area of San Miguel Totolapan; 2018

    Picture of a wedding left behind in an abandoned home located in the ghost area of San Miguel Totolapan.

  • Mexico; Guerrero; Corral de Bravo; 2018

    Members of the self-defence group of Policia Ciudadana de Leonardo Bravo wait for talking with the local sherif of Corral de Bravo.

  • Mexico; Guerrero; Acapulco; 2019

    Crime scene in Acapulco. Acapulco has a rate of 106.63 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.
    Mexican President Obrador declared his priority to tackle the dramatically high number of killings. Acapulco continues to be one of the country’s most violent cities. The US Government strongly discourages its citizens to go there.

  • Mexico; Guerrero; Acapulco; 2018

    Altar of the Virgin Mary in Acapulco.

  • Mexico; Guerrero; Petlacala; 2018

    Church in Petlacala.
    Despite the requests of the locals, the church has never been completed. In fear of the internal feuds between the criminal group of Tequileros and self defense Guerrero Unidos, there are numerous half-finished buildings around the mountainous isolated towns.

  • Mexico; Guerrero; Acapulco; 2020

    Crime scene in Acapulco. The body was left close to the market, not far from the city’s touristic area. Despite the crowded streets, there were no witnesses.

  • Mexico; Guerrero; Chilapa De Alvarez; 2019

    Jose Navarro next to the memorial for his brothers.
    He leads a Guerrero-based victims advocacy group called Siempre Vivos.
    He has been targeted by Los Ardillos since 2014, when he reported to police that members of the group had kidnapped and killed two of his brothers.

  • Mexico; Guerrero; Area of Chilpancingo; 2018

    Soldier eradicating a poppy cultivation.
    For years the Mexican army has been committed in fighting against the poppy business. Numbers are impressive as around 84,000 m2 of crop have been eradicated in 2018.

  • Mexico; Guerrero; Santa Maria de las Suarez; 2018

    Woman in her house in Santa Maria de las Suarez. As many other inhabitants of the town is worried about for her safety.

  • Mexico; Guerrero; Rincon De Chautla; 2020

    View of the village of Rincon De Chautla. This village became sadly famous after several attacks leaded by the criminal group of los ardillos. The community decided to permit some women to beingin the local police and also to train some children for the security of the village.

PhMuseum Days 2023 Open Call

Apply now for 4 Exhibitions at PhMuseum Days 2023 plus a 40-image collective installation, free applicants pass, and more

Apply now