“El Negro” Durazo: the scary cop no artist could say no to in Mexico

“El Negro” Durazo: the scary cop no artist could say no to in Mexico

Former Mexico City Police Chief Arturo Durazo behind bars in the Reclusorio Oriente in 1986. HR/JP REUTERS

Former Mexico City Police Chief Arturo Durazo behind bars in the Reclusorio Oriente in 1986. HR/JP Portal

Manuel ‘el Flaco’ Ibáñez’s recent interview with driver Yordi Rosado has been revived the name of a figure who profited from police corruption and Mexican politicsnotorious for its excesses of violence and brutality: abetting crime in the late 1970s and early 1980s and whoever was Some of the fame of singer Luis Miguel has been credited to him and even, allegedly responsible for the disappearance of his mother, Marcela Basteri.

Ibanez was referring to Arturo “the Black” DurazoHead of the Department of Police and Traffic (now the Secretariat for Citizen Security) of the Federal District (now Mexico City), during President José López Portillo’s six-year tenure, and from which he benefited when he was in a vulnerable situation due to his excess of drugs or alcohol.

As the actor tells, Durazo was a kind of protector, without becoming his confidant, whom he couldn’t say “no” to her when he wanted her company. “All of a sudden you were in a play and in the middle of the play several guys in suits walked in and you knew they were going to get you. I said, ‘Let me finish act two,’ ‘No, right now,’ then all of a sudden it was like, ‘Well, let me talk to the house,’ because it’s been two or three days that they wouldn’t let you go out.”

Arturo Durazo Moreno was born in Cumpas, Sonora, in 1924 to a poor family that soon moved to Mexico City. During his childhood and adolescence, El Negro lived in the Roma neighborhood, where he met and formed a friendship with López Portillo, whom he never abandoned and eventually appointed him head of security for his presidential campaign.

During López Portillo’s presidential term, Durazo was given a free hand to dominate the Mexican capital as head of the Federal District’s Directorate General of Police and Transport (DGPTDF), with which he planned kidnappings, illegal arrests, bank robberies and massacres, according to one of his former Employee who recorded these experiences in the book ‘Lo negro del Negro’ and which later became a documentary.

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José López Portillo, President of Mexico (1976-1982).  (Photo by Bernard CHARLON/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

José López Portillo, President of Mexico (1976-1982). (Photo by Bernard CHARLON/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

What the iconic actor of Mexican cinema revealed complements what other figures have spoken about, such as Andrés García, who even referred to him as a brother.

“He was a very practical man, very intelligent, who grew up on the street and was steeped in wisdom and culture; he was a great connoisseur of the Mexican people, that’s why he handled the whole crime and robbery problem in Las Lomas so well in those times. Those who violently attacked and injured the families of the houses they entered to rob disappeared. They are the famous dead of the Tula River, they were thrown there,” the actor, also controversial, told journalist Gustavo Adolfo Infant in January 2021.

This case, recorded in 1981, involved the execution of 12 members of a bank robbery gang on Durazo’s orders. The events inspired film director Ismael Rodríguez Ruelas to make a film, but government censorship at the time prevented its distribution.

The brotherhood between García and Durazo, as well as his later association with Luis Miguel, was even reflected in the series about the Mexican singer’s life.

Mickey’s Rise to Fame

To understand the power that “El Negro” Durazo has amassed, we need to talk about two of his possessions, which he gained by diverting them into the coffers of the institution he ran: a lavish mansion in Ajusco with stables and a private racetrack, shooting range, nightclub equal to that of Studio 54 in New York, valued at $250,000; and El Partenón de Zihuatanejo, built in classic Greek style, with 20,000 square meters and built by Guerrero’s own police force.

The Mexican Parthenon, the painter Emiliano Gironella Parra and other artists tried to turn it into a cultural center to erase its negative image and in turn exploit “that it is a pride for all the people of Guerrero and that it is a vessel for the Be artists who come to Warrior”. In 2019, the Nation’s Supreme Court (SCJN) settled one of the conflicts with the family, who wanted to regain the residency.

Former Police Chief Arturo Durazo's clifftop mansion in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Mexico.  (via Getty Images)

Former Police Chief Arturo Durazo’s clifftop mansion in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Mexico. (via Getty Images)

It was at these residences that Durazo organized the lavish and excessive parties that Ibáñez discussed with Yordi. In one – or both – Luis Miguel, barely 11 years old, encouraged the police chief’s guests, invited by his father Luis Rey’s friendship with Andrés García. Thanks to this proximity, the official would have recommended Sol de México to perform at the wedding of Paulina López Portillo, one of the president’s daughters and political godfather.

However, the opportunity for the young singer would have been very expensive, at least for his mother Marcela Basteri. Mario Gallego, paternal uncle and former personal assistant to Luis Miguel, once said that it was Durazo himself who financed the release of the young singer’s first album “1 + 1 = 2 Lovers” and pressured Televisa in exchange for im Appearing on TV is sexual favors,” according to some unauthorized biographies. Mickey’s mother would have been the pay and later caused the jealousy of the rising star’s father and representative.

García assured in a 2018 interview that Rey asked Durazo and himself for help to “disappear” his wife and that it was the police chief himself who confessed to the request: “He (Luis Rey) asked Durazo and Durazo said to me, ‘Hey, that’s him asking me,’ and then he asked me, but I told him that was rude. ‘You can’t do this,’ I told him,” the actor said in a radio interview with Maxine Woodside.

Until now, Basteri’s disappearance or possible death remains a mystery.

His romances with actresses

Luis Miguel’s family wasn’t the only ones unlucky enough to get into Durazo’s life.

Other characters like Olga Breeskin either Veronica Castro According to a relative of the late officer, they had had romantic relationships with the police chief, as well as with other “vedettes” of the so-called file film era.

“He had the strength and the nature to be the most famous women of the moment and to go out, whether they came from the artistic world or from high society, famous women were his trophies, and they were delighted because he was a good lover and very gorgeous,” said the interview, published in TVNotas magazine in 2018.

Durazo’s fame also impacted Mexican popular culture after he was arrested on various investigations into tax evasion, smuggling, gun stockpiling and abuse of office.

In the mid-1980s, the Sonora Dinamita premiered the song “El African,” and one of its verses says, “Ay, Mama, what does the black guy want?” and the answer is, “No, it could be that he.” wants another Parthenon?” The rock band Botellita de Jerez recorded the song “Negro’s Blues,” which alludes to Durazo’s alleged links to the drug trade. Chico Che composed the cumbia “El sustazo del negrozo,” in which he jokes about allegations of the crimes against him (“he is accused of the great theft of the nation”, “if you don’t give us everything back at least tell us the way”).

He spent eight years in prison before being released in 1992 for good behavior and poor health from colon cancer. He lived eight years in freedom until his death anniversary on August 5, 2000 in Acapulco, Guerrero, but far from his beloved Parthenon.


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