14 Must-Read Works Of Chicano Literature

14 Must-Read Works Of Chicano Literature

As U.S. policymakers continue the back-and-forth debate on immigration reform and, yet again, only the ills of the U.S.–Mexico border dominate the popular media, it becomes essential to read the words of Chicano writers who explore the complexities of that particular Latino landscape through story, personal narrative, and poetry.

Chicano is a politicized identity that recognizes a Mexican ancestry, that places its unique American experiences at the center of the conversation, away from the margins, and that believes, quite simply, in speaking for itself. Its literary lineage dates back to the social movements of the 1960s, when poetry, storytelling and theater participated in expressing the Chicano community’s gains and challenges as it fought for political agency and pushed back against egregious misrepresentations of its people. Indeed, the struggle, or la lucha, continues and so does the work of Chicano writers who bear witness from the inside.

Of course, not all Chicano writers direct their imaginations toward the U.S.–Mexico border, but they do examine other preoccupations (history, feminism, and queerness, which at times overlap with border politics) with the same passion and creativity. The following is a list of recent or forthcoming titles I strongly recommend.

1. The Boy Kings of Texas by Domingo Martinez

Martinez’s memoir about growing up in the border town of Brownsville, Texas, just across from Matamoros, Mexico, provides incredible insights into how difficult it is for a young man to shake the dominance of machismo that afflicts his psyche, household, and neighborhood. Martinez must take charge and become the protagonist of his story in order to accept his contrasting path toward masculinity.

Available from Lyons Press

2. A Tongue in the Mouth of the Dying by Laurie Ann Guerrero

This book of poems by a young poet takes a great risk in exploring one of the most conflicted figures of Mexican history, La Malinche. Guerrero deconstructs the familiar narrative of La Malinche’s betrayal in service to the Spanish colonizers, and uncovers a startling legacy in the way gender expectations affecting women today are haunted (and empowered) by the specter of La Malinche’s alleged offenses.

Available from University of Notre Dame Press

3. The City of Palaces by Michael Nava

This engaging historical novel looks closely at the period before and during the Mexican Revolution that fueled an unprecedented exodus to the U.S. Nava, known for his Henry Ríos murder mysteries, shifts direction with this tale of the Mexican Revolution that highlights a family caught in the midst of a dramatic period of cultural and social change.

Available from University of Wisconsin Press

4. The Deportation of Wopper Barraza by Maceo Montoya

Montoya’s humorous yet moving critique of the United States’ deportation policies avoids easy depictions of good and bad. The book features a decidedly complicated anti-hero whose journey sheds light on the lives of those who are affected when a person disappears from either side of the border.

Available from University of New Mexico Press

5. The Distance Between Us by Reyna Grande

A finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Grande’s memoir is the sobering testimony of an undocumented alien’s journey from a childhood of poverty to adulthood as a professional with a promising literary career. Grande’s story advocates for immigration reform, particularly as it affects people like the DREAMers who seek life-changing access to education.

Available from Atria Books

6. Ditch Water by Joseph Delgado

A stunning and original vision of a small town in Arizona where the working-class Mexican and Native American peoples and traditions coexist even when their existence is at odds with mainstream America, or with each other. But the true unifying culture is the desert landscape through which its inhabitants strive for survival on the weather’s brutal terms.

Available from Kórima Press

7. Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club by Benjamin Alire Saénz

This collection of stories won the PEN/Faulkner Fiction Prize and the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Men’s Fiction. The stories mend bridges between El Paso, Texas, and Juárez, Mexico, the beleaguered city just across the border, as Sáenz’s characters forge relationships that overcome prejudices against class, sexuality, and immigrant status.

Available from Cinco Puntos Press

8. Give It to Me by Ana Castillo

Castillo is back in full form with this sexy, edgy novel about one woman navigating middle age by succumbing to fantasy and desire, often to unexpected and outlandish consequences. With its daring eroticism, this novel makes a bold statement about feminism and women of color.

Available from Feminist Press

9. Hustle by David Tomas Martinez

Growing up in a broken home, living in a barrio, and joining a gang did not stop Martinez from transcending the low expectations of his troubled youth. The current Ph.D. candidate nurtured those raw experiences into sophisticated material that informs his startling poems.

Available from Sarabande Books

10. Las Hociconas: Three Locas with Big Mouths and Even Bigger Brains by Adelina Anthony

Queer Xicana feminist performance artist Adelina Anthony is fearless and electrifying in this collection of stage-based sketches that take every cultural, social, and political value to task. Adelina’s theatrical wit follows in the footsteps of such comedy troupes as Latins Anonymous and Culture Clash, except that she does it solo.

Available from Kórima Press

11. Lotería by Mario Alberto Zambrano

Employing the old bingo-like Mexican game as a literary device, Zambrano uncovers the tragic story of a preadolescent girl, one arresting memory at a time. The young girl’s sensibilities are shaped by her binational and bilingual identity, from which she draws strength in order to counter her feelings of isolation and dislocation.

Available from Harper

12. Mañana Means Heaven by Tim Z. Hernandez

A literary response to Jack Kerouac’s short story “The Mexican Girl,” Hernandez’s novel tells the other side of the story through Bea Franco’s eyes. Franco was a California farmworker in the 1940s and her journey speaks to the plight of the woman who, despite cultural and financial limitations, dared to dream a better life for herself.

Available from University of Arizona Press

13. Mouth Filled with Night by Rodney Gomez

A newcomer to the Latino literary scene, Gomez’s poems are grounded on Texan-Mexican territory and culture, pre-Columbian mythology, and an appreciation for coming of age painfully aware of the class disparities in everyday life on the border. Arresting imagery sparkles throughout the book like gems.

Available from Northwestern University Press

14. Our Lost Border: Essays on Life Amid Narco-Violence edited by Sarah Cortez and Sergio Troncoso

Cortez and Troncoso gather the most thought-provoking essays on this topical subject, many of them heartfelt testimonies by writers whose experiences and observations became unsettled by the realities of the escalating conflicts along the border. Eschewing nostalgia and romanticism, these essays are less about offering short-sighted solutions and more about imagining long-term efforts to reclaim the vibrant border culture in service to the two nations that share it.

Available from Arte Público Press


Rigoberto González is the author of 13 books of poetry and prose and the editor of Camino del Sol: Fifteen Years of Latina and Latino Literature. He is the recipient of Guggenheim and NEA fellowships, winner of the American Book Award, The Poetry Center Book Award, The Shelley Memorial Award of The Poetry Society of America, and a grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts. He is contributing editor for Poets & Writers Magazine, on the executive board of directors of the National Book Critics Circle, and is associate professor of English at Rutgers-Newark, the State University of New Jersey.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/rigobertogonzalez/must-read-chicano-literature

Top 10 Most Dangerous Places on Earth

Top 10 Most Dangerous Places on Earth

In keeping with this site’s love of helping out with holiday plans, this is a list on the top 10 most dangerous places in the world – these are all places you might consider not visiting when planning your next holiday. Some of the items may be a little controversial, but you are, of course, free to ignore our advice and go anyway!


In this crime-ridden, ex-Soviet state, no longer does the government stuff their Armani suits with rubles, but the vandals and gangsters. The Russian mafia runs amuck, there are more gangsters than police, and a Russian is assassinated every 18 minutes, averaging 84 murders per day in a nation of 143 million. The nucleus of Russian crime is stationed in the Republic of Chechnya, a region within Russia just north of Georgia. Prostitution, drug trafficking, and underground restaurants are arbitrarily controlled by the Chechens. Foreigners are kidnapped more frequently due to the higher ransom allocated. Crimes towards include but are not limited to: pick pocketing wallets, cell phones, cameras, cash, and physical assaults. From superpower to Third World country, think tanks are beginning to speculate if communism really was the cure for Russia. [Source]


Ap Brazilpolice2

For anyone traveling to Brazil, it is not a matter of whether you get mugged, it is a matter of when! Grinding poverty still lives alongside incredible wealth in a country that is riding a wave of economic growth. But with prosperity, rates of crime have also soared. Street crime is rampant in parts of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo, and whilst many victims are left unharmed, having a broken bottle put to your throat for your bracelet is not pleasant. The incidences of “quicknappings” has risen in major cities. This involves being abducted and taken to an ATM to pay your ransom. If you can’t pay, thanks to mobile technology, your family is only a call away. Along with street crime, organized criminal groups have waged wars against police and public institutions that were unable to be bribed. Prison riots are brutally suppressed, drugs and narco-terrorism claim civilian casualties and if you survive all that – the piranhas are waiting.


Any nation described as the ‘rape capital of the world’ should be one to take extra special care in. Although rape had shown a declining trend to 113.7 in 2004, it increased in 2005 to 118.3 per 100 000. Another damning statistic for South Africa is its appallingly high murder rate. The 2010 World Cup host is consistently in the Top 5 list of countries by homicide rate. Most crime is confined to poor areas but it hasn’t stopped gated communities springing up all over South Africa and armed guards protecting wealthy tourist groups. Farming in South Africa has become one of the most dangerous professions in the world. The murder rate for farmers is 313 per 100 000 – about 8 times the national average. And like anywhere, sex can be very dangerous in South Africa, where more than 10 million people are infected with HIV.


This small, densely populated and poor nation has giant problems. A civil war between Hutus and Tutsis tore the nation apart between 1993 and 2006. A ceasefire was declared however most provisions have not been implemented. Mass murder and mayhem compete with environmental problems as the biggest headaches for the people of Burundi. The list of assassinated leaders is extensive, and control of the nation has changed hands numerous times in the last 50 years. Crimes committed by roaming gangs and armed children are risks for visitors. Muggings, carjackings and kidnappings await, so you are advised not to stop the car for souvenirs. Should you be injured or harmed while in Burundi, you may need to be well trained, as local clinics have almost no resources to assist you.


While murder, rape and robbery may not be a big problem in this part of the world, the hostile conditions are. Antarctica is home to some extreme weather conditions, with the mercury regularly dropping below -60 degrees Celsius (-100F) and winds tearing in at more than 100km/hr. If exposed to this weather for more than an hour, you will most certainly die. Antarctica has no hospitals, no food to forage and if you get lost, not a lot of hope. Stay with the tour groups. At least there is a McDonald’s at Scott Base if you manage to find it.

011112 Afghanistan

This nation has for hundreds of years, been one of the worlds most strategically important and lusted after territories. However it remains one of the poorest, undeveloped and unstable. During the Soviet invasion, the Red Army planted more than 12 million landmines in Afghanistan. Hundreds of people are killed, shredded, and maimed each year due to these insidious devices. Following the Soviets came the Taliban, whose control meant women were banned from jobs and universities. In 2001, the United States overthrew the Taliban, but banditry, tribal rivalries and drug related violence has left the nation unstable. Suicide bombings are a constant threat, and nobody in Afghanistan is safe. The most lethal suicide attack occurred in Baghlan Province in November 2007, killing more than 70 people. Did I mention Afghanistan is also the worlds largest supplier of top grade hashish and opium?


Somalia is a failed state known for its anarchy, corruption, lack of government, and starvation. Travelers are warned against entering Somalia, the self-proclaimed “independent Republic of Somaliland” or even sailing near the Horn Of Africa. Pirates patrol these waters armed with AK-47s and will seize craft and hold crews to ransom. Inter-clan fighting has claimed thousands of lives in the north of the country, while territorial control in the capital, Mogadishu is carved up between many clans and warlords. Ethiopia attacked Islamic troops in Somalia in late 2006, resulting in hundreds of casualties and the internal displacement of thousands. Heck, if this place is too much for the Marines, what chance do you stand? Make sure your insurance is fully up to date.


Desperation, death and destruction are synonymous with Sudan. Terrorism is a mainstay of this nation, which has been controlled by Islamic military regimes since its independence. Some of the worlds most famous killers have earned their stripes in Sudan, finishing with degrees in car-bombing, rocket launching and genocide. Violence is rife in the Darfur region between government-backed militias, government troops and local insurgent groups. Sudan has been in open warfare with Chad partly due to the Darfur conflict. Since 2003, 230,000 Sudanese refugees have fled to eastern Chad from Darfur. More than two million have died during the 2 civil wars that spanned the last 50 years. Along with its bleak desert conditions, Sudan is one of the worst places on the planet.


Kidnapping is the main worry in Colombia. There were 2338 kidnappings in Colombia in 1998. Of the victims, 138 were killed by their captors. Ranked Fourth in the world for murders with 69.98/100000 in 2006, the popular targets are mayors, with dozens of them being slain each year. And of course, who can forget cocaine? Colombia supplies 75% of the worlds supply and thanks to Pablo Escobar and the Cali Cartel, paramilitary groups have waged war on the government in a bloody conflict with no end in sight. Even those working in the name of charity are not excluded from the frenzy. In 2005, 5 Catholic missionaries were murdered, down from 9 in 1999. Colombia’s beautiful coast and rugged mountains should make it a tourist paradise, instead it is among the most feared destinations you can visit.


It doesn’t matter whether you are George Bush, Pele or Chuck Norris – you are not safe in Iraq. Despite its rich history and its oil reserves, it is a ruined nation that is wracked with violence, despair and confusion. Since 2003, the United States has occupied Iraq which has led to a civil war claiming the lives of more than 650 000 civilians. Al-Qaeda, Sunni insurgents, Shiite security forces, Kurdish rebels, American soldiers, Turkish troops and criminals are involved in a cycle of violence that unfortunately, will not abate any time soon. Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFPs) and mines are a constant threat, as are suicide bombers who have slain hundreds. Kidnappings and random killings are reported with almost mind-numbing frequency. Since 2003, 2 million Iraqis have fled to neighboring countries and another 1.9 million in Iraq remain internally displaced. Depleted uranium used as armor-piercing rounds will poison Iraqi civilians and US servicemen for decades. Truly, a hell on earth.

Usa Police State-1

For the average traveller, the USA is fairly safe, but the numbers do not lie. There are more than 200 million guns in the USA and more than 50 murders a day, 10 times the rate of Germany. Nearly 5000 people die a year in truck crashes, about 6000 pedestrains die on the streets and 31000 people end their own lives. The USA now leads all nations in violent crime and leads all nations with incarcerations now standing at 2.3 million. American citizens also make up the greatest number of criminals serving time in overseas prisons. Militias, hate groups and other right wing radicals all spread their message of violence and are known to throw around the odd pipe-bomb. The government is not much better, spending a whopping $600 billion a year on defense in order to contain the handful of nations hostile to it.

Dishonorable Mentions: Haiti, Liberia, and Congo.

Contributor: DentShop

Read more: http://listverse.com/2008/04/08/top-10-most-dangerous-places-on-earth/

Why Mexico’s Problems Require More Than A Presidential Resignation

Why Mexico's Problems Require More Than A Presidential Resignation

Enrique Peña Nieto

Getty Images

On September 26, 2014, at approximately 9:30 pm (CST), more than 100 students from Ayotzinapa Normal School traveled from their municipality to Iguala, Guerrero. They held a protest over what they consider to be discriminatory hiring and funding practices from the Mexican government.

Students in this school were trained to become teachers in the state’s poorest rural areas. They ranged in age from their late teens to early 20s and tended to come from poor, campesino families.

The students claimed that the government’s funding programs favored urban student-colleges above the rural ones and preferentially hired teachers from inner-city areas.

According to police reports, the students hijacked three buses and were subsequently chased by the police and a clash soon ensued. Opening fire, policemen and men in black masks (as declarations state) killed two students in one of the buses, while others fled to the surrounding hills.

The next day, the corpse of a student, whose eyes were gouged out and skin flayed to a bare skull, was found in the vicinity of the incident. Forty-three students were missing.

In the subsequent months, the case of the missing 43 has been the object of many conspiracy theories, cautionary tales on government corruption or savage demonstration of the narcos’ remorselessness.

Whether they were kidnapped or killed was a question enshrouded in mystery and as government officials waited for the incident to become old news, it only gathered more momentum.

Thousands of protesters raised their banners, all across the country. The plight of the kidnapped students’ families was becoming the plight of a whole nation.

The perspectives, opinions and beliefs of the populace regarding what really happened started as a ridiculous plea and soon turned into something that can’t be quite ignored.

The Mexican people are asking for their president’s resignation on the grounds of political corruption and the inability to react efficiently before the violence that afflicts Mexico. But, one has to stop and wonder: is this really the best solution?

I am inclined to say no. I don’t believe that asking for Enrique Peña Nieto’s resignation is the answer. My heart goes out to the families of the missing students, but we cannot push the country to a full halt because of it.

The war against crime in Mexico has been raging for decades and this is not the first mass kidnapping to occur. Sadly, chances are strong that it may not be the last. Where, then, are the flowers and banners for these nameless victims?

Organized crime that is rooted as deeply as it is in Mexico, along with a cultural and historical tendency toward political corruption, are not two evils easily vanquished.

To add even more to the mix, the protests and general unhappiness that is spreading like wildfire could easily be categorized as the beginnings of social and economic destabilization. It’s a scenario from which other political parties could benefit, but from which Mexicans in general will not.

We want someone to blame and we want someone to get the ax. We are angry, afraid and desperate, and we have every right to be so. We want an outlet for these emotions and we want it now.

The resignation of the president, however, would not provide wholesome satisfaction. Why edge Mexico further to the brink? Why waste more time, more resources and more efforts when they could be better used? Substituting the president will not make the narco problem disappear magically.

I say we endure. Throughout its tumultuous existence, Mexico has endured much, and can handle few rounds more. The case of the missing 43 is a grim reminder of all the violations the country has suffered; one that should not be forgotten, but that should not be obsessed over, either.

Read more: http://elitedaily.com/news/politics/mexicos-presidents-resignation-isnt-answer/853072/

Conjoined gray whale calves discovered off the coast of Mexico

Mexican researchers have discovered conjoined gray whale twins in Laguna Ojo de Liebre, which is just off the Pacific Ocean, near Baja California Sur. Twinning is a rare occurrence in whales, and conjoined twins are even more exceptional. This is likely the first case of conjoined gray whales on record, though there have been limited descriptions of conjoined twins in other whale species. The announcement was first made on the Facebook page of Guerrero Negro Verde, a page dedicated to environmental affairs of the region.

Sadly, the whale calves appear to be the product of a miscarriage and were delivered prematurely. Experts note that they were extremely underdeveloped and were only about 7 feet (2.1 meters) long, whereas healthy newborn gray whale calves are typically 13 feet (4 meters) long. No information is known about the mother, though many are wondering how she could have safely delivered out the miscarried calves, given their odd shape.

Gray whales are migratory. During the summer months, they are up in the Arctic waters of the Chukchi and Bering Seas in order to feed on crustaceans. They then migrate roughly 6,000 miles (9650 km) in order to mate in the warm waters near Mexico during the winter months. The next winter, the whales return to this area in order to give birth. Laguna Ojo de Liebre is an ideal place for newborn calves, as they are protected from predators like sharks and orcas.

The whales were conjoined at the midsection and had two heads and two tails. Because they were already deceased upon discovery, the calves were collected and will be studied. There is currently no indication that this was caused by radiation or pollution of any kind, and instead is just a sad biological anomaly.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/conjoined-gray-whale-calves-discovered-coast-mexico

10 More “Breaking Bad” Spin-Offs We’d Like To See Happen

10 More "Breaking Bad" Spin-Offs We'd Like To See Happen

1. The Salamancas


The premise: Before becoming ruthless hitmen for the Juárez Cartel, the Salamancas were a tight-knit group that always put family first. Follow their zany adventures in this new ABC sitcom, featuring Uncle Hector, twin brothers Leonel and Marco, and the always wild and hilarious Tuco.

2. Eating in with Flynn


The premise: Walt Jr., aka Flynn, dishes on the latest and greatest in breakfast foods in this Food Network-produced series. It’s gonna be d-d-d-d-delicious!

3. Fring It On


The premise: Before he met Walter White, Gustavo “The Chicken Man” Fring built an entire empire for himself while hiding in plain sight. This prequel series follows the man of mystery, his partner Maximino, and lots and lots of chicken.

4. Badger and Skinny Pete LIVE


The premise: In this new live talk show from MTV, Badger and Skinny Pete discuss replicators, tullaberries, zombies in video games, and the democracy of pizza-cutting.

5. Fishing for Ehrmantraut


The premise: This CBS police procedural flashes back to a younger Michael Ehrmantraut in his beat cop days as he uses forensic evidence and high-tech surveillance equipment to take down the bad guys. You know, the legal way.

6. The A-1 Team


The premise: Watch as Skyler navigates the rough-and-tumble world of the car wash business. Will she be able to successfully manage multiple locations, or will the stress leave her high and dry? Featuring new and returning characters, including Bogdan Wolynetz and his unibrow.

7. Gray Matters


The premise: Walter White’s could-have-been business partners Elliott and Gretchen Schwartz are the stars of this FX serialized drama that investigates the cold hard gray matters that are prevalent in the science and technology industry today.

8. Old Joe’s Junkyard


The premise: In this captivating character study, follow the story of a man who makes his living at a junkyard while always striving to keep a PMA — Positive Mental Attitude. In a sea of trashy shows, this one’s a treasure.

9. Tales of a Female Kleptomaniac


The premise: Lifetime brings you the story of Marie Schrader, kleptomaniac. Watch each week as she struggles to hide her addiction and manages to live a normal life (with the help of her psychiatrist). Expect lots of tears and the hottest new trends in purple clothing.

10. Kuby & Huell


The premise: TNT revolutionizes the buddy drama once more with Kuby & Huell, two unlikely partners who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. Watch as they pickpocket and lie their way through a series of increasingly more difficult obstacles, all the while engaging in witty banter that gives Joss Whedon a run for his money.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/dwtoy/10-more-breaking-bad-spin-offs-wed-like-to-see-happen

13 Bone-Chilling Murders Of Mexican Folk Musicians

13 Bone-Chilling Murders Of Mexican Folk Musicians

Since 1992, dozens of Mexican folk musicians have been executed in cold blood, mainly throughout the northern regions of Mexico.

Narcocorrido or “drug ballad,” is a popular sub-genre of Mexican folk music where song lyrics glorify the real-life exploits of drug traffickers.

Narcocorrido or "drug ballad," is a popular sub-genre of Mexican folk music where song lyrics glorify the real-life exploits of drug traffickers.

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Drug traffickers will sometimes commission a musician, for tens of thousands of dollars, to sing a narcocorrido about them in order to “immortalize” themselves.

The downside to the narcocorrido is that the musician, while praising some in the drug game, is bound to offend others.

The downside to the narcocorrido is that the musician, while praising some in the drug game, is bound to offend others.

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The Mexican folk musician murders are part of a much bigger problem in Mexico. Drug violence in Mexico increased during Felipe Calderon’s presidency. According to federal reports, between 2007 and 2011, the drug war resulted in at least 60,000 casualties. It is important to note that these figures are questionably low since in Mexico “fewer than 10 percent of all crimes are investigated.”

Here are 13 Mexican folk musicians, most who touched upon the narcocorrido genre, who have died from unnatural causes. It is important to note, that while drug cartels are suspected to be linked to their deaths, no one has been brought to justice:

1. Rosalino “Chalino” Sanchez

Rosalino "Chalino" Sanchez

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Venevision Records

Chalino was one of the first prominent narcocorrido singers in both Mexico and the United States. On Jan. 20, 1992, he was thrust into the national spotlight after a patron shot him at a nightclub in Coachella, Calif. Chalino survived the shooting. His shooter, however, was shot in the mouth and died. After gaining notoriety from the incident, Chalino’s music finally began to receive airtime on Spanish-language radio.

On May 15, 1992, Chalino played a concert in his hometown of Culiacan in Sinaloa, Mexico. After the concert, he drove away from the venue with his entourage before being pulled over by a group of armed men with police identification. They asked him to get into their car so they could take him to see the commandante. Chalino obliged and that was the last time he was seen alive. The next day, his body was found in a ditch, blindfolded with rope marks around his wrists. He had two bullet holes in the back of his head.

2. Valentin Elizalde

Valentin Elizalde

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On Nov. 25, 2006, Valentin Elizalde performed a concert at a state fair in Reynosa, Tamaulipas. His last song at this concert was a song titled “Para Mis Enemigos (For My Enemies),” the lyrics of which are allegedly about attacking members of the Gulf Cartel. Twenty minutes after the concert, as he drove away from the venue, his car was ambushed by members of Los Zetas (at that time working for the Gulf Cartel as their armed muscle), who opened fire on Elizalde’s black Suburban with automatic weapons. Elizalde, his manager, and his chaffeur were killed instantly. Elizalde was shot 20 times. Seventy bullet cartridges were found on the scene.

Elizalde was posthumously nominated for a Grammy in 2007.

3. Tecno Banda Fugaz

Tecno Banda Fugaz

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On Feb. 18, 2007, after performing for a dance party in Matamoros, five members of Tecno Banda Fugaz were fired upon by gunmen with AK-47s while they were dropping off their musical equipment in a pickup truck. Carlos Gonzales Hurtado, the band’s leader, survived the attack after being rushed to the hospital in critical condition. The four other members, including Hurtado’s son, died at the scene.

4. Zayda Peña Arjona

Zayda Peña Arjona

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Zayda Peña Arjona was the lead singer for the popular grupero band Zayda y Los Culpables. The band’s popularity reached its peak with the song “Tiro de Gracia (Coup de Grâce)” about a woman’s failed relationship.

On Nov. 29, 2007, Peña was staying at the Monaco Motel in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, just near the U.S.-Mexico Border. An unknown gunman opened fire on Peña, her friend, and a motel employee. Although Peña was shot in the back, she survived the attack. Her friend and the motel employee both died at the scene.

Peña was taken to a medical facility, where doctors determined the bullet wound was not life-threatening. While resting in the medical facility, after a successful operation to extract the bullet from her back, two gunmen entered the hospital, found her, and shot her point blank in the chest and face. She died instantly.

Although Peña never made a song about drug traffickers, her mother worked at a public prosecutor’s office.

5. Sergio Gomez

Sergio Gomez

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Sergio Gomez was born in Ciudad Hidalgo, Michoacan. He immigrated to the United States and worked in Chicago for awhile, before forming K-Paz de la Sierra in 2003, along with other native Mexican musicians. K-Paz eventually became a staple of the popular duranguense musical genre.

In the early hours of Dec. 2, 2007, after performing a concert in the state of Michoacán, Gomez and several other musicians were traveling in a car before being abducted by gunmen. The other musicians were eventually released, but Gomez was nowhere to be found. The following day, Gomez’s body was found in the outskirts of Morelia, showing clear signs of torture (his body was covered in bruises, parts of his body were burnt with cigarette butts, and there were signs of strangulation).

Just like Valentin Elizalde, Gomez was posthumously nominated for a Grammy in 2007.

6. José Luis Aquino

José Luis Aquino

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José Luis Aquino was a trumpeter for the popular banda group Los Conde, that also sang narcocorrido songs. Aquino had been missing for days before his body was finally found on Dec. 8, 2007, half-buried underneath a bridge in the state of Oaxaca, located in southern Mexico. Aquino had been bound by his hands and feet, and his head was wrapped in a black plastic bag. Evidence suggests he was beaten to death.

Fellow band members say they don’t know how this could’ve happened. “He was a good person and never fought with anyone,” said Los Conde guitarist Francisco Conde. “He didn’t smoke or do drugs.” Aquino was 33 years old and left behind a wife and two kids.

7. Jesús Rey David Alfaro Pulido aka “El Gallito”

Jesús Rey David Alfaro Pulido aka " El Gallito "

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On Feb. 13, 2008, Jesús Alfaro Pulido, his representative Israel Torres, and his manager José Guadalupe Topete were found dead in Tijuana, Mexico. According to police reports, all three bodies showed signs of torture and asphyxiation, before being shot in the head. Pulido’s body specifically was found frozen. The bodies were also found with a written message on a piece of paper that simply read “nosotros si vamos (we will go).”

Pulido had garnered local fame for covering famous narcocorrido songs by Valentin Elizalde.

8. Los Herederos de Sinaloa

Los Herederos de Sinaloa

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On Oct. 29, 2008, after giving an interview to a reporter at the Sinaloan newspaper El Sol de Sinaloa, all three members of the band and their representative were ambushed by two gunmen as they exited the newspaper’s offices. Witnesses say the four victims were walking toward their car when a Yukon pulled in front of them. The two gunmen exited the vehicle and shot the musicians and their manager with AK-47s. Los Herederos de Sinaloa were in the midst of promoting their latest single “Eres Tan Linda.”

Accordion player Jesus Moreno, bass player Leo Pena, double bass player Mauricio Osuna, and their representative Angel Manuel Rios Lizarraga were all killed in the ambush.

9. Sergio Vega “El Shaka”

Sergio Vega "El Shaka"

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Sony Music Latin

Sergio Vega immigrated to the United States in 1988. He formed a musical group with his brothers in 1989 in Phoenix, Ariz. Vega eventually gained mainstream popularity when he formed another group, Los Rayos del Norte, which would eventually be renamed Sergio Vega y Sus Shakas del Norte.

On June 26, 2010, Vega was on his way to a concert in Sinaloa. Gunmen, who were traveling in a truck, drove alongside Vega’s red Cadillac and opened fire with automatic weapons. Vega lost control of his vehicle and crashed. The gunmen proceeded to shoot Vega in the head and chest at close range. Vega was shot approximately 30 times.

Just hours before his murder, Vega was asked by Mexican website La Oreja about false reports of his death. “It’s happened to me for years now, someone tells a radio station or a newspaper I’ve been killed, or suffered an accident,” Vega said. “And then I have to call my dear mom, who has heart trouble, to reassure her.”

10. Fabián Ortega Piñón

Fabián Ortega Piñón

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Titan Records

On Oct. 19, 2010, Fabián Ortega Piñón, aka “El Halcon de la Sierra,” was found executed on the side of the road in Guerrero, Chihuahua, alongside two other people, including a relative.

In 2009, Piñón was caught in a sting operation with a close associate of now former Tijuana Cartel lieutenant Teodoro García Simental, “El Teo.”

Piñón had recorded several narcocorrido albums and appeared in low-budget Mexican “narcocinema” films.

11. La Quinta Banda

La Quinta Banda

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La Quinta Banda were a popular narcocorrido group, hailing from Chihuahua, Mexico. They would often sing about the Juarez Cartel and their drug trafficking exploits.

In the early hours of Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012, gunmen opened fire on the band while they were performing onstage in a nightclub in Chihuahua. Five band members and four club patrons died on the scene. The band appeared to be the gunmen’s primary target.

12. Jesus “Chuy” Quintanilla

Jesus "Chuy" Quintanilla

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“Chuy” Quintanilla was a federal police officer in Mexico for 27 years before moving to South Texas. He was known for his ballads and folk songs hailing drug cartel violence. One song called “The Ballad of Tony Tormenta” chronicled the death of the leader of the Gulf Cartel, who was killed in a gun battle in Matamoros, Tamaulipas in 2010.

On the morning of April 25, 2013, Quintanilla’s body was found in a pool of blood in a grapefruit field in Mission, TX. He was shot twice in the head and lay next to his SUV. There are no suspects.

13. Tomas Tovar Rascon aka “Tito Torbellino”

Tomas Tovar Rascon aka "Tito Torbellino"

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Pheonix-born Tomas Rascon, better known by his stage name “Tito Torbellino,” was an up-and-coming banda singer who was at the verge of mainstream success. Rascon had been been known to sing narcocorrido songs and use guns in some of his music videos.

On Thursday, May 29, 2014, Rascon was eating at an Asian cuisine restaurant in the town of Ciudad Obregón in the border state of Sonora, when two gunmen entered the restaurant and shot him several times point blank. Rascon died on the way to the hospital. Rascon was scheduled to perform in Ciudad Obregón on Friday night. No clear motive has been given for the killing.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/norbertobriceno/bone-chilling-murders-of-mexican-folk-musicians

10 More Frightening Fates of Modern Leaders

10 More Frightening Fates of Modern Leaders

Back in August 2011, I submitted a list of ten frightening fates of modern leaders prior to the possible murder or execution of deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, which was subsequently published after his death. Based on the comments of that list it is clear that several readers desired to see a second list that included not only Gaddafi, but also several others, as well as links to images of their frightening fates. I am willing to comply with that request and, once again, must point out that not all of the men listed below are necessarily villains who merited their deaths by non-natural causes, but I am curious which ones you readers think did deserve the violence inflicted upon them described below and if so, why? Again, I want to point out that by “leader,” I am using that term broadly and therefore beyond just heads of state, because people can lead others as heads of businesses or other organizations as well and in that capacity can also have incredible influence.

Moreover, while including the sons, brother and wife of some individuals on this and the previous list may seem redundant, it is important to keep in mind that they played leadership roles in different capacities than their fathers, brother and husband and yet still met horrific ends. Their inclusion demonstrates the perils that even the family members of leaders can face. One need only consider the violent deaths of Caligula’s wife and daughter, as reenacted in the famous eponymous film of his life, or the brutal end of the wife and children of Nicholas II, to remember that when a reckoning comes against someone viewed negatively by a certain segment of the population, not only will the leader succumb to a potentially despicable demise, so too might his or her family. Indeed, when one accepts or takes the reigns of leadership, he or she does not only risk his or herself, but also those closest to him or her. Finally, the list is organized chronologically by death.


Maximilian I reigned as Mexico’s president for just over three years, despite having been born in Austria. Much of his support rested upon the presence of a French army that withdrew following the conclusion of the American Civil War. Napoleon III did not want to risk opposition from a victorious veteran American army, while he also faced the rise of Prussia back in Europe. Maximilian, however, remained defiant in Mexico and, despite the pleas of various European royalists and other luminaries from Victor Hugo to Giuseppe Garibaldi that Maximilian be spared, his enemies executed him by firing squad. A rather haunting image of his body in its casket, viewable above, shows the folly of a French emperor’s unsuccessful bid to install an Austrian as Emperor of Mexico.


Malcolm X became the assistant minister of the Nation of Islam’s Temple Number One, in Detroit in June 1953, although he did not remain a member of that organization until his death. Civil rights leader Malcolm X eventually experienced something of an epiphany on his world travels, and matured in his views of race relations as a consequence. His outstanding autobiography is a powerful and poignant telling of his experiences, that I recommend to any educated citizen of the world. Despite, or perhaps because of, his changes in outlook, one man shot him in the chest with a shotgun and two others used handguns to hit him sixteen times.

Bobby Kennedy served as a Seaman Apprentice from 1944 to 1946, an Attorney General from 1961 to 1964 and then as a Democratic Senator from New York from 1965 to 1968. He suffered a similar grim end as that of his brother, mentioned in the previous list. An excerpt from a documentary, viewable above, shows the terrible reaction of the crowd as he is assassinated by a Jordanian named Sirhan Sirhan, who opposed Kennedy’s support of Israel. The Arab-Israeli conflict remains one of the world’s most destabilizing points of tension that has violent consequences far beyond Palestine and Israel, as Kennedy’s death reminds us.


Dwyer held numerous political offices throughout his long career, including Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from the Crawford County District (1965-1968), Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from the 6th District (1969-1970), Member of the Pennsylvania Senate from the 50th District (1971-1981), and Treasurer of Pennsylvania (1981-1987). The Republican politician was investigated and convicted for bribery, facing a maximum sentence of fifty-five years and a fine of $300,000. Instead, he committed suicide in graphic fashion. The 2010 documentary, Honest Man: The Life of R. Budd Dwyer, focuses on the tragedy.

Elena Ceaușescu held the position of Deputy Prime Minister of Romania from March 1980 to 22 December 1989, and was known as “Mother of the Nation.” In the 1960s, she also directed the Bucharest Central Institute of Chemical Researches, and eventually received a doctorate in chemistry. She was executed alongside her husband, and in an informative documentary, depicted above, the trial and summary execution can be seen in a coherent chronology of their downfall, that elaborates on why they suffered their frightening fates.


Tupac was an American rapper and record producer, and formed the Outlawz in late 1995, upon his release from prison. The members took their names from famous and infamous leaders and political theorists, several of whom met quite unfortunate fates, themselves. Shakur assumed a nickname based on Niccolo Machiavelli (3 May 1469 – 21 June 1527), while other members of the Outlawz styled themselves after Napoleon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821), Benito Mussolini (29 July 1883 – 28 April 1945), Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (24 September 1902 – 3 June 1989), Idi Amin (c. 1925 – 16 August 2003), Fidel Castro (born 13 August 1926), Saddam Hussein (28 April 1937 – 30 December 2006), and Muammar Gaddafi (June 1942 – 20 October 2011). Shakur was shot in the chest, pelvis, right hand and thigh, with one round ricocheting into his right lung. A coroner’s photograph viewable online depicts the horrific extent of his injuries. His death was followed less than a year later by that of the Notorious B.I.G. (21 May 1972 – 9 March 1997), with much speculation that both murders were part of an East Coast-West Coast Hip Hop Rivalry between the aptly named Bad Boy Records in the East and Death Row Records in the West.


Uday Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti headed the Iraqi Olympic Committee, and was alleged to have tortured and imprisoned athletes who underperformed. He and his brother died of injuries sustained in a four hour battle with American forces. His mutilated body can be seen in gruesome detail in photographs around the internet.

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Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti served as Iraq’s fifth president, from 1979 to 2003. During that time, he fought two bloody and unsuccessful wars to annex first Khuzestan and then Kuwait to Iraq. During the second war, he also attacked Israel with Scud missiles. His third war proved to be his last, as he once again faced an international coalition. Unlike in 1991, however, this second coalition sought not just his military defeat, but his downfall. In the 2003 war, he lost both of his sons in a firefight and was, himself, subsequently captured several months later. After a trial, he died by hanging, as depicted in a controversial leaked video that can be viewed here.


Gaddafi served as first Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council of Libya, from 1 September 1969 to 2 March 1977, and then as Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution in Libya, from 2 March 1977 to 20 October 2011. An ally of the uncrowned “last King of Scotland” Adi Amin, Gaddafi later received recognition from more than 200 African kings and traditional rulers, as King of Kings of Africa, in 2008. Beyond monarchic ambitions, both Amin and Gaddafi also had grandiose plans, yet ultimately failed in their goals of expanding their countries’ borders at the expense of their neighbors. But, whereas Amin managed to escape from Uganda when opposition to his rule grew uncontrollably fierce, Gaddafi decided to stay in Libya to fight his opponents to the bitter end. After a civil war in which perhaps tens of thousands died in less than a year’s fighting, he met his demise. His recent capture, torture and death is still unclear in its exact details as to what happened. As with Maximilian I earlier on this list, Gaddafi did not get out of his country when he had a chance, and suffered the brutality of bullets as a consequence.


Mutassim Billah Gaddafi worked as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Libyan Army, as well as Libya’s National Security Advisor. During the Libyan Civil War, he, like his father, appeared to be captured alive (above) during the battle of Sirte; however, as a later photograph shows, he died, perhaps having succumbed to wounds sustained in the battle or, as with his father, having been murdered or executed. Thus, like Saddam Hussein’s sons, he would not live to succeed his father, either. While the Arab Spring continues, one must wonder if the violent demise of the Gaddafi family will conclude the domino falling of power of many long-ruling leaders of first Tunisia, then Egypt, and ultimately Libya. Or if leaders in such countries as Syria may still yet share the fate of their Tunisian, Egyptian and Libyan counterparts? Indeed, when one considers that in just the past few years, long-reigning controversial dictators in such places as Iraq and Libya have finally fallen from power, if the days of dictators are numbered and if perhaps a chill has gone down the spine of those from Iran to North Korea as well… If so, let us hope that when their regimes fall it is not at the cost of the tens of thousands it took to depose some of the others named on this, and the previous, list.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2011/11/15/10-more-frightening-fates-of-modern-leaders/

15 Majestic Underwater Sites You Need To Visit Before You Die

15 Majestic Underwater Sites You Need To Visit Before You Die

“Darling, it’s better, down where it’s wetter, take it from me.”

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Nastco / Via Thinkstock

1. MUSA Underwater Museum — Cancun, Mexico




Have you ever gone to a museum…under water? Well now you can at the Cancun Underwater Museum, which features sculptures from artist Jason DeCaires Taylor. The sculptures were submerged in an attempt to populate the area with sea life after various hurricanes destroyed the coral reefs.

2. Jacob’s Well — Wimberly, Texas

Patrick Lewis / Flickr: paddymurphy

Patrick Lewis / Flickr: paddymurphy


Jacob’s Well is a popular summer attraction known to be one of the most dangerous places to dive. There are four known chambers inside the well: The first is a straight 30-foot dive, the second is 80-feet deep, and the third and fourth are “virgin caves” that only experienced divers have seen.

3. The Neptune Memorial Reef — Key Biscayne, Fla.

Facebook: NeptuneMemorialReef

Facebook: NeptuneMemorialReef


Not far from Miami, this memorial was artistically based off the Lost Empire of Atlantis. According to the memorial’s website, “Those who choose cremation for final needs may opt for their remains to be deployed to the reef, creating life after life.” The Department of Environmental Resource Management has witnessed marine life around the area grow from zero into the thousands because of the memorial.

4. Green Lake — Tragoess, Austria

Borut Furlan / Getty Images/WaterFrame RM

Getty Images/Westend61


Green Lake is no ordinary park. Once a year, this park is submerged in water after all the snow on the Karst Mountains melts. It has become a popular attraction for scuba divers all over the world.

5. Underwater Waterfall — Mauritius Island

Google Maps

extremetravel / Thinkstock


The underwater waterfall on the coast of Mauritius is nothing but an optical illusion. It’s created by sand falling down the coastal shelf into the depths of the deep blue sea. The best way to observe this majestical illusion is from above on a plane or helicopter.

6. Whale Diving — Kingdom of Tonga

Facebook: Whale-Discoveries

Facebook: Whale-Discoveries


When you visit Tonga you’ll have the opportunity to swim with humpback whales and feel what it’s like to be part of marine life. Whale Discoveries will help you learn everything there is to know about the complex submarine mammal.

7. Azure Window — Maltese Island of Gozo

Darren Barefoot / Flickr: dbarefoot

Malcolm Browne / Flickr: mal-b


This travel destination is popular for cliff diving off the Azure Window and scuba diving inside the Blue Hole cave. Inside the 262-foot tunnel, scuba divers have found incredible marine life such as fire worms and octopi.

8. Weeki Wachee Springs — Spring Hill, Fla.

Annie Collinge / collinge.com

Annie Collinge / collinge.com


If you don’t believe in mermaids then you have to go to this mermaid city. For 60 years the park has put on mermaid shows in an underwater theater, including productions of The Little Mermaid.

9. Cenote Angelita — Tulum, Mexico

nonperturbative / Flickr: nonperturbative

nonperturbative / Flickr: nonperturbative


Cenote Angelita is best known for its underwater river: yes, a river that runs underwater. According to scuba diver Alice Yoo, this river is created by a layer of hydrogen sulfate that separates the salt water and the freshwater and creates a cloud-like moving stream.

10. Underwater Hotel Room — Zanzibar

The Manta Resort / tripadvisor.com

The Manta Resort / tripadvisor.com


The Manta Resort is more than just a fancy hotel. You can rent an underwater room that gives you visibility of coral outcrops and shoals of fish. You can also go snorkeling when you please, or simply stay afloat and enjoy the endless ocean around you.

11. Homestead Crater – Midway, Utah

Facebook: HomesteadResortUT

Facebook: HomesteadResortUT


“Over 10,000 years in the making,” Homestead Crater is a hot spot for scuba diving, snorkeling, paddleboard yoga classes, and other water-related activities. If you don’t want to get wet, you can also take land-based tours that explain the history of the crater.

12. Underwater Bar & Club — Maldives


Facebook: Niyama.PerAQUUM


Subsix bar is the world’s first underwater bar and club. Now you can show off to your friends on social media that you party with marine life in the depths of the Indian Ocean.

13. Christ of the Abyss — Key Largo, Fla.

Gergely Csaba / Flickr: gergobacsi

Gergely Csaba / Flickr: gergobacsi


This underwater Jesus is an 8½-foot, 4,000-pound statue that is made out of bronze. The statue is a replica of the original “Il Cristo Degli Abissi,” which was placed in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Italy in 1954.

14. Atlantis — Palm Islands, Dubai

Facebook: atlantisthepalm

Facebook: atlantisthepalm


Atlantis is the underwater empire you want to stay in on your next vacation. Certain parts of the hotel — like the lobby — are underwater, so walking through the halls will feel like you’re submerged in an aquarium at all times.

15. Great Blue Hole — Belize

Robert Scales / Flickr: raincitystudios

Eric Pheterson / Flickr: pheterson


According to researchers, this is the biggest blue hole — underwater cave or sinkhole — in the world. It’s more than 984 feet across and it’s estimated to be 410 feet deep. This site is very popular amongst divers who like to explore the geological formations of the coral reefs.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/alejandroalba/majestic-underwater-sites-you-need-to-see-before-you-die

Judge Awards Mexican Man $500,000 For Getting Shot In The Back By Border Patrol Agent

Judge Awards Mexican Man $500,000 For Getting Shot In The Back By Border Patrol Agent

The ruling is one of the first to uphold the civil claims of Mexican citizens against U.S. border agents and the federal government.

Jesus Castro Romo Brad Racino/ Investigative Newsource

WASHINGTON — A federal court has ordered the federal government to pay a Mexican man nearly half a million dollars after he was shot in the back by a Border Patrol agent in the Arizona desert.

In a Feb. 5 ruling, Federal District Court Judge James Soto ordered the $497,000 payment to Jesus Castro Romo, a Nogales, Sonora, resident who was shot by Customs and Border Protection Agent Abel Canales during a routine 2010 immigration stop in the desert.

The ruling is significant because federal courts have almost uniformly rejected civil claims against individual agents and the federal government over the dozens of CBP-related shootings during the Obama administration. Castro is one of only a handful of known survivors of such shootings.

Canales, who was later sent to federal prison for working with members of a Mexican drug cartel, originally told federal investigators that Castro was unarmed. But in later testimony, the former agent claimed the Mexican citizen was holding a rock and was verbally threatening him.

Judge Soto was unconvinced, noting the additions to Canales’ original statements to investigators ultimately rendered his testimony unreliable. “Although much of the additional testimony is not strictly contradictory, it renders Canales’ testimony less credible: Canales was given every opportunity to describe in detail the encounter with Castro — with counsel present — the day after the shooting,” Soto wrote.

Soto also pointed to Canales’ conviction on bribery and corruption charges as undermining his testimony.

Soto also challenged the CBP’s longstanding policy that the potential for a migrant to throw a rock at an agent constitutes a threat dire enough to justify the use of deadly force. The CBP’s use-of-force policies allow agents to open fire when threatened by almost any potential weapon.

But Soto wrote, “A rock is not as deadly an object as a gun and requires a greater degree of certainty that the object will be used than the threat or perceived threat of a gun.”

Critics contend that the CPB’s use-of-force policies have contributed to numerous killings along the border, and officials have begun to instate a series of modest reforms.

In his ruling, Soto requires the government to pay Castro for the injuries caused by the shooting, subsequent treatment and medication costs, pain and suffering, and loss of income over the course of the next 38 years. Those costs totaled $553,000, but the judge cut it by 10%, finding that Castro, who was in the act of illegally crossing the border, was 10% responsible for his injuries.

A Justice Department spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.

Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/johnstanton/judge-awards-mexican-man-500000-for-getting-shot-in-the-back