What is this about?: A true crime Audible show, based on an investigative report done by a ProPublica journalist into an operation by the US and Mexican governments that cost a town everything.
[Contains sensitive content]
The true story of a cartel’s deadly assault on a Mexican town near the Texas border – and the American drug operation that sparked it.
On a warm evening in a small Mexican border town, men and women started disappearing. Local officials were warned to stay away and when it was all done, up to 200 people were gone. The Making of a Massacre is a five-part true-story detailing how well-intentioned efforts to curtail the drug trade by the US and Mexican governments had devastating effects.
Led by ProPublica’s award-winning journalist Ginger Thompson and featuring true-to-life performances by notable actors Cheech Marin, Danny Trejo, Alana del la Garza, Clifton Collins Jr. and Snow Tha Product, listeners will hear how a town was caught in the crossfire of the drug war.
I didn’t know what to expect when I started listening to this, and I confess, a harder one to review accurately.
Ok, so let’s start at the beginning
This Audible show is a collection of five chapters, packed into a little over two hours. It’s based on an investigation by Ginger Thompson, who is a journalist for ProPublica, who did an indepth investigation into what happened in Allende.
From the title of the article, you can see firmly what the results of her investigation were, but within the Audible show, the focus is less on the machinations and politics of the DEA and more on the people – the families who had to live in that town, who saw their way of life change when the Zetas moved in, and whose family members were murdered in a horrific way.
Thompson introduces you to the town, talking to people about what life was before and after the Zetas moved in. There are answers in Mexican, with actors coming in and giving voice to these people in English. It’s intimate, and it’s goes a long way to placing you there in the town, feeling the terror of the people but also the reality of life in the town with low incomes.
When story moves to the DEA, listeners are introduced to the crisp, sharp tones of agents who were determined to end this cartel, and succeeded in getting some solid information before it all went wrong – before they trusted the wrong people with the information, and the people in the town suffered for it. The cartels knew everything, and when you hear how easily they found out about the leak, it’ll give you an indication of how much the cartels controlled law enforcement.
Last, the story also covers the violence endured by the town during the night the cartels sought their vengeance for the leak within their ranks. At the original article, you’ll see photos of the homes that were destroyed as the cartel moved through the town that night, seeking anyone associated with the source of the leak to the DEA.
Survivors are part of this story too — those who are still grieving for their loved ones, and have no answers save the sanitised, politically savvy ones from the authorities.
It’s confronting listening to these experiences like this for there’s no fluff here, nothing but the unrelenting truth of what Allende and its people endured.