#4 - Why the Zetas Give Drug Money to Churches
In the July 28th, 2012 edition of The Economist they report an interesting moral dilemma. They report that Lazcano, the head of the Zetas (a powerful cartel), donated a lot of money to a chapel in Hidalgo. For this they gave him a plaque in his honor, even though he is blamed for the murder of many, and the addictions of many more. When church leaders were asked why they would accept a gift like that, they responded that Jesus’ feet were washed with perfume from someone of Ill repute and no questions were asked, so why not take money from the cartels? There is so much here, I can’t even begin to discuss it all. Still, what this article reminded me of is why my second novel is set largely in Mexico. There are so many lines being crossed there, so many complicated stories emerging. No, it is not right for them to be taking money from the Zetas. But also, deeper than that, why are the Zetas giving their money to the church in the first place? THERE is an interesting story. I have a few theories: 1) They are doing it as a way to benefit the community — as a goodwill gesture. This way the community sees not only the money coming into their communities from their families being in the drug trade, but they also see tangible community structures being put in place. It is a lot harder for the community to rise against you if they feel they owe you. 2) Guilt? Some of the most interesting conversations I have had have been with people who only sort of believe in God and are trying to atone for their sins with their own works. It can’t be done, but they try anyhow, building libraries in distant countries, giving money to the poor. Could it be that there is a great story in there of someone trying to pay a debt? While there are lots of debates in America about Mexico, I, as a writer, like setting my stories in places with lots of intrigue. It makes for more fun research and it provides moral complexity to the book. Do you think that this helps or hurts the marketability of an author? Are you interested in a book set in Mexico?
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